International Trial Watch – Catalan Referendum Case (ITW), the platform that coordinates some 30 international observers from 22 organisations, has announced it will present a report on the trial of Catalan independence leaders to the United Nations. Specifically, the report will go to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC), which periodically examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN member states. Spain is up for review between January and February 2020.

After a month and a half of the trial, ITW representatives say that among its international observers “there is enough consensus to say that it is a political trial” and claims that the court case is an attempt to “turn democratic conduct into an offense.” The ITW also claims that in some situations “the prosecution is favored over the defense” and among the infringements gives the example of the court not allowing video evidence to be played that would have exposed contradictions in witness testimony.

Established in 2006 to review all countries and all human rights -and meant to complement rather than duplicate the work of other human rights mechanisms- the UPR’s Working Group is made up the HRC’s 47 member states and is chaired by the HRC president.