Justice, and nothing more
The appearance of Princess Cristina before Judge Castro was an essential part of this court case
The statements made by Princess Cristina in court on Saturday show that respect for the justice system has triumphed over the scandal that would have been caused by any other outcome. The Royal Family is subject to the Constitution, and does not exist on its margins. The princess is just another citizen, and the magistrate that called her to court, José Castro, is the judge who corresponds to the case currently under investigation. As such, the demands of the legal system are being met — demands to which all citizens are subject, including the daughter of the king.
The fact that the public prosecutor has been putting the judge under pressure to remove the infanta as an official suspect from the case is just one of the chain of errors that has been seen in this matter. Aside from the reasons cited by the prosecutor to back up this demand — i.e. that Princess Cristina has not committed a criminal offense — the judge’s insistence that she appear will avoid lingering suspicions about her conduct. What’s more, the fact that the princess has appeared in court contributes to the pending job of restoring confidence in Spain’s battered institutions.
Cristina’s husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, missed the opportunity of admitting his involvement and guilt in the irregularities that are being investigated as part of this probe into the Aizoon company, which he owned jointly with the princess, and was funded with public money from the Nóos Institute and allegedly used for tax evasion. Urdangarin’s refusal has complicated his situation, as well as that of his wife, who on Saturday claimed to have had nothing to do with the business dealings of her husband, stating that she had trusted in him completely.
These are the relevant facts of the case, rather than the controversy generated over the way Princess Cristina was going to approach the courthouse on Saturday. There can be no debate as to whether the infanta is just another citizen before the law, but it is unnecessary to talk about privileges when it is a case of maintaining the necessary security measures for a person who is in line for the throne, albeit no longer participating in public acts.
It is not a part of normal democracy for suspicions about corruption to spread throughout state institutions. But as this is the case, the correct response does not involve substituting justice for mere spectacle, nor establishing blame or innocence on the basis of the time spent in front of the cameras. The only responsible solution is to confide in the justice system and respect its rulings — in particular the decision as to whether or not the proceedings against Princess Cristina should continue. Whatever the decision is, the constitutional functions carried out by the head of state should not be influenced by the vicissitudes of members of the Royal Family.