The chief justice of the Constitutional Court, Francisco Pérez de los Cobos, has tendered his resignation as a paid member of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations at the International Labor Organization (ILO). De los Cobos, who has come under fire from opposition groups for admitting he was a card-carrying member of the Popular Party (PP) while serving as a magistrate at the court, apparently received formal permission from Pascual Sala, then the chief justice, to combine his work at the ILO with his court duties.
Article 19 of the law governing the Constitutional Court states that a serving magistrate cannot engage in "the execution of professional or mercantile activities" in conjunction with a seat on the bench; including that of chief judge. The ILO states that it does not "require the resignation" of a member when, as in the case of De los Cobos, he or she is elected to such a post. De los Cobos declined to speak to EL PAÍS to explain his decision to leave the committee after 15 months of service. He was made chief justice on June 16.
The committee is responsible for the technical evaluation of international laws in relation to ILO member countries, including Spain. Thus, the PP government's controversial reforms to the labor law, which were appealed at the Constitutional Court by the Socialists, not only fell into the ambit of De los Cobos in Spain but also within his responsibilities at the ILO's Geneva headquarters, where they were evaluated against international criteria.
Spain's largest labor unions presented two appeals to the ILO over the government's plans.