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Venezuela: Introduction

Venezuela is a party to many international and regional human rights treaties. However, in September 2012 Venezuela gave notice of its denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights, effective from 10 September 2013.

Judicial independence is enshrined in the Constitution and other laws in Venezuela, but it is not adequately respected in practice. Measures introduced in the 1999 Constitution and subsequent laws have led to ambiguity in determining which rules relating to the judicial career and judicial discipline currently apply, contributing to legal uncertainty. The vast majority of judges serving in Venezuela have been appointed temporarily or provisionally. They don’t enjoy security of tenure.

The legal profession faces considerable challenges in Venezuela. The weakening of the Bar Associations and the interference by the judiciary in aspects related to the election of the leadership of Bar Associations and with the Bars’ Disciplinary Tribunals have undermined the ability of Bar Associations to safeguard the independence of lawyers and the integrity and interests of the profession. Further, lawyers face various forms of interference with their work, including the prosecution of lawyers who are involved in politically sensitive case.

The vast majority of prosecutors do not enjoy the guarantee of tenure and are exposed to undue interference and pressure, both internal and emanating from the other branches of government. Prosecutors do not have full autonomy to direct, order and oversee the investigation of (alleged) crimes.

 

 

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