The Constitution specifies that human rights treaties to which Venezuela is a party have constitutional rank and prevail over national legislation, provided that they contain provisions more favourable to human rights than those recognized in the Constitution and laws. They are directly applicable by the courts and other organs of public power.
The following table sets out the status of a range of human rights treaties in Venezuela as of 21 August 2014:
Venezuela announced its intention to denounce the American Convention on Human Rights and thereby to remove itself from the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court in a letter to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States dated 6 September 2012. It alleged that the “operational scheme between the Commission and the Court has allowed these two organs to act in an articulated fashion against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela by means of the admission of denunciations on cases that were being heard and processed by the legal instances of the country, or admitting denunciations that were never filed before said instances, in flagrant violation of Article 46.1 of the American Convention.” The denunciation became effective on 10 September 2013; nevertheless, under Art 78(2) of the Convention, Venezuela is still subject to the obligations set out in the Convention and the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court “with respect to any act that may constitute a violation of those obligations and that has been taken by that state prior to the effective date of denunciation.”
- 1. Constitution, Article 23.
The treaties, pacts and conventions relating human rights which have been executed and ratified by Venezuela have a constitutional rank, and prevail over internal legislation, insofar as they contain provisions concerning the enjoyment and exercise of such rights that are more favorable than those established by this Constitution and the laws of the Republic, and shall be immediately and directly applied by the courts and other organs of the Public Power.
- 2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, Letter of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) denouncing the Inter-American Convention on Human rights, 6 September 2012. Consulted at: http://www.ucab.edu.ve/tl_files/CDH/recursos/Nota%20000125_Republica%20Bolivariana%20de%20Venezuela_al_SG.PDF (Accessed 21 August 2014).↵
- 3. American Convention on Human Rights, article 78(2).
Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of releasing the State Party concerned from the obligations contained in this Convention with respect to any act that may constitute a violation of those obligations and that has been taken by that state prior to the effective date of denunciation.