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Venezuela: Non-interference with the work of individual lawyers

Lawyers shall at all times maintain the honour and dignity of their profession. Their duties, as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, include advising clients on their rights and obligations and the working of the legal system insofar relevant to their rights and obligations; assisting clients in every appropriate way and taking legal action to protect their interests; and assisting clients before courts, tribunals and administrative authorities, where appropriate. In doing so, lawyers must seek to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms, and at all times act freely and diligently in accordance with the law and recognized deontological standards. They must always loyally respect the interests of their clients.[1] 

The UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers recognize that in order for legal assistance to be effective, it must be carried out independently.[2] To this end, international human rights standards enumerate safeguards aimed at ensuring the independence of the individual lawyer, as well as the profession as a whole. 

Governments must ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.[3] 

In addition, among other things, the authorities must ensure lawyers are granted prompt and regular access to individuals who have been deprived of their liberty, regardless of whether they have been charged with a crime.[4] Lawyers must be permitted to meet with clients who are detained from the very outset of detention, and in matters involving suspected criminal conduct, before and during questioning of a suspect by the competent authorities, such as police, and investigating judges.[5] Delay in granting an individual access to counsel and/or other interference in the lawyer-client however, in particular in a criminal case, can affect the ability of the accused to protect and preserve his or her rights and may prejudice the overall fairness of the subsequent criminal proceedings. Any delay in access to counsel must be determined and justified on a case-by-case basis. In any case, delay should not exceed “forty-eight hours from the time of arrest or detention”.[6] 

International standards related to the rights of people charged with a criminal offence, including the ICCPR, provide that a client must be granted “adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence”.[7] Respect for this right requires, among other things that lawyers be permitted adequate time and facilities to meet with their detained clients. The UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, among other standards, affirm that those detained “shall be provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be visited by and to communicate and consult with a lawyer, without delay, interception or censorship and in full confidentiality”.[8] 

Because confidentiality is paramount to an effective lawyer-client relationship, states have the duty to respect and protect the confidentiality of lawyer-client communications, within the professional relationship. In the fulfilment of this duty international standards specify, among other things, that lawyer-client consultations between a detained person and their lawyer “may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of law enforcement officials”[9], ensuring confidentiality but taking security needs into account.

The state is obliged to ensure that lawyers have “access to appropriate information, files and documents in their possession or control in sufficient time to enable lawyers to provide effective legal assistance to their clients”.[10]

It is essential that lawyers do not face any adverse consequences for representing any client. The UN Basic Principles require that lawyers “shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions”.[11] Furthermore, lawyers “must never be subjected to criminal or civil sanctions or procedures which are abusive or discriminatory or which would impair their professional functions, including as a consequence of their association with disfavoured or unpopular causes or clients”.[12] Thus, lawyers “shall enjoy civil and penal immunity for relevant statements made in good faith in written or oral pleadings or in their professional appearances before a court, tribunal or other legal or administrative authority”.[13] 

Further, the authorities must safeguard lawyers’ security where this is threatened as a result of discharging their functions.[14]

 

Lawyers in Venezuela face improper interferences and threats when exercising their profession.

First, the prosecution of lawyers involved in politically sensitive cases has not only infringed the rights of those prosecuted but also has created a general sense of fear among lawyers that they may be subject to sanction for the fulfilment of their professional duties. As explained below in sub-section 6, under the Judicial Code of Ethics, any judge is allowed to impose disciplinary sanctions during a judicial proceeding upon the lawyers exercising their profession. The mere possibility that judges may impose disciplinary sanctions on lawyers during the conduct of a case, in combination with the tendency to prosecute lawyers who work on politically sensitive cases or who have expressed opinions concerning the situation of the judiciary creates has had ‘chilling effect’ among members of the legal profession in Venezuela.

Second, governmental favouritism in judicial appointments has contributed to the creation of a hostile environment and internal tensions between members of the legal profession.

In 2005, the Government of Venezuela launched the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (BUV), approved to teach Legal Studies.[15] This programme differs from the Programme of Law taught in other national and international law schools, as it excludes essential topics for lawyers (i.e. civil law, civil and criminal procedural law). Nevertheless, in 2010 President Chávez announced the creation of the “Mission of Socialist Justice”, offering secure postgraduate studies for all of the BUV’s graduates in the School of Judges and guaranteeing their practice and further exercise of their profession in the Office of the Attorney General.[16] This favouritism, at times, led to the more qualified candidate not being considered for appointment to judicial positions, or in some cases even limiting these appointments to lawyers who have graduated from the BUV exclusively.[17]

Third, some civil society organizations have alleged that since the outbreak of violent street-protests in February 2014, detainees have been deprived of their right to a defence, as law enforcement agents prevented lawyers from meeting with their clients.[18]

Furthermore, in certain cases judges have replaced individuals’ lawyers of choice with appointed counsel. For example, lawyers who used procedural safeguards in their clients’ defence, in a manner not to the liking of the judge, have been accused of obstructing justice and have been replaced for this reason.[19]

 

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. 1. See UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers,”Principles

    12. Lawyers shall at all times maintain the honour and dignity of their profession as essential agents of the administration of justice.

    13. The duties of lawyers towards their clients shall include:

    (a) Advising clients as to their legal rights and obligations, and as to the working of the legal system in so far as it is relevant to the legal rights and obligations of the clients;

    (b) Assisting clients in every appropriate way, and taking legal action to protect their interests;

    (c) Assisting clients before courts, tribunals or administrative authorities, where appropriate.

    14. Lawyers, in protecting the rights of their clients and in promoting the cause of justice, shall seek to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law and shall at all times act freely and diligently in accordance with the law and recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.

    15. Lawyers shall always loyally respect the interests of their clients.

  2. 2. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Preamble ”para.

    Whereas adequate protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all persons are entitled, be they economic, social and cultural, or civil and political, requires that all persons have effective access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession,

  3. 3. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, ”Principle

    Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;

  4. 4. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, ”Principle

    Governments shall further ensure that all persons arrested or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have prompt access to a lawyer, and in any case not later than forty‐eight hours from the time of arrest or detention.

    General Assembly, Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, UN Doc. A/RES/43/173 (1988), ”Principle

    1. A detained person shall be entitled to have the assistance of a legal counsel. He shall be informed of his right by the competent authority promptly after arrest and shall be provided with reasonable facilities for exercising it.

    2. If a detained person does not have a legal counsel of his own choice, he shall be entitled to have a legal counsel assigned to him by a judicial or other authority in all cases where the interests of justice so require and without payment by him if he does not have sufficient means to pay.

    Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 32, Article 14: Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to a fair trial, UN Doc. CCPR/C/GC/32 (2007), ”para.

    The right to communicate with counsel requires that the accused is granted prompt access to counsel. Counsel should be able to meet their clients in private and to communicate with the accused in conditions that fully respect the confidentiality of their communications. Furthermore, lawyers should be able to advise and to represent persons charged with a criminal offence in accordance with generally recognised professional ethics without restrictions, influence, pressure or undue interference from any quarter.

    Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Georgia (1997), UN Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.75, ”para.

    The Committee urges the State party to take urgent steps to improve the situation in prisons, in particular, sanitary conditions. It invites the State party to cut down on the use of imprisonment as a punishment for minor violations and on pre-trial detention for excessive periods.

    International Commission of Jurists, Geneva Declaration: Principles on Upholding the Rule of Law and the Role of Judges and Lawyers in Times of Crisis  (2008), ”Principle

    In times of crisis, lawyers must be guaranteed prompt, regular and confidential access to their clients, including to those deprived of their liberty, and to relevant documentation and evidence, at all stages of proceedings. All branches of government must take necessary measures to ensure the confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship, and must ensure that the lawyer is able to engage in all essential elements of legal defence, including substantial and timely access to all relevant case files.

  5. 5. General Assembly, United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems (2012), UN Doc. A/RES/67/187, Guideline 3, ”para

    43. States should introduce measures… (b) To prohibit, in the absence of any compelling circumstances, any interviewing of a person by the police in the absence of a lawyer, unless the person gives his or her informed and voluntary consent to waive the lawyer’s presence, and to establish mechanisms for verifying the voluntary nature of the person’s consent. An interview should not start until the legal aid provider arrives; 

    Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Principles and Best Practices on the Protection of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas (2008), Principle V;

    Due process of law

    Every person deprived of liberty shall, at all times and in all circumstances, have the right to the protection of and regular access to competent, independent, and impartial judges and tribunals, previously established by law.

    Persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to be promptly informed in a language they understand of the reasons for their deprivation of liberty and of the charges against them, as well as to be informed of their rights and guarantees; to have access to a translator or interpreter during the proceedings; and to communicate with their family. They shall have the right to a hearing and a trial, with due guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a judge, authority or official who is legally authorized to exercise judicial functions, or to be released without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings; to appeal the judgment to a higher judge or court; and to not be subjected to a new trial for the same cause, if they have been acquitted by a nonappealable judgment in conformity with due process of law and international human rights law.

    Three criteria shall be taken into consideration when determining if a judicial proceeding complied with the reasonable time requirement: the complexity of the case; the conduct of the applicant; and the conduct of the relevant authorities.

    All persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to a defense and to legal counsel, named by themselves, their family, or provided by the State; they shall have the right to communicate privately with their counsel, without interference or censorship, without delays or unjustified time limits, from the time of their capture or arrest and necessarily before their first declaration before the competent authority.

    All persons deprived of liberty shall have the right, exercised by themselves of by others, to present a simple, prompt, and effective recourse before the competent, independent, and impartial authorities, against acts or omissions that violate or threaten to violate their human rights. In particular, persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to lodge complaints or claims about acts of torture, prison violence, corporal punishment, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, as well as concerning prison or internment conditions, the lack of appropriate medical or psychological care, and of adequate food.

    Persons deprived of liberty shall not be compelled to be a witness against themselves or to plead guilty. Statements obtained through torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment shall not be admissible as evidence in a legal proceeding except in a legal action against a person or persons accused of having committed such acts, and only as evidence that those statements were obtained through such means.

    If found guilty, the punishments or sanctions that were applicable at the time of the commission of the crime or legal infraction shall be applied, unless subsequent law establishes a lesser punishment or sanction, in which case the law that is most favorable to the person shall be applied.

    Death penalty sentences shall meet the principles, restrictions, and prohibitions established in international human rights law. In all circumstances, they shall have the right to request commutation of punishment.

    Persons deprived of liberty in a Member State of the Organization of American States of which they are not nationals, shall be informed, without delay, and in any case before they make any statement to the competent authorities, of their right to consular or diplomatic assistance, and to request that consular or diplomatic authorities be notified of their deprivation of liberty immediately. Furthermore, they shall have the right to communicate with their diplomatic and consular authorities freely and in private.

    Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Barreto Leiva v. Venezuela, Judgment (17 November 2009), para. 62;

    If the right to defense arises as of the moment in which an investigation into an individual is ordered (supra para. 29), the accused must have access to a legal representation from that moment onwards, especially during the procedure in which his statement is rendered. To prevent the accused from being advised by a counsel means to strictly limit the right to defense, which leads to a procedural unbalance
    and leaves the individual unprotected before the punishing authority.

     Human Rights Council, Resolution 13/19 on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: the role and responsibility of judges, prosecutors and lawyers, UN Doc. A/HRC/RES/13/19 (2010), ”para.

    Calls upon States in the context of criminal proceedings to ensure access to lawyers from the outset of custody and during all interrogations and judicial proceedings, as well as access of lawyers to appropriate information in sufficient time to enable them to provide effective legal assistance to their clients;

  6. 6. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, ”Principle

    Governments shall further ensure that all persons arrested or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have prompt access to a lawyer, and in any case not later than forty‐eight hours from the time of arrest or detention.

  7. 7. ICCPR, ”Article

    3. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:… (b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing; 

    General Assembly, Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, UN Doc. A/RES/43/173 (1988), ”Principle

    1. A detained or imprisoned person shall be entitled to communicate and consult with his legal counsel.

    2. A detained or imprisoned person shall be allowed adequate time and facilities for consultations with his legal counsel.

    3. The right of a detained or imprisoned person to be visited by and to consult and communicate, without delay or censorship and in full confidentiality, with his legal counsel may not be suspended or restricted save in exceptional circumstances, to be specified by law or lawful regulations, when it is considered indispensable by a judicial or other authority in order to maintain security and good order.

    4. Interviews between a detained or imprisoned person and his legal counsel may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of a law enforcement official.

    5. Communications between a detained or imprisoned person and his legal counsel mentioned in the present principle shall be inadmissible as evidence against the detained or imprisoned person unless they are connected with a continuing or contemplated crime. 

  8. 8. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, ”Principle

    All arrested, detained or imprisoned persons shall be provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be visited by and to communicate and consult with a awyer, without delay, interception or censorship and in full confidentiality. Such consultations may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of law enforcement officials.

    Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 32, Article 14: Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to a fair trial, UN Doc. CCPR/C/GC/32 (2007), ”para.

    The right to communicate with counsel requires that the accused is granted prompt access to counsel. Counsel should be able to meet their clients in private and to communicate with the accused in conditions that fully respect the confidentiality of their communications. Furthermore, lawyers should be able to advise and to represent persons charged with a criminal offence in accordance with generally recognised professional ethics without restrictions, influence, pressure or undue interference from any quarter. 

    General Assembly, Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, UN Doc. A/RES/43/173 (1988), ”Principle

    1. A detained or imprisoned person shall be entitled to communicate and consult with his legal counsel. 

    2. A detained or imprisoned person shall be allowed adequate time and facilities for consultations with his legal counsel. 

    3. The right of a detained or imprisoned person to be visited by and to consult and communicate, without delay or censorship and in full confidentiality, with his legal counsel may not be suspended or restricted save in exceptional circumstances, to be specified by law or lawful regulations, when it is considered indispensable by a judicial or other authority in order to maintain security and good order. 

    4. Interviews between a detained or imprisoned person and his legal counsel may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of a law enforcement official. 

    5. Communications between a detained or imprisoned person and his legal counsel mentioned in the present principle shall be inadmissible as evidence against the detained or imprisoned person unless they are connected with a continuing or contemplated crime.

     
    Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Principles and Best Practices on the Protection of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas (2008), Principle V;

    Due process of law

    Every person deprived of liberty shall, at all times and in all circumstances, have the right to the protection of and regular access to competent, independent, and impartial judges and tribunals, previously established by law.

    Persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to be promptly informed in a language they understand of the reasons for their deprivation of liberty and of the charges against them, as well as to be informed of their rights and guarantees; to have access to a translator or interpreter during the proceedings; and to communicate with their family. They shall have the right to a hearing and a trial, with due guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a judge, authority or official who is legally authorized to exercise judicial functions, or to be released without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings; to appeal the judgment to a higher judge or court; and to not be subjected to a new trial for the same cause, if they have been acquitted by a nonappealable judgment in conformity with due process of law and international human rights law.

    Three criteria shall be taken into consideration when determining if a judicial proceeding complied with the reasonable time requirement: the complexity of the case; the conduct of the applicant; and the conduct of the relevant authorities.

    All persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to a defense and to legal counsel, named by themselves, their family, or provided by the State; they shall have the right to communicate privately with their counsel, without interference or censorship, without delays or unjustified time limits, from the time of their capture or arrest and necessarily before their first declaration before the competent authority.

    All persons deprived of liberty shall have the right, exercised by themselves of by others, to present a simple, prompt, and effective recourse before the competent, independent, and impartial authorities, against acts or omissions that violate or threaten to violate their human rights. In particular, persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to lodge complaints or claims about acts of torture, prison violence, corporal punishment, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, as well as concerning prison or internment conditions, the lack of appropriate medical or psychological care, and of adequate food.

    Persons deprived of liberty shall not be compelled to be a witness against themselves or to plead guilty. Statements obtained through torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment shall not be admissible as evidence in a legal proceeding except in a legal action against a person or persons accused of having committed such acts, and only as evidence that those statements were obtained through such means.

    If found guilty, the punishments or sanctions that were applicable at the time of the commission of the crime or legal infraction shall be applied, unless subsequent law establishes a lesser punishment or sanction, in which case the law that is most favorable to the person shall be applied.

    Death penalty sentences shall meet the principles, restrictions, and prohibitions established in international human rights law. In all circumstances, they shall have the right to request commutation of punishment.

    Persons deprived of liberty in a Member State of the Organization of American States of which they are not nationals, shall be informed, without delay, and in any case before they make any statement to the competent authorities, of their right to consular or diplomatic assistance, and to request that consular or diplomatic authorities be notified of their deprivation of liberty immediately. Furthermore, they shall have the right to communicate with their diplomatic and consular authorities freely and in private.

     Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Castillo Petruzzi et al. v. Peru, judgment (30 May 1999), para. 139;

    In the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, number 8 -under the heading of “Special safeguards in criminal justice matters”- sets out the proper standards for an adequate defense in criminal cases. It reads as follows:
    All arrested, detained or imprisoned persons shall be provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be visited by and to communicate and consult with a lawyer, without delay, interception or censorship and in full confidentiality. Such consultations may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of law enforcement officials. (footnote omitted)

     Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declaration), ”Article

    Lawyers shall have all such other facilities and privileges as are necessary to fulfil their professional responsibilities effectively, including:

    (a) Confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship and the right to refuse to give testimony if it impinges on such confidentiality;

    (b) The right to travel and to consult with their clients freely born within their own country and abroad;

    (c) The right to visit, to communicate with and to take instructions from their clients;

    (d) The right freely to seek, to receive and, subject to the rules of their profession, to impart information and ideas relating to their professional work;

    (e) The right to accept or refuse a client or a brief on reasonable personal or professional grounds.

    International Commission of Jurists, Geneva Declaration: Principles on Upholding the Rule of Law and the Role of Judges and Lawyers in Times of Crisis (2008), ”Principle

    In times of crisis, lawyers must be guaranteed prompt, regular and confidential access to their clients, including to those deprived of their liberty, and to relevant documentation and evidence, at all stages of proceedings. All branches of government must take necessary measures to ensure the confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship, and must ensure that the lawyer is able to engage in all essential elements of legal defence, including substantial and timely access to all relevant case files.

    International Bar Association (IBA), Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession (1990), ”Article

    12. The independence of lawyers in dealing with persons deprived of their liberty shall be guaranteed so as to ensure that they have free, fair and confidential legal assistance, including the lawyer’s right of access to such persons. Safeguards shall be built to avoid any possible suggestion of collusion, arrangement or dependence between the lawyer who acts for them and the authorities.

    13. Lawyers shall have all such other facilities and privileges as are necessary to fulfil their professional responsibilities effectively, including: a) confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship, including protection of the lawyer’s files and documents from seizure or inspection and protection from interception of the lawyer’s electronic communications; b) the right to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; c) the right freely to seek, to receive and, subject to the rules of their profession, to impart information and ideas relating to their professional work. 

    International Law Association, Paris Minimum Standards of Human Rights Norms in a State of Emergency (1984), ”Article
    Any law providing for preventive or administrative detention shall secure the following minimum rights of the detainee: … (b) The right to communicate with, and consult, a lawyer of his own choice, at any time after detention.

  9. 9. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers”Principle

    All arrested, detained or imprisoned persons shall be provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be visited by and to communicate and consult with a lawyer, without delay, interception or censorship and in full confidentiality. Such consultations may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of law enforcement officials.

    Outside criminal justice matters, Principle 22 establishes that “Governments shall recognize and respect that all communications and consultations between lawyers and their clients within their professional relationship are confidential”.
  10. 10. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, ”Principle

    It is the duty of the competent authorities to ensure lawyers access to appropriate information, files and documents in their possession or control in sufficient time to enable lawyers to provide effective legal assistance to their clients. Such access should be provided at the earliest appropriate time.

    Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 32, Article 14: Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to a fair trial, UN Doc. CCPR/C/GC/32 (2007), para. 33”para.

    “Adequate facilities” must include access to documents and other evidence; this access must include all materials69 that the prosecution plans to offer in court against the accused or that are exculpatory. Exculpatory material should be understood as including not only material establishing innocence but also other evidence that could assist the defence (e.g. indications that a confession was not voluntary). In cases of a claim that evidence was obtained in violation of article 7 of the Covenant, information about the circumstances in which such evidence was obtained must be made available to allow an assessment of such a claim. If the accused does not speak the language in which the proceedings are held, but is represented by counsel who is familiar with the language, it may be sufficient that the relevant documents in the case file are made available to counsel. 

    International Commission of Jurists, Geneva Declaration: Principles on Upholding the Rule of Law and the Role of Judges and Lawyers in Times of Crisis (2008), ”Principle

    In times of crisis, lawyers must be guaranteed prompt, regular and confidential access to their clients, including to those deprived of their liberty, and to relevant documentation and evidence, at all stages of proceedings. All branches of government must take necessary measures to ensure the confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship, and must ensure that the lawyer is able to engage in all essential elements of legal defence, including substantial and timely access to all relevant case files.

  11. 11. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, ”Principle

    Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.

  12. 12. International Commission of Jurists, Geneva Declaration: Principles on Upholding the Rule of Law and the Role of Judges and Lawyers in Times of Crisis (2008), ”Principle

    Governments shall further ensure that all persons arrested or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have prompt access to a lawyer, and in any case not later than forty‐eight hours from the time of arrest or detention.

    Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declaration), ”Article

    Every person and group of persons is entitled to call upon the assistance of a lawyer to defend his or its interests or cause within the law and it is the duty of the lawyer to do so to the best of his ability and with integrity and independence. Consequently, the lawyer is not to be identified by the authorities or the public with his client or his client’s cause, however popular or unpopular it may be.

  13. 13. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, ”Principle

    Lawyers shall enjoy civil and penal immunity for relevant statements made in good faith in written or oral pleadings or in their professional appearances before a court, tribunal or other legal or administrative authority.

     Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declation), ”Article

    No lawyer shall suffer or be threatened with penal, civil, administrative, economic or other sanctions by reason of his having advised or assisted any client or for having represented any client’s cause.

  14. 14. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, ”Principle

    Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.

  15. 15. See: http://www.ubv.edu.ve/index.php/p-formacion-de-grado/6-estudios-juridicos, last accessed 21 August 2014.
  16. 16. Ocarina Espinoza in El Universal (16 January 2010), ‘Chávez propone la creación de la Misión Justicia Socialista’. Available at: http://www.eluniversal.com/2010/01/16/pol_ava_chavez-propone-la-cr_16A3298331, last accessed 21 August 2014.
  17. 17. Juan Francisco Alonso in El Universal (22 June 2012), ‘TSJ: De la Bolivariana saldrán los jueces municipales’. Available at: http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/120622/tsj-de-la-bolivariana-saldran-los-jueces-municipales, last accessed 21 August 2014.
  18.  Human Rights Centre – Andres Bello Catholic University, Documents of Human Rights Violations in Venezuela since February 2014: Personal Freedom, Due Process and Personal Integrity, Preliminary Report (2014), p. 4.
  19. 19. See: El Nacional (23 July 2014), ‘Dirigentes calificaron de “injusto” las condiciones del juicio de López’. Available at: http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/Dirigentes-calificaron-injusto-condiciones-Lopez_0_451155009.html, last accessed 21 August 2014. El Universal (7 June 2012), ‘Ortega Díaz: Detención de Graterol es por obstaculizar la justicia’. Available at: http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/120607/ortega-diaz-detencion-de-graterol-es-por-obstaculizar-la-justicia-imp, last accessed 21 August 2014.
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