Venezuela: Judicial independence and impartiality are compromised (UN Statement)
The ICJ today denounced the lack of independence and impartiality of the judiciary in Venezuela before the UN Human Rights Council and called for the renewal of the mandate of the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission.
The statement reads as follows:
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) welcomes the High Commissioner’s report on the situation of human rights in Venezuela.
The ICJ draws the Council’s attention to the recent appointments of magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, taken by a process outside of fundamental principles of the rule of law. The highly politicized process disregarded international standards on judicial independence and judicial impartiality and was performed without transparency. Most of the appointees are closely linked to political parties and others are active members of the military or former members of the ruling party. Their independence and impartiality are necessarily compromised.
The ICJ deplores the increasing attacks against human rights defenders. Our report recently issued highlights the many barriers that lawyers, including those defending human rights, face due to abuses and breaches of fair trial guarantees when representing victims of human rights violations.
The ICJ would ask the High Commissioner to elaborate on the restrictions to civic space in Venezuela and on threats suffered by lawyers and other human rights defenders.
Finally, the ICJ urges the Council to continue to closely monitor the critical human rights situation in Venezuela, by renewing the mandate of the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission, requesting periodic oral updates and reports of the High Commissioner and supporting an effective presence of the OHCHR in the country.