Venezuela: new ICJ report shows how the rule of law has crumbled, urges authorities to restore democratic institutions

The Venezuelan authorities must take immediate steps to recover the country’s democratic institutions and the functioning of the rule of law, including disbanding the National Constituent Assembly and allowing the National Assembly to resume its Constitutional authority, the ICJ said today in a new report and at a webcast event.

 No Room for Debate, the latest in a series of reports on human rights and the rule of law in Venezuela, addresses the deeply problematic aspects concerning the creation, composition and functioning of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) of Venezuela, presently wielding legislative power, and its devastating effect on the rule of law in the country.

The report shows how the National Constituent Assembly, installed on 4 August 2017 pursuant to an executive decree by President Nicolás Maduro, has displaced the authority of the country’s constitutionally established legislature.

“The NCA was created unilaterally by the President, without popular endorsement through a referendum, in blatant violation of the Constitution, and ever since has acted in an unchecked manner and beyond the rule of law,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ Secretary General.

Initially convened to prepare a new Constitution, the National Constituent Assembly has been used to usurp legislative functions in order to pass electoral, administrative and legislative measures in support of the Executive Branch’s agenda, the ICJ report says.

It documents how the National Constituent Assembly called early presidential elections; rescinded legislative immunity for National Assembly deputies to enable their arrest and prosecution; appointed top-ranking executive authorities; and adopted discriminatory measures that penalize freedom of expression and association.

Among several recommendations, the ICJ urges the State authorities to:

  • Rescind the National Constituent Assembly and restore the Constitutional powers of the National Assembly.
  • Allow the National Assembly to review the orders issued by the National Constituent Assembly, to render them totally or partially ineffective, immediately or conditionally, in the interest of ensuring legal certainty.


Sam Zarifi, ICJ Secretary General, t +41 79 726 44 15 ; e sam.zarifi(a)

Santiago Martínez, ICJ Consultant;

Venezuela-No room for debate-Publications-Reports-Fact finding mission reports-2019-ENG (full report in PDF)

Watch the video (mostly in Spanish) of a side event on the human rights crisis in Venezuela, organized jointly with Amnesty International.

Live now! Side Event #HRC41 : “Keys to understanding the venezuelan situation: analysis with a human rights perspective on the most pressing crisis in Latin America" at the UN Geneva Monday 8 July 2019, 2.30-4.00 pmPalais des Nations, Room IXOrganized by Amnesty International and International Commission of JuristsLivestreamed by Red Internacional de Derechos Humanos

Posted by Red Internacional de Derechos Humanos on Monday, July 8, 2019


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