Venezuela: Strengthening the Rule of Law – Human Rights Council side event

The ICJ and the International Bar Association (IBA) co-sponsored a side event to the 26th session of the Human Rights Council, on Wednesday 11 June 2014, on Strengthening the Rule of Law in Venezuela.

In Venezuela today, the rule of law is being undermined by a failure to ensure the independence of the judiciary, prosecutors, and the legal profession. This side event at the 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council described the challenges and discussed recommendations towards better respect for human rights through a strengthening of the rule of law.

An independent justice system is indispensable to individuals’ rights to have access to justice and to fair trial. For human rights to be fully realized, victims and potential victims of violations must be able to seek and receive effective redress and protection. Theoretical legal guarantees are not enough: in practice, lawyers must be free to bring forward victims’ claims, prosecutors must be able and willing to bring proceedings against all those accused of responsibility, and justice must be administered by impartial and independent judges. Current events in Venezuela only underscore the urgent need to address all of these elements.

The event presented and discussed perspectives from the ground against the backdrop of relevant international standards, drawing on recent reports by the ICJ and IBA, and the expertise of the panelists and audience. It examined institutional arrangements and practices as well as emblematic individual cases such as the continuing reprisals against Judge María Lourdes Afiuni.


Gabriela Knaul, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

Pedro Nikken, Venezuelan Lawyer & former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Alex Wilks, Senior Programme Lawyer, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Wilder Tayler, Secretary General, International Commission of Jurists (moderator)

Presentations by panellists were followed by an interactive session with the audience. English/Spanish interpretation was provided.

Copies of the following reports were available:

Venezuela Side Event 11-06-2014.