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REDACTED Page 65 of 190 the government’s politics”238, replacing them with provisional judges who can be dismissed at will.239 Chávez himself stated during a different public event: “neither the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, nor any judge can be or act behind the back of the revolution and its leader.”240 The same language has been adopted by then Chief Justice and current Justice of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Luisa Estella Morales in 2009. She stated: “we cannot continue thinking about a division of powers, because that is a principle that weakens the State.”241 Studies made by a local civil society organisation indicated that as at 2008, “96% of the cases studied in which cases were brought directly against the actions of agencies of the State were declared unfounded or received no rulings on the merits on the grounds of inadmissibility, incompetence, inapplicability, or inappropriate cause.”242 In 1999, 340 judges, amounting to one third of all the judges in Venezuela, were summarily dismissed pursuant charges of corruption or unjustified delay in deciding cases before them and replaced by temporary judges.243 In addition, most of the judges were appointed in violation of the procedure prescribed by the Constitution.244 The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) findings reveal that out of the 1451 judges appointed in 2008, and of the 359 appointed in 2009 not one was appointed through the open public competition as required by the Constitution.245 238 COUSO, J., HUNEEUS, A. and SIEDER, R. (2010) Cultures of Legality: Judicialization and Political Activism in Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 127 239 HRW. (2008) A decade under Chávez. Human Rights Watch. [Online] September. Available from: [Accessed 27 August, 2015] p. 53 240 IACHR. (2009) Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela. paras 118 & 119; Also see: HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION. (2012) Report on the State of the Independence of the Judiciary in Venezuela. Human Rights Foundation. [Online] 26 September. Available from: [Accessed 23 August, 2015]; Also see: VENEZUELAN CRIMINAL FORUM (2008). Informe que presenta la Asociación Civil Foro Penal Venezolano a tres años de su Fundación. 6 June. pp. 58-59 241 HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION. (2012) Report on the State of the Independence of the Judiciary in Venezuela 242 IACHR. (2009) Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela. para. 306 243 PEREZ-PERDOMO, R. (2007) Medio siglo de historia judicial en Venezuela (1952-2005). Cuadernos Unimetanos. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 11 September, 2015] p. 17-18 244 VENEZUELA. Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of VenezuelaCONSTITUIONAL SECTIONS ON LEGISLATURE. Title V, Chapter 3, Article 255. (1999) 245 . Chapter III, Section 1(b)

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