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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 66 of 190 Many of the replacement judges were militants of Chávez’s party regardless of their professional qualifications or previous experience. Some of the new judges even had criminal records that were overlooked for their unconditional support to the principles of the Bolivarian Revolution. 246 Already by 2001, these provisional judges amounted to more than 80% of the total number of judges in Venezuela. 247 The Presidency also used the Judicial Commission of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, itself under the President’s control,248 to appoint and remove temporary judges. The Judicial Commission of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice officially maintains that it can summarily dismiss temporary judges, without cause and without the due process protections afforded to permanent judges. 249 Provisional judges,250 by contrast, are according the Commission entitled to the same security of tenure as permanent judges, at least until the public competition are held to fill their posts, yet, the Judicial Commission has also summarily fired provisional judges.251 The control of the judiciary by the Presidency since 1999 has been such that even judges have had to fear retaliation if they do not act in line the GoV’s agenda. More detailed figures analysed by the IACHR show that in 2008, 64 judges were removed or suspended and between January and September 2009 72 judges were removed252 in a way that was described as being “telegraphic, without grounds, rationale, procedure or appeal”.253 The judges which have been dismissed include: a. Judge Franklin Arrieche of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, was dismissed by the National Assembly on 15 June 2004 and according to public statements made by members of the National Assembly, Justice Arrieche was removed because he had made a decision that acquitted four members of the armed forces accused of insurrection during the events of 11 to 13 April 2002.254 246 DEZALAY and GARTH. (2011) p 34 247 HRW. (2008) A decade under Chávez. p. 53 248 Indeed, the 20 members of the new Supreme Tribunal of Justice were elected almost unanimously by the National Constitutent Assembly, itself dominated by Chávez partisans. (REFERENCE) 249 The Judicial Commission of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice has asserted this authority explicitly in written responses to appeals filed by judges it has summarily fired. See: REUTERS. (2003) Corte Venezuela ordena dejar de ejercer médicos Cuba en Caracas. Reuters. 21 August 250 Provisional judges are named until the public competition is held to select the judges who will fill the positions on a permanent basis. On the other hand temporary judges are appointed to fill temporary openings, such as those created when a sitting judge takes a parental or sick leave. See: HRW. (2004) Rigging the Rule of Law. p.9 251 HRW. (2004) Rigging the Rule of Law: Judicial Independence Under Siege in Venezuela. p.9 252 IACHR. (2009) Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela. 253 Information provided by the petitioners to the IACHR. See: IACHR. (2008) Hearing on the Situation of Institutionality and Human Rights Guarantees in Venezuela (133 Period of Sessions). Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. [Online] 28 October. Available from: [Accessed 23 August, 2015] 254 Speech by Deputy Francisco Ameliach during the oath-taking ceremony of 49 justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice on December 15, 2004. See: EL UNIVERSAL. (2004) Listo TSJ con 32 suspended and between January and September 200972 judges were removed252 in a

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