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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 94 of 190 As a part of the Citizen Branch the Office of Pubic Prosecutions is also in theory independent of the authority of the Executive Branch373 and is directed by the General Prosecutor who directs the Office of Public Prosecutions and according to the Venezuelan Constitution, “perform(s) his functions directly.”374 Among the functions of the Office of Public Prosecutions, are to “guarantee respect for constitutional rights and guarantees in judicial proceedings, as well as those deriving from international treaties; to guarantee the speedy trial of the judicial process, the right to previous trail and a due process; to order and direct criminal investigations of the perpetration of punishable acts; to conduct on behalf of the State criminal prosecutions in those cases in which no initiative on the part of a party is required in order to initiate or continue such prosecution; and to file any appropriate actions to hold liable public officials who have incurred civil, labor, military, criminal, administrative or disciplinary liability the course of their official duties.375 Despite these constitutional provisions for independence, in practice, the General Prosecutor and the Prosecutors within the Office of Public Prosecutions are under control of the Executive Branch and more specifically of the Presidency as will be demonstrated below. Their lack of independence is such that in September 2014, the International Crisis Group called on the GoV to restore the autonomy of the General Prosecutor.376 The current General Prosecutor is Luisa Ortega Díaz is a strong PSUV supporter, appointed in 2007 under the Presidency of Hugo Chávez for a 7-year mandate. 377 To appoint her, the GoV took advantage of the PSUV’s domination of the General Assembly, following the opposition boycott to appoint, or reappoint, political allies to independent offices.378 Ortega Díaz’s first mandate was surrounded by controversy related to her lack of independency from the Presidency as confirmed by several international institutions: 373 VENEZUELA. Constitution of Venezuela. Chapter IV. 374 a VENEZUELA. Constitution of Venezuela. Article 284 375 VENEZUELA. Constitution of Venezuela. Article 285 376 INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP. (2014) Venezuela: Dangerous Inertia. International Crisis Group. [Online] 23 September. Available from: america/venezuela/b031-venezuela-dangerous-inertia [Accessed 24 October, 2015] p.7 377 MINISTERIO PÚBLICO. (2015) Luisa Ortega Díaz – Curriculum Vitae. Ministerio Público. [Online] 24 October. Available from: [Accessed 24 October, 2015] 378 INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP, (2014) Venezuela: Tipping Point. International Crisis Group. [Online] 21 May. Available from: caribbean/andes/venezuela/b030-venezuela-tipping-point.aspx [Accessed 24 October, 2015] p.24. Also see: HRW. (2008) A decade under Chávez. Chapter III.

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