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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 99 of 190 de Justicia) is de jure on top of the Venezuelan court system.403 It is made up of 32 justices (“magistrados”) all elected by the National Assembly from a shortlist presented by a Committee on Judicial Nominations that operates in the Citizen Power branch’s sphere.404 The Supreme Tribunal not only acts as the court of last resort but it also hears accusations against high public officials, certain civil actions arising between the State and individuals and acts through its Judicial Commission to appoint and remove non- tenured judges.405 As previously explained, under the state structure created during the Chávez regime, the majority of the judges were appointed without public competition as required by the Constitution406 and on provisional contracts, as acknowledged by the IACHR.407 As this system has not been changed under Maduro, the Executive still has a great deal of control over the judicial process and outcome not only at the Supreme Tribunal level but also indirectly throughout the courts in the country as the Judicial Commission of the Supreme Tribunal maintains that it can summarily dismiss temporary judges, without cause and without the due process408 as it has done in several instances previously. In 2014, more than three fifths of judges were provisional: “At the time President Chávez took office, 60 % of the total number of judges held their position in a provisional manner; today such a number reaches 80 %. This situation has been consistently denounced by HRW. In its 2004 Report, Item IV, HRW, points out that in Venezuela, of the total number of judges (1,732). 52% are provisional judges, 26% are temporary judges and 2% hold their position with no stability whatsoever". The Inter- American Commission on Human Rights has equally highlighted this situation in its 2003 Report.”409 403 VENEZUELA. Constitution of Venezuela. Title V, Chapter III. 404 VENEZUELA. Constitution of Venezuela. Article 270 405 VENEZUELA. Constitution of Venezuela. Title V, Chapter III. 406 VENEZUELA. Constitution of Venezuela. Article 255 407 DEZALAY, Y. and GARTH, B. (eds.). (2011) Lawyers and the Rule of Law. p 34. The remaining 80 percent hold positions as “provisional” judges (52 percent), “temporary” judges (26 percent), or other non-permanent postings (2 percent). Information provided through e-mail correspondence with Executive Director of the Magistracy, Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Ricardo Jiménez Dan, May 20, 2004. HRW. (2004) Rigging the Rule of Law. Chapter “Disposable Judges” 408 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. REUTERS. (2003) Corte Venezuela ordena dejar de ejercer médicos Cuba en Caracas. Reuters. 21 August 409 SUMATE. (2005) Is the Independence of the Judicial Cereer Respected? Sumate. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 25 October, 2015]; HRW. (2004) Manipulando el Estado de Derecho: Independencia del Poder Judicial amenazada en Venezuela. Human Rights Watch. [Online] June. Available from: spanish/T2%20ST02%20N1%20Manipulando.pdf [Accessed 25 October, 2015]; IACHR. (2005)

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