Different NGOs criticized the fact that National Guard troops will join the National Police
Flaws both in the justice system and in the newly established National Police were reported by Venezuelan human rights activists in a private audience with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
Members of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP), the Center for Human Rights, Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), the Committee of the Relatives of the Victims of February-March 1989 (Cofavic); the Venezuelan Program of Education-Action in Human Rights (Provea); the Human Rights Office of the Vicariate of Caracas; Caritas Los Teques; Supportive Action (Acción Solidaria); the Commission for Justice and Peace (Secorve); the Jesuit Service for Refugees; the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) made presentations about the situation of fundamental constitutional rights in their country.
Venezuelan human rights watchdogs advised the IACHR that on average, a prosecutor receives about 2,000 complaints a year but he/she only investigates 50 cases, 20 out of them go to court and only two go to trial.
Humberto Prado, the director of OVP, said that he urged the IACHR to demand the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) to repeal the resolution through which it reduced working hours in Venezuelan courts from eight hours to five. The OVP considers that this "is worsening procedural delays" and further complicates the prison crisis, which in 2009 caused nearly 400 deaths.
It was learned that during the audiences, human right activists asked the IACHR to monitor compliance with the recommendations made in the report that the Washington-based human rights group recently published about Venezuela.
The politicization of the judiciary was another issue that was addressed by the Venezuelan groups. They set as example the case of Venezuelan judge María Lourdes Afiuni who headed the 31st Control Court of Caracas and was suspended by the TSJ. Afiuni has been detained for more than 3 months for having ordered the conditional release of banker Eligio Cedeño.
The fact that the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) appointed last year 609 judges, but that none of them was selected through a competitive process, as required by the Constitution, was another of the issues that were raised by the Venezuelan NGOs.
During the meeting, Liliana Ortega -the head of Cofavic- referred to the inclusion of National Guard troops in the newly created National Police. "Twenty five percent of the National Police, an enforcement agency that was requested by many human rights organizations to curb insecurity and violence, will be National Guard troops. This violates the provisions of Article 322 of the Constitution," Ortega said.
Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."