On September 25, Laura Louza, director of the Venezuelan nongovernmental organization (NGO) Acceso a la Justicia (Access to Justice), denounced the Venezuelan Supreme Court to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for ordering at least 105 sentences against lawmakers of the National Assembly for non-existent crimes.
Louza said that the sentences “lacked real crimes being committed and evidence. Rulings lack proper proceedings.” She added that some legal grounds are repeated in all cases without a valid legal basis.
The NGO reported that all lawmakers have been victims of some kind of persecution, but highlighted sentences lacking legal grounds as the most serious.
It also reported what it considers to be the eradication of political parties through sentences. According to Louza, only 18 political parties remain — 12 pro-government and six opposition parties – compared to the 67 that existed in 2015.
Ambassador Gustavo Tarre, representing the government of Interim President Juan Guaidó, supported the NGO report, urging IACHR to speed up proceedings against human rights abusers in Venezuela so that they can be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court.
“Human rights violations do not alter the duties of the Venezuelan State to prevent and comprehensively redress the violations committed,” said Tarre, who added that the interim government will continue to demand the “respect and guarantee” of human rights, even from the regime and all public officials.
He added that once the usurpation comes to an end, Venezuelan legislation and international treaties will be duly respected and enforced, and Venezuela will return to the Inter-American Human Rights System and continue to work to strengthen the IACHR.
During the hearing, IACHR Commissioner Flavia Piovesan pointed out to the audience that there is an “extremely serious” situation, and stressed that the “driving force in the organization is an organized civil society.”
She added that the commission is committed to the situation in Venezuela: “We are committed to using all the mechanisms and tools that we have, providing cautionary measures, and issuing reports and declarations containing categorized sentences,” among others.
In addition to Louza, two other representatives from civil society also attended the hearing and called for strengthening protection, reiterating the request for cautionary measures, and for working jointly with institutions such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.