Red justice in numbers

If you're coming to challenge the State, don't even bother...
If you’re here to challenge the State, don’t even bother…

The Venezuelan Judiciary has become a rubber stamp of the Executive Branch. But now we have the truth in cold, hard numbers…

Four Venezuelan lawyers went to work proving this. Their results are published in an upcoming book titled “The TSJ, at the Revolution’s service.” Basically, they looked at 45,474 decisions of three halls of the Supreme Court (the all-powerful Constitutional, plus the Electoral and Political-Administrative Halls) from the last nine years (2004-2013) and made a statistical analysis.

What did they find? El Nacional’s journalist Edgar Lopez talked to them, and their effort can be summarized in one simple sentence: In all these years, the TSJ has never ruled against the government.

Here’s a summary of some of their main findings, unsurprising at best:

  • The Constitutional Hall has never ruled against the President for violating constitutional rights. Neither have they made any decision against any legislation that widens the government’s power, and/or criminalizes the opposition.
  • The Political-Administrative Hall has never called into question the government’s use of expropiations, controls and other administrative acts. Matter of fact, they don’t want the government to be accountable to citizens.
  • The Electoral Hall went in Chavismo’s favor in eight out of nine cases in which it was involved.
  • There was a pattern in which every time the Executive announced something, the TSJ gave it legal clearance weeks later. The investigators found this happening in at least 55 cases related to very important issues.
  • Only on two occasions did the TSJ overrule actions from the government, but mostly related to minor issues (port administration and the powers of the General Attorney of the Republic, or Procuradoria General de la Republica).

But the lack of judicial independence isn’t being called out just from home: The UN’s Torture Commitee expressed its concern over this in its latest evaluation of Venezuela. It also complained over the role of the People’s Ombudsman.