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Published On: Fri, Jul 14th, 2017

Venezuela’s Supreme Court Justices, found themselves innocent, now limited Attorney General’s powers to prosecute

nsnbc : Justices at Venezuela’s Supreme Court, who earlier “found themselves innocent” in serious charges including crimes against the republic, brought against them by Attorney General Luisa Ortega, now restricted the powers of the prosecutor’s office by imposing that no criminal charges can be pressed without the prior approval from a sitting judge. Impeachment charges have been brought against the “dissident” Attorney General. The Court, earlier this month, also imposed a travel ban and an asset freeze against Ortega who was a close ally of Maduro until the PSUV administration began imposing what many call a fascist regime and a constitutional coup. 

Attorney General Luisa Ortega_Caracas_Venezuela_Photo courtesy AFPIn its latest decision, the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, ruled that the “dissident” Attorney General cannot press any criminal charges without “first seeking the approval from a sitting judge”. The Supreme Court (TSJ), in its ruling, claimed that: “The decision was made with the purpose of avoiding a possible violation of constitutional rights that could lead to an irreparable legal damage. … safeguard the independence of the actions of the judges … [in] the criminal justice system, as well as the rights of the victims in these processes”.

The move is the latest in a battle between the Supreme Court Justices, who also usurped the powers of the legislative branch of government, claiming that the majority Roundtable of Democratic Unity  (MUD) legislators in the National Assembly are “in contempt”.

We, the Supreme Court Justices, hereby rule that we are innocent and did not violate any Banana Republic standards.

We, the Supreme Court Justices, hereby rule that we are innocent and did not violate any Banana Republic standards.

In June, Ortega raised charges against eight Supreme Court Justices for conspiracy against the republic and called for having the judges stripped of their immunity. She also pointed at severe irregularities in the appointment of judges. Ortega has once been a close ally of socialist party (PSUV) President Nicolas Maduro. However, Ortega began voicing grave concerns as the PSUV administration began implementing what many describe as a fascist security state and a constitutional coup.

Ortega described the Constituent Assembly, to be elected later this month, as corporatist and non-representative. Once elected the assembly will be tasked with rewriting the Constitution. While Maduro argues the assembly could help Venezuela overcome its current crisis and to “consolidate the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution”, the MUD called for a referendum against the election of the Assembly and open-ended “Zero-Hour-Protests”, starting July 16.

Ortega also accused the government of “using excessive force” including violence against protesters while some leading PSUV members and justices accused her of failing to prosecute violent offenders. The Supreme Court has already ordered “a travel ban and an asset freeze” for the “dissident” Attorney General.

PSUV legislator Pedro Carreno filed the charges against Ortega last Friday. (AVN)

PSUV legislator Pedro Carreno filed the charges against Ortega.

Moreover, Ortega is also facing impeachment proceedings. The proceedings were called by prominent PSUV legislator Pedro Carreño, who has accused Ortega of violating “the fundamental principles established in the constitution by undertaking acts of political, trade union, or party activism”.

Ortega refused to attend a hearing last week on the allegations. It is noteworthy that the very same justices who found themselves “not guilty” in the charges Ortega brought against them are now presiding over her possible impeachment.

More than 100 people, including protesters and members of security forces, have died amid Venezuela’s current wave of political unrest, and many analysts agree that the country is rapidly becoming ungovernable.

CH/L – nsnbc 14.07.2017

Related background report and analysis':

Date set for election of Venezuela’s constituent assembly: Constitutional coup under left cover?

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