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Nominations Advance for New Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice

On Sunday, the Committee on Judicial Nominations for the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) received credentials from nine candidates who are vying for the positions as new justices, in addition to the 24 who had previously registered, said Carlos Gámez,  the Committee’s vice chairman.

Of the 33 candidates, 16 are women and 17 are men, "so we have a perfect balance in these applications," he said at a press conference in Caracas. Gamez noted that process ends next Wednesday at 4 pm, so he urged the nation’s entire legal profession to participate and meet the requirements requested in accordance with the Law of the Supreme Court and the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Applications will continue to be received in the Bolivian Museum in Caracas.

"The schedule, procedures and steps are clearly marked in the Law of the Supreme Court as well as the internal rules of the commission; it is even published in the Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela [No. 40 535, dated Thursday November, 6], because the process is transparent and public," he said.

After the process ends on Wednesday, Gamez said that the Commission will make a list of pre-selected candidates for each Court Chamber that will be published in a national newspaper. There will be a period of 15 days for open challenges should someone object to the list.  The Citizen’s Branch of government will be able to use that period to formally present its considerations to the committee.

"As the challenge process is occurring, we will be evaluating the documents submitted by each of the candidates to verify all their credentials, as well as the process of verifying their academic histories," Gámez explained.

Two-thirds of the deputies in the National Assembly must approve of candidates, and the final list of new judges is expected to be published on  December 20.

About the Judicial Nominations Committee

The President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, swore in new members of the Committee on Judicial Nominations on October 7.  This Committee will choose 12 new Justices of the Supreme Court and it also features members of civil society.

The Committee includes Jose Morales, Zulay Martinez and Elvis Amoroso from the governing socialist party, and Alfonso Marquina and Cesar Rincones from the opposition. 

Representatives from civil society include Ramón Carlos Gamez,  Luis Rafael Diaz Vasquez, Luis Alberto García Flores, Reinaldo Carvallo, Mario Arias, Celeste Josefina Liendo, Oswaldo Heivia, Sergio Vargas, Tina Di Batista, Ingrid Calzada, Andrés Queriegua and Jose Gregorio Araujo.

About the Supreme Court and Judges

The Supreme Court of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is part of the Judiciary System and is the main institution of the Judicial Branch of government.  It is therefore the highest judicial authority and exercises its own governance and management, in order to assure that defendants can exercise their constitutional rights and guarantees.

Justices’ terms in office are limited to a single period of 12 years. According to Article 8 of the Law of the Supreme Court, the Justices of the Court are appointed by the National Assembly by the following procedure: after a second screening process by the Citizen’s Branch and in accordance with Article 264 of the Constitution and with this Law, a plenary session of the Natioanl Assembly will be convened with three (3) days notice that requires an affirmative vote by two thirds (2/3) of its members in order to make the final selection.

Supreme Court Justices must meet the following requirements: 1. Be a Venezuelan by birth and hold no other nationality. 2. Be an honorable citizen .3 Be a lawyer of recognized ability, of good reputation, having practiced law for at least fifteen years and having a postgraduate university degree in law; or having been a university professor or university lecturer in legal sciences for at least fifteen years and having the rank of senior professor; or being or having been a senior judge in the corresponding specialty of the Chamber for which the candidate is applying, with a minimum of fifteen years in the exercise of judicial service and renowned in the performance of their duties.

Correo del Orinoco / AVN / Supreme Court / Press-Venezuelan Embassy in  the US / November 10, 2014

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