Case 24-2017: Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ)
LEGAL OPINION ON PRESIDENT NICOLÁS MADURO
May 4, 2017
Following the continuing oppression suffered by the Venezuelan People on the part of the de facto President Nicolás Maduro, who continues to violate the Constitution and International Treaties signed by Venezuela, it will then be determined whether the facts presented constitute an act of perpetuation and a deepening of the crimes carried out by the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) that have already been sentenced by the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights.
- Description of the Case
In 2004, the organization Human Rights Watch warned that the Venezuelan government was creating a law that would allow it to control and manipulate the Supreme Tribunal of Venezuela, which implied breaking the independence of the judicial power, breaking the division of powers that is fundamental in a Democratic Constitutional State of Law. Furthermore, during the case of the Supreme Tribunal of Venezuela (TSJ), there were public statements by President Maduro confirming that he was behind the illegal measures taken by said Supreme Tribunal that violated the Constitutional State of Law and the International Human Rights Law, since he said he would quickly cancel such measures to avoid conflicts between the Attorney General and the Supreme Tribunal. A few days after cancelling the measures taken by the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of justice (TSJ), which had been literally a “Coup d’état”, the government of Maduro and its paramilitary groups began a new violent and murderous repression against peaceful demonstrators, causing dozens of dead people with total impunity. International organizations such as the OAS denounced this murderous repression and also the “Coup d’état”, which is why the de facto President Maduro announced the withdrawal of Venezuela as a member of the OAS. At the same time, after receiving no criticism from the Vatican in the face of these illegal acts, on May 1, 2017, President Maduro announced that he would create a new Constitution, but not through convening the Parliament but by convening civil groups allied with his government, which constitutes not only a new violation of the Constitution created by Hugo Chavez but also a new deepening of the “Coup d’état”. In fact, political scientist Nicmer Evans, a member of the ruling political party, has confirmed that President Maduro is making a clear betrayal of Chávez and the people, suspending all the State of Law and initiates a dictatorial period, being a coup against the Constitution Promoted by Chávez. With respect to the deepening of the crimes previously initiated by the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal (TSJ), the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights proceeds to issue the following ethical legal opinion on the Responsibility of President Maduro.
- Preliminary Warning
The International Buddhist Ethics Committee & Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights evaluates violations of ethics and human rights, so that its legal framework is Buddhist Tribal Law and International Law. These procedures are millennial and intrinsic to the self-government system of the spiritual commune (sangha), although they have the innovation of the universal jurisdiction that allows analyzing violations of other communities and countries.
The legal cases carried out end with a Judgment. However, when the sentencing conditions worsen, the Judgment acquires an immediate ethical legitimacy to issue legal acts, notices, resolutions, communiqués and legal opinions denouncing such aggravations.
- Violations against the Constitution and Human Rights
In order to analyze in the present case the existence of an act of “Coup d’état” by President Nicolás Maduro from Venezuela, it is fundamental to offer precedents of the human rights violations made by the accused. Although President Maduro has been elected through vote, the fact is that he exercises a de facto Presidency in Venezuela for violating the principles of democracy and republican order, maintaining a systematic and widespread scheme of human rights violations. His ambition to maintain the absolute hegemony of political Power, something very common in dictatorial regimes, has led him to violate the right to freedom of thought and expression, threatening, harassing and assaulting journalists and the media, as well as censoring and restricting the right to freedom of information that the Venezuelan people has. In this regard, prestigious international organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have reported that Maduro’s government has intimidated and harassed human rights defenders who were working in Venezuela. This illegal behavior not only violates the international human rights treaties signed by Venezuela, but also violates the very Venezuelan Constitution and betrays the libertarian principles of the socialist revolution. President Maduro has criminalized both the protest of civil society and the actions of opposition political parties, using the judicial power to intimidate and persecute political critics, including the illegal act of having prisoners of conscience, fraudulent trials and violations against due process, systematic and widespread arbitrary detention along with torture and inhuman treatment, in addition to having carried out extrajudicial executions by security forces that illegally deprive people from the right to life, reason by which the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights agrees with the OAS Secretary Almagro in the fact that these practices are characteristic of the beginning of an oppressive State and the end of the Democratic Constitutional State of Law. By depriving the people from accessing justice, truth and reparation, especially in cases of human rights violations, such as the multiple cases of torture and murder against political demonstrators which have gone unpunished, Mr. Maduro has broken the country’s democratic social contract. The way how President Maduro deprives the people from their democratic rights, by refusing to call elections or to accept referendums by popular vote, shows that he does not embody the legitimate function of his office, but Mr. Maduro behaves like a de facto President, which implies that his entire government is nothing more than a military civic dictatorship that concentrates political and juridical power in a non-democratic force. Although President Maduro and the Venezuelan Attorney General have expressed that human rights violations are isolated cases, the evidence shows a broad and widespread pattern of abuses, since the latter were a systematic practice of the security forces and with the complicity of prosecutors and country judges. This environment of impunity is also accompanied by an environment of corruption and drug trafficking, as evidenced in a trial against President Maduro’s nephews, the Venezuelan government and its military forces control all drug trafficking in Venezuela and thanks to the complicity and Corruption of the Venezuelan government, this country transits almost half of the drug of the whole world. Instead of being dedicated to a socialist revolution that brings liberty, equality and fraternity to the all the people, President Maduro’s civic-military government is dedicated to organized crime and human rights abuses.
- Crimes against Humanity
After having condemned violations against the Constitution and the International Human Rights Law by the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice, under the leadership of President Maduro, it is an inescapable ethical duty on the part of the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights to establish whether within these violations “Crimes against humanity” were been committed. To this end, a number of complaints that have been submitted before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Maduro in 2014, 2015 and 2016 are considered as valid and legitimate. Precisely, in 2014, about two hundred lawmakers from eight Latin American countries denounced President Maduro internationally for “Crimes against humanity”, asking to investigate his massive, widespread and systematic repression against peaceful and unarmed protestors, which included dozens of dead and tortured individuals.
In November 2015, Carlos Vecchio and Juan Carlos Gutierrez, representing a group of victims’ relatives, filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for “Crimes against humanity” carried out by President Maduro to the civilian population, including evidence of systematic and widespread violence such as murders, torture and persecution for political reasons. This second complaint demonstrates that under Article 7 of the Rome Statute, President Maduro would be committing “Crimes against humanity” for carrying out widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population, such as extrajudicial killings (examples: Genesis Carmona, Guillermo Sánchez and Kluiverth Roa), illegal deprivation of liberty (Examples: Christian Holdack, Luis Augusto Matheus Chirinos, Marcelo Crovato and Rosmit Mantilla), torture (example: Gloria Tobón), persecution of groups for political reasons (examples: Antonio Ledezma, Leopoldo López, Daniel Ceballos and Enzo Scarano) and other Inhuman acts (example: Juan Manuel Carrasco). The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights has found that in 2014 President Maduro adopted a state system of attack against the politically dissident civilian population, restricting and punishing opposition political demonstrators through human rights violations that include the commission of “Crimes Against humanity” perpetrated in a widespread and systematic way by state security forces and paramilitary groups under the de facto control of Mr. Maduro. In a short period of time, in 2014, more than 33 murders against civilians, imprisonment of over 3300 demonstrators, torture of more than 400 demonstrators, and inhumane treatment of more than 800 people were carried out, all of this being an event that, due to the impunity sustained by the Vatican and the international courts, has occurred again during April 2017 with the same repressive intensity on the part of the dictatorial government of Maduro.
Also in 2015, the Colombian Attorney General, Mr. Alejandro Ordóñez, presented to the International Criminal Court (ICC) a report on “Crimes against humanity” committed by President Maduro against Colombian citizens, including crimes of forced displacement of 15,000 people, forced disappearances and torture against Colombian citizens living on the border within Venezuelan territory, in a clear systematic and widespread attack.
In 2016, social activist Lilian Tintori, wife of political prisoner Leopoldo López, filed a new complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Maduro for “Crimes against humanity”, denouncing torture against political prisoners along with harassment and persecution of political parties. President Maduro has led a plan of intimidation, confrontation and punishment against political dissidents, systematically threatening the civilian population through violent repression and judicial persecution, so that the de facto President Maduro punishes the political opposition with a system of oppression where the paramilitary security forces, paramilitary groups, prosecutors, judges and the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ), in an accomplice way, are all involved in a civic-military dictatorship that provides impunity to widespread crimes of brutal, indiscriminate and disproportionate violence that affects all social classes in the country, since the victims are politicians, students, lawyers, social activists, businessmen and ordinary citizens.
The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights sends a message of solidarity to the entire people of Venezuela, by promising them not to ignore their suffering as well as it does not go unpunished in oblivion. Therefore, beyond punishments, it is indispensable that the Truth is denounced and clearly established. It is confirmed that the victims of President Maduro are recognized here and now through the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights, which states that Dictator Maduro has generally committed “Violations of International Human Rights Law”, and that he has specifically committed “Crimes against humanity”. As the international courts seem to be slowly disappearing within the framework of an international community of increasingly populist and authoritarian States, the work of the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights acquires great value so that international crimes do not go unpunished. Although the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights does not have any kind of police force to punish or detain the crimes led by President Maduro, certainly the Buddhist Tribunal has supreme ethical and spiritual power to dictate his Responsibility in the “Coup d’état” and in “Crimes against humanity “. In the weeks previous to the last election that the government lost, President Maduro had warned that if they lost those legislative elections then Venezuela would enter one of the most turbid and poignant stages of its political life because its revolution would become civic-military. History has shown that he fulfilled his promise.
After describing the case together with the backgrounds of human rights violations carried out by the accused, the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights is in a position to pronounce Nicolás Maduro’s Responsibility in the “Coup d’état” in Venezuela, as well as in the Commission of “Crimes against humanity”. The Venezuelan people is suffering a violation of its constitutional order by a regime that has violated the fundamental principles of human rights. The violation of human rights is the great problem of Venezuela. Maduro’s dictatorial regime is the end of democracy in that country, ending with the Constitution and initiating a new fraudulent order legitimized only by his political party. Maduro’s dictatorial regime has already violated judicial independence, taking ownership of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) to uphold its conducts of arbitrary detention, political prisoners, annulment of Parliament, breach of social rights to food and health, annulment of the democratic rights to convene regional elections and recall referendum, violent repression of peaceful demonstrators and unpunished killings by security forces and paramilitary groups. This system of corruption and impunity has consolidated the Presidency of Maduro as an authoritarian and dictatorial regime that violates the guidelines provided in the Venezuelan Constitution, calling for the creation of a new Constitution but without resort to Parliament or to universal suffrage of People which is the basis of national sovereignty. The de facto president of Venezuela is turning a republic system into a dictatorship ignoring the constituent power of the Venezuelan people, since without the direct approval of the electors – or indirect approval through their representatives – any process of a new Constitution would be invalid, Illegal, unconstitutional and fraudulent. The nation is integrally formed by all citizens, and not only by the sector of those who follow the governing party. When a government only provides rights to its followers, this populism system becomes a perverse tool of political, economic, cultural and environmental oppression. The deepening of the “Coup d’état” carried out by President Maduro, through the illegal creation of a new Constitution, violates the fundamental principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, being convened on the basis of political discrimination and the antidemocratic form, usurping the original constituent power of the Venezuelan people. Maduro’s presidency violates the elementary principles recognized in international human rights standards, as well as in the democratic system of Venezuela’s own national Constitution, by carrying out a “Coup d’état” promoted from its presidency in order to usurp and annul definitively the power of the people, simultaneously intimidating the national and international community with violence and assassinations. The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights expresses its solidarity with the Venezuelan people and accompanies them in their quest for Independence, Human Rights and Democracy. In defending liberty, equality and fraternity of the whole humanity, promoting respect for the dharmic nature or intrinsic dignity of all human beings, the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights has found sufficient evidence to confirm a legal Opinion against Nicolas Maduro for “Coup d’état” and “Crimes against humanity”, being an Opinion that is a consequence of the deepening of the previous Judgment for “Violation of the Democratic Constitutional State of Law” and “Violation of the International Human Rights Law”. In accordance with international treaties, the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights has the absolute duty to enforce the right to life, the right to peace, the right to justice and the right to health, all of which have been violated widespreadly and systematically by the de facto President Nicolás Maduro.
Ergo, the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights rules as the following:
- It is declared as illegal and a “Coup d’état” to call for a new Constitution in Venezuela.
- It is stated that President Maduro violates the human rights of the Venezuelan people by not providing full access to health, work, justice, democracy and peace.
- It is required all neighboring countries of Venezuela to receive and not to expel the thousands of future Venezuelan refugees who might flee from the “Crimes against humanity” carried out by Maduro, even with a possibility that Venezuela may suffer a civil war.
- It is required that Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), starts working properly in the case of Venezuela and she promptly brings President Maduro to the international justice for “Crimes against humanity”, hereby putting on record the fact that indifference or unjustified delay in giving justice to these crimes constitutes an act of complicity by omission.
Always in a spirit of reconciliation,
Master Maitreya Samyaksambuddha
President of the International Buddhist Ethics Committee & Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights