Venezuelan Supreme Court Approves Process against Attorney General

Luisa Ortega

HAVANA TIMES – The Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) today approved submitting the Attorney General Luisa Ortega to a process that could lead to her removal, requested by the ruling party and its President Nicolas Maduro, reported dpa news.

The ruling of the Court states that the decision against Ortega was taken according to article 279 of the Constitution, which establishes grounds for removal of members of the “Moral Power”, Comprised of the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Ombudsman and the General Comptroller.

The TSJ said in approving the merits for a preliminary investigation to determine the possible trial of Ortega for dismissal – that it notified the official party deputy Pedro Carreño, who requested the action against Ortega, in order for her appear before the full Court and to present his allegations .

The first vice-president of the National Assembly, Freddy Guevara, reacted to the announcement of the TSJ against Ortega indicating that the legislative entity, with opposition majority, is the only one competent to deal with the eventual dismissal of the chief prosecutor.

Legislative leader Julio Borges said that in order to face the new TSJ decision the opposition will enter a “decisive phase of the struggle for democracy”.

“We call on the whole country to join in the replacement of the regime (Government),” he told a news conference.

In case the TSJ approves the dismissal of the prosecutor, the decision will be part of the power struggle with the National Assembly, which has the legal power to prosecute Ortega.

The government began the action against the Attorney General after she requested this month to overrule the designation of 33 Supreme Court magistrates for alleged defects in the appointment process in December 2015.

However, Ortega began to be seen as a “traitor” by the ruling party since last March when she described as a breach of constitutional order the TSJ’s decision to divest the National Assembly (Congress) of its legal powers.

Although the TSJ partially revoked its decision against the National Assembly, Ortega maintained her critical position and insisted on questioning the Constituent Assembly proposed by President Nicolas Maduro to reform the Constitution of 1999.

Ortega has undertaken in recent weeks several legal actions aimed at detaining the Constituent Assembly, arguing that it restricts human rights by not providing for a referendum for people to decide whether or not to activate this mechanism.

Carreño last week asked the TSJ to start the procedure to remove the Attorney General, freeze her assets and ban her departure from the country, when questioning the performance of his position.

The Plenary Chamber of the TSJ declared itself in permanent session to study the measures requested by the deputy against Ortega.

Carreño alleged in his request that the prosecutor had committed “serious” offenses and accused her of “violating, threatening or undermining the fundamental principles established in the Constitution.”