Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, and its national chapter in Venezuela, Transparencia Venezuela, reject the dismissal of the country’s Attorney General by the National Constituent Assembly, because the Assembly is not a legitimate representative of the people.
The make-up of the Assembly, which was elected on 30 July amid widespread reports of electoral fraud, only includes people loyal to President Nicolás Maduro. This concentrates yet more power in the hands of the ruling party. The Assembly’s summary action to dismiss the Attorney General violates the principle of judicial independence, which is a crucial element of any democracy and essential to the fight against corruption.
“Without an autonomous judiciary that provides for checks and balances to the government, democracy is impossible. The lack of an independent Attorney General Office in Venezuela will result in even more impunity for illicit enrichment in a country where corruption is already rampant,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International. “People die from hunger and lack of medicines while the politically well-connected abuse their power for private gain.”
Judicial investigations into human rights violations and corruption cases involving public officials, including those allegations surrounding the Odebrecht network, must continue.
The harassment and intimidation of dissenting voices in Venezuela must stop. This includes the intimidation of ordinary people, opposition politicians and the former Attorney General. It is time for the Venezuelan authorities to listen to their citizens and let them exercise their democratic rights.
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