Thursday, July 26, 2012
In an unfortunate move, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced yesterday that Venezuela will withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. President Chavez allegedly believes that the Inter-American Court is too heavily influenced by the United States; is improperly intervening in domestic matters; and is undermining leftist governments in South America.
His announcement comes following a May decision of the Inter-American Court determining that Venezuela violated its international human rights obligations for holding a prisoner in inhumane jail conditions. Earlier this month, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Court's sister agency, referred another case involving extrajudicial killings of two teenage brothers in Venezuela to the Inter-American Court.
The Inter-American Commission has criticized Venezuela's human rights record in the past. For example, in 2010, the IACHR issued a report entitled Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela in which it concluded that Venezuelans suffer restrictions on the enjoyment of their human rights.
Venezuela will not be the first state to attempt to withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Both Peru and Trinidad and Tobago have announced their withdrawals in the past (despite a ruling by the Inter-American Court held that its statute does not contain a method for withdrawal).