Section 2 of Chapter 3

Supreme Tribunal of Justice Icon

Article 262

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice shall sit in plenary session and in Constitutional, Political/Administrative, Electoral, Civil Appeal, Criminal Appeal, and Social Appeal Divisions, whose composition and competence shall be determined by the pertinent organic act. The Social Division shall encompass matters relating to appeals involving agrarian matters, labor matters and minors. Attorney general Eligibility for supreme court judges Supreme court selection

Article 263

To be a justice of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, a person must:

  1. Have Venezuelan nationality by birth.
  2. Be recognized as an honorable citizen.
  3. Be a jurist of recognized competence; enjoy a good reputation; have a minimum of 15 years experience practicing law and have a post graduate degree in law, or have at least 15 years experience as a university professor of law, having obtained the rank of full professor; or be or have been a superior court judge in the specialty of the division for which he is a candidate, having been a sitting judge for at least 15 years and gained recognized prestige in the performance of his duties.
  4. Any other requirements established by law. Supreme court term length Constitutional court term length Constitutional court selection Supreme court selection Supreme court term limits Article 264 The justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice shall be elected for a single term of 12 years. The election procedure shall be determined by law. In all cases, candidates may be proposed to the Judicial Nominations Committee either on their own initiative or by organizations involved in the field of law. After hearing the opinion of the community, the Committee shall carry out a pre selection to be submitted to the Citizen Power, which shall carry out a second pre selection to be submitted to the National Assembly, which shall carry out the final selection. Citizens may file objections to any of the candidates, for cause, with the Judicial Nominations Committee or the National Assembly.

Article 265

Justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice may be removed by the National Assembly by a qualified two-thirds majority of the members, after granting the interested party a hearing; in cases involving serious misconduct already characterized as such by the Citizen Power, on such terms as may be established by law.

Article 266

The following are powers of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice:

  1. To exercise constitutional jurisdiction in accordance with title VIII of this Constitution. Supreme court powers Head of state removal
  2. To rule as to whether or not there are grounds for impeaching the President of the Republic or whomever may be acting in that capacity, and if so, to retain competence of the proceedings, subject to the approval of the National Assembly, until the final judgment.
  3. To rule as to whether or not there are grounds for impeaching the Vice President of the Republic; members of the National Assembly or the Supreme Tribunal of Justice itself, Ministers; the General Attorney; General Prosecutor; General Comptroller of the Republic; the People Defender; Governors; general officers and naval admirals of the National Armed Forces; or the heads of Venezuelan diplomatic missions; and, if so, to refer the record to the General Prosecutor of the Republic or whomever is acting in his capacity, where appropriate, and if the offense charged is a common crime, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice shall retain competence of the matter until a final judgment is handed down.
  4. To resolve any administrative controversies that may arise between the Republic, any State, Municipality or other public entity, when the other party is also one of these same organs, except in the case of a controversy between Municipalities belonging to the same State, in which case competence may be vested by law in another court.
  5. To declare null and void, in whole or in part, regulations and other general or individual administrative actions of the National Executive Branch, where appropriate.
  6. To take competence of motions for declaratory judgment on the content and application of legal texts, on the terms contemplated by law.
  7. To decide competence conflicts between courts, whether ordinary or special, when there is no higher or common court shared by both in the hierarchical order.
  8. To take jurisdiction of appeals for violations of law.
  9. Such others as may be vested in it by law. The powers indicated under (1) shall be exercised by the Constitutional Division; those indicated under (2) and (3), in Plenary Session; and those indicated under (4) and (5), by the Political/Administrative Division. The remaining powers shall be exercised by the various divisions as provided for under this Constitution and by law. Section Three. Governance and Administration of the Judicial Power Article 267 The Supreme Tribunal of Justice is charged with the direction, governance and administration of the Judicial Power and inspection and vigilance of the courts of the Republic and the public defenders’ offices. The Supreme Tribunal is also charged with preparing and implementing its own budget and that of the Judicial Power. Jurisdiction over judicial discipline shall be vested in such disciplinary courts as may be determined by law. Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 1999 (rev. 2009) Page 56constituteproject.org PDF generated: 27 Apr 2022, 10:50 The discipline system for magistrates and judges shall be based in the Venezuelan Judge’s Code of Ethics to be promulgated by the National Assembly. Disciplinary proceedings shall be public, oral and expeditious, in accordance with due process, subject to such terms and conditions as may be established by law. In order to exercise these powers, the Supreme Tribunal in plenary session shall create an Executive Department of the Judiciary, with its various regional offices. Article 268 The autonomy and organization, functioning, discipline and fitness of service of public defenders shall be provided for by law, in order to ensure the efficiency of the service and guarantee career benefits for public defenders. Article 269 The organization of judicial circuits and the creation and competence of regional courts and tribunals shall be regulated by law in such manner as to promote the administrative and jurisdictional decentralization of the Judicial Power. Article 270 The Committee on Judicial Nominations is a body charged with advising the Judicial Power on the selection of candidates for designation as justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. In addition, it shall advise the judicial electoral colleges on the election of judge, of disciplinary jurisdiction. The Committee on Judicial Nominations shall be made up of representatives of the various sectors of society, in accordance with such provisions as may be established by law. Extradition procedure Drugs, alcohol, and illegal substances Article 271 Extradition of foreign nationals responsible for capital delegitimization, drug, and international organized crime offenses, as well as crimes against the public patrimony of other States and against human rights, shall in no case be denied. Judicial proceedings for the purpose of punishing offenses against human rights or public patrimony, or drug trafficking, shall not be barred by the statute of limitations. Likewise, subject to court order, assets deriving from the activities relating to these offenses shall be confiscated. Proceedings pertaining to the aforementioned offenses shall be public, oral and expeditious, with respect for due process, the competent judicial authorities being authorized to order the necessary preventive precautionary measures against assets belonging to the defendant or persons interposed by the latter, in order to provide a guarantee for their possible civil liability. Article 272 The State guarantees a penitentiary system such as to ensure the rehabilitation of inmates and respect for their human rights. To this end, penitentiary establishments shall have areas for work, study, sports and recreation, shall operate under the direction of professional penologists with academic credentials, and will be ruled by decentralized administration by state or municipal governments; they may be subject to privatization arrangements. In such establishments, an open regimen shall be preferred, as well as the model of custodial agricultural colonies. In all cases punishment formulas without restriction of freedom shall be applied with preference to measures that restrict freedom. The State shall create the essential institutions to provide post- penitentiary assistance for the reinsertion of the inmate into society and shall encourage the creation of an autonomous penitentiary institution with personnel of an exclusively technical nature.

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