CARACAS – Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly plans this week to start the process of removing the Supreme Court’s justices for trying to assume legislative powers, the legislature’s first vice president, Freddy Guevara, said on Sunday.
“Those magistrates who staged a coup d’etat cannot remain unpunished,” Guevara told the National Assembly from the Federal Legislative Palace, going on to announce that he will launch the process to remove the high court’s jurists from office on Tuesday.
The opposition lawmakers will insist on the removal of the magistrates despite the fact that the high court on Saturday cancelled certain portions of the two controversial rulings whereby it had assumed the functions of the legislature and limited parliamentary immunity from prosecution.
Guevara called upon other opposition lawmakers to show that they are not going “to obey this tyranny.”
He also took advantage of the occasion to applaud the position of Attorney General Luisa Ortega, who called the high court’s decision a “rupture of the constitutional order.”
Guevara did not clarify what the objective or scope of the legislature’s move against the high court justices will be, given that they found the Venezuelan Parliament to be in “contempt” of the court more than a year ago and its actions “null and void.”
Earlier, the head of Parliament, Julio Borges, had accused the magistrates in a television interview of having committed “crimes against humanity,” adding that the Venezuelan judiciary and international judicial bodies were against anyone who attacked the rights of the country’s citizens.
The former head of Parliament, Henry Ramos Allup, also with the political opposition, said on Sunday in a Twitter message that lawmakers will resort to the appropriate disciplinary courts to “revoke ... and expel members” of the “unconstitutional court.”
The Parliament had tried in early 2016 to remove several of the magistrates, arguing that they were named in an improper manner by the Chavismo government, but it was not able to bring that plan to fruition.