Chavez: Venezuela to pull out of rights court
CARACAS, Venezuela—Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that his government will pull out of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in protest after a ruling that he called a travesty.
Chavez said earlier this year that Venezuela should pull out of another related rights body, the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Chavez went further on Tuesday, saying he had instructed his foreign minister to take the necessary steps to withdraw from the Costa Rica-based rights court.
Chavez strongly criticized the court for ruling in favor of a Venezuelan, Raul Diaz, who was accused of participating in 2003 bombings of the Spanish Embassy and Colombian consulate in Caracas. Four people were injured in those attacks.
Diaz was sentenced to more than 9 years in prison, but in 2010 fled the country after a court allowed him out for work during certain hours. He sought asylum in the United States. Diaz has long maintained he had no role in the attacks and has accused Venezuelan authorities of violating his rights in the case.
The rights court ruled in Diaz's favor last week, saying Venezuela was responsible for violating his rights and for inhumane and degrading treatment during his imprisonment.
Chavez accused the court of "supporting terrorism" in siding with Diaz.
"Let's not wait any longer. Venezuela is pulling out of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights out of dignity," Chavez said during a military event in the town of Puerto Cabello.
Chavez has long clashed with the court as well as the rights commission, both of which are autonomous bodies of the Organization of American States.
Some Venezuelan human rights activists have warned that if Chavez's government withdraws from such bodies, victims of rights abuses would have fewer venues in which to make their cases.