The Supreme Tribunal of Justice
( or TSJ
) is the highest court of law
in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
and is the head of the judicial branch.
The Supreme Tribunal may meet either in specialized chambers (of which there are six: constitutional, political/administrative, electoral, civil, criminal, and social) or in plenary session. Each chamber has five judges, except the constitutional, which has seven. Its main function is to control, according to the constitution
and related laws, the constitutionality and legality of public acts.
The Supreme Tribunal's 32 justices (magistrados)
are appointed by the National Assembly
and serve non-renewable 12-year terms. Appointments are made by a two-thirds majority, or a simple majority if efforts to appoint a judge fail three times in a row. Under article 265 of the 1999 Constitution, judges may be removed by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly, if the Attorney General, Comptroller General, and Human Rights Ombudsperson have previously agreed a "serious failure" and suspended the judge accordingly.
The Tribunal was created under the 1999 Constitution of Venezuela
. For some years provisional statutes regulated the number of judges - initially 20, with three in each chamber except the constitutional, which had seven - and their selection. The statutes were replaced in 2004 by an "organic law" (a law required to clarify constitutional provisions). The... Read More