Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) created [press release, in Spanish] a Commission for Truth, Justice and Public Legitimacy on Tuesday. The ANC is tasked [Bloomberg report] with rewriting Venezuela’s constitution. The ANC has previously passed a decree which declared that the national assembly and the supreme court could over rule the assembly. The commission will remove the legal immunity of the national assembly members. The national assembly has previously opposed Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro. Critics of the commission have claimed that the commission will be used to silence opposition to Maduro. The commission will be able to strip the public duties from those that are found to have acted against Venezuela. The creation of the commission comes after multiple mayors who have opposed Maduro have been sentenced to prison for failing to clear roadway blockades.
Venezuela has experienced a significant amount of political unrest since the opposition gained control of the National Assembly in December 2015. In July Venezuelans voted to reject [JURIST report] a plan to rewrite the country’s constitution in a non-binding referendum. In May the US Department of the Treasury announced sanctions [JURIST report] against Venezuelan Supreme Court justices for usurping democracy. In October the National Assembly voted to open criminal impeachment [JURIST report] proceedings against Maduro, alleging that he manipulated the constitution to remain in power. That same month the Assembly also declared [JURIST report] that there was a breakdown of constitutional order and that the government had staged a coup by blocking an attempt to remove Maduro from power. Instability peaked on March 30 when the Supreme Court of Venezuela dissolved [JURIST report] the opposition-controlled National Assembly and assumed all legislative powers.