Venezuela withdrawing from regional human rights court


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez waves to supporters during a campaign rally for his re-election.


Leo Ramirez

President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela will withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights after a ruling he called a travesty of justice.

"Venezuela is withdrawing from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, out of dignity, and we accuse them before the world of being unfit to call themselves a human rights group," Chavez said during a military ceremony, reported Reuters.

The Costa Rica-based court ruled that Venezuela had violated the rights of prisoner Raul Diaz, who had been held in "inhumane" jail conditions, according to BBC News. Diaz was convicted of bombing diplomatic offices in Caracas in 2003.

Reuters also reported that Diaz was sentenced to nine years in prison but fled to the United States after winning a conditional release.

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"Just a few days ago, the ineffable Inter-American Court of Human Rights again railed on Venezuela...and offended the dignity of the whole Venezuelan people... We are leaving this Court with dignity. We have no choice," Chavez said, according to El Universal.

In May, Chavez also threatened to pull Venezuela from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which, along with the court, is an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), reported BBC. Chavez has long accused the OAS of being a US pawn used to undermine leftist governments and interfere in local court decisions.