While I had been assuming that it was now up to the Venezuelan Supreme Court to decide on the Leopoldo Lopez case, after reading the decision by the CIDH, it turns out that this does not seem to be the case. I am no lawyer, but I read the whole document to understand what was argued and ruled. My conclusion, given my limited legal understanding and abilities, is that the Court is ordering both the State in general and the Consejo Nacional Electoral specifically to obey the Court. In page 83 of the Acrobat document (you can find both formats here), the Court says:
- El Estado, a través de los órganos competentes, y particularmente del Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), debe asegurar que las sanciones de inhabilitación no constituyan impedimento para la postulación del señor López Mendoza en el evento de que desee inscribirse como candidato en procesos electorales a celebrarse con posterioridad a la emisión de la presente Sentencia, en los términos del párrafo 217 del presente Fallo.
That is: The State, via the relevant organizations, and in particular the Consejo Nacional Electoral, must insure that the disqualification does not become an impediment for Mr. Lopez Mendoza in the event that he wishes to register as a candidate in electoral processes after the issuing of the current sentence.
Thus, the members of the Electoral Board (CNE) would be personally responsible for the continued violation of Lopez’ rights as well as for failing to obey the Court’s mandate. Each one of them individually.
Given the uncertainty about Chavez’ health and the fact that these people will personally feel the pressure, the case and the decision, become even more interesting than I thought. Chavez may want them to vote one way, but they have their future to consider…