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Section 3.–Of the Court of Cassation.

111. The Court of Cassation is the Tribunal of the States, and will be composed of nine members, who shall hold office for six years.

112. To be a member of the Court of Cassation it is necessary

(1.) To be a lawyer of the Republic with a practice of at least

six years ;

(2.) To be a Venezuelan by birth, and have attained the age of

30 years.


113. To compose the Court of Cassation, the Legislative Assembly of each State shall elect every six years a principal and substitute member, and, furthermore, a list of others from which to fill temporary or absolute vacancies amongst the members in the order of election. Members having exercised their office for three years, or who may still be in discharge of their functions, shall not be admitted during such period to any official post in the nomination of the Natioval Executive, even although they renounce their office.

114. Should the number of States at any time exceed nine, they shall be divided into groups ("circunscripciones ") by law. Such law shall determine the form in wbich these groups shall carry out the election in order that the number of members of the Court of Cassation shall not be more than pine. If the number of States be diminished, a corresponding diminution shall take place in the number of members.

115. The Court of Cassation has the following attributes :

(1.) To take cognizance of criminal cases or cases of responsibility instituted against the high officials of the States, applying the respective State laws in matters of responsibility. In the absence of any such laws the general laws of the nation shall be applied.

(2.) To declare the nullity of all the acts referred to in Ar ticles 118 and 119 of this Constitution whenever they emanate from the authority exercised by the high officials of the States.

(3.) To take cognizance of matters of appeal in the form and manner determined by law.

(4.) To report annually to Congress the obstacles which preclade uniformity in matters of civil and criminal legislation.

(5.) To decide the questions which may arise between the officia's and legal authorities in the different States, as well as between those in the same State, whenever there shall not exist in it an authority competent to settle the same.

(6.) To ascertain the qualifications of its members in conformity with Article 112 of this Constitution.

(7.) To discharge such other functions as may be attributed to it by law.

TITLE VIII.-General Dispositions.

116. All those matters which are not expressly attributed to the general administration of the nation by this Constitution are within the competency of the States.

117. The definition of attributes and faculties indicate the limits of the Public Power; all that which exceeds the said definition constitutes an usurpation of power.

118. All usurped authority has no effect, and its acts are null.

119. All decisions brought about by the direct or indirect intervention of the armed force or by the subversive attitude of a popular insurrection are null and void.

120. All magistrates, authorities, or corporations are probibited from exercising any function which is not expressly attributed to tbem by this Constitution or by law.

121. The Courts of Justice of the States are independent; proceedings initiated in any State shall be terminated in the same without any

further investigation than that of the Court of Cassation in such cases as are permitted by law.

122. Neither the National Congress nor the Legislative Assemblies of the States shall be able in any case, for any motive, or under any pretext, to confer extraordinary powers upon or to pass votes of confidence in the President of the Republic, or upon or in any person or corporate body composing the National Executive.

123. All acts of the Legislative Chambers or of the National Esecutive which violate the rights guaranteed to the States or which attack their autonomy shall be declared null by the High Federal Court even when the declaration of nullity may have been petitioned for by only one of the Legislative Assemblies of the States.

124. The Judges of the High Federal Court and of the other Tribunals of the nation shall receive for their services the compensation determined by law; such remuneration shall neither be diminished nor augmented so long as they continue in their appointments.

125. The national forces are divided into naval and land troops, and shall be composed of the citizen militia organized by the States according to law.

126. The public force at the command of the National Power shall consist of a contingent furnished by each State in proportion to its population. The States shall call into such service the citizens who are bound to give the same in accordance with the internal laws.

127. In the event of war the contingent may be augmented by the addition of bodies of citizen militia until the number of men called for by the National Government is reached.

128. The National Government may make changes amongst the chiefs of the forces supplied by the States in the cases and with the formalities determined by the national military laws, and may in that event call upon the States to replace them.

129. Military and civil authority shall never be exercised simul. taneously by one individual or corporate body.

130. The nation being in possession of the right of ecclesiastical patronage shall exercise it as the law on the subject determines.

131. The National Government shall not maintain in the States any resident officials possessed of jurisdiction or authority other than the officials belonging to such States. Exceptions to this are: the Fiscal Agents; those who may be necessary for carrying on the administration ceded by the States under section (16) of Article 13 of this Constitution; officers of the forces in command of fortresses, arsenals, garrisons, and open ports, whose jurisdiction shall be restricted solely to their particular office, and shall be exercised only within the precincts of the fortresses and barracks in their command, remaining ctherwise subject to the general laws of the State in which they reside. They shall be subject to immediate removal or replacement by the National Executive or other authority corresponding to it upon the lawful request of the Government of any particular State.

132. All war material existing in the territory of the Republic at the promulgation of this Constitution shall be the property of the National Governinent.

133. The States have the right to acquire such armament as may be necessary for their militia, and such warlike stores as may be required for their internal security, and shall be able to import the same from abroad free of all import duties. In every case of such importation the formalities established by the Military Code and the corresponding fiscal law shall be observed.

134. The National Government shall not quarter in any State troops or officers in command, whether of the same State or of any other, without the permission of the Government of the State in which the force is quartered.

135. In the event of an absolute or temporary vacancy in the office of President of the Republic, the States shall immediately be notified of the accession of the individual who replaces him.

136. Exportation is free in Venezuela, and shall not be weighted with duties of any kind.

137. Apy citizen may bring an accusation against the national officials or those of the States, before the Courts or before their superiors, as determined by law.

138. The National Treasury shall not disburse any expenditure for which provision bas not been made by Congress in the general annual Estimates, and those who infringe this disposition shall be civilly responsible to the National Treasury for the sums paid. In the general payments ordinary expenditure shall have the preference over extraordinary.

139. The offices for the collection of national contributions and those for making payments shall be maintained separately. The former shall have no power to make any payments other than the salaries of their respective officials.

140. In the election periods the public, national, or State forces shall remain in barracks as long as the polling continues.

141. In international Treaties the following clause shall be inserted : “All differences between the Contracting Parties shall be decided without appeal to war by the arbitration of a friendly Power or Powers.”

142. No person may fill at one and the same time more than one appointment in the nomination of Congress or of the National Executive. The acceptance of a second post of any kind whatever is equivalent to resignation of the first.

143. The law will create and designate any other national Tribunals which may be necessary.

144. National officials shall not be able to accept gifts, appointments, honours, or rewards from foreign countries without the consent of the Senate.

145. The armed forces may not deliberate; they are passive and obedient. No armed body may make requisitions, nor exact supplies of any

kind except from the national authorities and in the form and manner prescribed by law. The chiefs of the army who infringe this disposition will be tried and punished in accordance with law.

146. The nation and the States shall promote the immigration of, and colonization by, foreigners in accordance with the respective laws.

147. A law will define the manner in which the national officials on taking up their appointments shall take the oath of proper discharge of their duties.

148. The National Executive shall negotiate with the other Governments of America respecting Treaties of Alliance or Confederation.

149. No contract of public interest concluded by the National Government or by that of the States shall be transferred, in whole or in part, to a foreign Government. In all such contracts the following clanse shall be inserted : “The doubts and controversies which may arise respecting the interpretation or execution shall be decided by the Venezuelan Tribunals in conformity with the laws of the Republic, and such contracts shall in do case be a motive for international claims."

150. The prescriptions of the law of nations forms part of the national legislation ; they rule generally in cases of civil war. Consequently, war may be terminated by means of a Treaty between the belligerents, who shall be bound to accept the practices of civilized nations, the guarantee of life being in every case inviolable.

151. This Constitution may be amended or added to, but neither amendment nor addition shall be decreed by Congress except in the ordinary Sessions, and when a petition to that effect has been made by three-fourths of the Legislative Assemblies of the States in ordinary Session. Such alterations shall not be effective until after the re-appointment (“ renovacion ") of the Public Powers of the nation by whom they may have been solicited or sanctioned.

152. The Constitutional amendments or additions shall be made by procedure similar to that established for the enactment of the laws.

153. The amendments or additions having been agreed to by the National Legislature, the President of Congress shall submit them to the Legislative Assemblies of the States for final ratification.

154. Congress may likewise take the initiative in formulating amendments or additions, and may agree to them by the procedure indicated in the foregoing Article, but in that case they shall not be held to be sanctioned without the ratification of three-fourths of the Legislative Assemblies of the States.

155. Whether the Legislative Assemblies of the States or the Legislative Chambers initiate amendments or additions, the final vote of the States shall always be passed to the National Congress, which will then examine and order the promulgation of the amendment or addition as sanctioned.

156. The Constitutional periods will be reckoned from the 20th February, 1894.

157. For all the acts of the civil and political existence of the States the basis of population shall be that determined by the last census of the Republic approved by Congress.

158. In all public Acts and official documents of the nation and of the States shall be recited the fact of the independence dating from the 5th July, 1811, and that of the Federation, dating from the 20th February, 1859.

159. This Constitution becomes effective from the date of its promulgation in the Federal district and in each of the States of the Union.

160. By a special law to be enacted by the National Constituent

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