DEADLY WEAPONS AUTHORIZED TO CONTROL DEMONSTRATIONS

By Edgar López.  El Nacional – Published January 29, 2015

ELOPEZ@EL-NACIONAL.COM. JANUARY 29, 2015 – 12:01 AM

Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino, declares that the military must intervene to “avoid disturbances”

Resolution 008 610 of the Ministry of Defense, published in the Official Gazette of January 27, 2015, establishes a new model for the military to control public order, which includes the “use of potentially lethal force, through the use of firearms or other potentially lethal weapons, as a recourse of “last resort” to prevent public disorder, support the legitimately constituted authority and reject any aggression, confronting it immediately by all necessary means.”

The new rules undermine the guarantees described in Article 68 of the Constitution, which states: “the use of firearms and toxic substances to control peaceful demonstrations is prohibited. The law shall regulate the actions of the police and security forces when they control public order.”

The resolution signed by the Commander in Chief Vladimir López Padrino is not a law as such, as required by the Constitution, and does not distinguish between peaceful and violent demonstrations, only describing deadly violence briefly as the “creation of a life-threatening situation.” The safeguards seem insufficient, as they only state that “when the use of firearms is unavoidable” the military should take precautions to reduce damage.

Moreover, international standards are also ignored, including those set out in the 2009 Report on Citizen Security and Human Rights prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: “… as armed forces lack the proper training to control public order and safety, the fight against insecurity, crime and violence in the domestic sphere should be the responsibility of an efficient civilian police force, respectful of human rights.”

In so far as training the military to try and avoid the use of excessive force, a second temporary provision of the resolution indicates that within the next three months “instructions will be given for the preparation of a ‘Manual of Standards and Operating Procedures of Security Services in the Field of Public Order, of common use for members of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. However, the authorization for the military to intervene in protests and use deadly weapons has come into effect immediately.

 

Original source: López, Edgar. “El equipaje es una cosa infinita” (Baggage is infinite). El Nacional. January 29, 2015. C.A. Editorial El Nacional. January 29, 2015.

http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/Autorizan-uso-armas-mortales-protestas_0_564543734.html

Photo: Omar Véliz / Archivo. Represión a manifestantes en Venezuela

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