Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela/Title 8
Protection of the Constitution
Guarantee of the Constitution
Article 333: This Constitution shall not cease to be in effect if it ceases to be observed due to acts of force or because repeal in any manner other than as provided for herein.
In such eventuality, every citizen, whether or not vested with official authority, has a duty to assist in bringing it back into actual effect.
Article 334: All of the judges of the Republic, within their respective spheres of competence and in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and law, are obligated to ensure the integrity of the Constitution.
In the event of incompatibility between the Constitution and a law or other juridical provision, the provisions of the Constitution shall prevail, being the responsibility of the courts to rule accordingly in any case, even ex officio.
The Constitutional Division of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, as court of constitutional competence, shall have the exclusive power to declare the nullity of laws and other acts of organs exercising Public Power which are issued by way of direct and immediate implementation of the Constitution or have the status of law.
Article 335: The Supreme Tribunal of Justice shall guarantee the supremacy and efficacy of constitutional rules and principles; it shall be the supreme and ultimate interpreter of the Constitution and shall see to the uniform interpretation and application of the same. Interpretations established by the Constitutional Division concerning the contents or scope of constitutional rules and principles are binding on the other division of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice and on all of the other courts of the Republic.
Article 336: The following are functions of the Constitutional Division of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice:
- (1) To declare the nullity, in whole or in part, of national laws and other acts of National Assembly with the force of law, which are in conflict with this Constitution.
- (2) To declare the nullity, in whole or in part, of state Constitutions and laws, municipal ordinances and other acts of the deliberating bodies of the States and Municipalities which are issued by way of direct and immediate implementation of the Constitution and are in conflict with the same.
- (3) To declare the nullity, in whole or in part, of acts of the National Executive with the force of law, which are in conflict with this Constitution.
- (4) To declare the nullity, in whole or in part, of acts issued by way of direct and immediate implementation of the Constitution by any other government organ exercising Public Power.
- (5) To verify, at the request of the President of the Republic or the National Assembly, the constitutionality of international treaties signed by the Republic, prior to ratification of the same.
- (6) To review in all cases, even ex officio, the constitutionality of decree of the President of the Republic decreeing states of exception.
- (7) To declare the unconstitutionality of omissions on the part of the municipal, state, national or legislatures, in failing to promulgate rules or measures essential to guaranteeing compliance with the Constitution, or promulgating it in an incomplete manner; and to establish the time limit and, where necessary, guidelines for correcting the deficiencies.
- (8) To resolve any conflicts existing between different provisions of law, and declare which of the same must prevail.
- (9) To resolve constitutional controversies arising between any of the organs of Public Power.
- (10) To review judgments embodying constitutional protective orders or control on the constitutionality of laws or juridical rules, handed down by the courts of the Republic, on the terms established by the pertinent organic law.
- (11) Any other functions established by this Constitution or by law.
States of Exception
Article 337: The President of the Republic, at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, shall have the power to decree states of exception. Expressly defined as such are circumstances of a social, economic, political, natural or ecological nature which seriously affect the security of the Nation, institutions and citizens, in the face of which the powers available to cope with such events are insufficient. In such case, the guarantees contained in this Constitution may be temporarily restricted, with the exception of those relating to the right to life, prohibition of incommunicative detention or torture, the right to due process, the right to information and other intangible human rights.
Article 338: A state of alarm may be declared when catastrophes, public calamities or other similar events occur, seriously endangering the security of the Nation or its citizens. Such state of exception shall last for up to 30 days, and may be extended for an additional 30 days.
A state of economic emergency may be declared when extraordinary economic circumstances arise, such as to affect seriously the economic life of the Nation; the duration of this state of emergency shall be 60 days, with the possibility of extension for the same period.
A state of internal or external commotion may be declared in the event of an internal or external conflict seriously endangering the security of the Nation, its citizens or its institutions. Such state of commotion shall last for up to 90 days, and may be extended for an additional 90 days.
The National Assembly has the responsibility of the approval for the extension of the states of exemption. An organic law shall regulate states of exception and determine the measures that may be adopted based on them.
Article 339: The Decree declaring a state of exception, which shall provide for regulating the right whose guarantee is restricted, shall be submitted within eight days of promulgation for consideration and approval by the National Assembly, or Delegated Committee and for a ruling by the Constitutional Division of the Supreme Tribunal Justice on its constitutionality. The Decree must be in compliance with the requirements, principles and guarantees established in the International Pact on Civil and Political and the American Convention on Human Rights. The President of the Republic shall have the power to request its extension for a similar period, and the Decree shall be revoked by the National Executive or by the National Assembly or the latter's Delegated Committee prior to the indicated date of expiration upon cessation of the conditions which produced them.
The declaration of a state of exception does not interrupt the functioning of the organs of the Public Power.