Recognition of Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s temporary president is international law in a gray zone, experts say – calling for caution.
– A change in a country must and must happen according to a country’s constitution and national legislation, states international law expert Mads Harlem to NTB.
Guaidó, who heads the National Assembly of Venezuela, proclaimed himself a temporary president two weeks ago. He quickly received support from the United States and a number of Latin American countries. On Monday, a number of European countries, with the UK, France and Spain, followed up on recognizing Guaidó as the country’s acting president.
Recognition came after Venezuela’s incumbent Nicolás Maduro refused to accept a European call for new elections.
Taust from Norway
From the Norwegian side, it is currently uncertain. But it may be wise to take a more restrained line when it comes to another country’s internal affairs, says Harlem.
– Claiming a shift is serious. When you go out and demand a president’s retirement, one must not just look at what is opportune. You have to see what actually stands in the country’s constitution and ensure that the processes take place according to national laws and regulations, says Harlem.
US law professor Noah Feldman has in a chronicle published by Bloomberg written that Guaidós attempt to remove Maduro as president is contrary to the Venezuelan constitution. The president can only be removed by the country’s Supreme Court, through a referendum or if he is physically or mentally unable to rule, according to Feldman.
Dagfinn Christian Selvaag, who has taken a doctorate on recognition of states and governments, points out that international international law does not say anything about what kind of authority other countries and international organizations that the EU has to intervene in another country’s internal affairs.
– Purely international law is such interventions in a gray zone, says Selvaag, who daily works as department director in the Ministry of Defense.
Both Selvaag and Harlem point out that such recognitions as the USA and EU countries have come up with, often have a greater political than legal significance. It can also be read as a party submission, says Selvaag.
– It is the development going forward that will determine what will be the final legal situation. Whether or not you want to succeed in depositing Maduro, only time will tell, says Selvaag.