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Schooling judges

November 19, 1999, 08:00 CET

Twenty-four experienced Venezuelan judges have gone back to school in Caracas this week to learn more about human rights.

This two-week programme is being backed by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Statoil Venezuela as well as the national judicial system.

Once the course has been completed, its 24 participants will travel around the country and pass on their newly-acquired knowledge to other judges.

"We're proud to participate in this project," Statoil Venezuela president Staffan Riben said at a ceremony to highlight the programme on 15 November.

Also present were the president of the national supreme court, the attorney-general, other government representatives, international oil companies, senior executives from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and personnel from Amnesty's local organisation.

Statoil Venezuela is contributing NOK 1 million in two stages to help fund the training scheme.

Phase two covers judges and public defence counsel in the country's three largest and most populous states – Zulia, where Statoil is involved in the LL 652 field reactivation project, and Lara and Anzuatagui, where it is involved in the Sincor heavy crude development.

The total budget for the first two phases is NOK 2 million. A third stage, which has yet to be funded, will embrace the rest of Venezuela's judges.

Part of the UN's world-wide efforts to promote human rights, the training scheme aims to create a more secure and just society for all Venezuelans.

The UNDP has also invited the government of Norway to participate. If it accepts, Statoil and the Norwegian foreign service will be helping to make hundreds of Venezuelan judges more familiar with fundamental human rights and thereby limit injustice in the legal system.

A fuller report on the project is provided in the latest issue of Statoil Magazine, number 3 for 1999.