Judicial Power in Cuba

In Cuba, the power to administer justice belongs to the People’s Courts. The Supreme People’s Court (TSP), under Article 121 of the Constitution of the Republic, is the highest judicial authority and its decisions are final. But it is not recognized as the highest organ of “the People’s Power.”

Not having the status as the highest organ of the State means that the TSP does not have sole and exclusive jurisdiction to administer justice. It means that another state body may exercise those functions. For example, the general and compulsory interpretation of current laws is the prerogative of the State Council (Paragraph Ch of Article 75 of the Constitution of the Republic).

The defense of the Supreme Law is a function of the National Assembly. The parliament decides the constitutionality of the laws that it issues, the legal decrees, decrees and other general provisions (Paragraph C, Section 75 of the Constitution of the Republic). They also revoke judicial decisions that contradict the Constitution (Paragraphs Ch, R, and S of Article 75).

The Council of State has this same authority (Subsection O of Article 90) regarding the decisions of lower bodies. They can even suspend the decisions of the Council of Ministers and those of the local assemblies, when they do not comply with the constitution or laws.

Consequences:

  • The legal system does not have a Court of Constitutional guarantees or of Constitutional jurisdiction;
  • The judicial bodies cannot rule on constitutionality or unconstitutionality, to control and guide the actions of the government and the legislature;
  • Judicial power is void in Cuba, and with it the rule of law. Higher state bodies are immune and unaccountable for the excesses of government.

Laritza Diversent

Translated by: Tomás A.

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