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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: August 2009

Chapter Sixteen - The Injuring Public Actions and Omissions of Public Authorities Causing the Harms or the Threats

Summary

Being the amparo action originally established to defend constitutional rights from State and authorities violations, the most common and important injuring parties in the amparo proceedings regulations in Latin America are, of course, the public authorities or public officials when their acts or omissions, whether of legislative, executive or judicial nature, cause the harm or threats.

The general principle in this matter, with some exceptions, is that any authority can be questioned through amparo actions, and that any act, fact or omission of any public authority or entity or public officials causing an injury to constitutional rights can be challenged by means of such actions. It is in this sense that the Guatemalan Amparo Law sets forth the principle that “no sphere shall be excluded from amparo,” being admitted against “any act, resolution, disposition and statute of authority which could imply a threat, a restriction or a violation of the rights guarantied in the Constitution and in statutes” (Article 8).

This is the same wording used in the Amparo Law of Venezuela, providing that the action can be filed against “any fact, act or omission of any of the National, State, or Municipal branches of government” (Poderes Públicos) (Article 2); which mean that the constitutional protection can be filed against any public action, that is, any formal state act, any substantive or any factual activity (vía de hecho) (Article 5); as well as against any omission from public entities.

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