Practice Relating to Rule 101. The Principle of Legality
Venezuela’s Penal Code (2005) states:
Article 1. No one may be punished for an act not expressly penalized in the law, nor be subject to penalties not previously established.
Penal laws shall have retroactive effect only if they benefit the accused or convicted person and shall be applicable even after the case is closed with the delivery of a final sentence and the convicted person is already serving a sentence.
Venezuela’s Law on the State of Emergency (2001), which includes situations of internal and international armed conflict, states:
In accordance with Articles 339 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Article 4(2) of the  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 27(2) of the  American Convention on Human Rights, the guarantee to the [following] rights must not be restricted:
10. The [principle of] legality and the non-retroactivity of laws, in particular of criminal laws.
Venezuela’s Law on the Protection of Children and Adolescents (2007) states: “An adolescent may not be prosecuted or sanctioned for an act or omission which, at the time of its occurrence, was not previously defined in criminal law in an express and unequivocal way as a crime or misdemeanour.”
In 2012, in its fourth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Venezuela stated:
55. With regard to the protection of rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in states of emergency, articles 337 to 339 provide that guarantees contained in the Constitution may be temporarily suspended, with the exception of “those relating to the right to life, the prohibition of the holding of persons incommunicado or torture, the right to due process, the right to information and other intangible human rights”.
56. On the question of legislative action to give effect to this constitutional provision, it is important to note that, under the present Government, no state of emergency has been decreed, notwithstanding the fuel shortage during the 2002 oil strike or coup d’état.
57. The Venezuelan State legislated on the matter and in 2001 the States of Emergency Act entered into force, setting out in its article 7 the relevant guiding principles. Under that article, and in accordance with article 339 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, article 4, paragraph 2, of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and article 27, paragraph 2, of the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights, no restrictions can be placed on guarantees relating inter alia to … legality and non-retroactivity of laws, particularly criminal laws …
58. Continuing with the interpretation of constitutional precepts, article 338 covers the three kinds of states of emergency and establishes, in accordance with the principle of gradualism, factual circumstances that may justify them and their limitation in time … [A] state of internal or external disturbance may be declared in the event of internal or external conflict that seriously endangers the security of the nation, its citizens or institutions, for a period of up to 90 days, renewable for the same period of time.
[footnotes in original omitted]