Saturday, December 4

The ICC prosecutor travels to Caracas to decide whether to open the investigation to the Maduro regime




Venezuela will receive the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, in a context in which senior officials of the Nicolás Maduro regime are accused of committing crimes against humanity. The British lawyer began a 10-day tour of South America this week and is expected to arrive in Caracas on Friday after first passing through Colombia. Khan could use his stay to verify the crisis in Venezuela, one of the many that have been denounced by different Venezuelan NGOs and even the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS).

This would be Khan’s first trip to Venezuela since he succeeded Fatou Bensouda in office last June, and it is up to him that the ICC decide to start the investigation or not against the Chavista regime for crimes against humanity. For now, the court in question has carried out preliminary examinations to decide whether it is appropriate to open an investigation to the Maduro government for such crimes.

The Venezuelan analyst, Giovanna de Michelle, values ​​Khan’s visit as positive, which It is expected to last until November 3. According to the specialist, in Caracas it is unknown what the prosecutor’s agenda will be and with which organizations he could meet upon his arrival, “but we must not minimize or lose sight of the reports published by the UN representatives, such as the of the commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, and that of the Mission of Determination of Facts. The reports cited by De Michelle have denounced that in Venezuela a systematic practice of human rights violations is maintained, by the security forces of the regime and since 2014.

A documented crisis

In a statement, Khan said: “I look forward to hearing and learning from my first trip as an ICC prosecutor to the region.” Days before the tour was known, the Casla Institute delivered a letter to the prosecutor and urged him to visit the 10 main detention centers where torture is practiced and to learn first-hand the situation in the country and the crimes committed by the Maduro regime.

«Since July, the date on which you were invited by one of those designated as the person in charge of crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela, the prosecutor Tarek William Saab, the dictatorship has dedicated itself to ‘erase’ with paint and (make) remodeling of the famous cells where for years, civilians and military men, women and men, have been terribly tortured for dissenting and opposing the regime, “he said in the signed letter by lawyer Tamara Suju, executive director of the Casla Institute.

The founder and director of the NGO Cofavic, Liliana Ortega, explained to ABC that in Venezuela there have been at least 13,000 cases of alleged extrajudicial executions during the Maduro government. According to Ortega, Khan could even have the opportunity to learn about the risks and attacks to which human rights defenders are exposed in Venezuela.

The Acting President, Juan Guaidó, celebrated Khan’s announcement and through his Twitter account expressed his gratitude for “the visit of the ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and his technical team to Venezuela, which will serve to verify the complaints of crimes against humanity, which have been made before the instance that he directs ». Subsequently, Tarek William Saab said in a statement that “this occasion will serve to assess first-hand the good performance of our institutions and maintain an honest dialogue.”

At times when Venezuela awaits a verdict from the ICC, the Maduro regime has sought strategies to convince the court that such crimes have not been committed in the country and has shown interest in establishing a “substantive and bilateral dialogue.” In the July statement, the head of the Venezuelan Public Ministry indicated that he had introduced a document required by the TPI’s Pre-Trial Chamber in which they offer “key elements” to promote the “complementary” that he has demanded.

But the cases handled by the Criminal Court have testimonies from family members who have been murdered, and cases that are considered crimes against humanity. In the extensive list of events, Captain Rafael Acosta stands out, who died after being tortured in the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) in June 2019.

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