Monday, September 26

The International Criminal Court opens a formal investigation into Venezuela for crimes against humanity


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The International Criminal Court (TPI) concludes the ‘preliminary examination’ on Venezuela and begins a formal investigation into the South American country for alleged crimes against humanity. The prosecutor of the TPI, Karim KhanHe assured this Wednesday that the announced measure seeks to “establish the truth in accordance with the Rome Statute.”

The high representative of the ICC took the definitive step to investigate Venezuela for Crimes against humanity committed during the 2017 anti-government demonstrations in which nearly 100 people died. This new action calls into question the work of the Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Office, which responds to the designs of the Chavista regime.

In the Miraflores palace

Khan met yesterday afternoon with the Chavista leader, Nicolás Maduro, in the Miraflores palace and there they both signed a memorandum announcing the completion of “the preliminary examination of the situation in Venezuela and has determined that an investigation should be opened to establish the truth in accordance with the Rome Statute». This document indicates that the Court’s prosecutor, after evaluating the information available to him, will initiate an investigation unless he determines that there is no reasonable basis to proceed under this (Rome) Statute ”. The document was read before Khan and Maduro.

In the text of the memorandum, the Chavista regime “considers that the complaints should be investigated in the country by the existing national institutions created for this purpose.” The document also states that Venezuela “interprets that the requirements of Article 53 of the Rome Statute are not met to justify the passage from the preliminary examination phase to the investigation phase.”

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Maduro also said that he “respects” Khan’s decision, but “does not share it”: “After this evaluation and this debate, the prosecutor (of the ICC) has decided to go to the next phase to search for the truth. We respect your decision as a State, although we have told you that we do not share it, “said the Bolivarian president.

The parties agreed that Venezuela, as a national jurisdiction, “will adopt all necessary measures to ensure the effective administration of justice, in accordance with international standards, with the support and active commitment of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court by virtue of the principle of complementarity ».

Also “establish mechanisms to improve cooperation between the parties and facilitate the effective performance of the prosecutor’s mandate” in Venezuela.

In addition, they have chosen to “strive to agree on means and mechanisms that effectively contribute to the efforts of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to carry out authentic national actions.” Finally, they agreed “to work so that the principle of complementarity has an adequate and significant effect.”

A woman confronts the Police during a protest in Caracas in 2017
A woman confronts the Police during a protest in Caracas in 2017 – Afp

«The preliminary examination, which opened in 2018, is nothing more than a screening phase. As we move forward we enter a new phase, ”Kham added.

“I am pleased that through the letters we have just signed, we are committed to working collaboratively and independently,” commented the prosecutor, who indicated that “any fair person should applaud and work, with all those who wish to raise the flag of justice ».

The British lawyer made his first tour as a prosecutor of the ICC in South America, in which his first stop was Colombia, from where he left assuring that there are no reasons to file the complaints about that country, which borders Venezuela, and considered that Colombia is complying with the advances in the pertinent investigations, that allow to clarify the cases of violence in which the human rights have been affected. However, on the oil country he said on Wednesday that it is moving towards a “new phase” and that it knows “the faults that exist in Venezuela”, as well as its political conflict.

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The report on the complaints of the violation of human rights began four years ago under the management of the former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who in November last year stated before leaving office that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that crimes against humanity were committed.

Guaidó: “Justice for victims and relatives”

The interim president of Venezuela, Juan GuaidóIt did not take long to respond to this decision of the ICC and said that the investigation “vindicates the right to obtain justice that has been denied in Venezuela for the victims and their families.”

The opposition leader was also willing to “collaborate with all investigations that contribute to the determination of the truth and the establishment of individual criminal responsibilities throughout the chain of command.”

The overwhelmed human rights and director of the Casla Institute, Tamara Suju, assured on Twitter that this is a day “a historic day for all those who Wait for Justice.” Suju, who has reported numerous cases of crimes against humanity to the ICC, thanked “all the brave whistleblowers”.

Victims of torture and murder of political prisoners were unable to meet with Khan even though he promised that he would listen to the sectors involved in the cases. At the end of this Wednesday, the relatives were still waiting to meet with the British prosecutor to present their cases but were not heard.

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