Spanish – Nicolas Maduro’s regime is getting closer and closer to the international legal precipice for crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela.
This is demonstrated by the warnings and conclusions of international organizations, which report after report raise the alarm about the actions of the oppressive regime that is enriching itself while subjugating and threatening the Venezuelan people.
As it was anticipated, a few days before the end of the year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a new report within the framework of the preliminary examination ‘Venezuela I’ initiated in 2018, which gradually tilts the balance against Maduro and his allies.
“The Office has concluded that the information available at this stage provides a reasonable basis to believe that since at least April 2017,” the document reads.
The preliminary examination is still ongoing, and once concluded, it will be determined whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with a formal investigation during the first part of 2021.
The analysis focuses on the treatment of detainees for which the ICC had “sufficiently detailed information” available to it under the Rome Statute.
The organization believes that since the April 2017 protests, “civilian authorities, members of the armed forces, and pro-government individuals have committed the crimes against humanity.”
The blow is hard for Maduro, who, this same year tried to counteract the preliminary examination ‘Venezuela I’ with his own investigation called ‘Venezuela II’ presented in the Hague by Jorge Arreaza, where he assures that the sanctions imposed by the U.S. Government constitute crimes of the same caliber against Venezuelans.
These crimes include any act that is part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, whether it be murder, imprisonment, torture, rape, forced disappearance, and many others, according to the UN.
The court’s reasoning is not an isolated one. In recent days, the Organization of American States (OAS) published its own report on crimes against humanity in Venezuela, releasing worrisome numbers such as 15,501 arbitrary detentions between 2014 and 2020, or 18,093 murders perpetrated by State security forces.
Fatou Bensouda had already warned the regime of the serious situation and its propensity to violate human rights. She personally told Tarek William Saab, the Attorney General of Venezuela.
Besides, the term “targeted persecution” is used by each of the groups to silence any dissident voice.
Tamara Sujú, a criminal lawyer and human rights specialist, referred to this whole situation in a recent interview granted to PanAm Post, where she described unimaginable tortures perpetrated in the basement of the General Direction of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), in Caracas.
A coffin-like cell is used against political prisoners to torture them for days. It measures 60 centimeters by 60 centimeters and is 2.75 meters high. You cannot move your arms nor kneel. The victim spends three nights and four days there. Everything seems to be valid for the dictatorship.
The position of the OAS
In this latest review, the ICC rejected the OAS criticism about the delay with the investigation process. The body led by Luis Almagro was concerned about the three years that have passed without any final decision.
These legal times, in fact, do not keep pace with the Venezuelan crisis, and this was made clear by lawyer Tamara Sujú. However, she defends this slowness since the results would represent the “fear” of the regime.
In case the formal process is initiated, the ICC investigators could move to Venezuela to expand the investigations and identify the subjects that would be formally charged, says Infobae.
Subsequently, three judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber confirm the identity of the suspect(s). Then, in a subsequent hearing, they will determine if there is sufficient evidence to initiate the trial, where they may or may not convict the accused.