Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice in exile admitted a pre-trial petition against Nicolás Maduro. It also ordered his preventive detention and requested Interpol to issue a red alert -arrest warrant- against the president.
On Monday, April 9, the highest court in exile admitted the request made by the attorney general, also in exile, Luisa Ortega Díaz, who delivered strong evidence against Maduro for the Odebrecht case.
Now the National Assembly of Venezuela, with an opposition majority, is responsible for the trial admission to continue with the criminal procedure. It is a process that could lead to issue an international arrest warrant against the dictator of the South American country.
“This chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice declares well founded the request for a precautionary measure to imprison Nicolás Maduro Moros […] And orders notifying Interpol to proceed with Nicolás Maduro’s detention,” said the ruling of the TSJ in exile.
The merit pretrial request is a request to prosecute a high official of the government. That is, the previous step to criminally prosecuting an official for a crime or serious misconduct.
Within the framework of this preliminary hearing, it was learned that relatives of the justices received threats in Venezuela in an attempt to prevent the ruling from taking place.
Isnardo Bravo, a renowned Venezuelan journalist, said on his Twitter account that Venezuela’s ‘opposition’ – which has repeatedly been accused of playing the regime’s game – has tried to discredit the justices in exile to “diffuse this criminal process.”
The National Assembly of Venezuela is now under pressure to see if it is willing to take another step towards subjecting Maduro to a trial. It alone can enable the TSJ in exile to begin proceedings and order Maduro’s international detention.
Blanca Rosa Mármol, Magistrate Emeritus of the Supreme Court of Justice, explained to the PanAm Post last week that, according to the evidence presented by the prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz, the Venezuelan president was prosecutable for corruption and capital laundering.
“This procedure should last about 30 days or so; once it is established that Maduro is guilty and after he doesn’t show up at the hearings, an international arrest warrant will be issued that must be complied both by the Venezuelan authorities and the countries of the world,” said Marmol.
The evidence against Maduro
At the hearing held last week at the Colombian Congress, the legitimate Attorney General of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega Díaz, presented the evidence that would prove that Maduro must be indeed tried.
Ortega explained, in detail, that Maduro received a large sum of money at Venezuela’s foreign ministry headquarters from the hands of the Mónica Moura and Joao Santana, who ran the presidential campaign of Hugo Chávez. Furthermore, Ortega said that Odebrecht also financed the presidential campaign of Nicolás Maduro in 2013.
She also brought to light a framework agreement signed between Brazil and Venezuela, signed by Maduro, and denounced that Venezuela’s National Assembly never reviewed the agreement, because the president of the Assembly in that time was Cilia Flores, Maduro’s current wife. Ortega handed over the document as evidence.
The exiled Attorney General referred to the construction of a second bridge over Lake Maracaibo that never took place and for which Odebrecht received US$ 407 million.
Ortega said that the Prosecutor Office was able to verify that the regime commissioned Odebrecht for 13 public works that are currently paralyzed. She also delivered a CD with the statements of the main witnesses of Odebrecht case gathered in Brazil.
“Maduro’s commitment to Odebrecht was such that on May 4, 2013, he approved a procurement request to disburse money to Odebrecht,” she said while she handed over all the procurement requests.
“Maduro’s priority was not the situation that Venezuela was living for the time, but to pay Odebrecht unfinished and paralyzed works,” noted Ortega Díaz during the hearing.
She also delivered extracts from bank accounts that were used for the operations.
“All these actions are considered crimes in our legal system,” Luisa Ortega repeated.
She concluded requesting the TSJ to turn to Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant against Nicolás Maduro Moros. “I request that the Armed Forces to carry out Nicolás Maduro’s detention and place him under the orders of a court. I request to seize all his assets and accounts (…) I hope that justice is served,” she said.