Editor's Note: In February of 2018, Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, released a statement about her preliminary investigation of the alleged crimes against the people of Venezuela.
The preliminary examination of the situation in Venezuela will analyse crimes allegedly committed in this State Party since at least April 2017, in the context of demonstrations and related political unrest. In particular, it has been alleged that State security forces frequently used excessive force to disperse and put down demonstrations, and arrested and detained thousands of actual or perceived members of the opposition, a number of whom would have been allegedly subjected to serious abuse and ill-treatment in detention. It has also been reported that some groups of protestors resorted to violent means, resulting in some members of security forces being injured or killed.
Under the Rome Statute, national jurisdictions have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes. I emphasise that a preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute. Specifically, under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, I, as Prosecutor, must consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice in making this determination. (source)
In April, Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, forwarded a 400-page report and "a mountain of supporting evidence" to the International Criminal Court.
The report — drawing a sharp response from Venezuelan officials who called it "nothing more than a grotesque media farce" — documents 131 alleged murders perpetrated by security forces or pro-government armed civilian groups — known as "colectivos" — during street protests in 2014 and 2017.
It identified 8,292 executions outside of the judicial process since 2015 and more than 12,000 people arbitrarily detained since the presidential elections of 2013, including more than 1,300 political prisoners.
"The widespread and systematic targeting of opponents of the regime or suspected 'enemies of the state,' constitute the crime against humanity," the report says. "These acts, for which there is no legal basis, did not take place spontaneously or in isolation, but instead reflect a policy put in place by the Government of Venezuela through acts directed by the highest State authorities." (source)
The wheels of the investigation are moving slowly. So slowly, in fact, that Venezuelan officials are making an effort to withdraw from the ICC. If this happens, it means that Venezuela is no longer subject to any legal actions by the ICC. They're no longer in the jurisdiction. This editorial in a Caracas newspaper outlines that risk. ~ Daisy
The ICC Seems Unconcerned About Venezuela
by J. G. Martinez D.
It is unbelievable that the International Criminal Court in The Hague has not reviewed the dossier submitted by the CASLA Institute of Praga for Latin American Studies about the torture crimes in the demonstrations in 2014 and 2017 after 120 days.
It is unbelievable that the former VP El Aissami´s (a VP accused of VERY close links with the ISIS, go figure) sister Haifa is the representation of Venezuela in the international court, as this is an open and evident conflict of interest.
It is even more unbelievable and hard to understand how a former convict by murder like the actual "president" of the illegal supreme court (M. Moreno) shakes hands and smile with those who should be revising the torture accusations dossier sent by the Supreme Court and the CASLA institute in the exile where this very same government officers are being accused of crimes against the citizens of Venezuela.
I am sorry about enhancing this, but as a very affected citizen, I find it very hard to digest.