Venezuelan government rejects ICC prosecutor’s decision to resume human rights investigation – JURIST

Venezuela Saturday rejected a decision by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to resume an investigation into alleged human rights violations by officials in the country.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria said the government disagreed with the official request from the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). He said: “Venezuela regrets that, despite all the information provided and the exchanges held with the prosecution during the year 2022, the prosecutor insists on an investigation based on secondary sources guided by political interests, in the case V1”.

The statement follows the application ICC Prosecutor General Karim Kham, an order under article 18(2) seeking leave to resume the investigations in the V1 case. The request was aimed at “…continuing to cooperate in good faith and to support the efforts of the Venezuelan authorities to carry out national proceedings in accordance with the requirements of the law”.

While the state’s foreign secretary alleges that the prosecutor proceeds on secondary sources guided by political interests, the request states that:

The Office of the Prosecutor has carefully analyzed all of the information submitted by Venezuela in support of the postponement request and following an independent and objective assessment of this information and has concluded that the government has failed to demonstrate adequately, in accordance with Article 18(2), that it has investigated or is investigating its nationals or other persons subject to its jurisdiction concerning criminal acts which may constitute crimes referred to in Article 5 of the Statute and which relate to the information provided in the State notification.

The foreign minister’s announcement also says the investigation involves “marked bias and overt politicization, to the detriment of the rigor expected of an international body.”

On September 27, 2018the OTP received a reference from several states parties, asking the prosecutor to investigate alleged atrocity crimes committed in Venezuela since February 12, 2014. The referral also asked the prosecutor to determine whether one or more persons should be charged with the commission of the atrocious crimes.

Following the completion of its assessment of the situation in the V1 case, the Office of the Prosecutor, in its Report of December 14, 2020, concluded that there is “a reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela since at least April 2017”. Therefore, in November 2021, the Attorney General opened an investigation in Venezuela I and concluded it with a memorandum aimed at facilitating dialogue and cooperation as the investigation proceeds.

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