Venezuela – The ICC is opening an office in Caracas to continue its investigation

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The ICC is investigating possible human rights abuses during the crackdown on protests against power in 2017, with the concurrence of President Nicolas Maduro.

ICC Attorney Kareem Khan with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Presidential Palace in Caracas on March 31, 2022.

ICC Attorney Kareem Khan with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Presidential Palace in Caracas on March 31, 2022.

AFP

The International Criminal Court will open an office in Venezuela as part of an investigation into possible human rights abuses during the crackdown on anti-government protests that killed about 100 people in 2017.

“This is a very important, very important step. It is not a matter of gallery, it is a matter of determination that will allow me to accept my responsibilities,” ICC lawyer Karim Khan told Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Presidential Palace in Caracas on Thursday.

“We now have this office in Venezuela, which will provide us with a level of real-time, (…) and technical assistance that will allow the November Memorandum of Understanding to follow its course,” he commented. Nicholas Maduro. It was also agreed that Venezuela would issue multiple entry visas to ICC officials.

In November, the ICC attorney general, along with Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, announced the transition from a preliminary hearing opened in 2018 to a formal one. At the same time, the ICC and Caracas signed a memorandum of understanding in which Venezuela promised to take “actions” that would allow the ICC to work.

“Receiving the Truth”

In November, the memorandum stressed that there was no “identified suspect” and that President Maduro had made it clear that he “valued” but did not “share” the prosecutor’s decision to switch from a preliminary hearing to a formal one.

In a statement issued today, Kareem Khan stressed that the Venezuelan government “does not support the opening of a formal inquiry” and that “credit” should be given to Caracas, which has pledged to “strengthen cooperation”. “Receiving the Truth”. “With this cooperation we are accelerating our collective work for justice,” he continued.

Fatto Benzouda, a former champion of the British Karim Khan, had called for an investigation into the “inaction” of the Venezuelan authorities, citing allegations of crimes against humanity.

Application for Caracas

A Venezuelan judge has convicted law enforcement officials of killing protesters during a 2017 rally, but opponents of the government say the measures were taken only to avoid an ICC investigation.

Separately, in February, Venezuela called on the ICC to investigate US sanctions against Venezuela as a crime against humanity. The United States failed to recognize the re-election of President Maduro in a referendum boycotted by the opposition in 2018 and imposed sanctions, including an oil embargo, in an attempt to oust Nicolas Maduro.

While most economists agree that the crisis was preceded by US sanctions, Caracas continues to blame Washington for the severe crisis facing Venezuela.

(AFP)

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