The ICC has ruled that efforts in Venezuela to hold those responsible for the alleged abuses accountable have failed.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided that its prosecutors can resume an investigation into Abuse of human rights in the South American country of Venezuela.
The court’s decision came after investigation in torture, extrajudicial executions and other abuses was suspended at Venezuela’s request in April 2022, to allow the country to conduct its own investigation.
But in a statement released on Tuesday, the ICC concluded that Venezuela had failed in its investigation of government officials.
“The Chamber has found that, although Venezuela is taking some investigative steps, its domestic criminal proceedings do not sufficiently reflect the scope of the investigation planned by the prosecution,” the court said in a statement. Press release.
He noted “periods of unexplained investigative inactivity” in the Venezuelan investigation, as well as failures to sufficiently address issues of persecution and sex crimes.
The court also raised concerns that the Venezuelan investigation focused primarily on “lower-level perpetrators”, rather than the senior officials that ICC prosecutors had hoped to examine.
— International Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) June 27, 2023
Tuesday’s announcement was welcomed by Human Rights Watch, an international organization human rights monitoring group.
“With today’s decision, the ICC judges have given the green light to the only credible path to justice for victims of abuse by the government of (Venezuelan President) Nicolas Maduro,” said Juanita. Goebertus, group director for the Americas, in a press release.
“The decision confirms that Venezuela is not acting to bring justice for the crimes likely to be the subject of the ICC investigation. Impunity remains the norm.
This is not the first time, however, that the court has heard doubts about Venezuela’s internal investigation.
In November, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan argued that Venezuela’s efforts “remain insufficient in scope or have yet to have a concrete impact on potentially relevant proceedings”. He asked the court to resume its investigation.
On Tuesday, the court seemed to accept this argument, finding that the legal reforms carried out by Venezuelan authorities were not sufficient to justify a further delay.
Earlier this month, Khan met President Maduro in Caracas sign an agreement to establish an office for ICC prosecutors inside the country. Khan called it “not significant”.
The Maduro administration had previously indicated that it did not believe the investigation was warranted.
In recent months, however, Maduro has seen his administration reconnect with international relations, after several countries refused to recognize his re-election in 2018.
But his administration continues to face criticism in the region for its alleged abuses. AT peak this month of Latin American leaders, Chilean President Gabriel Boric dismissed claims that questions about Venezuela’s human rights record are part of a “narrative” aimed at smearing the country.
“It is not a narrative construction. It’s a reality. This is serious,” Boric said, adding that Chile considers human rights “fundamental and important.”