Human Rights – Venezuela: Crimes Against Humanity
OAS General Secretariat Report Reaffirms Crimes against Humanity in Venezuela
December 2, 2020
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court criticized for failing to open an investigation, despite examining the situation for almost three years
The Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro and OAS Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect Jared Genser today released a report that reaffirms that there is a reasonable basis to conclude the regime of Nicolás Maduro has been committing crimes against humanity in Venezuela since February 12, 2014 and condemns the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for inaction in the face of these crimes.
The 145-page report, entitled “Fostering Impunity: The Impact of the Failure of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to Open an Investigation Into the Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela” expands on the report by the 2018 OAS Panel of Independent Experts, which concluded there was a reasonable basis to believe crimes against humanity were being committed in Venezuela.
The new document notes that, since the publication of the 2018 report, the crimes against humanity in Venezuela have increased in scale, scope, and severity as the country faces a humanitarian crisis caused by unprecedented political and economic turmoil along with food and medical shortages. Drawing on the work of the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, NGOs, independent scholars and other credible sources, the new report paints a vivid portrait of a Venezuela wracked by state-sponsored violence and in the throes of a humanitarian disaster.
Among other findings, the report:
:: Identifies 18,093 extrajudicial executions carried out by state security forces or colectivos since 2014.
:: Identifies 15,501 cases of arbitrary detention or other instances of severe deprivation of liberty since 2014.
:: Identifies that tens of millions of people have suffered or been subjected to serious injury due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis created by the regime. This includes reports, such as by the United Nations, which found 7 million people in need and more than 100,000 children under age 5 affected by severe acute malnutrition. One NGO with a strong local presence reported that 52 of 100 children served have nutritional deficits and 24 percent of pregnant women were malnourished. In major cities, shortages of essential drugs have ranged from 60 to 100 percent. And with low vaccination rates and limited drugs, there have been outbreaks of measles and diphtheria and at least 400,000 cases of malaria, the highest in Latin America, with almost 1,000 reportedly dead because of a lack of anti-malaria medication.
:: Identifies 724 instances of enforced disappearance in 2018 and 2019.
:: Identifies 653 documented cases of torture since 2014.
Identifies that rape and sexual violence have been weaponized by the regime, including as a method of torture.
:: Highlights the failure of the Prosecutor of the ICC to conduct her preliminary examination expeditiously and to open an investigation despite overwhelming evidence of crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction.
:: Recommends the Prosecutor proceed as rapidly as possible to open an investigation into the situation in Venezuela and, in the meantime, request immediate, full, and open access to Venezuela, issue a detailed public statement about the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, and highlight the true scope and severity of the situation in Venezuela in her forthcoming “2020 Report on Preliminary Examination Activities.”
The report also presents alleged crimes that were not part of the 2018 report, including intentionally committed “inhumane acts” that have resulted in great suffering or death. These include actions by the Maduro regime that have facilitated and prolonged Venezuela’s worsening humanitarian disaster.
Government institutions, including the security forces and the Judiciary, have been used as weapons against its citizens. For the people of Venezuela, the rule of law domestically no longer exists. For members of the regime, the State empowers them to operate with total impunity. The pursuit of international justice is the only recourse left.
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, said “the Venezuelan regime has been allowed to operate with impunity. Every day of inaction from the international community increases the suffering of the Venezuela people. We call on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to take action and show the world that crimes against humanity will not go unpunished.”…