Photo: Ekenitr/Flickr, retrieved

On April 17, the National Assembly, with no real power pero con mucha fe, approved a trial against Maduro for the exact same reasons we all think he should rot in prison. Wishful thinking, sure, but you know who can actually prosecute the guy for violating all those human rights? The International Criminal Court (ICC).

The question is: is that actually possible, or is it a different brand of dreams of justice?

Last February 8, Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the ICC, announced she’d open a preliminary investigation for crimes committed by the Venezuelan government under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Needless to say, Maduro and co. have a hell of a crime-list, but this court is very specific about what it tries: crimes of aggression, war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity. That last one, by definition, can be torture, rape, imprisonment, enslavement or prosecution on political, religious, or racial grounds, and any other kind of behavior that degrades human dignity. I’m sure you’ve seen one of these associated with high-ranking Venezuelan government officials.

Venezuela is a member of the ICC, which means that yes, Venezuelan nationals can be prosecuted in The Hague, and because the ICC is an independent body from the UN, and Venezuela is a State Party to the ICC, a criminal investigation is not subjected to, nor dependent on, the UN Security Council. That means China and Russia won’t be all up in our faces telling us how great communism is (and how great it is to have preferential oil prices!). But according to international law, the ICC must be a court of last resort, meaning it can only try individuals if the national courts are unable (or unwilling) to do so. We all know what our dear Maikel Moreno and Tarek William Saab have to say about trying Maduro.

Only a preliminary investigation will be carried out soon to decide if there are grounds for a formal procedure. If there are, an investigation has to go through bureaucratic procedures.

Neither Maduro, Cabello nor Benavides are about to become Mother Teresa, so chances are crimes against humanity will keep happening. That’s more accusations and testimonies coming to light, and the government is so care’ tabla that it won’t move a finger to even deny them. Also, Venezuela has come to be a point of concern in the international stage. We’re no longer a random country in Latin America whose leader is “like, a former bus driver, or something.” This is Northern South America now, ruled by Nicolás Maduro, where democracy is an utter joke, money is barely worth the paper it’s printed on and human rights abuses are committed on a daily basis. We stand in the international scene with a huge risk for conflict, and yes, there are worse places, but unlike Syria, Myanmar or North Korea, we’re part of the ICC, a body that can do something.

Yet the fact that the ICC can investigate and prosecute high-ranking government officials doesn’t mean it will. What will be carried out soon is a preliminary investigation, to decide if there are grounds for a formal procedure to take place. If there are, the request for an investigation has to be approved and go through a number of bureaucratic procedures. Nothing extraordinary, but still time-consuming and subjected to change, while running the risk of Venezuelan withdrawing from the ICC.

And that’s where things get complicated. If Venezuela is no longer a member of the ICC, then suspected criminals can’t be investigated, unless the case is referred to the prosecutor by another State, or by none other than the UN Security Council. And we all know how much Putin and Xi Jinping love their counterparts in Miraflores.

However, as of this moment, there’s a pretty good chance for an investigation to take place.

There are horrible criminals who, for many reasons, have gotten away with murder, but from Libya, to Sudan, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the ICC has indicted people responsible for the most atrocious, grotesque human rights violations. Chavismo is running out of friends and whether it’s seen from The Hague, Las Carmelitas or Washington, Nicolás Maduro and his posse are nothing but criminals. There’s no such thing as the perfect crime and they’re sure drawing a lot of attention…

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  1. Those “wheels of justice” turn very slowly. I probably won’t live long enough to see a conviction, and chances are that Maduro won’t either. If I were him I would be more worried about mob justice.

  2. I have a general question to our resident experts if I may: how concerned should I be about comments I make here? Is there any chance that comments made here in this forum can be traced to me through my constantly self rotating Ip through a movistar cell internet connection? My Cantv died a few months ago after thieves stole the wires for the 2nd time.
    Are the secret police gonna come and grab me for being a keyboard warrior I guess is what I want to ask, my wife panics anytime I comment anything being that I am a “gringo” and all.

    • I’m pretty sure G2 and SEBIN keep an eye on this blog, I for one will never set foot in VZ again until chavismo is gone. This because I’ve been wishing for the mass murder of all chavistas and many other comments that would land me straight into the torture cell’s of Venezuelan “security” forces. A family friend of us spend 14 months in “el helicoide” just because he was too critical on social media and making fun of dipshit Maduro. I would be very careful if I were you, big brother is definitely watching you.

    • If I were in Venezuela, I would learn how to use some proxy or VPN outside of Venezuela. Check out google to find some.

      As a gringo I would not want to visit Josua Holt.

    • No Marc, I think Ira was commenting on the possibility of ICC action.

      I’ve been in your shoes.. there was an article earlier this week(?) about kids dragged out of their homes for posting planned protests online.. not sure it’s down to ip addresse but it could easily get there. The question is in numbers, the more people involved the harder to grab.. problem in Venezuela is getting the critical mass because everyone is scared for their job or next meal. So the dictatorship selectively chooses victims to subdue the masses. Good luck and never quit!

    • In simple terms, they could track you address via the EIN that was used to access a cell tower where the connection was made.

      Do they have the technology still working to allow this? Very questionable. But, the Chinese certainly do.

      CC does not provide user/commenter info to outside 3rd parties or government’s without a warrant in Canada or the US.

      Maduro and crew have no juice in either country.

      Get a burner phone/sim to do the dirty work with. When I was in Spain, I got a sim card from a “friend” that cleaned it for me and topped it off with Vodafone. My name and passport were never associated with it.

      I am guessing there are similar “services” in VZ.

  3. It must be hard to report daily on Venezuela. Stories about the continuing decay of the economy and political rights have become the new normal and no longer shock, sad to say. I read a report in the Miami Herald citing the president of Columbia that the ANC is drafting a new constitution that will adopt the Cuban indirect election model assuring a one party dictatorship to be employed after the Chavistas steal the next presidential election. So the only two stories left are those involving internal dissension and foreign political and economic intervention, both of which seem in the distance. Today’s comment on the Internation Criminal Court, while a good story, falls into the “distant” category. It is helpful to remember that two events, the fall of the Soviet Union and the Arab Spring Revolt, were not widely predicted. Let’s hope Venezuela falls into that category.

  4. Why the fuck does the editor continue to print “the government” in these sad posts?

    Do believe Maduro is still a legal and viable government?

  5. economic intervention, both of which seem in the distance.

    From what I’m hearing (and nobody is Nostradamus), an oil embargo of some kind is on the table if the Chavista’s go through with the bogus election.

    • With oil prices getting close to $80pb and the Saudis stating they would be happy to see prices between $80-$100pb, I’m pretty sure Trump simply can’t afford an oil embargo on VZ crude. The prices at the pump would get too high and that would piss-off the average American. It’s just not gonna happen.

  6. These kind of actions in the ICC are at best a down the road, after they fall kind of thing.

    But they also serve as a stick, not a huge one, but big enough to figure in the stay or go calculus that must run through these criminals minds.

    Kudos to Tamara Sujuu and the rest of the folks who care enough to go forward with these actions.

    But the real solution is likely bloody and perforce will come from inside, outside intervention will likely be in the form of disaster relief, etc.

  7. Sadly, this diplomatic face washing is not going to achieve anything other than the usual symbolic gestures of good will the international community is renowned for

    venezuela won`t have a liberal democracy for the next century.

    The US will eventually have a socialist president, give them a election or two. Best case scenario Venezuela gets to mooch of the gringos the same way cuba and north korea mooched on the Russians and on us.

    • Hey, all things taken into account to not be overly reactive or harsh, but a defeatist attitude no longer has a voice to be listened to, so find the little ones in your head telling you to be a defeatist and “STOP IT!” The U.S. has already HAD not just one but several socialist presidents. We are snapping out of the complacent “Don’t worry, be happy” sing-song of what is beyond any doubt at all that mass-murderous socialist trap.

      Venezuela is currently coming to the point where the pueblo has had more than enough. I’m sure there are still people who are somehow managing to scrape by, but things are clearly getting worse.

      WE do not drop by your house in the middle of the night and arrest you for being “Defeatist”. But we would appreciate it if you and other defeatists and “Dismal Acceptists” would stop gassing us with brain farts. If you have to fart, then step into the bathroom, or go outside, please.

  8. For years, Chavez and Maduro claimed that they stopped thousands of assassination attempts on their lives. Usually 2 or 3 before breakfast everyday then a few more in the afternoon. Details were never given and no one was ever publically prosecuted.

    Maduro no longer makes theses claims. What happened? Is Maduro now truly afraid of being killed? Has he lost trust in his security detail?


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