Last September, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro named a panel of three international experts to determine if Nicolas Maduro’s government had committed “crimes against humanity.” More than eight months later, the report is finally out.
The 400-page report (supported by another 400 pages of annexes) clearly concludes that “…there are reasonable grounds, that satisfy the standard of proof required by Article 53 of the Rome Statute, for considering that acts to which the civilian population of Venezuela was subjected to dating back to at least February 12, 2014, constitute crimes against humanity, in accordance with Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
The report includes testimonies from several witnesses (gathered from five public hearings and submissions), along with information given by Venezuelan and international organizations, and it recommends that the OAS Secretary-General submits its result and all related evidence to the ICC Prosecutor’s Office. It also asks other signatories of the Rome Statute to demand an ICC investigation over the matter.
Among the findings are 131 murder victims of the 2014 and 2017 protests whose perpetrators were either State Security officers or members of irregular pro-government armed groups; 1,300 cases of politically-motivated imprisonment; 8,292 extrajudicial executions (since 2015) and 12,000 cases of arbitrary detentions.
In February, the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced the opening of a “preliminary examination” of possible crimes committed in Venezuela at least since April, 2017. The road to The Hague is already long and winding, but today it got a little shorter.