December 2, 2021

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Investigation into crimes against humanity begins in Venezuela

The Criminal Court has launched a preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity in Venezuela since 2018, at the urging of several Latin American countries.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will launch a formal investigation into crimes against humanity in Venezuela, allegedly committed by security forces in a crackdown on anti-government protesters in 2017 – under President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, announced Wednesday the start of his three-day visit to Venezuela, the Associated Press and AFP reported.

Caracas Can, standing next to Maduro in the Venezuelan capital, said he was aware of the political “fault lines” and “geopolitical contradictions” that exist around Venezuela. He promised not to tolerate any interference in the investigation.

The International Criminal Court launched a preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity in Venezuela in 2018, at the invitation of several Latin American countries that oppose Madura. As the official investigation begins, Venezuela will join a handful of predominantly African countries where the International Criminal Court is investigating the crimes, the AP said.

As AFP noted when the International Criminal Court opened a preliminary investigation in 2018, Khan’s predecessor, Fatou Bensouda, said there was “reasonable reason” to believe Madur’s government had committed crimes against humanity.

However, Maduro complained that Venezuela was not allowed access to documents and information assessed during this stage. “We were blind at that point,” the president said.

Bensouda said in 2018 that the initial investigation related to allegations that since April 2017, government forces had frequently used excessive force to disperse and suppress demonstrations and mistreated some members of the opposition.

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