ICC Launches Investigation Against Venezuela Over Crimes Against Humanity
22:25 GMT 03.11.2021 (Updated: 00:22 GMT 04.11.2021)
The International Crime Court (ICC) is launching a formal probe — a first in Latin America — into allegations of crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela under the rule of President Nicolas Maduro.
International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan said Wednesday that he was determined to open an investigation to "establish the truth" amid a preliminary examination into abuse in 2018, according to an agreement signed by Khan and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The ICC, urged by multiple Latin American nations opposed to Maduro, raised concerns of allegations of officials in Maduro's government who have taken part in crimes against humanity.
The memorandum, shared by the government on Wednesday, indicated that Caracas does not think the situation in the country "justifies the movement from the preliminary examination phase to a investigation phase."
"The preliminary examination that opened in 2018 is nothing more than a filtering stage as we move into this new stage," Khan said during an event broadcast on state television.
The British prosecutor said he was aware of the political "fault lines" and "geopolitical divisions" that surround Venezuela, but vowed to not tolerate interference in the investigation.
Joe Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division, shared the news on Twitter
Wednesday saying that the decision gave "hope of justice to the hundreds of victims of brutal repression by the Maduro regime."
During the ICC's visit to the South American nation, small demonstrations have broken out over the last few days outside of the intelligence services headquarters in Caracas, demanding an audience with Khan, and following Amnesty International's earlier remarks that a delayed probe put "victims, survivors, and human rights defenders at greater risk of retaliation."