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ICC Prosecutor Rejects Venezuela’s Request to Delay Human Rights Investigation

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International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan has rejected a request by Venezuela to delay an investigation into alleged human rights violations, according to documents released Thursday, and will seek to reopen a full investigation.

Caracas had sought the delay to show that authorities could conduct their own investigation into alleged crimes committed since 2017 under the illegitimate government of President Nicolás Maduro.

In 2020, Khan’s office found in a preliminary examination that there was a “reasonable basis” to believe that “since at least April 2017, civilian authorities, members of the armed forces, and pro-government individuals have committed crimes against humanity.” .

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Under ICC rules, member states themselves have a prior duty and right to prosecute alleged atrocities on their own territory.

But Khan’s presentation said that Venezuela had not shown that local accountability efforts were sufficient and that he would seek an ICC-led investigation.

“Consequently and as soon as possible, the prosecution will request the court to authorize the resumption of its investigation,” the prosecutor wrote in the document.

In March, the prosecutor visited Venezuela and announced that he would open an office there. Authorities in Caracas have said an ICC investigation would be unwarranted, but have still agreed to cooperate.

An independent United Nations human rights fact-finding mission has reported that the Venezuelan government has committed systematic violations amounting to crimes against humanity and has used the judicial system to stifle dissent.

In Caracas, the Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Gestion

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