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Venezuelan NGO denounces harassment against those who collaborate with the International Criminal Court

A total of 111 Venezuelan social and human rights organizations denounced that the Chavista authorities undertook a campaign of “discrediting and criminalization” against those who have cooperated with the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the preliminary examination that was opened on Venezuela.

In a statement, published by the NGO Provea, it was indicated that the presence of the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, this week in Venezuela, has motivated an “intense strategy” of propaganda through the state media.

“As reflected in the official document ‘Venezuela Guarantor of Human Rights’ one of the components of the campaign is the criminalization and discrediting of those who have submitted complaints, including human rights defenders,” they said.

The organizations recalled that in February 2018, the ICC decided to begin a preliminary examination to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela since April 2017.

“As of the beginning of the preliminary examination, different political and social personalities have provided information to the ICC Prosecutor’s Office so that it has the necessary inputs to decide or not to initiate a formal investigation into crimes against humanity that occurred in Venezuela.” NGOs explained.

In the opinion of the organizations, the “systematic policy” of the State to “restrict civic space in the country”, including those who collaborate with international mechanisms for the protection of human rights, “ratifies that there is no genuine will to stop the causes that allowed crimes against humanity to occur in Venezuela ”.

“In addition, it reiterates the conclusions of the recent report of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission (of the United Nations) on the profound irregularities in the system of administration of justice, which is used as an instrument to persecute dissent,” they added. .

The NGOs maintained that this campaign seeks to “frighten the victims to inhibit them from continuing to provide their testimonies.”

“We urge the work team of the ICC Prosecutor’s Office to monitor the threats and retaliations against those who have collaborated with its work, which reflects the failure to comply with the obligations emanating from the Rome Statute,” they added.

On Wednesday, Khan announced that he will formally open an investigation into the alleged commission of crimes against humanity in the Caribbean nation, although he clarified that, for now, “no suspect or target has been identified.”

The announcement came after a three-day visit to Venezuela by the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, who appeared before the media together with the illegitimate President Nicolás Maduro to sign a memorandum explaining that the entity he directs “has concluded the examination preliminary of the situation in Venezuela ”.

“(The Prosecutor’s Office) has determined that an investigation should be opened to establish the truth in accordance with the Rome Statute,” he said.

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