In a document published on March 30th, 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Karim Khan, responded to the arguments of Venezuelan authorities questioning his office’s investigation regarding the alleged crimes against humanity occurred in Venezuela. The document is disclosed after the Victims Participation and Reparations Section (VPRS) informed that it had received over 2,000 opinions and concerns from Venezuelan victims about the need to continue the process initiated against the country based on the Rome Statute.

As to the arguments regarding the ICC’s lack of competency, Khan responds that all of the steps stipulated for initiating an investigation were met. An assessment concerning the gravity threshold had already been performed and the interests of justice were duly considered. As to the non-compliance of the admissibility criteria, the ICC recalled the denouncement of other Member States of the Rome Statute.

The Preliminary Examination determined that there was indeed a “systematic” attack against the civilian population. The Venezuelan State and its spokespersons allege that the crimes committed weren’t “serious enough”.

The ICC responds that it found reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in Venezuela. As to the alleged violation to due process on behalf of the ICC, it responds that the authorities haven’t demonstrated that credible national investigations or trials haven’t been or aren’t being performed.

The Prosecutor alleges that a postponement of the procedure isn’t justified and requests the Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize the reinstatement of the investigation. On its part, on April 3rd, this Chamber authorized the Venezuelan State to send a partial response to the last report from the Prosecutor’s Office before April 20th, 2023. In view of the absence of national justice administration mechanisms, victims still have their hopes set on the actions of international protection entities.

In the context of the current crisis in Venezuela, human rights organizations maintain a continuous effort to record and document the systematic violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the population in order to accompany the victims and give visibility to these violations before the national and international community.

In this sense, the Crisis in Venezuela bulletin emerges as a weekly space in which, as a human rights movement, we bring together the situations that currently reflect the humanitarian crisis that Venezuela is going through.

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