ICC rules that a probe into alleged crimes against humanity in Venezuela may proceed

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court ruled Friday that an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed by Venezuelan security forces under President Nicolás Maduro’s rule during a crackdown on anti-government protests in 2017 may proceed.

Appeals panel Presiding Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said that the court “rejects the appeals” brought by Venezuela.

The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced in late 2021 that he was opening an investigation after a lengthy preliminary probe and an official referral — a request to investigate — in 2018 by Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru.

However, the full-scale investigation was put on hold when Venezuelan authorities said they wanted to take over the case. The ICC is a court of last resort that only takes on cases when national authorities are unwilling or unable to investigate, a system known as complementarity.

Khan pressed ahead with efforts to continue his investigation — the court’s first in Latin America. He said last year that Venezuelan efforts toward delivering justice “remain either insufficient in scope or have not yet had any concrete impact on potentially relevant proceedings.”

ICC judges agreed with Khan and last year authorized him to resume investigations in Venezuela. The judges noted at the time that “Venezuela appears to have taken limited investigative steps and that, in many cases, there appear to be periods of unexplained investigative inactivity.”

Venezuela appealed the ruling, leading to Friday’s decision.


Follow AP’s coverage of Venezuela at https://apnews.com/hub/venezuela

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