Venezuela to be Probed by ICC for Crimes Against Humanity

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced it will investigate whether Venezuela committed crimes against humanity during a crackdown on anti-government protests in 2017.

“I ask everybody now, as we move forward to this new stage, to give my office the space to do its work… I will take a dim view of any efforts to politicize the independent work of my office,” ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said.

Khan said he is fully aware of the flaws and the political divide in Venezuela but stressed that his job was to uphold the rule of law, not to settle political scores.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the state respects the decision to investigate but does not share it.

Maduro and Khan signed an agreement to collaborate on the next step of the investigation.

“We have signed an agreement that does guarantee, in an effective way, cooperation, positive complementarity, mutual support, constructive dialogue to seek truth and justice,” Maduro said.

In 2018, the ICC started a preliminary investigation into the country, and Fatou Bensouda, Khan’s predecessor, said there was a “reasonable basis” to believe the Venezuelan government had committed crimes against humanity.

Maduro complained that the ICC did not give the Venezuelan state access to the documents and information evaluated during the initial investigation.

“We were blind in that stage,” Maduro said.

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