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Former Venezuela chief prosecutor files complaint against nation's president in ICC

[JURIST] Luisa Ortega Díaz, Venezuela's deposed chief prosecutor, filed a complaint on Thursday with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official site] calling for the arrest [press conference video, in Spanish] and trial of top Venezuela officials for crimes against humanity. These officials include, President Nicolás Maduro [official website], Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, and Interior Secretary Néstor Reverol.

Ortega Díaz alleged that "8,290 deaths took place between 2015 and June 2017 on government orders." She also charged the government officials with "over 17,000 arbitrary and politically motivated arrests, hundreds of cases of torture, and the general paramilitarization of civilian population." According to Ortega Díaz, "The crimes happened under the orders from the executive branch. They represent a broad government strategy to cleanse dissident political views."

The former chief prosecutor accused the officials under the Rome Statute [text, PDF], which underpins the ICC. Venezuela has ratified the Rome Statute; this gives chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda jurisdiction to investigate the complaint. Ortega Díaz stated she has more than 1,000 evidentiary materials to back her complaint; including psychiatric and medical evaluations, expert assessments, and first person accounts of crimes.

Ortega Díaz was removed from office [LA Times report] on August 5, 2017, in a 545-0 vote by the Maduro-controlled Venezuela Constituent National Constitutional Assembly. The Constituent National Assembly was formed late summer after the Supreme Court dissolved [JURIST report] the previous opposition-majority legislature. Appointed by late president Hugo Chavez [Britannica profile], Ortega Díaz was originally a government supporter, but recently [JURIST report] became a vocal opponent of Maduro.

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