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OAS: reasonable to believe Venezuela committed crimes against humanity

[JURIST] There is a reasonable basis to believe that Venezuelan government has committed crimes against humanity since at least 2012, according to the Organization of American States (OAS) [official website].

After releasing a 400-page report [text, PDF] from a panel of independent experts, the OAS will be turning over its findings to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website) to aid in an investigation of Venezuela [preliminary examination webpage] for government sanctioned crimes.

The panel uncovered information about the widespread governmental wrongdoing including supporting murder, false imprisonment, torture, sexual violence including rape, and enforced disappearance. OAS notes these crimes are part of a plan to censor and abolish the political opposition in the country.

The OAS report says approximately seven people every day have been arbitrarily detained since the election of President Nicolás Maduro in 2013. According to the panel, detainees are often tortured in the forms of beatings resulting in untreated physical harm, sexual torture, stress positions, white torture, electric shocks, burns, tear gas, food mixed with glass or excrement, and withholding food and water. The panel's evidence shows at least 289 cases of torture inflicted severe physical and mental suffering.

Additionally, the report identified 131 murders during the 2014 and 2017 protests connected to government actions. The report finds support for former Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz's complaint [JURIST report] against Maduro that he supported 8,292 executions, which were often a result of unlawful and violent home raids with staged confrontations.

Exiled justices also filed complaints [JURIST report] with the ICC over Venezuelan crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch and the Penal Forum [offical websites] also released a report last year [JURIST report].

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