ICC appeals court dismisses Venezuela effort to halt investigations into possible crimes against humanity News
OSeveno, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
ICC appeals court dismisses Venezuela effort to halt investigations into possible crimes against humanity

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed on Friday Venezuela’s appeal to stop the ICC’s investigations into potential crimes against humanity committed by the government of Venezuela. The court confirmed that its June 2023 decision authorizing the ICC to resume their investigations was correct.

The Appeals Chamber stated that the assessment in the June “Venezuela I” case was correct in determining “whether Venezuela was conducting or had conducted any investigations or prosecutions of the same categories of individuals.” The court clarified that its prior decision went towards determining whether “high-ranking members of the State security forces and pro‑government individuals, in relation to the relevant criminality.” Because the court held it previously decided correctly, the ICC rejected all six of Venezuela’s grounds of appeal.

The Venezuelan government rejected the ICC’s decision, stating that it seeks to conceal the truth about Venezuela “in an evident case of political instrumentalization against the country.” Additionally, in an interview with local media, Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodríguez criticized the ICC’s work, alleging negligence in the case by using unconfirmed information gathered from social media.  Delcy Rodríguez also criticized the court’s inactivity regarding the genocide in Palestine:

Venezuela regrets that, while the world watches in horror as the Palestinian people are victims of a bloody genocide, the International Criminal Court has chosen to invest its time and the scarce resources available to proceed with actions that clearly distort its reason to be and undermine its credibility as an international justice body.

In November 2021, Venezuela became the first country in Latin America to face a formal ICC investigation, led by British prosecutor Karim Khan, for alleged crimes against humanity perpetrated in 2017. In a visit conducted in the same month, President Nicolás Maduro expressed his disagreement with the opening of the investigation. He stated that while the Venezuelan government respect the decision to investigate, they do not agree with it.

The ICC ruling comes amidst protests in Venezuela demanding the release of Rocío San Miguel, a human rights activist and leader of an NGO, detained for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate Maduro. San Miguel’s detention has been characterized as a possible enforced disappearance by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, leading to the suspension of its activities in Venezuela.