OAS sees ‘crimes against humanity’ in Venezuela

There is a reasonable basis to believe that the Venezuelan government has committed crimes against humanity since at least 2012, according to the Organization of American States (OAS). After releasing a 400-page report (PDF) from a panel of independent experts, the OAS will be turning over its findings to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to aid in an investigation of Venezuela for government-sanctioned crimes. The panel documents claims concerning government-supported murder, false imprisonment, torture, sexual violence including rape, and enforced disappearance. The OAS asserts these crimes are part of a plan to suppress 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 subjected to torture, including 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 that 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 against Maduro that he was complicit in 8,292 extrajudicial executions, which were often a result of unlawful and violent home raids with staged confrontations.

Exiled Venezuelan justices have also filed complaints with the ICC over alleged crimes against humanity by the Maduro government.

From Jurist, June 1. Used with permission.

Photo: WikiMedia Commons

  1. Observation on Venezuela ‘crimes against humanity’ claims

    It is of course a perverse irony of gargantuan proportions that Colombia—which is facing an ICC investigation, without any prompting from the Organization of American States—never faced any such charges from the OAS. But, needless to say, this double standard does not let the Venezuelan leadership off the hook for anything. We await a response from the ICC on these accusations.

  2. UN urges protections following Venezuela mass exodus

    Two UN expert committees on human rights on Sept. 5 endorsed a joint statement urging states to protect the rights of Venezuelan migrants amid recent mass migration from the South American country.

    The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, along with the Committee on the Rights of the Child, expressed human rights concerns following the flight of Venezuelans fleeing their country due to the political, economic and social crisis.

    The UN reported that by June it was estimated that 2.3 million Venezuelans fled their country, primarily towards Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Chile. Similarly, the UN Human Rights Council “registered 299,016 asylum seekers and 585,996 Venezuelans that opted for other regularization alternatives as of August 1st, 2018.” (Jurist)

  3. Venezuela: OAS chief broaches military intervention

    OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, speaking in Cúcuta, Colombia, near the Venezuelan border, said: "With respect to a military intervention to overthrow Nicolas Maduro’s regime, I don’t think any option should be ruled out. What Nicolas Maduro’s regime is perpetrating are crimes against humanity, the violation of the human rights and the suffering of people that is inducing an exodus. Diplomatic actions should be the first priority but we shouldn’t rule out any action… The international community has to provide answers. We can’t allow a dictatorship in Venezuela that affects the security of entire region through drug trafficking, organized crime and the deep humanitarian crisis it has created." (AP)