OAS calls on the International Criminal Court to detain Venezuelan leaders amid humanitarian crisis

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The opposition requested that the ICC include recent events that could also be considered crimes against humanity

A panel from the Organization of American States (OAS) has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants against mid- and senior-level officials in the Venezuelan government, It concluded that the government is not cooperating in the investigation of crimes against humanity.

Local media reported that Joanna Frivet said on Friday that the panel “concluded that Venezuela is “failing to meet its accountability obligations.” “The intervention of the ICC Public Prosecution Service is crucial to bring the crimes against humanity in Venezuela to justice,” Frivet said.

“The panel recommends that the Public Prosecution Service take a deeper role in investigating the nature of these ongoing crimes and open investigations against specific people and bring them to court so that arrest warrants are issued,” she added.

The conclusion comes a day after the OAS presented a report from the CASLA Institute, also addressed to the ICC. According to Infobae, the report documented the Cuban government’s complicity in the crimes attributed to its Venezuelan counterpart.

The institute described the involvement of Cuban agents in the preparation and execution of crimes against humanity in Venezuela. The motivation, the report added, was to take advantage of the country’s extensive resources since Hugo Chavez, a staunch Fidel Castro ally, came to power in 1999.

“Chavez gave more money to Fidel than the USSR, and that stopped a lot of things from happening in Cuba,” reads part of testimony from a former Cuban agent included in the report. Throughout its chapters, the document also details Havana’s involvement in all aspects of Caracas’ government and law enforcement, as well as statements from victims over the years.

The ICC received the accusation against Venezuela in 2018 and decided to launch an investigation in 2021. Caracas appealed the decision the following year and in 2023 the ICC rejected it and decided to move on. After another rejected appeal, the court resumed its investigation in March this year.

The government has rejected the investigation, saying it is politically motivated. “This maneuver was achieved through the manipulation of a small group of crimes that are properly investigated and punished by the Venezuelan judiciary,” Foreign Minister Yván Gil said after the announcement.

Opponents, on the other hand, applauded the decision and asked the ICC to include recent events that could also be considered crimes against humanity. They highlighted the arrest of human rights activist Rocío San Miguel in February. She was accused by the government of “terrorism,” “conspiracy” and “treason to the homeland,” alleging her involvement in an alleged plot to assassinate Maduro, a story hotly disputed by the opposition.

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