News Latin America The security forces of Venezuela, denounced before the Argentine Justice for crimes...

The security forces of Venezuela, denounced before the Argentine Justice for crimes against humanity

The security forces of Venezuela, denounced before the Argentine Justice for crimes against humanity

The security forces of Venezuela have been denounced this Wednesday before the Argentine federal Justice for committing alleged crimes against humanity. The complainant Clooney Foundation for Justice asks the Argentine courts to apply the principle of universal jurisdiction to investigate the “systematic and serious violations of human rights committed in Venezuela” since 2014. They seek to prove the possible criminal responsibility of the security forces in Serious crimes committed against those who are perceived as opponents of the Government of Nicolas Maduro. They have decided to resort to this country, they say, due to the lack of guarantees for these crimes to be tried in Venezuela. “Victims do not have access to Justice in Venezuela, they do not know where to go,” argued the plaintiff lawyer, Ignacio Jovtis, in an interview with EL PAIS on the eve of the judicial presentation.

“The security forces go after those who are in opposition or who are perceived as such,” says Jovtis, who represents two victims. “We are not talking about isolated crimes, but we believe that they are crimes that correspond to a pattern, to a State policy that has an evident systematicity”, he points out. This lawyer, who has worked for a year on the complaint filed this Wednesday, says that he has interviewed dozens of people throughout Venezuela. Some of them, coming from widely separated regions and without any kind of connection to each other, he assures that “they were detained, tortured and released in a remarkably similar way.”

Jovtis excuses himself from giving names for reasons of legal strategy and security, but he is convinced that the evidence presented before the Argentine federal court shows that the crimes are not perpetrated “by two or three security agents who go crazy, but that there is a chain of command and there are orders coming from above”.

Faced with the paralysis of the Venezuelan courts, the organization requests the Argentine Justice to apply universal jurisdiction, which allows countries to prosecute the most serious crimes regardless of the place where they were committed and the nationality of the perpetrator or victim .

The Argentine federal court already has two open cases under this legal principle. The first, started in 2010, investigates the alleged crimes against humanity committed in Spain by the Franco regime (1936-1977). The second goes back to 2021 and investigates the alleged genocide committed against the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

The judge in charge of the case of crimes perpetrated by the Franco regime, Maria Romina Servini de Cubria, has issued extradition orders that have never been accepted by the Spanish justice system. However, Servini de Cubria issued an exhumation order that allowed one of her victims, Ascension Mendieta, to recover the remains of her father from the mass grave in Guadalajara where she had been buried.

The complaint filed this Wednesday adds to the formal investigation opened in 2021 at the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity in Venezuela. To date, the international tribunal has compiled the testimony of hundreds of victims —or relatives— for crimes such as murder, enforced disappearance, unlawful deprivation of liberty, torture, sexual violence, and politically motivated persecution, among other human rights violations. . The ICC is investigating crimes committed since 2017, the year in which more than a hundred deaths were recorded in the context of protests against the Chavista government.

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