The international fact-finding mission commissioned by the UN to investigate human rights violations committed in Venezuela presented its report this Wednesday and concludes that the Government is responsible for crimes against humanity. The investigation points directly to President Nicolás Maduro and his interior and defense ministers.
The published report offers extensive information “that shows that the State authorities –both at the presidential and ministerial levels– exercised power and supervision over the civil and military security forces, and the agencies identified as perpetrators of the documented violations and crimes.” “The Mission has reasonable grounds to believe that both the president and the interior and defense ministers contributed to the commission of the crimes documented in this report,” the report states.
The crimes identified “were highly coordinated according to State policies and as part of a type of generalized and systematic conduct, for which they become crimes against humanity,” the researchers conclude.
The crimes identified range from extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and torture, in a series of 223 cases that the Mission was able to investigate and document, despite the fact that the Venezuelan government has denied it authorization for its members to enter the country.
These cases are recounted in a 411-page report prepared by the Mission, which has reviewed a total of 2,891 cases in order to corroborate the pattern that these crimes have followed in Venezuela that, “far from being isolated, were coordinated and committed in accordance with policies. state “.
The President of the Mission, Marta Valiñas, has asked the Venezuelan State to investigate these violations, prosecute those responsible, punish them and bring justice to the victims, who have been waiting for several years for national institutions to act. If that does not happen, Valiñas has asked that the international community consider initiating legal action against those responsible identified in the report and that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court consider taking action on the matter.
The serious human rights violations denounced were perpetrated in operations carried out by the entire range of state security entities in Venezuela: the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), including the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB); and the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) and the Special Action Forces (FAES). According to the report, FAES and PNB are responsible for 59% of all deaths at the hands of the security forces during the period reviewed and are the authors of the extrajudicial executions documented in the report. “The deaths appear to be part of a policy to eliminate unwanted members of society under the cover of the fight against crime,” says Valiñas. The report calls for the dissolution of FAES.
Also included are the Scientific, Criminal and Criminal Investigations Corps (CICPC), the National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) and the state and municipal police forces.
The mission has investigated 16 cases of police, military or joint operations that resulted in 53 extrajudicial executions. It also reviewed 2,552 additional incidents in which 5,094 people were killed by security forces, although not all of these deaths were necessarily arbitrary.
A former director of SEBIN told the mission that the institution had a “cultural behavior” of torture. The torture techniques include, according to the researchers: suffocation, stress positions, beatings, electric shocks, cuts and mutilations, death threats and psychological torture. “The intelligence agencies also subjected the dissidents – men and women – to sexual violence, including rapes with body parts or objects and threats of rape against the detainee or their loved ones,” said Francisco Cox, another member of the equipment.
“Amnesty International denounced the probable commission of crimes against humanity in Venezuela in May 2019. In a milestone for the victims of human rights violations, the long-awaited and forceful report of the Mission to Determine the Facts for Venezuela endorses this serious complaint and supports the thousands of victims in their demand for justice that does not arrive in their country. . We share the UN’s call for international justice, including the International Criminal Court, to guarantee the rights of truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition, “said Erika Guevara Rosas, Director for the Americas at Amnesty International.
In August, 84 national and international human rights organizations asked the member states of the Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela during its 45th session. “The mandate of this international scrutiny mechanism must be renewed and strengthened. Not to do so would be to turn our backs on the victims, on the truth and on justice,” says Guevara.