a UN report accuses Nicolas Maduro and ministers of “possible crimes against humanity”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a televised address in Caracas on September 13, 2020.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and prominent members of his government are behind the “Possible crimes against humanity” in the country torn by a lasting political and economic crisis, affirmed, Wednesday, September 16, investigators of the United Nations, evoking a systematic use of torture and assassinations.

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Investigators – who are making their first report there – claim to have found evidence of crimes against humanity and explained that they had “Good reasons to believe that the president” as well as two ministers, including that of defense, “Ordered or helped to sponsor proven crimes”.

The fact-finding mission reviewed 2,500 incidents since 2014 which allegedly resulted in the murder of 5,000 people by the police. Although the trio of investigators were unable to make it to Venezuela, they drew their conclusions from some 274 remote interviews with victims, witnesses, former officials as well as analysis of confidential documents, including court records.

“Systematic use of torture”

Some of these crimes, “Including arbitrary killings and the systematic use of torture, fall within the scope of [de la qualification] of crimes against humanity ”, explains Marta Valinas, who heads the team of investigators, in a statement.

“These acts are far from being isolated, these crimes were coordinated and committed in the name of state directives with full knowledge of the facts and with the direct support of senior officers and senior government officials”, continues the thick 411-page report. Investigators called on the Venezuelan authorities to immediately conduct “Independent, impartial and transparent investigations”. The report also considers that other bodies, including the International Criminal Court, “Should also consider legal actions against the individuals responsible for these violations and crimes identified by the mission”.

“These extrajudicial executions cannot be blamed on a lack of discipline within the police, said Mme Valinas, stressing that senior officials kept control of the latter. “These murders appear to be part of a policy of eliminating unwanted members of society under the guise of fighting crime. “

Investigators have called for the dismantling of the special action forces, which, along with the national police, appear to be responsible for well over half of the 5,000 deaths. As for torture, the investigators point out that the torturers resort to rape, asphyxiation, beatings, electric shocks and death threats to punish the victims or force them to “confess”.

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The World with AFP


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