Nicolás Maduro: The UN accuses him of crimes against humanity, endorsed executions, disappearances and arbitrary torture

UN investigators have denounced that Venezuela has registered crimes against humanity perpetrated or endorsed by the Government, within the framework of a pattern whose ramifications extend to the president himself, Nicolas Maduro, and for which the intervention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) could be requested.

The mission, which has not been able to visit Venezuela due to the refusal of the Executive of Maduro to facilitate his investigations, has investigated more than two hundred cases and has concluded, in a 443-page report, that they have committed extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture in the South American country.

It concludes that both the Government and related groups have committed “flagrant” violations of Human Rights, to the point that patterns “coordinated” with State policies and systematically maintained have been identified, which would amount to crimes against humanity.

President Maduro, as well as its Ministers of the Interior and Defense, Néstor Luis Reverol and Vladimir Padrino, were aware of the crimes that were being committed, according to experts, who consider that these three authorities gave orders, coordinated activities and provided resources for the abuses to continue, dating back to 2014.

The mission president, Marta Valiñas, has underlined in a statement that, “far from being isolated acts, these crimes were coordinated and committed in accordance with State policies, with the knowledge or direct support of the commanders and senior government officials.

Thus, in the case of extrajudicial executions, could not be attributed to ‘lack of discipline’ of the security forces, but “seem to be part of a policy of removal of unwanted members of society under the cover of the fight against crime ”, according to Valiñas.

Not in vain, the mission has investigated 16 cases of police operations, military or joint killings that led to 53 extrajudicial executions. He has also examined more than 2,500 additional incidents in which nearly 5,100 people were killed by security forces, although not all these cases would be equally arbitrary.

The Body of Scientific, Criminal and Criminal Investigations (CICPC) and the Special Action Forces (FAES) of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) are responsible for nearly six in ten of the deaths perpetrated by the security forces in the period analyzed, as well as the authors of the extrajudicial executions documented in the report.

Intelligence: instrument of abuse

The report has also detected acts of political repression directed by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), which allegedly persecuted people under the premise of false crimes, with orchestrated evidence or without due process.

The arrests, in some cases comparable to enforced disappearances, included torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including acts of sexual violence to extract confessions or as punishment. A former director of SEBIN consulted by the mission has acknowledged that the institution had a “cultural behavior” of torture.

One of the researchers, Francisco Cox, has warned that “these arbitrary detentions, short-term disappearances and torture were directed against the civilian population as part of a policy to silence opposition to the Maduro government ».

Commanders, including “high-level authorities” within intelligence agencies, “They were fully aware of this pattern of crimes, which often occurred in the very buildings where they worked.” The mission has identified more than 45 officials with a view to their potential prosecution, although without giving names.

Suppression of demonstrations

Political persecution too would have been in evidence in the repression of the protests summoned in recent years against the Maduro government, in the framework of which “The murder of 36 protesters” and practices of torture and other ill-treatment during detention, such as mock executions.

For researcher Paul Seils, “the surveillance of protests and the system to authorize them are deeply worrying.” «The system is designed to prevent and discourage peaceful assemblies, often violently », has criticized, also linking to these abuses the so-called ‘collectives’, as the armed groups related to the Government are known.

“Of particular concern is the systematic practice of torture and cruel treatment of people detained in protests, not by dishonest elements, but as part of a clear policy,” he added.

End of impunity

Investigators have called for an end to impunity, for which “the Venezuelan authorities must immediately carry out fast, effective, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigations on rapes and crimes, holding the perpetrators accountable and providing justice for the victims, “in the words of the head of the mission.

Valiñas has raised the intervention of the jurisdictions of other countries, as well as the TPI, that “they should consider taking legal action against the individuals responsible for the violations and crimes that the mission has identified.” The report maintains that the Venezuelan judicial system is flawed in favor of Chavismo.