ICC rejects Venezuela39s appeal against reopening investigation into crimes against

ICC rejects Venezuela's appeal against reopening investigation into “crimes against humanity”.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday rejected an appeal by Venezuela against reopening an investigation into “crimes against humanity” during the government's crackdown on protests against President Nicolas Maduro in 2017.

• Also read: “Urban terrorism” on the rise in Peru

• Also read: Maduro accuses Milei of “stealing” the Venezuelan plane seized by the American judiciary

Caracas called on the ICC in August 2022 to end its investigation into alleged human rights violations during those protests, in which more than 100 people died, and said it would conduct its own investigation.

But ICC judges authorized Attorney General Karim Khan to reopen the case in June 2023 because it appeared Venezuela was not investigating allegations of crimes against humanity.

Caracas then appealed the decision in November, saying Venezuela was unable to properly investigate Karim Khan's allegations because prosecutors' information was too vague.

“The Appeal Chamber rejects the arguments put forward by Venezuela,” said Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, judge at the court in The Hague, on Friday.

The court noted that the prosecutor had “presented details of the alleged crimes” and “sees no convincing reason to deviate from the decision of the investigative chamber,” the judge said.

“The Appeals Chamber therefore dismisses the appeal and confirms the contested decision,” authorizing the reopening of the investigation, he added.

The investigation focuses on security forces' crackdown on protests sparked by the arrest of several opposition leaders and the Supreme Court's decision to dissolve the opposition-dominated National Assembly.

The ICC prosecutor welcomed the decision, which he said confirms that “the Venezuelan government’s domestic criminal proceedings do not adequately reflect the scope of the investigation planned by his office.”

The court's decision “is a glimmer of hope for victims of the Maduro government's systematic human rights abuses” and “confirms what these victims already know: in the absence of real justice in Venezuela, the ICC represents an essential path to accountability,” Human said Rights Watch (HRW) in a statement.

Five South American countries and Canada took the situation in Venezuela to the International Criminal Court in 2018.

Prosecutor Khan opened a formal investigation in November 2021 and signed an agreement with Maduro under which Venezuela would guarantee that the court there could function properly.

Since 2017, more than 200 police and army members have been charged or convicted of human rights violations, Caracas announced in April 2022.

The opposition claims that these measures were taken simply to prevent an investigation by the ICC.