The UN has reported that since 2014, Venezuelan authorities have responded to mass protests against Nicolas Maduro’s government with systematic repression–executing, torturing, and “disappearing” hundreds of citizens and arbitrarily detaining thousands of civilians. In a report issued in September 2020, the UN documented “arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial executions; torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including sexual and gender-based violence; enforced disappearances … and arbitrary detentions.”
The UN concluded that these crimes were committed by “[t]he Government, State agents, and groups working with them”, were “highly coordinated pursuant to State policies” and were “part of a widespread and systematic course of conduct … amounting to crimes against humanity.” In addition, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court began a “preliminary examination” of the situation in Venezuela in 2018 and concluded last December that there is a “reasonable basis” to believe that civil and military officials have committed crimes against humanity there since April 2017. The Office of the Prosecutor is currently considering whether to initiate a full-scale investigation of the case.
The Docket works with Venezuelan civil society organizations and lawyers to promote accountability for crimes committed by the state agents at the ICC and before national courts and support victims in their pursuit of justice.