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The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, said today that his investigation in Venezuela for crimes against humanity “is not in the business of regime change.”
The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor “is only trying to address impunity and investigate independently,” Khan added during the ICC’s annual Assembly of States Parties, which opened Monday in The Hague.
The Hague-based court’s inquiries address abuses by Venezuelan security forces against opposition members at demonstrations and in prisons since April 2017.
Khan announced the opening of the investigation during an official visit to Caracas on November 3, when he met with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro and unveiled the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the regime in parallel.
The ICC is a court of last resort, that is to say, it would not intervene if the Venezuelan Justice demonstrates that the investigations on the alleged crimes committed by its security forces are reliable.
Regarding the possible consequences of the open investigation, the chief prosecutor warned that “there are no predetermined objectives, there cannot be” and “neither preconceived results”.
“The job of my office is to follow the evidence, to see what the reality is, to see if crimes have been committed under the Rome Statute (the ICC’s founding charter). And if crimes have been committed, to see if the evidence reveals who is responsible,” Khan added.
The prosecutor expressed his desire to return to Caracas next year to “promote interaction” with the Venezuelan regime.
Nicolás Maduro is wanted by the U.S. Justice for leading a narco-terrorist state, and has also been accused of leading a series of murders, torture and human rights violations against opponents of his socialist regime, as was the case of former councilman Fernando Albán, who was thrown from a building while in the custody of Maduro’s political police.