In the meeting with the CPI, the victims communicated the need for the institution to include the crime of murder as part of the investigations it carries out
Relatives and victims of human rights violations in Venezuela, appeared this Monday, May 23, before the International Criminal Court (ICC), where they were able to present and relate their cases, as well as introduce evidence of other events that occurred.
Among those who were received at the CPI are Zugeimar Armas, mother of Neomar Lander, a young man murdered during the 2017 protests; Luis Armando Pérez, brother of Oscar Pérez, inspector of the Criminal and Criminal Scientific Investigations Corps (Cicpc) executed by order of the government of Nicolás Maduro; and David Vallenilla, father of David Vallenilla, a student murdered during the 2017 protests in Venezuela.
The details of the meeting were offered by Wilmer Azuaje, former politician of the Venezuelan Government, who was also present at the organization based in The Hague, being the first meeting in which victims are received directly by the ICC institutions, so that “represents a great advance in the search for justice,” according to Azuaje.
“The victims of persecution, torture, forced disappearance and unlawful deprivation of liberty have the right to obtain justice. Crimes cannot go unpunished”, declared Wilmer Azuaje, through his account on the social network Twitter.
In the meeting with the CPI, the victims communicated the need for the institution to include the crime of murder as part of the investigations it carries out.
Azuaje affirmed that they will continue to seek justice and “support the legitimate complaints of those who have been victims of atrocious acts that can never be repeated.”
For his part, David Vallenilla pointed out that “the ICC is our only chance for full justice. And of course, we will always fight, both in the case of my son and in all the cases of those in Venezuela who have suffered and continue to suffer from the political situation in the country, the repressions, the deaths,” he insisted.
He stressed that his “goal is to seek justice” for his son. “Politics will always be present in this case. But I will continue fighting until full justice is achieved. I will come whenever my testimony is required.”
“I am very proud to have been heard at the ICC, it is our light of hope for justice and we will continue fighting and making our cases visible. Every time we have a space for an opportunity in international instances, we will go”, he reiterated.
Initiation of investigations by CPI
On November 3, 2021, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan announced his decision to open an investigation into the Venezuelan case and signed a letter of understanding with the Venezuelan authorities, in which the government committed to adopting “all measures necessary to ensure the effective administration of justice.
On March 31, both the ICC and Caracas agreed to open a court office in Venezuela. However, on April 15, 2022, the government of Nicolás Maduro asked the prosecutor to defer his office’s investigation into possible crimes against humanity, alleging that national authorities were already investigating these crimes.
On April 20, Khan said he refused to postpone his investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela and asked the judges for permission to resume the investigation.