Saab: The ICC has the challenge of convincing the world that it is impartial

The Attorney General of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab believes that the ICC has a huge challenge to convince the world that it is an impartial court with universal scope. So far it has not succeeded, since only 123 countries have ratified the Rome Statute and there is much criticism regarding the criminal proceedings initiated by the Court.

“In the case of the United States, considering itself the world’s gendarme, it cannot allow an organization outside its direct control to have the possibility of judging its military, which is permanently involved in conflicts around the world. There are many cases in which the US military and leaders could be accused of war crimes, crimes of aggression and even crimes against humanity. That is why the United States has not only not ratified the ICC Statute, but has passed laws to prevent its action against any American and has even sanctioned the previous ICC Prosecutor for examining the crimes committed by the US army in Afghanistan.

He also mentioned the case of Israel as the occupying power of territories in Palestine and Syria. “His exercise of violence against the peoples who claim those territories make him a candidate to be accused before the ICC every year.”

However, he assures that Venezuela has collaborated and will continue to collaborate with the ICC, “because we are respectful of international justice.”

The prosecutor assures that Venezuela has provided sufficient elements to the ICC Prosecutor’s Office that demonstrate that they have investigated and punished, with the severity established by law, human rights violations committed by police and military officials

“We do not consider that crimes against humanity have occurred in Venezuela within the framework of the high political conflict that the country has experienced. The excesses committed by police and military officials have been investigated and sanctioned, in a context of high internal and external political violence against the institutions of the Venezuelan State”.

He recalled that the ICC’s Technical Cooperation Office (OCT) has not yet been installed, “so for now we do not have a working dynamic with it,” he commented.

“We had a very positive working relationship with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after the visit of High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet in June 2019,” he said.

He assured that during that period, numerous cases suggested by this office related to deaths in protests, cruel and inhumane treatment, and illegitimate deprivation of liberty were given procedural impetus.”

“We believe that a similar relationship can be established with the ICC’s Technical Cooperation Office,” he said.

“In total, since our arrival at the Public Ministry, 1,770 State security officials and 68 collaborators have been charged, for a total of 1,838 defendants. 2,002 officials and 107 collaborating civilians have been accused, for a total of 2,109 accused. 868 and 62 collaborators have been deprived of liberty, for a total of 930 deprived of liberty. And we have achieved 458 convictions.”

Regarding the cases that occurred after the dens in 2017, he recalled that many people refrained from reporting the events to national bodies, and that some went directly to international bodies, since the Public Ministry asked the ICC Prosecutor’s Office to send those complaints that have not been processed in the country.

“We believe that collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office should aim to provide us with specific complaints that allow us to investigate possible crimes that have not been investigated to date,” says Saab.

Venezuela denounced the sanctions imposed by the US before the ICC

On February 13, 2020, Venezuela denounced before the ICC the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States government on the country.

“The Venezuelan government has described the sanctioning regime imposed by the United States as a crime against humanity and has urged the Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Office to investigate it”

It explains that coercive measures are considered to include all the elements that make up a crime against humanity, in the terms provided in the Rome Statute, namely: that it is a generalized or systematic attack against a civilian population, in accordance with the policy of a State or an organization.”

“The Court named this complaint the Venezuela II case, and up to now no progress has been made in its examination.”

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