Latin America Clings to The Useless Criminal Court to Prosecute Maduro
More than a year has passed since preliminary investigations were launched against the dictatorship; International Tribunal remains silent
Spanish – The countries of the region cling to the idea that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should try dictator Nicolas Maduro for crimes against humanity; however, the progress of investigations against the Venezuelan regime is unknown.
Colombian President Ivan Duque asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) to intervene so that the ICC investigates Maduro for the “crimes of the dictatorship.”
“The respectful call is that the existing reports should enable the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to convey its concern to the International Criminal Court and request a formal investigation so that the daily cycle of crimes in Venezuela does not continue,” said the president.
#Barranquilla Pedimos a @CorteIDH que transmita a Corte Penal Internacional denuncias sobre graves violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en Venezuela y se investigue para evitar más crímenes. Esto con base en reportes de @OEA_oficial y la Alta Comisionada de ONU, @mbachelet. pic.twitter.com/15JoXEny0s
— Iván Duque (@IvanDuque) August 26, 2019
In September 2018, Duque along with leaders from Argentina, Canada, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru sent a letter to the ICC prosecutor asking her to investigate Maduro and his collaborators for alleged “crimes against humanity.” However, the International Tribunal has remained silent.
On 6th August, after the Summit for Democracy in Venezuela that took place in Lima, the Government of Peru urged the 50 nations that recognize Juan Guaido as interim president to file a complaint against Maduro at the International Criminal Court, as a gesture of insistence to speed up the investigations.
In February 2018 the International Criminal Court announced, after several years of lawsuits against the regime of Nicolas Maduro, the opening of a preliminary examination for crimes against humanity that occurred during the 2017 protests in Venezuela. Days go by, the dictatorship continues to violate human rights, and the progress of the “preliminary examination” is unknown.
Since the beginning of its operations in 2002, the International Criminal Court has incurred expenses of more than 1.5 billion USD. In this long period, it has prosecuted four African criminals only and none in Latin America.
For a case to be investigated and prosecuted, it has to get through the approval of the prosecutor of the court and then go through a Pre-Trial Chamber; a whole bureaucratic process that can take years.
This international tribunal, which should investigate and prosecute large-scale atrocities such as genocide or crimes against humanity, also depends on the consent of the UN Security Council, which includes Russia, China, France, the United States, and England.
Venezuelan lawyer Carlos Ramirez Lopez, who holds a Diploma in International Criminal Litigation, said in an interview with PanAm Post that the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICC) is “useless” because there are several corrupt officials who taint the organization’s real purpose.
Corruption and dubious members
The inefficiency of the International Criminal Court is not the only “tumor” inside the “prestigious” court. Additionally, it grapples with corruption, dubious members, and the influence of governments.
In 2017, it was revealed that the ICC refused to investigate Mexico for alleged crimes against humanity committed by state agents in Baja California between 2006 and 2012 during the presidency of Felipe Calderon Hinojosa.
A report from Proceso reveals that the refusal of the ICC Prosecutor’s Office occurred after Peña Nieto’s government decided to exert intense pressure on the court to protect its predecessor.
For example, Colombia has also been asking the court since 2005 to investigate crimes against humanity committed by FARC. A decade later, there is no conclusion to this investigation.
Thus, there is no reason for us to believe that the international tribunal will prosecute Nicolas Maduro for constant crimes.
Everyone including former ICC president Silvia Fernandez de Guemendi, former prosecutor Luis Moero Ocampo, and chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda are entangled in corruption. A report published by ICN newspaper revealed that Fernandez got her position in the International Tribunal thanks to former Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, currently charged with crimes in Argentina, and great “friend” of the socialism of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.
Additionally, the credibility of Bensouda is dubious. She was the right-hand of prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and had to be aware of everything he was doing. It was later revealed that Moreno was receiving money and had secret accounts in tax havens.
During his time at the court, the Argentine lawyer could not be involved in “any activity that could interfere with his prosecution function or affect confidence in his independence.” However, documents revealed by Spain’s El Mundo newspaper maintain that Moreno Ocampo acted against the interests of the court by defending Libyan oil magnate Hassan Tatanaki.
The lawyer would have used his personal network in the organization for the benefit of his client and jeopardized the confidentiality of the court’s investigations.
We should not pin our hopes on the Venezuelan case because the court has permitted the presence of Haifa El Aissami, the sister of vice president Tarek El Aissami who in turn is accused of drug trafficking by the United States.
Haifa El Aissami is Maduro’s ambassador to the ICC, and she also makes “special contributions” to the international organization’s budget. She remains there to pressure and ensure that investigations against the Venezuelan regime do not advance.