ICC Moves to Reopen Probe Into Venezuela Human Rights Abuse

An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
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Nov 1 (Reuters) – International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan said on Tuesday he formally asked the court to resume his investigation into alleged human rights violations committed by Venezuelan officials.

In April, Khan had rejected Venezuelan authorities’ call for a delay and indicated he would seek to proceed with the probe, two years after a preliminary inquiry found evidence of crimes against humanity. The decision to reopen the investigation now passes to ICC judges.

Venezuela’s information ministry and prosecutors’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Caracas had sought the delay to show that authorities were ready and able to conduct their own investigation into alleged crimes committed under the rule of President Nicolas Maduro.

But in his formal request that the probe resume, Khan said that after assessing “a significant amount of information” from credible sources, he had concluded that the delay was not currently warranted.

Khan said he was encouraged by legal reforms undertaken by Venezuelan authorities, though these were currently “either insufficient in scope or have not yet had any concrete impact on potentially relevant proceedings.”

The ICC began conducting a preliminary examination into the country in 2018, and in March this year, Khan said he would open an office in Caracas.

Reporting by Sarah Morland in Mexico City and Mayela Armas in Caracas Editing by Matthew Lewis
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