This Thursday, the Venezuelan Commissioner to the United Nations, Miguel Pizarro, offered statements regarding the presentation of the new report of the International Independent Fact Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, that, on this occasion, focuses on on the role of the judicial system in the investigation and the role of the actors of the justice system in the commission of human rights violations and crimes against humanity.
“This new report not only reaffirms the systematic violation of human rights in Venezuela despite the recommendations and complaints made by international organizations, but also shows that the Venezuelan justice system is an active part of the systematic violation of Human Rights in the country and that in Venezuela there is no possibility of justice under the ordinary system. Today it is demonstrated that the Prosecutor’s Office, the Public Ministry, the courts and the Supreme Court of Justice have denied reparation, truth, and justice to the victims, and the Venezuelan State does not punish human rights violations and is not in a position to do so,” remarked Commissioner Pizarro.
In this new report, the UN Mission deepens its examinations on the role of the actors of the Venezuelan justice system in the commission of human rights violations and crimes. The investigation focuses on the role of the judicial system in investigating and prosecuting political opponents and in perpetuating impunity for human rights violations and crimes against humantity committed against them. However, the UN Mission also reported that it remains concerned at the constant complaints that include homicides consistent with documented patterns of extrajudicial executions, acts of torture, and cruel and inhuman treatment; as well as human rights violations that occurred in the Orinoco Mining Arc.
Regarding the details of the report, the Commissioner commented: “The Mission carried out a detailed analysis of 200 detentions of opponents that occurred between 2014 and August 2021, in which forced disappearances, cases of torture, sexual violence, cruel and inhuman treatment were reported. Also, the presentation of falsified and manipulated evidence, coercion to obtain statements from detainees and, above all, the lack of independence of the judicial system. this way the regime manages all the strings of justice in Venezuela at will.”
Mr. Pizarro also highlighted the absence of investigations and trials of high-level officials, explaining that the report reveals that only lower-ranking perpetrators face criminal prosecution, since investigations by the Venezuelan judicial system ignore investigations and prosecution higher up in the chain of command.
“The report also reaffirms something that we have been denouncing for months: in May the regime spoke of the transfer of political prisoners to detention centers of the Ministry of Penitentiary Services, but this order has not been carried out. In the facilities of the SEBIN and the DGCIM they continue to hold, detain and torture anyone who denounces and opposes the regime. As is the case of the arrest of Freddy Guevara who was sent to the SEBIN in ‘El Helicoide’, and the case of the members of ‘FundaRedes’ are a clear examples that the regime has never intended to remedy human rights violations and abide by the recommendations made by the regime itself, the Fact-finding Mission and the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” commented the Commissioner.
To conclude, Pizarro thanked the Mission for its work and recognized the courage of victims and relatives of Human Rights violations, who have constantly made visible and denounced the actions of the regime: “It is important to continue documenting cases of human rights violations because all of this It will make it possible to do justice and initiate a process of reparation for the victims. In this report, there are also important statements from judges and prosecutors who have also been victims of threats and harassment by the regime. Each one of these testimonies, and each one of the reports and updates issued by Human Rights organizations bring us closer to the necessary processes to achieve justice for Venezuelans ”.
At the press conference given by the Mission’s representatives, Ms. Marta Valiñas, President of the Mission, reported that the documented attacks are directed at political opponents, activists and civil society organizations, and all those who are considered threats to the government and that, in instead of protecting victims of crime and human rights violations, the justice system has been used to intimidate them. She also stated that the Venezuelan regime has refused to respond to the Mission’s communications.
For his part, Mr. Francisco Cox, a member of the UN’s Fact Finding Mission, commented that the investigation reveals that prosecutors and other members of the justice system were a key part of several of the documented arrests, and that in many cases the judges maintain the arrests based on manipulated evidence, which prevents defenders from carrying out their work and violates due process. He also expressed that the UN Mission is concerned that many detainees were returned to the custody of security agents who have participated in the violation of human rights.