Our Voices

IACHR refers case of El Junquito Massacre to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Foro Penal and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights welcome the IACHR’s decision to refer the Case of El Junquito Massacre against Venezuela to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights last October. This case, in which both organizations act as victims’ representatives, refers to the extrajudicial executions of Oscar Pérez and six other victims by State agents during the “Operation Gedeon” on January 15,2018, as well as the harassment suffered by their families and the prevailing impunity surrounding these heinous acts.

Oscar Pérez was an active agent of CICPC (Venezuela’s criminal investigations and forensic services institution) who became a critic of the political power structures in Venezuela and co-founded the group “Movimiento Equilibrio Nacional”. Pérez gained notoriety in June 2017 when he published a video and later flew a helicopter over the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in Caracas. In mid-December 2017, the group took weapons from the barracks of the Bolivarian National Guard barracks and later, Oscar Pérez then posted a video on Twitter, calling it “Operación Génesis”. In January 2018, around 500 security forces stormed the El Junquito residence where Oscar Pérez and six others were situated. Despite overwhelming evidence of their surrender and efforts to negotiate, State agents executed them.

The case of El Junquito massacre is emblematic of the severe and systemic human rights abuses in Venezuela, marked by a pattern of excessive force, and a stark absence of due process, and judicial protection. The extrajudicial killings of the seven individuals who had unequivocally surrendered, underscores a blatant disregard for the most basic human rights norms. Additionally, the intentional destruction of the crime scene, and failure to preserve crucial evidence underscore a deliberate undermining of due process and judicial safeguards.

Foro Penal and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights will continue to represent the victims in this new stage of litigation before the inter-American human rights system to obtain the truth, justice and reparation that the Venezuelan political power has denied them for years.