Our Voices

The victims of Crimes against Humanity in Venezuela will have a voice this Tuesday, 7/11, in a hearing at the International Criminal Court

The Hague, November 6, 2023: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court has scheduled the first public hearing for Situation Venezuela I for Tuesday, November 7, and Wednesday, November 8, at 9 a.m. Central European Time (CET). Situation Venezuela I focuses on the investigation of crimes against humanity, including arbitrary detentions, torture, forced disappearances, and systematic sexual and gender-based violence committed in the context of political persecution in the country.

This hearing will mark a milestone as the first public hearing in a process that has maintained steady momentum. On this occasion, victims will have a voice, and they will be represented by Paolina Massidda, head of the Office of Public Counsel for Victims at the ICC, which has been in close contact with human rights organizations and defenders in the country.

In addition, prominent non-governmental organizations committed to the defense of human rights will be present as observers at the hearing, including Foro Penal. Throughout the hearing, both the perspective of the Venezuelan State and the arguments presented by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will be heard.

It should be noted that this hearing will be available for public viewing through the following link.

Alfredo Romero, President of Foro Penal, emphasized the significance of the ongoing investigation into crimes against humanity for the victims, given the clear lack of willingness on the part of the Venezuela State to conduct a genuine investigation.

Romero explained that Foro Penal in collaboration with the organization Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, submitted additional observations to the Appeals Chamber, addressing technical and legal issues present in the Venezuelan State’s appeal. These observations include the State’s obligation to investigate the contextual elements of crimes against humanity and the underlying discriminatory component of the crime of persecution. Romero highlighted that “a genuine and efficient investigation can only benefit a State that recognizes justice as the ultimate goal.”

Furthermore, the submitted observations also highlighted the situation of the 271 individuals detained in Venezuela for political reasons, of whom 113 have been held in pre-trial detention for more than three years without being convicted, which constitutes a clear violation of national law and international minimum standards. Among these detainees are innocent women and men, including human rights defender Javier Tarazona and citizen Emirlendris Benítez.