An Argentine prosecutor charged Venezuelan soldiers who served as senior officers of the Bolivarian National Guard during street protests in 2014 with alleged crimes against humanity against opponents of the government of Nicolás Maduro.
The measure was ordered by federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli, who decided to launch a criminal action “as alleged perpetrators against, at least at that time, Major General Juan José Noguera Pietri, commander of the Bolivarian National Guard and Division General José Dionisio Goncálvez Mendoza, Commander of the People’s Guard,” according to the order released on Wednesday.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague reopened an investigation also for crimes against humanity for what happened in the demonstrations nine years ago.
The Argentine prosecutor also asked to call on the United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to send “copies of reports from international missions sent to Venezuela and any action related to the dead protesters.
The Prosecutor’s Office official accused a dozen soldiers of different ranks, including brigadier generals, colonels, lieutenant colonels and sergeants from the detachments of Carabobo and Tocuyito.
Stornelli’s resolution, to which AP had access, took place based on a complaint filed by the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ), taking into account Argentine jurisprudence on human rights.
This organization represents the families of two Venezuelan protesters murdered almost a decade ago.
The refusal of the Venezuelan judiciary to investigate the heads of the Bolivarian National Guard (only officers of junior ranks were tried as material authors) led the Clooney Foundation to initiate a legal case before the Argentine courts, which have been based on the principle of universal jurisdiction to judge crimes against humanity committed outside its territory.
In it, it is stated that “the organized attack against the civilian population between February and May 2014 responded to a policy of the Venezuelan State” and that the murders of at least 25 demonstrators at the hands of security forces or collectives were framed in a ” systematic plan” of repression against opponents.
The complainants, based on the Rome Statute that governs the International Criminal Court, maintain that “the military commander will be criminally responsible for crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court that have been committed by forces under his command.”
In his ruling, Stornelli requested a series of measures that must be previously endorsed by a federal judge, including the release of exhortations to the Venezuelan justice to send copies of the judicial proceedings and to the hospitals where the victims were assisted to access their stories. clinics, list of professionals who attended them and death certificates.
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