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International Criminal Court prosecutor to monitor developments in Venezuela after statements of growing human rights abuses
The international criminal court (ICC) has said it is looking into claims of crimes against humanity in Venezuela, after receiving a request for an investigation from the UN secretary general, António Guterres.
Guterres had requested the investigation on the recommendations of a fact-finding mission to Venezuela, it said.
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The prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said: “The ICC will look at the situation objectively and independently, without political or other considerations, and ensure that justice is done and continues to be done.”
The move followed a number of complaints from Venezuelan opposition figures and human rights activists.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, this week voiced concern about what he called the “chronic impunity” surrounding Venezuelan human rights abuses.
Zeid also warned that the situation was deepening Venezuela’s deepening humanitarian crisis, which has forced a quarter of a million people to flee the country over the past two years.
Allegations of serious human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, torture and the use of deadly force, have risen dramatically in recent months.
Venezuela’s government has repeatedly rejected allegations of human rights abuses as part of a smear campaign aimed at discrediting the government of Nicolás Maduro.
Maduro has accused the US and others of trying to destabilise the country ahead of this year’s presidential election and demanded that the UN human rights chief, Zeid, defend himself against “fraudulent accusations”.