The decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC), unprecedented for a Latin American country, regarding the change from the preliminary phase to the investigation of the perpetration of crimes against humanity by the government of Nicolás Maduro, is not only a serious decision but one that keeps unmasking the repressive and criminal nature of his government. At this stage, the ICC can already issue international arrest warrants against those responsible for these crimes.

Despite the tricks and pirouettes of Maduro and his hitman prosecutor, and the charade they wanted to show, the announcement made by the ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan, was like a bucket of cold water to some of the act attendants, many of whom have participated or are co-responsible for Human Rights violations in the country. 

The government undertook all kinds of political manoeuvres to prevent the ICC from moving to this investigation phase, even placing this element during the failed Mexico negotiation as an indispensable one for any progress. They were already willing to give the opposition anything in exchange, as it was later leaked in a recording of the ineffable «lord of the guarimbas (riots)», Freddy Guevara. Therefore, the crimes against humanity committed by them would be investigated and sanctioned by themselves, which is a mockery to all their victims and the country. For this reason, Prosecutor Karim Khan demanded the parties to let him do his job without any political interference.

It is important to point out that our accession as a country to the Rome Statute, the International Agreement that creates the ICC, is not the product of an imposition, neither of imperialism nor the international right-wing. Venezuela’s incorporation into ICC was agreed willfully in 2000 by President Hugo Chávez in the broadest possible manner. If crimes against humanity were committed in the country, they would be investigated and sanctioned directly by the ICC and not by the Venezuelan institutions.  

For example, countries like the US and Israel never adhered to the Rome Statute because they did not want the ICC to investigate their troops’ actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Palestine. 

President Chávez signed this agreement taking into account its maximum juridical effects. He wanted to make clear to the world that he would never allow the perpetration of crimes against humanity in the country and that he would never become a criminal. But most importantly, that the Bolivarian Revolution he started could never become the executioner of its people. Otherwise, it was neither Revolution nor Bolivarian.  

Furthermore, when Chávez opted for the ICC’s action instead of the Venezuelan courts, if crimes against humanity were committed in the country, it would be because the Venezuelan Justice and the State’s control organs had failed, as is currently the case. Here it must be said that Chávez’s position and actions continue to point out, by contrast, Maduro and his government as a profoundly anti-Chávez one. 

Against the most prominent defenders of Madurismo, those who now -without any shame- pretend to be upset for the case of businessman Alex Saab and, in turn, argue that Chávez never had to face the violence of the opposition «because we had a Revolution at 100 dollars a barrel». I must say in defence of the truth and Chávez that he confronted a Coup d’Etat, a military uprising, an oil sabotage and prolonged riots. 

He faced all this with a barrel of oil at less than 30 dollars, without unleashing the violence of the State, without creating masked organizations to carry out summary executions, as is the case today of the FAES (the police special action forces), without using the government Intelligence to oppress political opponents, without political prisoners, without torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, without deaths in custody, without censorship, that is to say, without imposing state terrorism, as the Maduro government has done.  

Likewise, given another inconceivable argument used by the pro-Maduro supporters to justify the crimes of the State, arguing that the opposition and the «guarimberos» (the rioters) also acted violently -which is true-. It is necessary to clarify that the difference is that the government and the police forces cannot act as criminals against the people since they are the ones who have the monopoly of the State’s force. Thus, the exercise of this violence from the government and the public forces isdisproportionate to the opposition’s capabilities, no matter how cruel it may have been. No one can be outside the law and the National Constitution.

The argument of the Maduristas to justify the commission of crimes against humanity is not different from the one used by the Argentine dictatorship headed by Videla, in the case of STATE TERRORISM AND THE DISAPPEARANCE of 30,000 Argentines, as a response to the actions of the guerrilla group «Montoneros». I recommend everyone read the book «Nunca Más» (Never Again) by the great Ernesto Sábato. Aheartbreaking story that should always remind us how far the violence of State Terrorism can go. 

The paradox of all this is that neither Maduro’s justice system, nor his «hitman» prosecutor, have sanctioned the violent ones simply because these institutions act subordinated to their orders and requests, as determined by several reports from Human Rights organizations. Therefore, they only act according to the government’s convenience without considering fulfilling their responsibilities to preserve the constitutional order and respect for the law.

To date, no prosecutions or convictions have been brought against the security forces that acted with such a PATTERN of violence that has ENSANGRENTED the country’s streets for the first time in our history. Nor has any action been taken against the opposition leaders, directly responsible for the violence during the guarimbas, who today walk around the country and declare freely, with total impunity, seeking secret agreements with the government, always with their backs to the national public opinion. 

Maduro and his «hitman» prosecutor, investigated and pointed out as perpetrators of Human Rights violations, will start condemning those who «pulled the trigger» only to tell the ICC that they are acting against criminal conduct. Al the above without touching or pointing out those who gave the orders and instigated the violence because they were themselves. It is as if someone investigated what happened in «El Caracazo» (1989 demonstrations), and as a result are sent to prison only the soldiers who fired the shots while keeping in absolute impunity the former Minister of Defense, Italo Del Valle Alliegro, the former chief of intelligence (DISIP), Remberto Uzcátegui or the ex-President, Carlos Andres Pérez. 

Thus, within the framework of their clumsy traps, Maduro, Jorge Rodríguez, and the «hitman» prosecutor argue that everything that has happened in the country is US sanctions fault, which isenough to justify everything, from the PDVSA disaster, the lack of gasoline, the absence of public services, to the excesses of the ‘revolutionary’ bourgeoisie with its casinos, delicatessen shops and luxury restaurants. Here we must be clear and unconditional: no external action, no blockade, can justify a government becoming a criminal, a torturer. None of this can make a government that claims to be revolutionary abdicate its ideas, as has been the case of Maduro and his government.  

The firm decision of the ICC to move to the phase of investigation of the crimes against humanity executed by the Maduro government goes with the two reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, where Human Rights violations are recorded as a policy of the Venezuelan government. Also, the two reports of the International Independent Commission («Fact-Finding») of the UN Human Rights Council.

In the first of them -a document of more than 400 pages-, the heartbreaking accounts of the victims are reviewed one by one. The structure of terror created by Nicolás Maduro is documented in detail. The commission of crimes that follow the same pattern of action, which, according to the provisions of the Rome Statute, constitutes crimes against humanity. In this report, which I invite you to read, the International Special Commission establishes sufficient reasons to recommend initiating criminal proceedings against those responsible and mentions as involved, high-ranking officials of the Maduro government, including him and his hitman prosecutor. 

In the Second Report, the same Independent International Commission determines the direct responsibilities of both the Judiciary and the Prosecutor’s Office in acting as instruments of perpetuating the violation of Human Rights. It explains, step by step, how the government intervened in the justice system, to transform it, illegally, into a contingent of partisan officials, ALL PROVISIONAL, placed in those institutions to act in violation of the Constitution and the laws, according to the interests of Nicolás Maduro and his circle of power. This report even details the leading role of the Security Forces (SEBIN, DIGECIM, FAES), not only as direct executors of crimes and Human Rights violations but also as the ones in charge of «substantiating» all the judicial processes, that is to say, «the False Positives», even serving as witnesses against their victims. The judges and prosecutors of Madurismo have only served to validate these illegal actions. 

This specific report determines, in an independent manner, what we have denounced in all these years of exile and of which we have been permanent victims: The government of Nicolás Maduro has judicialized politics, and uses the judiciary and the «hitman» prosecutor as instruments for political persecution, what the document calls «selective repression», of those of us who have raised our voice against the disaster of this government and its actions. 

These UN Reports and the decision of the ICC confirm what we have denounced: in Venezuela, there is NO RULE OF LAW. Justice is at the service of the interests of Maduro or his circle of power. Whatever Maduro’s justice system says or does, is tainted with illegitimacy and illegality. They constitute instruments that are part of a criminal government. 

The actions of the ICC and the UN reports place Maduro and his government in the group of international dictators, the genocidal from Rwanda, the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, the Israeli Occupation Forces, the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Uribism in Colombia and the fascist Media Luna that overthrew Evo Morales. Shameful RECORD for the Maduro government. 

State violence and crimes against humanity must be investigated, and those responsible must be punished. These people cannot continue to lead the country. Not only have they led us to the abyss, with an unprecedented crisis, but their actions detract from any legitimacy and disqualify them from being at the head of the government. THEY ARE LEGALLY AND POLITICALLY INTERDICTED. As President Chávez, who liked to quote the Bible, used to say: «Everything has its time, and everything under heaven has its hour…«.