The murders and arbitrary detentions during the anti-governmental demonstrations occurred last week could exceed the police and military brutality statistics in 2014 and 2017. Proiuris urges the International Criminal Court to incorporate the most recent events to the investigations against Maduro
Proiuris, a non-governmental organization for the promotion and defense of human rights, warns of an increase in brutal repression of public demonstrations that took place between January 22nd and 27th, 2019. With an average of 6 deaths per day, excessive action of the security forces of the State could surpass the records corresponding to 2014 and 2017. And for the systematic and general nature of the repression, Nicolás Maduro and the officials responsible for the systematic and widespread abuses prove themselves as criminals against humanity.
According to the data provided by the Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social, Provea and Foro Penal, between January 22nd and 27th there have been 35 deaths, including 8 alleged extrajudicial executions, during or immediately after the demonstrations against Nicolás Maduro.
The assault against those who express their dissatisfaction on the street and hold Maduro responsible for the deepening of the complex humanitarian emergency is unprecedented in the Venezuelan history.
In the context of the first wave of mass protests against the Maduro government, between February and May 2014, 43 people died, according to Amnesty International in its report «Venezuela: Faces of impunity». While in 2017, police and military brutality killed 134 people, as stated in the report of the Organization of American States (OAS) that substantiated the complaint against Maduro and at least ten high-rank officials before the International Criminal Court for the alleged commission of crimes against humanity.
In the aforementioned report, the OAS warned: «In response to the 6729 protests that occurred between April 1 and July 31, 2017, the Government ordered the security apparatus to confront demonstrators. The crackdown was not the result of, or collection of a series isolated or random acts. Under direct orders from President Maduro himself, the cabinet and the military commanders implemented a systematic practice of repression and the excessive use of force, including the murder of peaceful protesters. This was not a collection of coincidences. These were calculated actions taken by a dictatorship desperate to hold onto power. The Regime created a ‘new normal’, where the State uses systematic institutional violence in a ‘dirty war’ against its people.«
The systematic and general nature of the attacks on a civilian population are two fundamental principles to accredit the commission of crimes against humanity, in the terms established in the Rome Statute.
The increase in repression against those who have joined the repudiation of Maduro, based on the declaration of usurpation of power by the National Assembly, makes it possible to verify, once again, that these are not isolated events, but correspond to a pattern of behavior. More specifically to a «non-accidental repetition of a similar criminal behavior on a regular basis», characterized by its mass, frequency, collective and large-scale execution, which affects a multiplicity of victims.
With regard to arbitrary detentions, the trend is also upward and reveals a resurgence of the artificial use of criminal justice to the detriment of those who express opinions contrary to the regime, which is a violation of the right to demonstrate, enshrined in the Constitution and international human rights treaties.
Foro Penal has registered 850 arbitrary detentions between January 22nd and 27th 2019, of which 653 happened on January 23rd. Of those arrested during and after the protests, 703 were deprived of liberty, including 77 minors and 100 women.
Proiuris is committed to continue contributing with the documentation of human rights violations in Venezuela and accompanying the victims, and urges the International Criminal Court to incorporate the most recent evidence of systematic and generalized repression on the part of the security bodies of the State against those who reject the establishment of a dictatorship in the country, against Maduro for the alleged commission of crimes against humanity.