Venezuela’s justice system aiding repression of opposition: Rights probe 

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In its 2nd study mandated by the Human Rights Council, the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, alleged that judges allowed grounds submitted by prosecutors to beryllium utilized that had been obtained by torture, among different “recurrent” owed process violations. 

“In immoderate of the cases reviewed, judges besides failed to support victims of torture by ordering that they instrumentality to the places of detention wherever the torture allegedly occurred, contempt having heard victims – sometimes bearing disposable injuries accordant with torture – marque the allegation successful court,” the Mission said successful a statement. 

Members of the Fact-Finding Mission of #Venezuela presented their caller study connected the justness strategy successful Venezuela astatine a media briefing.

The study is presented to the 48th league of the Human Rights Council connected 24 Sept. #HRC48

WATCH it HERE https://t.co/QhfUB7lBMM via @YouTube

— UN Human Rights Council (@UN_HRC) September 16, 2021

Aiding repression 

“Based connected the investigations and the investigation conducted, the Mission has tenable grounds to judge that alternatively of providing extortion to victims of quality rights violations and crimes, the Venezuelan justness strategy has played a important relation successful the State’s repression of Governmental crimes,” said Marta Valiñas, Chairperson of the fact-finding Mission, astatine property league connected the sidelines of the Human Rights Council successful Geneva. 

The Mission’s findings are based connected 177 interviews – including galore with justness strategy actors – arsenic good arsenic a survey of erstwhile Venezuelan judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers, and investigation of thousands of pages of ineligible lawsuit files and different authoritative documents. 

Detailed investigation was besides carried retired connected 183 detentions of “real oregon perceived” authorities opponents - 153 men and 30 women, astir fractional civilians and half military - betwixt 2014 and August 2021, uncovering irregularities “marring each stages of the transgression process”. 

Highlighting predominant interference by the Government successful prosecutions, Ms. Valiñas pointed retired that successful 102 of the 183 cases examined, “the Mission recorded that high-level nationalist officials made nationalist statements commenting connected transgression cases involving oregon existent oregon perceived opponents, either anterior to oregon soon aft their detention”. 

‘Vilified and intimidated’ 

Judges and prosecutors person been appointed connected impermanent contracts and justices who refused to springiness successful to governmental unit “have been vilified and intimidated”, the Mission said, noting that since 1999, astatine slightest a twelve caller laws and resolutions person impacted adversely connected judicial independence. 

Among the procedural irregularities identified, the investigators pointed to lengthy procedural delays that denied defendants the accidental to situation grounds against them, “hurdles and harassment” faced by defence lawyers and pretrial detentions beyond the Constitutional bounds of 24 months. 

“Of the 170 cases reviewed that progressive archetypal appearances, successful 146 of them, pretrial detention was ordered by judges,” said Mission researcher Francisco Cox Vial. “Of those 80 - which is 47 per cent of them - lasted much than 2 years.” 

The Mission besides reviewed cases that it antecedently documented successful 2020 of State quality forces who had subjected antheral and pistillate detainees to enforced disappearance, torture - including intersexual unit - and death. 

No investigations 

No grounds was recovered of high-level officials being investigated oregon prosecuted successful these incidents, oregon successful immoderate different cases it has investigated since, it said. 

High-profile cases included that of Fernando Albán, the absorption person who fell to his decease from the 10th floor of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) office successful 2015; Rafael Acosta Arévalo, a subject serviceman who fainted and died successful a Caracas courtroom pursuing torture successful 2018; and Juan Pablo Pernalete, a pupil who died aft a teardrop state canister struck his thorax astatine adjacent scope during a protestation successful Caracas successful 2017. 

“The Mission recovered that the caller charges brought successful these cases are highly constricted successful scope and/or focused connected isolating low-level perpetrators, arsenic opposed to seeking accountability further up the concatenation of command,” it said successful a statement.   

Mr. Francisco Cox Vial added: “We person documented some successful this study and the erstwhile study that the subject are taxable to the violations and some torture and different situations.” 

The Mission’s latest study complements its September 2020 report, which recovered tenable grounds to judge that high-level Venezuelan authorities and information forces had planned and executed superior quality rights violations since 2014. 

These see arbitrary killings and systematic torture which whitethorn magnitude to crimes against humanity.

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