“Contempt and Insult to the redress of the victims”: Alert to the attack of Maduro’s dictatorship of the UN report

Photo: CCN – Centro de Comunicación Nacional


On September 19th, 2020, Mr. Tareck William Saab, the “attorney general” appointed by the null and void National Constituent Assembly, together with the “minister” for foreign affairs attached to the de facto regime, Mr. Jorge Arreza, held a press conference in which they made some comments on the contents of the report published on September 16th, 2020 by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter, the Mission or FFM), which was established by the United Nations Human Rights Council through resolution A/HRC/RES/42/25 of September 27th, 2019.

By CCN – Centro de Comunicación Nacional

Sep 20, 2020

Commissioners Prado and Pizarro of the Interim Government, would like to respond to the public opinion about the unfounded assertions made by both officials of the de facto regime, which have shown a significant lack of knowledge about the minimum standards of the universal human rights system. Additionally, they have shown contempt to the reparation of those affected by the violations, being the report of the FFM a form of redress in favor of the victims, by making their cases visible and listening to the voices that did not obtain justice in the internal jurisdiction.

In the first place, independent fact-finding missions are a mechanism for action by the Human Rights Council that normally address situations where the international community fears that serious human rights violations have taken place. Their application is not foreign to international law and their existence in the case of Venezuela reaffirms the gravity of the national case due to the suspicion of cases of forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and the subjection of persons to torture and other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment, many of which were denounced by organized civil society, to whom it is worthwhile to thank for their very important work in gathering the necessary information that gave rise to this FFM report.

Thus, the Human Rights Council has approved FFM for the cases of the conflict in the Gaza Strip (2009) Myanmar in 2017, and Libya (2020), among others. Similarly, similar mechanisms such as the Commissions of Consultation, or Independent Investigations, have been applied in the cases of Burundi, Eritrea and North Korea, among others. In many of the cases cited the governments or regimes refused to allow the Missions to enter their territories, which did not prevent the implementation as a standard of proof, of “reasonable grounds for belief” which is met when factual information has been gathered that satisfies a reasonable degree of certainty that the incident has occurred as described, and is applied to prove: 1) that the violation or crime occurred; and 2) that the identified person was responsible. The standard of proof is not a sufficient requirement to support an accusation in criminal proceedings, but it does justify further investigation.

It is precisely because of the nature of this methodology that the FFM, although unable to enter the national territory, was able to gather information from confidential documents, files, and more than 274 interviews with victims, witnesses, family members, former state officials, lawyers, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and international personnel.

It also relied on information in the public domain for the purpose of identifying and verifying the incidents and the agents involved in the crimes/violations. This information was evaluated for prima facie evidence that it was a reliable source, i.e., not all public sources were admitted.

The mission received 2,891 cases, and thoroughly investigated 223 cases that were correspondingly detailed. The cases investigated in depth were based on at least one credible source of direct information, which was independently corroborated by at least one other credible source of information. In addition, the use of digital forensic technology by the FFM for Venezuela allowed it to verify crimes in a credible manner.

Read More: CCN – Centro de Comunicación Nacional – “Contempt and Insult to the redress of the victims”: Alert to the attack of Maduro’s dictatorship of the UN report

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