This Monday, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry issued a statement that celebrates “the decision adopted by the Preliminary Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on May 4, 2023, in relation to the so-called ‘Venezuela I’ case.”
The official statement by Venezuela’s foreign ministry, issued on May 8, 2023, warns that “the aforementioned decision recognizes that the report of the Victim Reparation and Participation Section of the International Criminal Court only includes the opinions of ‘potential victims,’ thus expressly determining that, to date, there are no victims recognized as such by the International Criminal Court.”
However, “the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces that the so-called ‘potential victims,’ and especially some of the organizations that represent them, may be being instrumentalized to turn the International Criminal Court into a political weapon against the democratic institutions of Venezuela.”
A close reading of the ICC ruling, particularly paragraph 10, makes it clear that the decision is a technicality based on Venezuela’s request to respond to each alleged victim’s allegations in detail. With the decision, the ICC is merely stating that “at this level” there are not “victims” yet, but only “potential victims.”
Complaints regarding the politicization of the ICC against Venezuela and other countries have been frequent since members of national and international anti-Chavismo presented their case to charge President Nicolás Maduro and his government with allegedly having committed crimes against humanity.
The Venezuelan government judges that “with this pronouncement, the Preliminary Questions Chamber confirms what Venezuela has maintained since the beginning of the process before the ICC: there are no victims of crimes against humanity, since said crimes have never occurred in the national territory.”
On the contrary, “it is the people of Venezuela who have been the victim of blockades and economic aggression since 2014, derived from the unilateral coercive measures adopted by the authorities of the United States of America, in clear violation of international law,” reads another fragment of the Venezuela’s statement.
Finally, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry condemned “this strategy that uses the institutional framework of the International Criminal Court for purposes contrary to its nature and raison d’être,” and argued that Venezuela would continue to work hand in hand with the ICC and the Rome Statute.
Translated by Orinoco Tribune.