Therefore, rather than calling for coercive military measures that are high risk by nature, what we want is international criminal sanctions against Nicolás Maduro. The economic sanctions that have been promoted by the European Union, the Lima Group, and the US State Department have a partial impact. Hence, we consider an international criminal solution more effective than economic pressure from the international community.
Does the President of the Board of Directors of the Assembly of States belonging to the International Court have the power to fix this situation?
The Rome Statute provides that the assembly of state parties has functions of administrative and disciplinary nature. The Assembly meets typically in December at The Hague or New York. This year it will meet in New York. Its board of directors is composed of 21 countries. The General Assembly consists of 132 nations. The board is an executive committee. They have the power to apply sanctions. Therefore, through the independent oversight mechanism, the president, a kind of inspectorate general, can verify all the evidence submitted. The simple fact of seeing an unjustified delay in the initiation, processing, and resolution of the case means opening an investigation and sanctioning the Prosecutor.
There are three ways to resolve this issue. The first is for the Prosecutor to inhibit herself. We have asked her to dispense and withdraw voluntarily from the case. The second is to recuse her. The countries that reported her can do so. And the third way is removal from the table of the Assembly by the state parties.
According to the jurisprudence and doctrine of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights, a judicial officer must not only be one but appear to be one, as was said concerning Caesar’s wife. She neither looks like one nor is one. The reality says quite the opposite.
Moreover, she is obliged to comply with the United Nations international judicial rules approved in Bangalore, India, and with the principles on judicial behavior approved in Doha, Qatar, to which we must add the International Convention against Corruption. These are provisions that oblige the Prosecutor to be diligent in the exercise of her office.
Six years are more than enough for her to review a single case, but she is determined to accumulate everything. The Prosecutor’s Office has become a repository for complaints.
She points out that there is no procedural time limit for decisions, which is not true because the Rome Statute refers to the supplementary law, which establishes that if there are no rules in the Rome Statute, they are sought in international criminal law. If they are not found there, they are referred to the State’s rules where the crimes under investigation occurred.
In Venezuela’s specific case, the Organic Criminal Procedural Code establishes a minimum period of one year for this type of crime and a maximum period of two years. In other words, complaints filed in 2014 must be resolved in 2016. Our denunciation against Maduro for the crime of forced deportation made in 2016 should have had a resolution already in 2018.
There is an example that shows the partiality with which the Prosecutor acts. In Myanmar, there was the forced deportation of members of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic group from Myanmar to Bangladesh. This happened in August 2017. In 2018 the Prosecutor’s Office opened a preliminary examination. In December 2019, the Court authorized the opening of an investigation. The forced deportation at the border between Colombia and Venezuela occurred two years before that of Myanmar.
The Office of the Prosecutor has also investigated crimes against humanity in Israel that are not part of the Rome Statute, crimes in Afghanistan concerning the United States, which are also not part of the Rome Statute. But she is not acting on Venezuela’s, which is a party, and neither on the six countries’ requests denouncing Maduro, which are also part of the Rome Statute.
This is clear evidence that Bensouda is biased, committed to the regime, and in accomplice by action and omission to the crimes against humanity committed by Nicolás Maduro.