Holding Maduro Government Accountable for Human Rights Violations in Venezuela

 

Systematic Violation of Freedom of Expression and Freedom from Arbitrary Detention in Venezuela and Holding the Maduro Government Accountable 

 

The Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro and his government have violated political rights, freedom of expression, social protest, and economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights since 2013.[1] Specifically concerning, both the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights[2] and Inter American Commission on Human Rights have reported that the State of Venezuela has conducted a pattern of arbitrary detention and restriction of speech[3]  towards opponents of the Maduro regime. The Inter American Commission on Human Rights duly notes that both acts violate freedoms are essential for safeguarding democracy and effective political participation.[4] Therefore, the focus of the following analysis is dedicated to these rights that are recognized both internally and regionally. Specifically, we will analyze how the international and regional human rights mechanisms can be utilized for individual redress, to protect individuals from further violations, and to penalize both the State and individuals within the regime for these criminal violations of human rights.

Given that the scope of this analysis is the Venezuelan regime under Maduro, the timeframe is limited to his tenure as undisputed President, between March 8, 2013 when he was sworn in as interim president following the death of Chavez[5], and January 10, 2019, when his legitimate term as president ended.[6]   While freedom of speech for those who publicly express their dissent has been consistently through censorship[7], excessive use of force[8], and harassment[9], the focus of this analysis is how arbitrary detention is used by the government to criminalize and discourage free speech among protestors, journalists and academics. Between 1 August 2017 and April 30 2018 at least 570 persons, including 35 children, were arbitrarily detained.[10] In 2018, at least 19 media workers, both nationals and non-nationals were arbitrarily detained and or deported.[11] Thankfully, victims of these violations can get redress through  international and regional accountability mechanisms. Unfortunately, as we will see in the following analysis Venezuela's relatively recent denunciation of a human rights Convention within the regional mechanism severely undermines the probability of redress. 

All of the aforementioned tactics to suppress freedom of social protest and expression are violations of both internationally and regionally recognized human rights. Particularly, they are violations of the Rome Statute, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, and the American Declaration of the Rights of Man. However, not all rights are covered in each treaty, and not each treaty offers a mechanism to hold individuals accountable. More importantly, Venezuela's recent denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights (September 10, 2013) and announcement of withdrawal from the Organization of American States (announced on April 28, 2019), limits the timeframe that violations can be deemed admissible ratione temporis for which the Inter American Court of Human Rights has jurisdiction to investigate. These limitations will be addressed in addition to the other limits of type of redress, admissibility of claims, who can submit a claim, and how the regional and international mechanisms operate together. Moving forward, we will analyze how these international mechanisms can be used for violations of human rights treaties Venezuela is a party to.

 

International Mechanisms

 

Complaint Mechanism of Human Rights Committee

 

The first international mechanism to consider is the complaint mechanism associated with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Since 1978 Venezuela has recognized the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee to accept individual complaints of violations set forth in the ICCPR.[12] As previously stated, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights found that at least 570 persons were arbitrarily detained between August 2017 and April 30 2018. People arbitrarily detained in Venezuela, whether a national or not, can submit an individual communication to the Human Rights Committee on the grounds the State violated article 9 of the ICCPR that stipulates, “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arfeôt or detention.”[13] When submitting such a complaint the victim was expand upon the circumstance, including whether or not they were informed at the time of arrest of the reasons for his arrest and informed promptly on any charges levied against him, as stipulated in article 9 (1)(2). In addition, the victim should explain if they were brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law or provided trial within a reasonable time, which is required by article 9(1)(3). If the Human Rights Committee views’ are in favor with the complainant, according to Article  2 (3) (a) of the ICCPR, the State party is under an obligation to provide the victim with an effective remedy. In the most recent case that went in favor of the complainant in 2017, the HRC determined the State that because the State violated his right as dictated in article 14 the State “should therefore ensure, inter alia, that the author has access to judicial proceedings that are in accordance with the guarantees established in article 14 of the Covenant.”[14] The State was also obliged to award the victim “appropriate compensation for the violations committed against him” and to “take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.”[15] Venezuela was given 180 days to provide the Committee information concerning the measures taken to give effect to the Committees’ views.[16] Therefore, in the case of arbitrary detention, a violation of of article 9 of the ICCPR, a remedy as demanded by the Committee could include compensation, given that article 9(1)(5) stipulates, “Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.” In addition, pursuant to article 2(3)(a)(b), the State should have access to domestic court (that is determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities) to claim remedy.[17]

To provide context to the individual complaint mechanism, we will consider the specific case of Luis Carlos Díaz. On March 12, 2019, Luis Carlos Díaz, a journalist who distributed information on how to access news during the media blackout,  was arbitrarily detained and charged with "instigating crimes" related to the electricity blackout, according to article 295 of the Criminal Code. This incident occurred after, pro-Maduro politician Diosdado Cabello showed a heavily edited video clip on the State Media program and accused him of sabotage and alleging Díaz played a role in the electricity outages. [18] He was released on the condition that he would report to intelligence officials every week but was prohibited from leaving the country or speaking publicly about his detention.[19] In general, this is a violation of article 9, but because he was seen before a judge within 48 hours of his arrest, interpreted as a reasonably prompt time, and therefore the State did not violate article 9(1)(3) of the ICCPR. In many other cases included in the report by the OHCHR, detainees were not promptly seen by a judge, "detainees were consistently kept incommunicado until they were brought before a judge, often done beyond the 48 hour-limit set under domestic law."[20] Before a case like Luis’s can be considered by the Human Rights Committee, he must first exhaust domestic remedies. 

Therefore, he would have to argue first in domestic court that his right to freedom from arbitrary detention, as stipulated in article 44 of Constitution of Venezuela, was violated. It seems this is the case because “No person shall be arrested or detained except by virtue of a court order unless such person is caught in flagrante delicto.”[21] Díaz was not caught red-handed, which in flagrante delicto implies. Rather, it is reported he was apprehended while riding a bike on his way home.[22] Therefore, even though he was seen before a judge within 48 hours of his arrest, which would be lawful if he was found in flagrante delicto the authorities violated article 44. Therefore, to seek remedy he could ask the People Defender to take the case since it is her job to investigate situations where the human rights provided for in this Constitution and in the international treaties were not protected.[23] If this domestic remedy is not met, by virtue of the People Defender refusing the case, or by him not being able to access this remedy in another fashion, then perhaps Luis could meet the requirement that overrides exhaustion of domestic remedies. The HRC might consider domestic remedy impossible given that since 2016 the lack of independence of the judiciary in Venezuela has been a subject of concern for the United Nations human rights mechanisms. [24] If the HRC views his complaint to be valid, then the remedy provided could include a re-trial to free him of his charge and or compensation for the time spent in jail. We will return to the case of Luis Carlos Díaz when discussing the remaining accountability mechanisms. 

Another case to consider is Professor Santiago Guevara who was arbitrarily arrested on February 21, 2017, and detained for ten months after having published an article critical of government policies.[25] He was charged with  “military crimes of treason against the fatherland and instigation of rebellion.” [26]The remedy might change if the incommunicado detention is prolonged enough to constitute a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In general, remedy might take the form of payment of compensation, the repeal or amendment of legislation, and/or the release of a detained person.[27] This follows a pattern, as noted by the OHCHR that since the end of July 2017 security forces, notably the intelligence services, have used “arbitrary and unlawful detentions as one of the main tools to intimidate and repress the political opposition or any person perceived as a threat to the Government for expressing dissent or discontent.”[28]

Moving onto violations of freedom of expression as stipulated by article Article 19 of the ICCPR. Article 19 stipulates, "Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference." and "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice." Currently, legislation referred to as "Anti-Hate Law" exists that restricts freedom of speech. It specifically outlaws speech that "promotes war or incite hatred of national, racial, ethnic, religious, political, social, ideological, and any other nature that constitutes incitement to discrimination, intolerance or violence.[29]  Nonetheless, this law has been exploited to imprison people for exercising free speech, such was the case for, Erika Palacios Alfonzo who was detained by members of a municipal police force in Valencia, Carabobo state on January 3, 2018 while protesting and later charged instigating hate, Article 20 of the Anti Hate Law, for specifically shouting ‘Damn Nicolás Maduro!' and verbally insulting the police officers. [30] She could argue that her right to hold opinions without interference as stipulated by Article 19(1) of the ICCPR If the Human Rights Committee viewed in her favor, part of the remedy to ensure that similar violations are prevented from occurring in the future could include appealing or amending the Anti-Hate Law.

 However, the ICCPR allows certain rights, including free speech, to be restricted in the case of public emergency as stipulated by article 19(3), “for respect of the rights or reputations of others”[31]and “for the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.”[32] While Maduro declared a state of economic emergency on January 15, 2016[33]  and a constitutional state of emergency." on May 13, 2016[34]The United Nations Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, Edison Lanza, specifically regards the States attempts to restrict freedom of speech as violating article 19(3) and article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[35] Therefore, it is understood that the Rapporteurs opinion is that the regime’s restrictions are out of bounds despite the regime’s declaration of an emergency.[36] While it seems that such a declaration of emergency would initiate the escape clause of the ICCPR, certain measures must be followed for the derogation to be respected by the United Nations. We will return to this discussion in a later section.

There are two examinations the complaint must pass in order to be officially lodged. The first is admissibility, the second is merit, where the committee decides alleged victim's rights under the treaty have been violated. Admissibility criteria requires; that the author of the complaint is either the victim of the alleged violation, or if acting on behalf of another person, have they obtained authorization, domestic remedies been exhausted, that it is not submitted to another treaty body or regional mechanism including the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, and the violation took after entry into force. [37]

Before reaching a decision, the Committee will consider comments made by the complainant and the State party.  Specifically, "The Committee will tend to accept the State's specific denials of certain facts unless the victim can provide documentary proof supporting his or her own assertions." Unfortunately, this route of accountability is slow, "Typically, it may take several years for a complaint to proceed from initial submission through the series of exchanges between the parties to a final decision by the Committee." [38] Nevertheless, once the decision is made, the HRC's views should have legal consequence according to Nikolaos Sitaropoulos, Deputy to the Director and Head of Division, Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. He specifically says, the State has an obligation to consider the HRC's Views in good faith.[39] Additionally, if they contested HRC’s views, they should provide arguments that are legally sound and coherent. 

 

United Nations Special Rapporteurs

 

While the Human Rights Committee is the monitoring mechanism of the ICCPR, other treaties depend on a Working Group or Special Rapporteur. The relevant rapporteurs for the violations under consideration include Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression as well as the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Special Rapporteurs or members of a working group themselves could submit communicate directly with States on alleged human rights violation by sending urgent appeals or letters of allegation, make recommendations to States for preventing, ending, or remedying violations, convene expert consultations.[40] Even upon receipt of prima facie credible and reliable information his issuance of an urgent appeal would include transmitting the information to the Government concerned and requesting it to provide him with comments and observations. [41]Therefore, in the case where the Venezuelan State is alleged to have violated this right, this route will not likely provide redress. Nevertheless, despite having referred to the regime's measures of censorship and blocking, in particular as used against independent media, as "a flagrant violation of international law"[42] the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, has not taken any of the aforementioned steps.

Victims can also submit information to the Special Rapporteur for him to verify and include in a report to the Human Rights Council.[43] The Human Rights Council overseas the 56 Special procedures (rapporteurs and working groups).[44]  Since 2014 he has received an extensive number of communications relating to violation of freedom of arbitrary detention and freedom of expression Venezuela. On 28 July 2017 Elina Steinerte, Vice Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and Expression, Annalisa Ciampi, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, forwarded information to the Government of Venezuela regarding  the criminalization of protests in Venezuela, the excessive use of force and the submission of citizens detained to military jurisdiction in nine States and in the District Capital.[45] As seen, violations of freedom of expression occur alongside other violations. A prime example is the 'communication' submitted to the Government of Venezuela regarding the arrest and pre-trial detention and torturous treatment of Jaimes Criollo for the publication of information on Twitter. It was submitted by both the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on July, 4 2018. [46]

In regards to cases of arbitrary detention, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention allows the victims, their families, their representatives or non-governmental organizations for the protection of human rights, Governments or intergovernmental organizations to submit cases. In urgent circumstances the Group might submit an urgent appeal to Government of the State concerned "requesting that the Government should take appropriate measures to ensure that the detained person's right not to be deprived arbitrarily of his or her liberty and to fair proceedings before an independent and impartial tribunal as well as the right to life and physical and mental integrity are respected."[47] Otherwise, in non-urgent cases, the Working Group would forward the communication to the Government in question and invite them to comment on the allegations within 60 days. [48]  For example, on June 29, 2018,  Elina Steinerte, Vice Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Bernard Duhaime Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances Communication forwarded to the Government of Venezuela the information they received (through an individual complaint) on the arbitrary detention  and forced disappearance of a short duration of Ms. Ariana Granadillo-Roca.[49] The Group considers the deprivation of liberty to be arbitrary when it is the result of exercising “the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 10 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[50] and, insofar as States parties are concerned, by articles 12, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”[51] In the case of Luis Carlos Díaz, the Group would consider the detention arbitrary because he was exercising his right to freedom of speech (article 19) within the video used as evidence in his alleged instigation of a crime. In the case of Erika, the Group would also consider the reason for her detention to be exercising her rights to free speech, as described by article 19 in the ICCPR and to peaceful assembly, as described by article 21. They would also consider this to be arbitrary because it was discriminatory to her political opinion. [52]

Despite the tens of communications received on both topics between June 1 and November 1, 2018, not all were presented at the fortieth session of the Human Rights Council, held between February 25-March 22 2019. In fact, only six in total communications, out of all the ones sent to all Special Procedures were submitted. [53] Therefore, it seems that going through the Special Rapporteurs for individual redress is not a surefire means of redress.

 

States Party to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

 

As demonstrated in the previous analysis on the ICCPR, Venezuela has clearly derogated from its obligation to protect freedom of speech. While there is an escape clause where States can pause certain rights during an emergency, there is a procedure to follow for the derogation to be recognized as legitimate. This procedure requires immediately informed the other States Parties to the present Covenant[54], through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of the provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. It seems that Venezuela did not such thing given that if they had the Secretary General would have publicized this information and circulated it to other treaty parties who might have challenged the derogation before the UN Human Rights Committee.[55]  Neither has a derogation been reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee during its analysis of periodic reports from state parties since the emergency was declared in Venezuela nor has it been brought up during Committee’s issuance of general comments interpreting the ICCPR. In fact, in the most periodic review of Human Rights in Venezuela was held on the first of November in 2016, which is notably after Maduro declared a state of economic emergency on January 15, 2016[56]  and when he declared a "constitutional state of emergency" on May 13, 2016.[57]  In fact, during a periodic review in 2016 Venezuelan delegation claimed that “any restriction to the free exercise of fundamental rights that were consubstantial with its democratic life was prohibited. Such was the case of the right to freedom of expression, the right to information, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, in accordance with the Constitution and laws. All political, civil, economic, social and cultural organizations exercised their rights freely, with no more limitations than those established in the Constitution and laws.”[58] As seen, Venezuela did not acknowledge a derogation of rights to freedom of expression, association or assembly. Therefore, the State of Venezuela did not properly utilize the escape clause and therefore its derogation violated Article 19 and Article 4 of the ICCPR. 

The reason behind Venezuela’s lack of official explanation could lend itself to ‘embeddedness theory.[59]’ Within this theory derogations are “hallmarks of respect for treaty norms by states that take human rights seriously”[60] therefore, not announcing an official derogation would follow the pattern of Venezuela recently taking human rights regimes less seriously,given their recent withdrawal from the human rights system (denouncing jurisdiction of Human Rights Convention in 2013, announcing its withdrawal from the OAS on April 28, 2019). Interestingly, before 2012 Venezuela derogated ten times from American Conventions and the ICCPR. [61]

Now that it is established these violations that occurred during a declared emergency do violate the ICCPR, we can discuss the legal consequences. Venezuela must perform the obligations of the ICCPR in good faith in accordance with the principle of pacta sunt servanda as articulated in article 26 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT). [62] However, the systematic violation of freedom of expression, is considered a material breach because it is essential to the accomplishment of the object or purpose of the ICCPR treaty.[63] Unfortunately, the measures States are allowed to take as stipulated by the VCLT are counterproductive. Essentially, they have three options as outlined by article 60 of the VCLT, all of which encourage suspension of the treaty by the State in question, or all States party to the treaty, which would sacrifice the rest of important provisions of the ICCPR which were perhaps being followed thanks to the existence of the treaty: 

 

a) The other parties by unanimous agreement to suspend the operation of the treaty in whole or in part or to terminate it either:

(i) In the relations between themselves and the defaulting State, or

(ii) As between all the parties;

 

(b) A party specially affected by the breach to invoke it as a ground for suspending the operation of the treaty in whole or in part in the relations between itself and the defaulting State;

 

(c) Any party other than the defaulting State to invoke the breach as a ground for suspending the operation of the treaty in whole or in part with respect to itself if the treaty is of such a character that a material breach of its provisions by one party radically changes the position of every party with respect to the further performance of its obligations under the treaty. [64]

 

International Criminal Court

 

The widespread detention of those who oppose the Maduro regime is part of a pattern of systemic State oppression that can been characterized as a potential crime against humanity. A crime against humanity is a violation of the Rome Statute which Venezuela has been party to since 7 June 2000.[65]  The mechanism to hold individual violators of the Statute accountable is the International Criminal Court. However, it can only step in when national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute.[66] Given that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has recognized the lack of independence within Venezuela’s judiciary it is reasonable to assume national courts would be unwilling to prosecute members of the Maduro regime. In the hypothetical that an individual is tried by the International Criminal Court, the applicable penalties would include imprisonment for a specified number of years, which may not exceed a maximum of 30 years; or a term of life imprisonment when justified by the extreme gravity of the crime and the individual circumstances of the convicted person.[67] There are also three means of reparations to victims, restitution, compensation and rehabilitation as stipulated by Article 75 of the Rome Statute. [68] While this is not a route for an individual to get redress it is one of the most powerful tools in the human rights system to hold a criminal leader like Nicolas Maduro accountable

 In fact, a panel of Independent International Experts designated by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States made the determination after a legal assessment that a pattern exists to constitute potential crimes against humanity.[69] Specifically, they assessed acts since February 12, 2014 and identified “131 murder victims of the 2014 and 2017 protests where the perpetrator has been identified as a member of the state security forces and/or the colectivos, 8,292 extrajudicial executions recorded since 2015, more than 12,000 Venezuelans arbitrarily detained, imprisoned or subject to other severe deprivation of physical liberty since the 2013 Presidential elections, more than 1300 political prisoners: people that have been or still are detained because of their opposition to the Government.”[70] Overall they identified a widespread and systematic pattern of abuse targeting the political civilian population that is against the Maduro regime. This is described as a crime against humanity and violates article 7(1)(h) of the Rome Statute. This "Attack directed against the civilian population" was characterized by “a course conduct involving the multiple commission of acts”[71] pursuant to or in furtherance of the Venezuelan State and therefore fulfils the description of an attack as defined in 7(2)(a)[72] The persecution experienced by this group of people fits into the definition described in article 7(2)(g) “intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity.” As demonstrated in the previous sections, anti-Maduro folks, journalists and activists have been deprived of liberty through arbitrary detention, extra-judicial killings, and excessive use of force during protests. To further pin down this point it is helpful to mention that elected officials of the opposition, too were arbitrarily detained.  In late July and early August 2017, the Constitutional Chamber of the SCJ sentenced five mayors who oppose the Maduro regime to 15 months imprisonment for failing to implement the constitutional orders to not hold meetings in public areas.[73] For example, Alfredo Ramos, the mayor of Iribarren, state of Lara, was arrested by the SEBIN on 28 July 2017. [74]  

 

Regional mechanisms

 

Returning to mechanisms for individuals to engage with, we turn to regional human rights mechanisms. As a member of the Organization of American States Venezuela is bound by the Charter of the Organization of American States, the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man[75] and for a while was bound to follow the American Convention of Human Rights and beholden to the jurisdiction the Inter American Court of Human Rights. That is until the 10th of September 2013 when its withdrawal from the acceptance of its jurisdiction of the Court and denunciation of the Convention of Human Rights came into effect.[76] However, the overlap between the Maduro regime and Venezuela being a party to the IACHR (court) was approximately five months (between his inauguration on April 19 2013[77]  and the 10th of September).

 

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

 

Individual petitions can be submitted to the principal, autonomous body of the OAS, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. [78] Pursuant to article 23 of the The Regulations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, “Any person or group of persons, or non-governmental entity legally recognized in one or more OAS member states, may submit petitions to the Commission on their own behalf or on behalf of third parties, regarding the alleged violation of any of the human rights.”[79]The Commission will analyze and investigate individual “petitions in which violations of human rights are alleged to have been committed either by a Member State of the OAS that has ratified the American Convention or by one that has not.” [80] It also accepts violations of rights recognized in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.[81] Since the Commission derives its mandate from the OAS Charter in addition to the American Convention on Human Rights[82], petitions regarding the Government of Venezuela can still be accepted regarding violations of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man that occurred after September 10, 2013.[83]  With its quasi-judicial function [84] it presents cases to the Inter-American Court and appears before the Court during the processing and consideration of cases.” 

The pattern of arbitrary detention and restriction of free expression committed by Venezuelan authorities, as described in previous sections, constitutes violations of both the American Convention Human Rights and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Specifically, among the 12,000 Venezuelans arbitrarily detained since the election of President Maduro in 2013, those that were detained before September 10, 2013 can argue that Venezuela violated their right as stipulated in article 7(4), “Anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons for his detention and shall be promptly notified of the charge or charges against him.” [85] This right to liberty, as characterized in article 7(5), includes being seen promptly by a judge and to have trial within a reasonable time. [86] Similar rights are guaranteed in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, specifically article XXV.[87]  In a similar sense, “Every individual who has been deprived of his liberty has the right to have the legality of his detention ascertained without delay by a court, and the right to be tried without undue delay or, otherwise, to be released.  He also has the right to humane treatment during the time he is in custody.” An emblematic case that was referenced by the panel of Independent Experts where this right was violated was the case of Carlos Julio Velasco Marín, an 18-year old student, who was arbitrarily arrested on June 12, 2017 during a demonstration called by opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática. He was charged by the 39th Control Tribunal of the Metropolitan Area of Caracas for the crime of treason, among other crimes, because the judge presiding over the case added it, even though no evidence was presented to support this charge and it was not filed by the Office of the Public Prosecutor. In addition, during his six month detention, he suffered from "frequent nephritic colic, right intercostal neuritis, gonalgia and insomnia associated with anxiety disorder, which were not addressed with timely treatment." [88] For other cases of arbitrary detention, please refer to pages 177-179 of the Report. [89]

An index produced by  the NGO Instituto Prensa y Sociedad Venezuela documented 1087 violations of freedom of expression in 2017. [90] The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR documented a “systematic pattern of persecution against journalists and persons in the exercise of their right to the freedom of expression when they have expressed opinions or disseminated information and ideas that are not in line with, or are critical of the ruling party.”[91] When charges such as defamation are levied against people the IACHR and its Office of the Special Rapporteur consider it to be a violation of the freedom of expression protected in Article IV of the American Declaration. [92]The article stipulates, “Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium whatsoever.” [93]  According to the Independent Panel of Experts commissioned by the OAS, the act of charging students, professors, protesters and others with “vague and ambiguous criminal offenses, such as the crimes of criminal defamation,high treason, and incitement to violence, has resulted in the criminalization of public opinion or criticism as well as other journalistic work and amounts to a violation of legal principles and Inter-American standards.”[94] A typical example is the detention of Professor Guevara who in February of 2017 was charged by the Ministry of Public Prosecution for the crime of high treason in a military court after he published several opinion pieces on the economic crisis in the country. [95] While this pattern of is regarded as a violation article 13 of the Inter-American Convention of Human Rights according to Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR, Edison Lanza,[96] the majority of violations occurred after Venezuela no longer recognized the Convention. Therefore, the best course of redress is arguing a violation of the American Declaration.

 

 

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

 

The Inter American Court on Human Rights considers violations of OAS Charter, American Declaration of Rights of Man and American Convention on Human Rights. [97] However, Venezuela denounced the American Convention on Human Rights and fully withdrew on September 10, 2013. While the Court can no longer consider cases of violations of the American Convention on Human Rights that occurred after September 10, 2013, it can consider violations of the OAS Charter and the American Declaration of the Rights of Man. Individuals must file petitions through the commission first, but States have direct recourse with to the Court. [98]

Its denouncement means that any human rights violations that take place in Venezuela after September 10, 2013, may not be analyzed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. However, “as a Member State of the OAS, Venezuela will continue to be subject to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and bound by the obligations established in the OAS Charter and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, signed by the State of Venezuela in 1948.”[99] Therefore, the Inter American Commission continued to “fulfill its mandate to promote and oversee the human rights situation in Venezuela and to handle petitions, cases, and precautionary measures.” [100] Precautionary measures have been issued by the Commission in relation to tactics used by the Maduro regime to restrict freedom of expression and assembly critical of the State. The topic of precautionary measures will be returned to in a later section.

Specifically, Article 78(2) of the American Convention on Human Rights stipulates that, “a denunciation of this treaty “shall not have the effect of releasing the State Party concerned from the obligations contained in this Convention with respect to any act that may constitute a violation of those obligations and that has been taken by that state prior to the effective date of denunciation.”[101] More specifically,  “any petitions the Inter-American Commission may receive after September 10, 2013, that allege human rights violations that took place before that date will be processed based on the State’s obligations under the American Convention and subject to consideration by the Inter-American Court.” [102] The most recent application filed for a case against Venezuela through the IACHR was related to an extrajudicial killing in 2003.[103]

For a case to be considered admissible by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights it must be competent, not duplicate procedures, satisfy international res judicata, be colorable, and domestic remedies must have been exhausted. The latest admissibility report on a Venezuelan claim published by the IACHR helps to contextualize these requirements.[104] It is insightful to recognize that while this petition was submitted in 2007 the admissibility report was only published in 2017. For competence it must satisfy ratione loci, ratione temporis, and ratione materiae. Ratione loci means the Court has jurisdiction on account of the internationally wrongful act. Ratione materiae means the subject matter is relevant and ratione temporis means the alleged violation is within the time frame that the Party recognizes the Convention being violated.  Specifically, tor competence to be met in a case where the alleged violation is of the American Human Rights Convention then ratione temporis means the claim must be of an act committed before Venezuela's denunciation went into effect on September 10, 2013. The timeline for a petition or communication to be admissible is further constrained by Article 46 (1)(b) which stipulates it must be lodged within a six month period from the  date on which the party alleging a violation of their rights was notified of the final judgment of the domestic remedy.[105] Finally, it is important to note that for the subject of the petition or communication to be deemed admissible it cannot be pending in another international foresettlement Article 46(1)(c). Therefore, it makes sense to withhold petitions regarding acts that occurred within the five-month overlap of the Maduro regime and the recognition of the competency of the Commission to accept communications international accountability mechanisms. 

As for no duplicate procedures and international res judicata it means that the petition has not been submitted or settled through another international accountability mechanism. [106]However, it is important to note that the decisions of national courts do not bind international courts and tribunals as res judicata.[107]

However, there are three situations as outlined by Article 46(3) of the American Convention on Human Rights in which the requirement  of exhaustion of domestic remedy is waived; the case that the domestic legislation of the state concerned does not afford due process of law for the protection of the right or rights that have allegedly been violated; or the party alleging violation of his rights has been denied access to the remedies under domestic law or has been prevented from exhausting them; or there has been unwarranted delay in rendering a final judgment under the aforementioned remedies.

We return to the case of Luis Carlos Díaz to conceptualize how a case of arbitrary detention would navigate this process. Previously we established that his rights as stipulated in article 44 of Constitution of Venezuela was violated because he was treated as if he was caught red-handed (in flagrante delicto), when he was apprehended while riding a bike on his way home.[108] He could seek domestic remedy through the People Defender whose job is her job to investigate situations where the human rights provided for in this Constitution and in the international treaties were not protected.[109] If this service is rejected the IACHR would likely waive the requirement of domestic remedy because the Commission recognizes that the Judiciary in Venezuela has a serious problem of lack of independence due to “the politicization of the judicial appointments and removals process of the TSJ; the highly insecure tenure of judges in the judicial system; and very serious and real practice of harassment and intimidation against members of the judiciary.” [110]

Furthermore, within the admissibility stage, the petition is submitted the State in question for observations. After this exchange of information the Commission will decide admissibility. [111]Then, the examination of the merit is conducted to determine if the State is responsible. If so, the Commission will issue a report that includes recommendations for the State that could include: are in violation of human rights, clarifying the facts, carrying out an official investigation, and imposing a sanction, making reparation for the harm caused,  making changes to the law,  requiring the adoption of other measures or actions by the State.[112] If the State does not comply the Commission will either publish the case or refer it to the Inter American Court of Human Rights.  If referred to the court, the Commission, the State, and the victim(s) participate in the process. An example of a case that involved a violation of freedom of expression is Usón Ramírez v. Venezuela (2009) and it resembles the oppressive situations that many Venezuelans have found themselves to be in during the Maduro regime. As for the details, Usón Ramírez was retired military man  went on live TV in 2004 to explain how a flamethrower worked and was later sentenced to five and half years in prison for the crime of insulting the National Armed Forces. After a failed hearing in front of the court of appeals and the Supreme Court, his case was submitted appeal judgment was null, so he Héctor Faúndez Ledesma of the  Impact Litigation Project of Washington College of Law at American University submitted his petition to the Inter American Commission. The Court found the State had violated the right to freedom of thought and   expression, recognized in articles 9 and 13.1 and 13.2 of the American Convention on Human Rights. While the Court recognized that freedom of expression may be subject to restrictions in exceptional circumstances the Court did not recognize the State's claim that restriction of Mr. Ramírez's freedom of expression was in part to ensure protection of national security and public order. In addition, the Court found the State had violated his right to personal liberty, recognized in Article 7 of the American Convention on Human Rights (among two other violations). 

The Court ordered the following reparations “ The State must rescind, within one year, the military criminal proceedings against Mr. Francisco Usón Ramírez, pay Mr. Francisco Usón Ramírez $ 90,000 for material and immaterial damages, pay Mr. Francisco Usón Ramírez $ 20,000 for costs, and establish, within a reasonable period of time, through its legislation, limits to the competence of the military courts, in such a way that the military jurisdiction only applies to military officers and for crimes of function.”[113] It is crucial to pay special attention to the last reparation involving modification of legislation so that civilians would not be tried in the military court. This clearly did not happen because many Venezuelans such as Professor Santiago Guevara García[114] have been tried by military courts during the Maduro regime. It is highly advisable for future researchers to pursue the question of whether the Inter American system would be an appropriate redress mechanism for Mr. García. Given the similar context in which Dr. García as a civilian was tried in a military court because he exercised his free speech and published an article critical of government public policies and was deprived of liberty for ten months in poor conditions. However, the case would differ in the alleged violation, since Dr. García’s case occurred after Venezuela denounced the American Convention. Therefore, it would be advisable to argue a violation of another treaty within the Inter-American system.  Specifically, he could argue a violation of freedom of expression as stipulated by article IV of the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man,[115] and freedom from arbitrary detention as described in article XXV.[116] Unfortunately, of the ten Venezuelan cases that are in the monitoring stage of the Court non regard a case of arbitrary detention or freedom of expression.  Perhaps some relevant cases are still going through the examination phase by the Commission given that a year passed[117] between the time Francisco Usón’s petition was filed with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights and the date of his hearing before the Court.

 

International and Regional Mechanisms Engaged During Maduro Presidency

 

Individuals and States have actively engaged both the international and human rights mechanisms to seek individual redress or protection from the Maduro regime, accusing individuals the State of Venezuela of crimes, and discouraging the continuation of alleged violations of human rights. 

 

Human Rights Committee

 

No complaints have been reviewed by the Human Rights Committee so far regarding censorship, excessive use of force, restriction of freedom of expression, assembly, arbitrary detention during the Maduro regime. Between 2017 and 2019, four ICCPR related complaints were reviewed by the panel of 18 independent experts, however none are relevant since one regards an act before the Maduro regime took power,[118] and the rest regard the liquidation of a brokerage firm without due process.[119]The reason claims have not been addressed yet is that it takes years for a claim to reach the review of the Committee.

 

International Criminal Court

 

On the 27 of September 2018, pursuant to article 14 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Argentine Republic, Canada, the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Chile, the Republic of Paraguay and the Republic of Peru requested the Prosecutor of the ICC to “initiate an investigation on crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the territory of Venezuela since 12 February 2014, with the view to determining whether one or more persons should be charged with the commission of such crimes.”[120] This is the ninth referral received by the prosecutor of the ICC since the Rome Statute came into force on 1 July 2002, and the first referral submitted by a group of States Parties concerning a situation on the territory of another State Party.[121] This referral allows Bensouda to circumvent the approval from a panel to move to a full investigation. Nevertheless, there is no timeframe for her to complete her preliminary examination to determine, in accordance with Article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, if the case has appropriate jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice.[122] Already the Prosecutor of the ICC opened a preliminary examination of the situation in Venezuela to analyze crimes allegedly committed in Venezuela since April 2017 in the context of demonstrations and related political unrest. [123] The alleged crimes include “State security forces used excessive force to disperse and put down demonstrations, arrested and detained thousands of actual or perceived members of the opposition, a number of whom would have been allegedly subjected to serious abuse and ill-treatment in detention.”[124] As described in an earlier section of this analysis, these have been outlined in a 400 page report written by a Panel of Independent Experts commissioned by the General Secretariat of the OAS. 

 

Inter American Commission on Human Rights

 

The Inter American Commission on Human Rights presents cases to the Inter-American Court and appears before the Court during the processing and consideration of cases.” It can also request advisory opinions of the Inter-American Court, pursuant to Article 64 of the American Convention.[125] So far a case has not been filed in the Court on the grounds of violation with the Declaration of the Rights and Duties Of Man during Maduro’s presidency.[126] 

However, the Commission has issued Precautionary Measures[127] based on Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission when it comes to the Maduro regime. In regard to freedom of expression, the Inter American Human Rights Commission issued a Precautionary Measure on Venezuela on the case of the Television Station "Globovisión" regarding freedom of expression and personal integrity. It has a precautionary and protective function and in practice, "the protective function is exercised in order to avoid irreparable harm to the life and personal integrity of the beneficiary as a subject of the international law of human rights." These precautionary measures can be ordered for situations unrelated to any case pending with the Inter-American human rights system. Therefore, Venezuela could be compelled to comply with a precautionary measure despite not recognizing the American Human Rights Convention. While the State has the international obligation to provide "effective protection to prevent the risk from materializing" there isn't a direct measure to induce compliance. However, if the precaution is acted upon, it does not "constitute a prejudgment on the violation of the rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights or other applicable instruments." The ways in which the State might act upon the measure spreads the gamut of the following; "ordering specific protection measures for beneficiaries (for example, bodyguards, security at office buildings, direct lines of communication with the authorities, protection of ancestral territory, and others), taking into account the opinion of the beneficiary and the beneficiary's representative; their active participation by supplying information requested by the IACHR or participating in working meetings or hearings held to follow up on precautionary measures; creating inter-institutional working groups to implement the protection measures requested by the Inter-American system; and introducing compliance with precautionary measures into their case law and legislation."  

Most important to our discussion is the precautionary measure granted on behalf of Luis Carlos Díaz on March 29, 2019, that requested Venezuela to adopt the necessary measures so that he can develop his journalistic activities, exercising his right to freedom of expression, without being the object of acts of intimidation, threats, and harassment. [128] This of course was in addition to the request to “adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity and to guarantee the safety of Luis Carlos Díaz and his family in accordance with the standards established by international human rights law.”[129] Another example of a measure being issued was Resolution 3/2019 on February 2019 to grant precautionary protection measures in favor of three Venezuelan military officials who were being tortured. [130] While these measure do not confirm that a petition has been filed on their behalf, it indicates that this case is on the Commission’s radar and might eventually be filed.

It should also be noted that while arbitrary detention and restriction of free expression violate both internationally and regionally recognized rights, the same petition cannot be examined by both the international and regional settlements including the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, Inter American Court of Human Rights Committee and mechanism at the same time. The Human Rights Committee “cannot examine a complaint if the same matter is at the same time being examined by another mechanism of international investigation or settlement”[131] and pursuant to article 46(1)(c) of the Inter American Court of Human Rights a petition or communication will not be admissible if  “pending in another international foresettlement.”[132]

 

Conclusion

Despite the limited scope in which the analysis took place, being between March 8, 2013 and January 10, 2019, and the limited jurisdiction of the regional human rights mechanism, the Maduro regime and individuals within can still be held accountable for violations of international obligations. As an overview, so far the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is conducting a preliminary investigation into Venezuela, six states party to the Rome Statute requested an investigation into Venezuela for possible crimes against humanity, and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights issued several precautionary measures to protect activists, politicians, journalists and military personnel from irreparable harm between 2014-2019.[133] While there are preliminary actions being taken by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, no cases have been referred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  However, it seems that individual complaints have reached Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, as evidenced by their issuance of several precautionary measures for journalist, which upon passing admissibility and merit examinations, could read the Court in the likely event that Venezuela does not comply with the recommendations set forth by the Inter American Commission. The only way to find out is by waiting for the process, which tends to take more than a year, to unfold.  An entirely different question that is beyond the scope of this analysis is through which redress mechanism individuals whose rights from arbitrary detention and free expression were violated are most likely to receive adequate redress.  If one thing is for sure it is that given the recent announcement on April 28, 2019 that Venezuela will withdraw from the OAS[134], the regional mechanism to hold the regime accountable is becoming more limited as time goes on. Therefore, it seems that the international mechanisms will become more relevant as the international community mobilizes to hold the criminal Maduro regime accountable. 

 Citations

[1] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 2017. "Democratic Institutions, The Rule Of Law And Human Rights In Venezuela, Country Report".13. http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/Venezuela2018-en.pdf.

[2]Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2018. “Human rights violations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: a downward spiral with no end in sight.” 37. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/VE/VenezuelaReport2018_EN.pdf 

[3]Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2018. “Human rights violations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: a downward spiral with no end in sight.” 37. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/VE/VenezuelaReport2018_EN.pdf 

[4] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 2017. "Democratic Institutions, The Rule Of Law And Human Rights In Venezuela, Country Report".109. http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/Venezuela2018-en.pdf.

[5]Even though he considered himself to be president for another six-year term,  his re-election on May 20, 2018 was considered illegitimate by the Lima Group on May 21, 2018

CNN. 2019. "Nicolás Maduro Fast Facts". Accessed April 1. Even though he considered himself to be president for another six-year term, his re-election on May 20, 2018 was considered illegitimate by the Lima Group on May 21, 2018 https://www.cnn.com/2013/04/26/world/americas/nicolas-maduro-fast-facts/index.html.

[6]CNN. 2019. "Nicolás Maduro Fast Facts". Accessed April 1. Even though he considered himself to be president for another six-year term, his re-election on May 20, 2018 was considered illegitimate by the Lima Group on May 21, 2018 https://www.cnn.com/2013/04/26/world/americas/nicolas-maduro-fast-facts/index.html.

[7] In 2017 the government shut down 50 media outlets and censorship and orders of closure of radio stations continued into 2018. For more information read Amnesty International. 2019. “10 Things You Need to Know about Venezuela’s Human Rights Crisis.”

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/02/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-venezuelas-human-rights-crisis/

[8] The excessive use of force against protesters led to 123 deaths (OHCHR) between April 1 and July 31, 2017. For more information read  Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."Human Rights Situation In Venezuela". 2019. https://cidhoea.wixsite.com/venezuela/english.

[9]  For more information on harassment read Organization of American States. 2019. "IACHR Observes Persistent Human Rights Issues In Venezuela". http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2019/091.asp. For information on all tactics used to censor free speech read Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."Human Rights Situation In Venezuela". 2019. https://cidhoea.wixsite.com/venezuela/english.

[10] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2018. "Human rights violations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: a downward spiral with no end in sight." https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/VE/VenezuelaReport2018_EN.pdf 

[11]Organization of American States. 2019. "IACHR Observes Persistent Human Rights Issues In Venezuela". http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2019/091.asp.

[12] Upon accepting the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Venezuela accepts individual communications.  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Ratification Status for Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)” https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/TreatyBodyExternal/Treaty.aspx?CountryID=191&Lang=EN

 

[13] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19 December 1966, 999 UNTS 171, Can TS 1976 No 47 (entered into force 23 March 1976) [ICCPR].

[14]United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No. 2203/2012 * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (1 February 2018)  available at http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsjvfIjqiI84ZFd1DNP1S9ELg9qInHzTjYhP92071Mypf1DUOdiJzzu6WSf8oRCUF%2f1MfZhBEh1qeT1AUigDEsV%2b%2f0tJla5CGCIkH3TbqsWGiel6C3m4QzjCiWMMcsKoMGQ%3d%3d

[15] United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No. 2203/2012 * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (1 February 2018)  available at http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsjvfIjqiI84ZFd1DNP1S9ELg9qInHzTjYhP92071Mypf1DUOdiJzzu6WSf8oRCUF%2f1MfZhBEh1qeT1AUigDEsV%2b%2f0tJla5CGCIkH3TbqsWGiel6C3m4QzjCiWMMcsKoMGQ%3d%3d

[16]United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No. 2203/2012 * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (1 February 2018)  available at http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsjvfIjqiI84ZFd1DNP1S9ELg9qInHzTjYhP92071Mypf1DUOdiJzzu6WSf8oRCUF%2f1MfZhBEh1qeT1AUigDEsV%2b%2f0tJla5CGCIkH3TbqsWGiel6C3m4QzjCiWMMcsKoMGQ%3d%3d

 

 

[17]  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19 December 1966, 999 UNTS 171, Can TS 1976 No 47 (entered into force 23 March 1976) [ICCPR].

[18]Committee to Protect Journalists. “Journalist Luis Carlos Díaz released from detention, banned from leaving Venezuela.” April 5, 2019.  https://cpj.org/2019/04/journalist-luis-carlos-diaz-released-from-detentio.php

[19]Committee to Protect Journalists. “Journalist Luis Carlos Díaz released from detention, banned from leaving Venezuela.” April 5, 2019.  https://cpj.org/2019/04/journalist-luis-carlos-diaz-released-from-detentio.php

[20]Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2018. “Human rights violations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: a downward spiral with no end in sight.” 24. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/VE/VenezuelaReport2018_EN.pdf 

[21]“Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)'s Constitution of 1999 with Amendments through 2009.” Constitute Project. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Venezuela_2009.pdf

[22]Laya, Patricia, and Jose Orozco. 2019. "Venezuela Police Free Noted Journalist After Overnight Detention". Bloomberg Business, March 19 2019.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-12/venezuelan-police-arrest-prominent-journalist-as-he-cycles-home

[23]  According to Article 281 of Venezuela's Constitution the People Defender sees, "that the human rights provided for in this Constitution and the international treaties, agreements, and conventions on human rights ratified by the Republic are effectively respected and guaranteed, investigating either on his own initiative or at the request of any denunciation of which he or she becomes aware." Constitution of Venezuela with amendments up to 2009 "Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)'s Constitution of 1999 with Amendments through 2009." Constitute Project. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Venezuela_2009.pdf

[24]General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts . 2018. “Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela”. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[25]United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No. 2203/2012 * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 35.  (1 February 2018)  available at http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsjvfIjqiI84ZFd1DNP1S9ELg9qInHzTjYhP92071Mypf1DUOdiJzzu6WSf8oRCUF%2f1MfZhBEh1qeT1AUigDEsV%2b%2f0tJla5CGCIkH3TbqsWGiel6C3m4QzjCiWMMcsKoMGQ%3d%3

[26] Amnesty International. 2019. "Santiago Guevara: Profesor Universitario procesado por un tribunal militar cuya salud está en riesgo." December 20, 2017.

https://www.amnistia.org/ve/blog/2017/12/4356/santiago-guevara-profesor-imputado-por-delitos-militares-con-salud-en-riesgo

[27] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  23 FAQ about Treaty Body complaints procedures Individual Communications. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/TBPetitions/Pages/IndividualCommunications.aspx

[28]Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2018. “Human rights violations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: a downward spiral with no end in sight.” iii. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/VE/VenezuelaReport2018_EN.pdf 

 

[29]" Committee to Protect Journalists “Venezuela's new "anti-hate" law seeks to silence media.” November 9, 2017. https://cpj.org/2017/11/venezuelas-new-anti-hate-law-seeks-to-silence-medi.php

[30] “The ‘Instigating Hatred’ Law in Use.”  Human Rights Watch. January 5, 2018.  https://www.hrw.org/blog-feed/venezuelas-crisis

[31] Article 19(3)(a) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19 December 1966, 999 UNTS 171, Can TS 1976 No 47 (entered into force 23 March 1976) [ICCPR].

[32] Article 19(3)(b) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19 December 1966, 999 UNTS 171, Can TS 1976 No 47 (entered into force 23 March 1976) [ICCPR].

[33]CNN. “5 reasons why Venezuela's economy is in a 'meltdown.'” January 20, 2016. https://money.cnn.com/2016/01/18/news/economy/venezuela-economy-meltdown/

[34]CNN. “5 reasons why Venezuela's economy is in a 'meltdown.'” January 20, 2016. https://money.cnn.com/2016/01/18/news/economy/venezuela-economy-meltdown/

[35] Organization of American States. March 8, 2019. "Freedom of Expression Experts of the UN and the IACHR express alarm over expansion of censorship measures in Venezuela." http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2019/091.asp.

[36] Maduro declared a state of economic emergency on January 15, 2016  and on May 13, 2016   he declared "constitutional state of emergency." CNN. “5 reasons why Venezuela's economy is in a 'meltdown.'” January 20, 2016. https://money.cnn.com/2016/01/18/news/economy/venezuela-economy-meltdown/

 

[37] United Nations. 2013. “Individual Complaint Procedures under the United Nations Human Rights Treaties.Fact Sheet No. Rev.2.” 7-8. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet7Rev.2.pdf

[38] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.“Civil and Political Rights: The Human Rights Committee Fact Sheet No. 15.” 25. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet15rev.1en.pdf

[39] Nikolaos Sitaropoulos "States are Bound to Consider the UN Human Rights Committee's Views in Good Faith" (OxHRH Blog, 11 March 2015), http://humanrights.dev3.oneltd.eu/states-are-bound-to-consider-the-un-human-rights-committees-views-in-good-faith/.

[40]International Justice Resource Center. “The Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures.” https://ijrcenter.org/un-special-procedures/

[41]Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Freedom of Opinion and Expression - Individual Complaints.”  https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomOpinion/Pages/Complaints.aspx

[42] Organization of American States. March 8, 2019. "Freedom of Expression Experts of the UN and the IACHR express alarm over expansion of censorship measures in Venezuela." http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2019/091.asp.

[43]International Justice Resource Center. “The Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures.” https://ijrcenter.org/un-special-procedures/

[44]International Justice Resource Center. “The Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures.” https://ijrcenter.org/un-special-procedures/

[45]Communication Delivered to Government of Venezuela on July 28, 2017 regarding the criminalization of protests in Venezuela, the excessive use of force and the submission of citizens detained to military jurisdiction in nine States and in the District Capital. Written by Elina Steinerte, Vice Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and Expression, Annalisa Ciampi, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=23244

[46] Communication Delivered to Government of Venezuela on July 4, 2018, regarding the arrest and pre-trial detention and alleged torturous treatment of Jaimes Criollo for the publication of information on Twitter. Written by Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=23935

 

[47] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Revised Fact Sheet No. 26. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.” https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Detention/FactSheet26.pdf

[48]Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Revised Fact Sheet No. 26. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.” https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Detention/FactSheet26.pdf

[49] Communication Delivered to Government of Venezuela on June 29, 2018 regarding The arbitrary and forced detention of Mrs. Ariana Granadillo-Roca. Written by Elina Steinerte, Vice Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Bernard Duhaime Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances Communication. https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=23937

[50]  UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948, 217 A (III), available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3712c.html

[51]  Individual Complaints and Urgent Appeals. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/Complaints.aspx

[52]  Individual Complaints and Urgent Appeals. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/Complaints.aspx

[53] United Nations, Human Rights Council Fourtiest Session: Communications report of Special Procedures* Communications sent, 1 June to 30 November 2018; Replies received, 1 August 2018 to 31 January 2019, A/HRC/40/79 ( February 12 2019) available from undocs.orgA/HRC/40/79

 

[54] Upon review of publicly accessible information provided by the Human Rights Committee, the Venezuelan delegation to the United Nations, and Communications produced by Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs and Periodic Reviews by the Human Rights Council no official derogation of obligations to freedom of expression were communicated.  

[55] "Emergency And Escape: Explaining Derogations From Human Rights Treaties". 2019. International Organization 65 (4): 677. doi:10.10170S002081831100021X. 67.  Found online at http://cfariss.com/documents/Hafner-BurtonHelferFariss2011IO.pdf

[56]CNN. “5 reasons why Venezuela's economy is in a 'meltdown.'” January 20, 2016. https://money.cnn.com/2016/01/18/news/economy/venezuela-economy-meltdown/

[57] CNN. “5 reasons why Venezuela's economy is in a 'meltdown.'” January 20, 2016. https://money.cnn.com/2016/01/18/news/economy/venezuela-economy-meltdown/

[58]United Nations, Human Rights Council. Report of the Human Rights Council on its thirty-fourth session,  A/HRC/34/2 (June 14 2018). 82. available at https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/hrc/regularsessions/session34/pages/listreports.aspx

[59] "Emergency And Escape: Explaining Derogations From Human Rights Treaties". 2019. International Organization 65 (4): 684. doi:10.10170S002081831100021X. 684.Found online at http://cfariss.com/documents/Hafner-BurtonHelferFariss2011IO.pdf

[60] "Emergency And Escape: Explaining Derogations From Human Rights Treaties". 2019. International Organization 65 (4): 680. doi:10.10170S002081831100021X. 684.Found online at http://cfariss.com/documents/Hafner-BurtonHelferFariss2011IO.pdf

[61] "Emergency And Escape: Explaining Derogations From Human Rights Treaties". 2019. International Organization 65 (4): 684. doi:10.10170S002081831100021X. 679.Found online at http://cfariss.com/documents/Hafner-BurtonHelferFariss2011IO.pdf

[62] “Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed in good faith”. Article 26. United Nations, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 23 May 1969, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1155, p. 331, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a10.html

[63] A material breach is considered to be a violation of a provision essential to the accomplishment of the object or purpose of the treaty.. Article 60(1)(b). United Nations, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 23 May 1969, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1155, p. 331, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a10.html

 

[64] Article 60 United Nations, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 23 May 1969, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1155, p. 331, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a10.html

[65] United Nations Treaties Collection. Status of Treaties. https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XVIII-10&chapter=18&clang=_en

[66]International Justice Resource Center. “OAS Examines Situation in Venezuela for Possible Crimes Against Humanity.” November 7, 2017 https://ijrcenter.org/2017/11/07/oas-examines-situation-in-venezuela-for-possible-crimes-against-humanity/

[67]  Article 77 UN General Assembly, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), 17 July 1998, ISBN No. 92-9227-227-6, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a84.html

[68]  Article 75 UN General Assembly, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), 17 July 1998, ISBN No. 92-9227-227-6, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a84.html

[69]Organization of American States. May 29, 2018. " Panel of Independent International Experts Finds “Reasonable Grounds” for Crimes against Humanity Committed in Venezuela." http://www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-031/18

[70]Organization of American States. May 29, 2018. " Panel of Independent International Experts Finds “Reasonable Grounds” for Crimes against Humanity Committed in Venezuela." http://www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-031/18

[71]  UN General Assembly, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), 17 July 1998, ISBN No. 92-9227-227-6, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a84.html

[72] Article 77 UN General Assembly, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), 17 July 1998, ISBN No. 92-9227-227-6, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a84.html

[73] Between May and July 2017, the Constitutional Chamber of the SCJ issued over 40 decisions ordering at least 16 opposition mayors to prevent meetings in public areas that might restrict freedom of movement and to remove barricades. 

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2018. “Human rights violations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: a downward spiral with no end in sight.” 169. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/VE/VenezuelaReport2018_EN.pdf 

[74]Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2018. “Human rights violations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: a downward spiral with no end in sight.” https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/VE/VenezuelaReport2018_EN.pdf 

[75] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, 2 May 1948, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3710.html

[76] Inter American Court of Human Rights. “FAQs of the Inter American Court of Human Rights.” 1. Translated from Spanish.http://www.corteidh.or.cr/tablas/abccorte/abc/7/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1ExEBtoGKAKHvbo6tH-7fycxcGicPVXmVqd8-oG842kw6F_hnldn6zcBg

[77] CNN. 2019. "Nicolás Maduro Fast Facts". Accessed April 1. Even though he considered himself to be president for another six-year term, his re-election on May 20, 2018 was considered illegitimate by the Lima Group on May 21, 2018 https://www.cnn.com/2013/04/26/world/americas/nicolas-maduro-fast-facts/index.html.

[78] The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.  Organization of American States. June 1, 2016. "IACHR Expresses its Concern Regarding the Declaration of a “State of Exception and Economic Emergency” in Venezuela" http://www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-031/18

[79] Article 23 Inter American Commission on Human Rights. The Regulations of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights Approved by the Commission at its 137th regular session, 2009. http://www.cidh.org/Basicos/Basicos10.htm

[80] Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Mandate and Function of the Commission

 https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/mandate/functions.asp

[81] Article 23 Inter American Commission on Human Rights. The Regulations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Approved by the Commission at its 137th regular session, 2009. http://www.cidh.org/Basicos/Basicos10.htm

[82] Article 106 of the Charter of the Organization stipulates,”[t]here shall be an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, whose principal function shall be to promote the observance and protection of human rights and to serve as a consultative organ of the Organization in these matters. An inter-American convention on human rights shall determine the structure, competence, and procedure of this Commission, as well as those of other organs responsible for these matters”

Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Mandate and Function of the Commission https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/mandate/functions.asp

[83] Organization of American States. September 10, 2013." IACHR Deeply Concerned over Result of Venezuela’s Denunciation of the American Convention." https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2013/064.asp

[84] Inter American Court of Human Rights. “FAQs of the Inter American Court of Human Rights.” 3. Translated from Spanish.http://www.corteidh.or.cr/tablas/abccorte/abc/7/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1ExEBtoGKAKHvbo6tH-7fycxcGicPVXmVqd8-oG842kw6F_hnldn6zcBg

[85]Organization of American States (OAS), American Convention on Human Rights, "Pact of San Jose", Costa Rica, 22 November 1969, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b36510.html

[86]Organization of American States (OAS), American Convention on Human Rights, "Pact of San Jose", Costa Rica, 22 November 1969, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b36510.html

[87] Article XXV “No person may be deprived of his liberty except in the cases and according to the procedures established by pre-existing law.”

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, 2 May 1948, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3710.html

[88] General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts. 2018. "Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela".178. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[89] Emblematic cases where the right of liberty was violated include the detainment of Dr. Santiago Guevara García in February 21, 2017. A professor of the University of Carabobo, he was charged with high treason after publishing an article critical of the government's public policies and held within the headquarters of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence for ten months. In addition, "at least 339 university students were arbitrarily detained and incarcerated during the period of April to July 2017" and the majority of which were prosecuted in military courts.  

General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts . 2018. “Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela”. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[90] General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts . 2018. “Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela”. 210. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[91] General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts . 2018. “Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela”. 209. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[92] General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts . 2018. “Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela”. 212. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[93] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, 2 May 1948, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3710.html

[94] General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts . 2018. “Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela”. 210. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[95] General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts. 2018. "Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela". 215 http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[96] Organization of American States. March 8, 2019. "Freedom of Expression Experts of the UN and the IACHR express alarm over expansion of censorship measures in Venezuela." http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2019/091.asp.

[97]Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “Petition and Case System Informational Brochure.” 4.  https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/pdf/howto.pdf

[98]Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “Petition and Case System Informational Brochure.” 7.  https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/pdf/howto.pdf

[99] Specifically, this is stipulated in Article 53 of the OAS Charter stipulates that the OAS accomplishes its purposes by means of various bodies, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  Organization of American States. September 10, 2013." IACHR Deeply Concerned over Result of Venezuela’s Denunciation of the American Convention." https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2013/064.asp

[100] Organization of American States. September 10, 2013." IACHR Deeply Concerned over Result of Venezuela’s Denunciation of the American Convention." https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2013/064.asp

[101]Organization of American States (OAS), American Convention on Human Rights, "Pact of San Jose", Costa Rica, 22 November 1969, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b36510.html

[102] Organization of American States. September 10, 2013." IACHR Deeply Concerned over Result of Venezuela’s Denunciation of the American Convention." https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2013/064.asp

[103]  The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R.) in Case 12.814, Orlando Edgardo Olivares Muñoz and Others (Deaths at Vista Hermosa Prison), with regard to Venezuela

Organization of American States. April 8, 2019. "IACHR Takes Case Involving Venezuela to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights." http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2019/092.asp

[104] Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Report on Admissibility Carlos Eduardo Gimenez Colmenarez. Report No. 188/18 Petition 894-08. OEA/Ser.L/V/II. Doc. 213 27 December 2018 https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/decisions/2018/VEAD894-08EN.pdf

[105]Organization of American States (OAS), American Convention on Human Rights, "Pact of San Jose", Costa Rica, 22 November 1969, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b36510.html

[106] “As the first tribunal in Amco v Indonesia Case (1984) observed: [A]n international tribunal is not bound to follow the result of a national court … [n]o matter how the legal position of a party is described in a national judgment, an international arbitral tribunal enjoys the right to evaluate and examine this position without accepting any res iudicata effect of a national court.” Oxford Public International Law. Encyclopedia entries. Res Judicata http://opil.ouplaw.com/view/10.1093/law:epil/9780199231690/law-9780199231690-e1670

[107] Oxford Public International Law. Encyclopedia entries. Res Judicata http://opil.ouplaw.com/view/10.1093/law:epil/9780199231690/law-9780199231690-e1670

[108] Laya, Patricia, and Jose Orozco. 2019. "Venezuela Police Free Noted Journalist After Overnight Detention". Bloomberg Business, March 19 2019.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-12/venezuelan-police-arrest-prominent-journalist-as-he-cycles-home

[109] According to Article 281 of Venezuela’s Constitution the People Defender sees, “that the human rights provided for in this Constitution and in the international treaties, agreements and conventions on human rights ratified by the Republic are effectively respected and guaranteed, investigating either on his own initiative or at the request of any denunciation of which he or she becomes aware.”

“Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)'s Constitution of 1999 with Amendments through 2009.” Constitute Project. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Venezuela_2009.pdf

[110] General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts . 2018. “Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela”. 266. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

[111] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “Petition and Case System Informational Brochure.”  2010. 

https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/docs/folleto/CIDHFolleto_eng.pdf

[112] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “Petition and Case System Informational Brochure.”  2010. 

https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/docs/folleto/CIDHFolleto_eng.pdf

[113]Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Usón Ramírez Vs. Venezuela.

http://www.corteidh.or.cr/cf/jurisprudencia2/ficha_tecnica.cfm?nId_Ficha=358&lang=es

[114]A professor of the University of Carabobo, Dr. Santiago Guevara García was charged with high treason after publishing an article critical of the government's public policies and held within the headquarters of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence for ten months. General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Panel of Independent Experts . 2018. “Possible Commission of Crimes Against Humanity in Venezuela”. http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Informe-Panel-Independiente-Venezuela-EN.pdf

 

[115]  Article IV  “Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium whatsoever.”

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, 2 May 1948, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3710.html

[116] Article XXV “No person may be deprived of his liberty except in the cases and according to the procedures established by pre-existing law.”

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, 2 May 1948, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3710.html

[117] Petition submitted to Commission on March 4, 2008 and the hearing held by the Inter American Court was on April 1, 2009.

Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Usón Ramírez Vs. Venezuela.

http://www.corteidh.or.cr/cf/jurisprudencia2/ficha_tecnica.cfm?nId_Ficha=358&lang=es

[118] United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No. 2610/2015 * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (13 December 2018)  available at http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsjvfIjqiI84ZFd1DNP1S9EJAIdE25TV79kqvh%2flN5dO4PnuieRNrOG4nh6ZtQtpxQmVKrnB99HWL9IYC%2b32cp9mqZvoe3fcX4F1Mw3hNm0GVRX83fadCQftPLIS8TQOFqw%3d%3d

[119] United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No. 2203/2012 * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (1 February 2018)  available at http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsjvfIjqiI84ZFd1DNP1S9ELg9qInHzTjYhP92071Mypf1DUOdiJzzu6WSf8oRCUF%2f1MfZhBEh1qeT1AUigDEsV%2b%2f0tJla5CGCIkH3TbqsWGiel6C3m4QzjCiWMMcsKoMGQ%3d%3d

United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No.  2254/2013*,**  * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (1 February 2018)  available at
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR%2fC%2fD%2f121%2f2203%2f2012&Lang=en

[120]International Criminal Court. September 17, 2018.  “Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on the referral by a group of six States Parties regarding the situation in Venezuela.” https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=180927-otp-stat-venezuela

[121] International Criminal Court. September 17, 2018.  "Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on the referral by a group of six States Parties regarding the situation in Venezuela." https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=180927-otp-stat-venezuela

[122] International Criminal Court. September 17, 2018.  "Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on the referral by a group of six States Parties regarding the situation in Venezuela." https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=180927-otp-stat-venezuela

[123]International Criminal Court. September 17, 2018.  “Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on the referral by a group of six States Parties regarding the situation in Venezuela.” https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=180927-otp-stat-venezuela

[124]International Criminal Court. September 17, 2018.  “Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on the referral by a group of six States Parties regarding the situation in Venezuela.” https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=180927-otp-stat-venezuela

[125]Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Mandate and Function of the Commission

 https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/mandate/functions.asp

[126] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Resolution  17/2019 Precautionary measures No. 250-19 Luis Carlos Díaz and his family nucleus regarding Venezuela ( 29 March, 2019) available at https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/pdf/2019/17-19MC250-19-VE.pdf

[127] The mechanism for precautionary measures is established in Article 25 of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR.

Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Mandate and Function of the Commission

 https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/mandate/functions.asp

[128] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Resolution  17/2019 Precautionary measures No. 250-19 Luis Carlos Díaz and his family nucleus regarding Venezuela ( 29 March, 2019) available at https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/pdf/2019/17-19MC250-19-VE.pdf

[129] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Resolution  17/2019 Precautionary measures No. 250-19 Luis Carlos Díaz and his family nucleus regarding Venezuela ( 29 March 2019) available at https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/pdf/2019/17-19MC250-19-VE.pdf

[130] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Resolution  17/2019 Precautionary measures No. 250-19 Luis Carlos Díaz and his family nucleus regarding Venezuela ( 29 March, 2019) available at https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/pdf/2019/17-19MC250-19-VE.pdf

[131]  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  23 FAQ about Treaty Body complaints procedures Individual Communications. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/TBPetitions/Pages/IndividualCommunications.aspx

[132]Organization of American States (OAS), American Convention on Human Rights, "Pact of San Jose", Costa Rica, 22 November 1969, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b36510.html

[133] Organization of American States. List of Precautionary Measures http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/decisions/precautionary.asp

[134]Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs. April 28, 2019. “ Venezuelan government announces and ratifies its official withdrawal from the OAS to the international community.” http://mppre.gob.ve/en/comunicado/venezuelan-government-announces-ratifies-official-withdrawal-oea-international-community/

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Communication Delivered to Government of Venezuela on July 4, 2018 regarding the arrest and pre-trial detention and alleged torturous treatment of Jaimes Criollo for the publication of information on Twitter. Written by Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=23935

 

Communication Delivered to Government of Venezuela on June 29, 2018 regarding The arbitrary and forced detention of Mrs. Ariana Granadillo-Roca. Written by Elina Steinerte, Vice Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Bernard Duhaime Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances Communication. https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=23937

 

Individual Complaints and Urgent Appeals. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/Complaints.aspx

 

United Nations, Human Rights Council Fourtiest Session: Communications report of Special Procedures* Communications sent, 1 June to 30 November 2018; Replies received, 1 August 2018 to 31 January 2019, A/HRC/40/79 ( February 12 2019) available from undocs.orgA/HRC/40/79

 

 "Emergency And Escape: Explaining Derogations From Human Rights Treaties". 2019. International Organization 65 (4): 667-707. doi:10.10170S002081831100021X. 684.Found online at http://cfariss.com/documents/Hafner-BurtonHelferFariss2011IO.pdf

 

 “Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed in good faith”. Article 26. United Nations, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 23 May 1969, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1155, p. 331, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a10.html

 

United Nations, Human Rights Council. Report of the Human Rights Council on its thirty-fourth session,  A/HRC/34/2 (June 14 2018). 82. available at https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/hrc/regularsessions/session34/pages/listreports.aspx

United Nations Treaties Collection. Status of Treaties. https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XVIII-10&chapter=18&clang=_en

 

UN General Assembly, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), 17 July 1998, ISBN No. 92-9227-227-6, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a84.html

 

International Justice Resource Center. “OAS Examines Situation in Venezuela for Possible Crimes Against Humanity.” November 7, 2017 https://ijrcenter.org/2017/11/07/oas-examines-situation-in-venezuela-for-possible-crimes-against-humanity/

 

Organization of American States. May 29, 2018. " Panel of Independent International Experts Finds “Reasonable Grounds” for Crimes against Humanity Committed in Venezuela." http://www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-031/18

 

Inter American Court of Human Rights. “FAQs of the Inter American Court of Human Rights.” 1. Translated from Spanish.http://www.corteidh.or.cr/tablas/abccorte/abc/7/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1ExEBtoGKAKHvbo6tH-7fycxcGicPVXmVqd8-oG842kw6F_hnldn6zcBg

 

Article 23 Inter American Commission on Human Rights. The Regulations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Approved by the Commission at its 137th regular session, 2009. http://www.cidh.org/Basicos/Basicos10.htm

 

 Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Mandate and Function of the Commission

 https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/mandate/functions.asp

 

Organization of American States (OAS), American Convention on Human Rights, "Pact of San Jose", Costa Rica, 22 November 1969, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b36510.html

 

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “Petition and Case System Informational Brochure.” https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/pdf/howto.pdf

 

Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Usón Ramírez Vs. Venezuela.

http://www.corteidh.or.cr/cf/jurisprudencia2/ficha_tecnica.cfm?nId_Ficha=358&lang=es

 

Organization of American States. April 8, 2019. "IACHR Takes Case Involving Venezuela to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights." http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2019/092.asp

 

Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Report on Admissibility Carlos Eduardo Gimenez Colmenarez. Report No. 188/18 Petition 894-08. OEA/Ser.L/V/II. Doc. 213 27 December 2018 https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/decisions/2018/VEAD894-08EN.pdf

 

Oxford Public International Law. Encyclopedia entries. Res Judicata http://opil.ouplaw.com/view/10.1093/law:epil/9780199231690/law-9780199231690-e1670

 

 Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “Petition and Case System Informational Brochure.”  2010. 

https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/docs/folleto/CIDHFolleto_eng.pdf

 

United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No. 2610/2015 * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (13 December 2018)  available at http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsjvfIjqiI84ZFd1DNP1S9EJAIdE25TV79kqvh%2flN5dO4PnuieRNrOG4nh6ZtQtpxQmVKrnB99HWL9IYC%2b32cp9mqZvoe3fcX4F1Mw3hNm0GVRX83fadCQftPLIS8TQOFqw%3d%3d

United Nations, Human Rights Committee, Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No.  2254/2013*,**  * , ** , ***,  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (1 February 2018)  available at
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR%2fC%2fD%2f121%2f2203%2f2012&Lang=en

 

International Criminal Court. September 17, 2018.  “Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on the referral by a group of six States Parties regarding the situation in Venezuela.” https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=180927-otp-stat-venezuela

 

 Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Resolution  17/2019 Precautionary measures No. 250-19 Luis Carlos Díaz and his family nucleus regarding Venezuela ( 29 March, 2019) available at https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/pdf/2019/17-19MC250-19-VE.pdf

 

Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs. April 28, 2019. “ Venezuelan government announces and ratifies its official withdrawal from the OAS to the international community.” http://mppre.gob.ve/en/comunicado/venezuelan-government-announces-ratifies-official-withdrawal-oea-international-community/


 Organization of American States. List of Precautionary Measures http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/decisions/precautionary.asp

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Grifferty