The government of Argentina appears poised to make a move against the Maduro regime at the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to the Argentinian news website Infobae.
Citing an official inside the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Infobae reported that the Macri government believes that “it is important” to press the ICC on the Venezuela issue “to stop the Maduro dictatorship”. According to the official:
Argentina would become, [by keeping up pressure at the ICC], into the leading flag-bearer for human rights [on this issue] in the region.
The matter was “analyzed at the highest level”, the website claims, with the eventual goal being to formally request the ICC to begin proceedings against Maduro and other regime officials for crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela over the past five years.
Infobae claims that the Argentinian government decided to take a leading role in the Venezuelan crisis before the ICC following the release of a report by an expert panel with the Organization of American States (OAS) in late May, which found that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that regime officials have committed crimes against humanity in their brutal repression of political dissent. The 400-page report outlined in painful detail the cases of torture and other abuses that Venezuelans have suffered under the Maduro regime.
The ministry source told Infobae:
The objective is to get support from the [OAS member states] to take this complaint from the OAS to the International Criminal Court, so that they can start right away to analyze the crimes against humanity in Venezuela. For this reason, Argentina’s decision would be very relevant because it takes the issue to the international stage….
Santiago Canton, the secretary for human rights for the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina, was one of the experts on the OAS panel that compiled the May report. He told Infobae:
This report from the OAS and Argentinian pressure could be enough for the ICC to move against the Maduro regime.
Padrino Lopez to Continue Tenure as Chief of Army
Yesterday, Maduro announced that he was keeping Vladimir Padrino Lopez as Minister of Defense, cementing his position as the head of the Venezuelan armed forces. Padrino Lopez wields a significant amount of power given the regime’s authoritarian hold on power, and his re-appointment as minister is likely a sign that Maduro is satisfied with his efforts to quell dissent in the armed forces ranks.
As of late May, 40 members of the armed forces had been detained since the start of the year for allegedly conspiring to remove Maduro from power. Last month, Bloomberg reported that a thwarted plot to overthrow Maduro “involved scores of captains, colonels, and generals from all four branches” of the armed forces.
Announcing his decision yesterday, Maduro said:
I’ve decided to ratify the minister of defense, Vladimir Padrino, an honest man, exemplary, loyal like never before. I appreciate all of his efforts. I trust you, in your drive.
Padrino Lopez has been in the position since 2014.
OAS Receives Updated List of Political Prisoners
The Organization of American States (OAS) received and updated list yesterday of the number of political prisoners in Venezuela, which now sits at 276. The OAS received the list from the Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), a Venezuelan NGO that works with victims of regime repression.
According to the list that the OAS received, the political prisoners are divided into 195 civilians and 81 armed services members. 78 of this individuals are not currently serving a prison sentence; that is, they are in detention indefinitely until their trial concludes. 43 of them are women, while 233 are men.
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