UN report finds Nicolás Maduro and Venezuelan intelligence agency guilty of crimes against humanity
September 22, 2022
Amidst the backdrop of the UN General Assembly, a new report published by the UN’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela (FFMV) found that Nicolás Maduro and the country's intelligence agencies were committing crimes against humanity against the Venezuelan people in an effort to squash dissent. Violations included acts of torture and sexual violence, and were targeted towards “opposition politicians, journalists, protesters, and human rights defenders,” reports the Guardian. Marta Valiñas, Chair of the UN FFMV, said that “Our investigations and analysis show that the Venezuelan State relies on the intelligence services and its agents to repress dissent in the country. In doing so, grave crimes and human rights violations are being committed.” According to the Washington Post, most cases of violations occurred at Venezuela’s intelligence agency headquarters, El Helicoide, with orders for the abuse often coming from Nicolás Maduro himself, as well as other high-level authorities.
The FFMV began its work in 2019, investigating extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture, and arbitrary detentions. The FFMV has never been granted access to enter Venezuela itself, though through a series of confidential interviews, legal documents, case files, and other resources, it was able to identify the chain of command that led to the orders of abuse, including the roles of specific individuals in charge of carrying out orders by Nicolás Maduro and vice president Diosdado Cabello. Nearly 250 interviews were conducted with “victims, their family members, and former employees of the security and intelligence services,” says the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Cronista reports that, though most of the cases investigated by the FFMV occurred in 2017, 2018, and 2019, the abuses carried out by the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) and the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) still occur today.
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