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Argentine authorities target the Maduro regime and reopen an investigation for "crimes against humanity"

The case was brought by prosecutor Carlos Stornelli based on the principle of universal jurisdiction and resumed just months before Venezuela goes to the polls.

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El dictador venezolano, Nicolás Maduro. (Cordon Press)

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The Argentine justice system reopened an investigation against the regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, claiming “serious violations of human rights and crimes against humanity.” The case was brought by prosecutor Carlos Stornelli and accepted by judges Leopoldo Bruglia, Pablo Bertuzzi and Mariano Llorens.

The magistrate’s ruling ordered it to carry out the prosecutor’s request, understanding that it is essential to “counterbalance the criminal actions carried out by the state authorities of the Venezuelan government.”

Among those charged in the case are Nicolás Maduro, Diosdado Cabello and “all those identified as responsible” for “serious violations of human rights and crimes against humanity.”

The background of the investigation against Maduro

The initial investigation was also promoted by prosecutor Stornelli in July 2023, following a complaint filed by the George Clooney Foundation in the Comodoro Py courts. The objective was to determine whether human rights violations were committed in Venezuela.

To get to the bottom of the matter, the prosecutor requested reports from Venezuelan judges and prosecutors, as well as from the UN Human Rights Council.

“Argentina must investigate the systematic and serious violations of human rights committed in Venezuela, based on the principle of universal jurisdiction,” the initial complaint read.

At the same time, the text pointed out a refusal by the Venezuelan judicial authorities to investigate “links in the chain of command of the Bolivarian National Guard and the exchanges of information recorded within it.”

This case was received by Judge Sebastián Ramos, who added it to other already existing ones. In one of them, prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita had ruled that it was not appropriate to proceed because the International Criminal Court (ICC) had been investigating a similar complaint against Maduro that was promoted by the presidents of five countries: Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Canada, Paraguay and Peru since 2018.

Therefore, Judge Ramos ordered the case to be archived and requested the file be sent to the International Criminal Court.

However, a group of victims appealed and indicated that “this criterion cannot be shared because it has not been determined that the cases brought to the attention of the ICC are the same as those reported in this process, for investigation” and because the action of the prosecutor Pollicita was “overtaken by the extension of the instruction request presented by the prosecutor Carlos Stornelli on February 21.”