The team of investigators went through more than 5,000 killings by security authorities and considers the crimes to be systematic.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro and key ministers are directly responsible for the killings and systematic torture, according to a team of scientists set up by the UN Human Rights Council; report. The three-member expert group, which began work a year ago, published its first report on Wednesday in Geneva.
Among other things, the group went through 2,552 acts since 2014, in which a total of 5,094 people died at the hands of security forces. A further 223 cases were taken for further investigation and a case study was prepared for 48 human rights violations.
“These are not isolated cases, these crimes have been coordinated and carried out as part of state policy, with the knowledge and direct support of commanders and key officials,” the study team leader Marta Valiñas concludes.
Investigation team members could not get to Venezuela but had to do their work through remote interviews with witnesses and victims and access to documents.
The group’s 411-page document goes through, among other things, 140 so-called “people’s liberation operations” in 2015–2017. The operations were originally intended to combat crime but resulted in the arbitrary deaths of more than 400 civilians.
Investigators say Venezuela’s Faes special forces and security service Sebin are jointly responsible for more than half of the illegal killings. Member of the research team Francisco Coxin according to President Maduro has in some cases told Sebin directly who should be shaded and who should be arrested.
“Maduro has been involved in the crimes either directly through the chain of command or sometimes bypassing the chain of command by issuing orders directly,” Cox said at the announcement of the report, according to news agency AFP.
Nicolás Maduro became President of Venezuela in 2013 with its predecessor and patron Hugo Chávezin after. Protests in Venezuela, which has plunged into economic discipline, really began the following year.
The opposition did not approve of Maduro’s re-election in 2018 and in January last year, the opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the incumbent president of Venezuela.
Guaidón has been recognized as the legitimate president of Venezuela by several South American countries, including the United States, Canada and the EU, including Finland.