International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan Thursday announced the opening of an office in Caracas to further strengthen President Nicolás Maduro's pledge to abide by international law in matters of human rights.
The decision was conveyed to the press after a meeting at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas between Maduro and Khan, who said the new office will forge a commitment of Venezuelan authorities to comply with the Rome Statute.
The parties have agreed that the Prosecutor General's Office could open an office in Caracas. It is a very important, very significant step, which will allow the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the Rome Statute, said Khan.
He added that a special multiple-entry visa program was also agreed upon, which will allow his team to effectively fulfill its tasks without bureaucratic hindrances. We also agreed on working meetings between technical members of my office and group of your government and reached a consensus, as the prosecutor's office will be able to work with international organizations in the country, Khan said.
The prosecutor proposed that in the second half of 2023 a high-level conference be held in Caracas, in which he said we could work on ways to exchange technicians with different actors in the region about the Rome Statute and complementarity.
I renew my commitment to work in a more collegial and transparent way, and as diaphanous as possible with the Venezuelan authorities, and also with civil society and with international NGOs and with all the actors involved because the rule of law belongs to all of us, Khan also pointed out.
Maduro said that with the opening of the ICC office in Venezuela it will be possible to have an effective level of dialogue, in real-time, more efficient and a level of technical assistance that will allow the November memorandum of understanding to follow its course.
Venezuela has a rule of law, of justice established in its Constitution. We are the first to be interested in the enjoyment of human, social, and political rights of our people, Maduro went on.
We are the first ones who are interested in justice being done and where a crime of whatever characteristics is committed, that it be punished according to the law and on time, Maduro added.
We are now in a process of deep reform, I have called it 'The Revolution of Justice.' This process has taken place on the basis of great national dialogue, and it is beginning to yield very important results that you will know in-depth with this office, he stressed.
Khan arrived in Caracas Tuesday on a three-day visit, which, unlike the one in November, took opponents and members of Human Rights Defense NGOs by surprise because it was not announced.
The ICC began last November a formal probe into the more than 100 deaths allegedly caused by Maduro's regime during the 2017 anti-government protests.