May 29, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the report by the Panel of Independent International Experts on possible crimes against humanity in Venezuela:
‘‘Canada welcomes the release of the report on possible crimes against humanity in Venezuela and thanks the panellists for their diligent work. The report will provide valuable information to support the preliminary examination into the situation in Venezuela, opened by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court [ICC] earlier this year.
“We are appalled, though not surprised, by the evidence the panel found supporting the allegation that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela. Canada is a strong supporter of the fight against impunity for serious international crimes and the ICC’s role in bringing perpetrators to justice.
“It is because of the Maduro regime’s ongoing abuse of its people and attacks on democracy that Canada has taken a series of punitive actions, including imposing targeted sanctions.”
- In his third report on the situation in Venezuela, published on July 19, 2017, Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), stated there was evidence that crimes against humanity may have been committed in Venezuela and the matter should be brought to the attention of the ICC for further consideration.
- On September 14, 2017, the OAS Secretary General appointed a Panel of Independent International Experts, including Canadian jurist Professor Irwin Cotler, to analyze whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that crimes against humanity may have been committed in Venezuela and to assess whether the situation should be submitted to the Prosecutor of the ICC for consideration.
- On February 8, 2018, Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the ICC, announced that the ICC had opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Venezuela.