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OAS Secretary General Designates Luis Moreno Ocampo as Special Adviser on Crimes against Humanity

  July 25, 2017

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, today designated the former prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo as Special Adviser on Crimes against Humanity.

The work of the Special Adviser will begin with analyzing, studying and debating the situation in Venezuela with all interested parties and as a consequence formulating suggested possible courses of action by the Organization.

Secretary General Luis Almagro said “the escalation of human rights violations in Venezuela and the systematic attack against the civilian population includes murders, imprisonment and torture, and it is evident in the eyes of the international community that we are in the presence of crimes against humanity. Venezuela ratified the Rome Statute in June 2000, and therefore the International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction over what happens there. It is our duty to explore the possibility that those responsible for these atrocities can be tried by the ICC.”

"The citizens of Venezuela live in terror. And the terror has its origins in the state from a deliberate, methodical and systematic strategy. If the regime wants to jail someone, it jails them. If it decides to torture, it tortures. If it decides to murder, it murders. If they want to proceed with regular forces, or through paramilitary forces, it does not matter,” added the Secretary General.

For his part, Luis Moreno Ocampo, who as prosecutor of the ICC brought a case before the Court against former Libyan Leader Moammar Gadafi said "the OAS can prevent impunity in Venezuela. The Secretary General is defining a new space for the OAS, focusing on crime prevention and control and gathering information that may be useful in conducting an independent judicial investigation by the ICC.”

“It is very important that the Permanent Representatives to the OAS form a working group to receive victims and information about eventual crimes. We must identify who are those responsible for the crimes. Venezuela has the priority to investigate these crimes and it is imperative to consult with their authorities on the efforts carried out to achieve justice. If they confirm the crimes and there are no genuine efforts to investigate them, the OAS can send its information to the ICC Prosecutor’s Office. If one of the 28 states that are members of the OAS and the Court refers the situation of Venezuela that is enough to facilitate the opening of an investigation,” added Ocampo.

Among other positions held in his professional career, Luis Moreno Ocampo was deputy prosecutor in the trial of nine members of the Military Juntas (including heads of state) who ruled Argentina during the dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

Reference: E-057/17