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Secretary General of the OAS Announces the Appointment of Independent Panel of International Experts

  September 14, 2017

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has appointed the three international experts to assess whether the situation in Venezuela should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for consideration. The General Secretariat will gather information impartially through a process supervised by former Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno Ocampo. The process will include public hearings to be conducted at OAS headquarters and information submitted by more than 50 organizations that have been conducting research and/or investigating circumstances of the crisis in Venezuela. The information obtained will contribute to a final report, to be reviewed by the independent panel for recommendation to the Secretary General.

The jurists are Costa Rican Manuel Ventura Robles, former Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Dr. Santiago Cantón of Argentina, Secretary of Human Rights of the Province of Buenos Aires, and previously Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; and Professor Irwin Cotler of Canada, President of the Center for Human Rights Raul Wallenberg, and previously Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. The Governments of Argentina, Canada and Costa Rica welcomed the appointment of their recognized citizens as experts on the panel.

On July 25, the Secretary General appointed Luis Moreno Ocampo to facilitate a process that respects the rights of all parties in order to evaluate the alleged commission of crimes against humanity committed in Venezuelan territory and whether the information collected should be sent to the ICC. Venezuela ratified the Rome Statue in June 2000, and is therefore under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

The first public meetings to gather information as part of this process were held at OAS headquarters on 14 and 15 September 2017. Additional sessions will held in October 2017. The General Secretariat will compile the information obtained to produce the Report that will be evaluated by the three experts assigned.

Reference: E-069/17