BOGOTA – The president of Spain’s Ciudadanos Party, Albert Rivera, said on Tuesday in Bogota that he will ask the Spanish government to join the six countries who filed a case before the International Court of Justice against the Venezuelan regime for human rights violations.
On Sept. 25, the foreign ministers of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Canada presented at the United Nations General Assembly a letter signed by the leaders of their countries asking the ICJ, based in The Hague, to investigate alleged crimes against humanity perpetrated by Venezuela.
“Ciudadanos is going to ask the government of Spain for us to join Colombia, for us to join Peru,” said the politician, who was interrupted by applause during his remarks at a breakfast at the Bogota Chamber of Commerce.
Rivera, who began a two-day visit to Colombia on Tuesday, emphasized the “courage” of the six countries in deciding to bring Venezuela up on charges of violating human rights before the ICJ, a move that a few days later was joined by France.
The Ciudadanos leader added that if Madrid does not back the initiative, he will do so if he comes to head the Spanish government.
The letter sent by the six countries to the ICJ was accompanied by reports prepared by international experts, one of which was written by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which tallies extrajudicial executions, incidences of torture and arbitrary arrests carried out by Caracas amid anti-government protests from April-July 2017.
Another report accompanying the letter was drafted by a group of experts appointed by Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro and concluded that there is a “reasonable basis” to consider that 11 people, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, allegedly have committed crimes against humanity.
The ICJ, on its own, last February had already launched a preliminary investigation of Venezuela, which is the initial step in potentially opening a formal investigation.