The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Appeals Chamber heard arguments on Tuesday over whether the court may resume its investigation into human rights abuses in Venezuela.Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Canada referred Venezuela for investigation to the ICC in 2018. The referring states alleged the Maduro government committed crimes against humanity, performed arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances for political rivals. In 2020, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor concluded there was a basis to believe crimes against humanity had been committed. In April 2022, Venezuela requested the prosecutor’s office to permit domestic authorities to conduct investigations into the alleged wrongdoing.In June 2023, the ICC reauthorized its investigation, finding that Venezuela had not looked into the matter sufficiently. On Tuesday, the ICC Office of Prosecutor announced that the “preliminary examination had been concluded with a decision to proceed with investigations.” Venezuela appealed the decision to proceed with investigations. A further hearing will be conducted on the appeal November 8 and will be viewable on YouTube.Venezuela has been criticized by human rights groups, NGOs, and foreign governments for an alleged lack of judicial independence, lack of human rights protections, humanitarian crises, state-sponsored extrajudicial killings and political persecutions. The country has presidential elections scheduled for January 2024.

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