Venezuela, Grand Corruption, and the International Criminal Court

09 Dec 2019

Venezuela’s ongoing crisis has resulted in the first-ever joint request from States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a preliminary examination. The evidence presented until now of crimes against humanity focuses on attacks on political opposition and demonstrators.

In this research paper, we contend that the situation in Venezuela is not fully comprehensible, and the referral falls short, without looking through the lens of grand corruption. 

We describe what we mean by grand corruption and how it has corroded Venezuela. We explain how applying a corruption lens to every step of the preliminary examination process – the existence of crimes against humanity, the unwillingness of local justice systems to operate, the gravity of the harm even with a relatively small number of killings, and the interests of justice—is better understood if a corruption-infused analysis is brought to bear. We then turn to some caveats and limiting considerations. Finally, we draw some implications for other, increasingly common, situations where grave violations of international criminal law take place because of, and maintained by, systems of kleptocracy. 

Read the full paper here