The Office of the the International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela signed a memorandum of understanding this Wednesday, November 3, based on the principle of positive complementarity established in the Rome Statute.
The memorandum of understanding arose at the end of the visit by the ICC Prosecutor’s Office delegation to Venezuela, which officially began on Monday, November 1, from a meeting with the head of state. Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro thanked the ICC prosecutor for his willingness to meet in situ with the authorities to learn about the operation of Venezuelan institutions.
Below is the unofficial translation of the memorandum:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“The Prosecutor’s Office”), hereinafter the “parties;”
Considering that the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela establishes the guarantee of human rights as guiding principles, and incorporates reparation for victims and the immutable nature of crimes against human rights;
Considering that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a state party to the Rome Statute that establishes the International Criminal Court as of July 7, 2000;
Recalling the support of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the mandate of the International Criminal Court, and considering that the serious crimes that concern the international community should not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution should be guaranteed, including through the adoption of measures at the national level and the strengthening of international cooperation;
Considering that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has concluded the preliminary examination of the situation in [the] Venezuela I [case] and has determined that an investigation should be opened to establish the truth in accordance with the Rome Statute;
Considering that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela interprets that the requirements of Article 53 (1) of the Rome Statute are not met to justify the passage from the preliminary examination phase to the investigation phase;
Noting that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela considers that the complaints should be investigated in the country by the existing national institutions created for this purpose;
Emphasizing that, despite differences of opinion on this issue, the Parties remain committed to actively collaborating with each other and supporting efforts beyond the principle of complementarity;
Considering that the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will recognize the efforts, reforms and investigations carried out in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;
Considering that this letter of understanding is without prejudice to the full rights that the Rome Statute confers on state parties, including, among others, the provisions of Article 18;
Considering that no suspect or target has been identified at this stage and that the purpose of the investigation is to determine the truth and whether or not there are grounds to bring charges against someone;
Considering that the prosecutor will enter into the arrangements or agreements, which are not incompatible with the Rome Statute, that are necessary to facilitate the cooperation of a state, in accordance with Articles 54 (3) (d), 86 and 93 of the Statute of Rome and that the principle of complementarity is the basis of the Rome Statute;
Considering the intention of the parties to enter into an agreement to facilitate said cooperation and mutual assistance;
THEY HAVE AGREED;
That the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as a national jurisdiction, will adopt all necessary measures to ensure the effective administration of justice, in accordance with international standards, with the support and active commitment of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court by virtue of the principle of complementarity;
Establish mechanisms to improve cooperation between the parties and facilitate the effective performance of the prosecutor’s mandate in the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;
Strive to agree on means and mechanisms that effectively contribute to the efforts of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to carry out authentic national actions in accordance with Article 17 of the Rome Statute;
Work so that the principle of complementarity has an adequate and significant effect.
Signed in Caracas, on November 3, 2021, in two authentic copies.
For the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
For the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court: Sr. Karim A. A. Khan QC Fiscal
Featured image: The president of the republic received First Combatant Cilia Flores alongside ICC Prosecutor Karim A. Khan. Photo by Prensa Presidencial.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune