In Brief

Should the UK back ICC torture case against Nicolas Maduro?

Tamara Suju asks UK to join six countries pressing for investigation

Dominic Raab, the UK foreign secretary, has been urged to support a legal case arguing that the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro has systematically tortured its people.

The call came from leading Venezuela human rights campaigner Tamara Suju who visited London to persuade Britain to join six countries in pressuring the international criminal court (ICC) to pursue a case against the Venezuelan regime.

Suju, the executive director of the Casla Institute, asked Raab to draw on his experience as a lawyer for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including at the ICC in The Hague, from 2000 to 2006.

She claims that recent arrests of demonstrators and military figures are systematically directed by the Maduro government.

She said: “We need a European country, preferably Britain, with sufficiently solid institutions, a democratic tradition and commitment to human rights to join us in the ICC not just with words but to subscribe formally to the case.

“We also need Great Britain to impose personal and economic sanctions against the Maduro regime and to close their spaces.”

The ICC referral has already been backed by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Canada. The Guardian says that British backing for the ICC investigation “would be a further blow for Maduro”, who succeeded the leftwing Hugo Chavez as Venezuela’s president.

Talks are under way between supporters of Maduro and Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed interim leader recognised by most EU countries and backed by the US. It is believed that the ICC case could play into the hands of Guaido.

Donald Trump has tightened economic sanctions against Maduro again this week.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board had previously warned the president about Maduro, arguing that “the Trump administration should harbour no illusions about Maduro, who appears bent on assuming the mantle of dictator”.

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