Carlos Sánchez Berzaín
septiembre 5, 2017
(Interamerican Institute for Democracy) United Nations’ convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention) is the legal venue to accuse, investigate, judge, and capture Nicolas Maduro and those individuals who have committed felonious crimes against life, liberty, the state, the economy, and humanity in order to gain material benefits while illegally holding political power for the sake of impunity in Venezuela. This empowerment is available in several countries of the world because this Palermo Convention is applicable even if “crimes are committed in only one State but have substantial effects in another State.”
Article 4 of the Palermo Convention states that it shall be “applied to the prevention, investigation, and judgment” of “crimes that are transnational in nature and involve the participation of an organized criminal group”. It further details that “crime shall be considered transnational in nature if; a) It is committed in more than one State, b) Is committed only in one State but a substantial part of its preparation, planning, direction, or control is done in another State, c) It is committed only in one State but it involves the participation of an organized criminal group that has criminal activities in more than one State, or d) It is committed only in one State but it has substantial effects in another State.”
In Maduro’s case and that of his accomplices, all Articles and sub articles of the convention defining transnational crime can be applied, because the criminal organized group that holds power in Venezuela has committed them all, including the planning and conducting of criminal activities in several States. The crime of narcotics trafficking, for example, is transnational in nature as defined in the four reasons, or sub articles, defining it and the empowerment of the Palermo Convention is available to all States that are used as the drug’s transshipment or destination points that have turned Venezuela into a Narco-State. In those other cases of crimes against the economy, such as those stemming from corruption revealed by the Odebrecht case, these same four defining reasons, or sub articles, also apply and all States, the one from where construction giant Odebrecht originates, as well as those other States who have received, used, or deposited the ill-gotten funds, such as; Spain, Panama, Brazil, the United States, are empowered to apply the Palermo Convention and persecute these criminals and not solely freeze their assets or impose fines.
Beside the crimes against the economy, one of the most important features of the Palermo Convention that makes it applicable in all States throughout the Americas and Europe are those crimes against life, liberty, and the physical well-being of Venezuelans. Just within the past five months and witnessed by the whole wide world through videos and television, Maduro and his organized thugs have flagrantly assassinated more than 150 people and have deprived nearly 5,000 people of their freedom, have inflicted and caused serious physical harm that ranges from torture to the clubbing of thousands of people. Going several months back, they have created a crisis due to the lack of foodstuff and medicines that in turn caused the death of thousands of people forcing citizens to -among other things- abandon their homeland, they have created a “forced migration due to criminal causes”.
Crimes against life, liberty and the physical integrity of people, narcotics trafficking, and other common crimes are NOT political acts and cannot be consider as solely an internal matter to Venezuela because they have great and serious international effects. This is about a set of premeditated, organized, and executed acts for the purpose of Nicolas Maduro and his group to retain power to ensure the impunity they need to cover-up the hundreds of crimes which in a continuous and sustained fashion that have committed and commit in order to gain huge material benefits within and outside of Venezuela, with the benefit to have misappropriated the State in order to continue committing crime.
Members of the Maduro regime have overwhelmed the political climate, they cannot justify their crimes with the argument of being a government or being sovereign. The control of Venezuela by an organized criminal group and the daily commission of crimes that have an effect worldwide IS NOT AN INTERNAL MATTER of a State because it is typified as A MATTER OF TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME and this is how it must be dealt with. The effects of these crimes can be seen with the thousands of Venezuelan forced migrant refugees in Panama, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, United States, Mexico, Canada, Spain. Will these governments continue without attacking the source of the problem?
International law is pointing the way and the governments of Americas’ democratic States, very complacent up to recently and who are now also victims of Maduro’s organized criminal group, cannot reject the application of the Palermo Convention by opening investigations and legal causes within their own judicial systems, and requesting the international capture of those investigated whose names ought to include -as a minimum- Nicolas Maduro’s and members of his designated government, civilians and military, and the members of the apocryphal Constituent Assembly that has been turned into a renewed instrument for the commission of crime.
Governments of Americas’ democratic States and those of the rest of the world are faced with the option to either fulfill their obligation to protect their people and their States by opening investigations, trying, and capturing members of Maduro’s criminal organized group that usurps Venezuela today (instead of treating it as an equal), or become accomplices and continue suffering the consequences that range from forced migration, narcotics trafficking, money and asset laundering, and more up to the destabilization and sustainment of international terrorism.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Americas on Sunday September 3rd, 2017