The European Union thanks the Fact-Finding Mission for the updates to this Council and welcomes the recent report released on the Venezuelan justice system perceived as a central component in the context of the human rights violations in Venezuela. The report complements and expands, with the additional evidence, the findings of the previous reports of the FFM and HCHR.
The findings by the Fact-Finding Mission are deeply worrying. As reported, there is reasonable ground to believe that most of the political cases are not investigated and/or prosecuted in accordance with national and international human rights law, thus resulting in persistent violations of due process guarantees. Moreover, it seems that these numerous procedural irregularities have been carried out with the interference of high-level authorities and third parties, in violation of the principle of independence of the judiciary. The report also points out the blatant impunity for human rights violations, as only a small percentage of public officials have been charged and prosecuted for acts of extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment, including sexual and gender-based violence, against the real or perceived government opponents.
The EU condemns the serious human rights violations and erosion of the rule of law, documented in the report of the Fact-Finding Mission. We call on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to fulfill its obligations under human rights law and to immediately adopt the necessary measures to restore the independence of the judicial system and to carry out prompt, effective, thorough, and transparent investigations to bring to justice those responsible for the human rights violations and crimes described in the present report. We also urge the Venezuelan authorities to cooperate with all relevant international human rights and accountability mechanisms, including the FFM and the ICC and make possible in-country fact-finding made by representatives of these institutions.
We also encourage the authorities to work on the opening of a fully-fledged OHCHR country office in Venezuela.
Let me end by highlighting the importance of a political and democratic solution to the deep crisis in Venezuela, which leads to credible, inclusive and transparent regional, parliamentary and presidential elections and the restoration of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. With accountability and justice for victims being a priority for the EU, we continue to strongly support the mandate of the Fact-Finding Mission.
I thank you.