Amnesty International has accused the government of Venezuela of committing crimes against humanity.
The right body urged the International Criminal Court to investigate what it said “crimes against humanity” committed by President Nicolas Maduro-led government after anti-government protest hit the country in January.
In its report, AI said it had found evidence of extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions and deaths and injuries due to excessive use of force by Maduro’s government.
Venezuela is going through a political turmoil and economic crisis that has worsened since January when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, arguing that Maduro’s reelection was fraught with irregularities.
Guaido, who has been recognized as Venezuela’s rightful leader by about 50 countries including the United States and much of Latin America, has sought Maduro’s resignation.
Erika Guevara, Amnesty International’s director for the Americas, told journalists that there was a systematic policy of repression against the opposition in Venezuela.
Since the protest demanding the President resignation erupted in January at least 47 people have been killed, according to the report. More than 900 people were arbitrarily detained over the five days of protests in late January, including 770 detentions in just one day.
An Amnesty International team visited Venezuela between Jan. 31 and Feb. 17 and documented six extrajudicial executions, three cases of excessive force and six arbitrary detentions, according to the report.
The cases “are representative of a broader pattern of possible human rights violations that took place in January 2019,” the report states.