Human Rights Watch details abuses by the state against protesters in a new report.
Venezuelan security forces have used unlawful force in response to antigovernment demonstrations, severely beating unarmed protesters and shooting them at point blank range, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Security forces also subjected detainees to severe physical and psychological abuse, including in some cases torture, and justice officials failed to safeguard detainees’ due process rights.
And will these be prosecuted?
According to the government, as of April 25, the Attorney General’s Office was conducting 145 investigations into alleged human rights violations, and 17 security officials had been detained for their alleged involvement in these cases.
“Given the lack of judicial independence in Venezuela today, and the fact that prosecutors and judges are directly implicated in many of the abuses we documented, it’s difficult to expect that the people responsible for these crimes will be brought to justice,” Vivanco said. “For these efforts to be credible, the Venezuelan government should seek the involvement of UN rights monitors and take immediate steps to secure the independence of the judiciary.”
We will hear counter-arguments that the protesters have the same power as the state and are worse offenders, that the government is doing a good job of investigating, and/or that HRW is a tool of the United States. My advice is to read the report and decide for yourself.