Friday, February 17, 2006

The opposition can lie on the internet but they can’t fool the courts 

The opposition to president Chavez has for some time now accused his government of various political crimes and crimes against humanity. Some of them (with the support of pretend laywer Alek Boyd) even went so far as to file a case against the Venezuelan government in the International Criminal Court.

Earlier this month the court threw everything out. Essentially, the prosecutor found the evidence to be sorely lacking. The whole report can be found here but lets just look at some key excerpts:

The Office reviewed the communications, including supplementary information submitted by senders of communications, and examined the relevant documentation and video-recorded information. In addition, we conducted an exhaustive search of all readily-available open source information, including media reports and reports of non-governmental organizations and international organizations.


Communications put forward allegations that crimes against humanity had been committed against the political opponents of the Venezuelan government. The allegations in the communications that fell within the temporal jurisdiction of the Court included 45 victims of murder, 39 to 44 of imprisonment, 42 of torture and larger numbers of victims of persecution.

Many of the allegations of persecution did not appear to satisfy the elements for the crime of persecution.

A considerable challenge in analysing the information received was the lack of precision as well as internal and external inconsistencies in the information. There were numerous instances in which the lack of even approximate data rendered information unreliable for purposes of analysis. Some allegations were missing vital data such as the date of incident, the location of incident and the name of the alleged victim. In other instances, the same individuals appeared on different lists of allegations in different communications; the same individuals were allegedly victimized on different dates for the same crimes; individuals’ names were repeated twice on lists of alleged victims of murder [someone was murdered twice? That does sound fishy – ow]; and there were frequent inconsistencies in victims’ names, ages and location of alleged incidents. These difficulties did not disqualify the information but rendered more complex the evaluation of allegations and the crime analysis. The Office also drew upon on other reliable sources, including the reports of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, which had helpful information.

The Office consolidated the information and examined the overall patterns arising from the information in communications and open sources. In order to constitute a crime against humanity, Article 7(1) of the Rome Statute provides that particular acts must have been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. This test creates a stringent threshold. Even on a generous evaluation of the information provided, the available information did not provide a reasonable basis to believe that the requirement of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population had been satisfied.

So the heart of the matter seems to be that the information about who had been presumably repressed by the government was all wrong. Most likely the reason for that was it was just made up. Given what the opposition are like I can believe that. But you would at least think they wouldn’t put the same person down as having been murdered more than once and could get basic things like dates, names, and locations to be consistent. I don’t think even Alek Boyd could have screwed something up this badly all by himself – he must have had technical assistance from SUMATE.

In any event, this is a further instance of a long standing pattern here. The opposition likes to make all sorts of allegations against the Chavez government – the elections are fraudulent, there are political prisoners and persecution, the oil industry is going down the tubes, and on and on. Yet, without exception, every time these allegations are examined by an expert outside source they are found to be without any basis. In other words, they are just fabricated.

So when you sit and read some opposition allegations and notice it sounds so off the wall that it must be just made up there is a reason for that. And that is it really is the case that some idiot just sat in front of their computer and made it all up. Such is the state of information provided by the Venezuelan opposition.


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