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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 21 of 190 complaints against Prosecutors and other public officials including member of the national security forces for abuse of power, abuse of process, and other crimes committed against the civilians perceived as dissident and detainees despite compelling evidence on the involvement of government officials including high level officials and influential individuals connected to the GoV. Lastly, following the increasing tensions within Venezuela as the first anniversary of the start of the demonstrations was approaching in February 2015 and more demonstrations were anticipated, the GoV attempted to legitimise and legalise its violent response. The Ministry of Defence announced a new policy on the 27 January 2015 formalizing the GoV’s oder to the national security forces to use lethal force including firearms and other weapons, to prevent what the government considers to be disorder and aggression against the elected government. This constitutes an unequivocal order to the national security forces already reported to have committed violent crimes against the demonstrators to intervene in protests and use force against the protestors. Even though the wording of the directive provides for the use of lethal force when demonstrators are violent, it fails to provide for proportionality in the use of force and for the discriminate application of the force only to those individuals who are violent. The only safeguard of the provision is the requirement that firearms be used when it is “unavoidable". The absence of qualification of what amounts to a situation where use of a firearm is unavoidable especially with regards to units already alleged to have committed crimes, including by the use of excessive force, is bluntly insufficient to ensure that crimes will not be committed again. Moreover, the resolution unleashes the same units of the national security forces previously deployed and blamed for crimes against the protestors without any additional training. This policy approved by Vladimir López Padrino, a General heading the Ministry of Defence, publicly and formally acknowledges the GoV’s intention to quell protests by any means necessary including the commission of crimes against humanity and intends to legalise such a policy. The protest which occurred in February 2015 were indeed repressed even more violently significantly increasing the number of casualties. The following months showed another peak in the use of violence against perceived dissidents and demonstrators and a change in the approach of the GoV resulted in at least 6 civilians were killed as a result of the alleged intervention of the national security forces and the pro government armed paramilitaries in the context of demonstrations. Several students, were found dead shot with their hands still tied behind their backs in the head a few days after being

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