The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today held its first public hearing in the Venezuela 1 Case. For the first time, the victims had a voice through Paolina Massida, representative of the ICC Victims’ Public Defense Office. The chamber must rule on the appeal filed by the Bolivarian revolution against the decision of the judges of the Preliminary Chamber, who authorized prosecutor Karim Khan to continue his investigations for crimes against humanity
But the big surprise was on the other side, on the defense bench: Nicolás Maduro has hired the English lawyer Ben Emmerson, protagonist of such renowned cases such as the defense of Abu Qatada, the radical cleric considered the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda in Europe, and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks activist.
Emmerson, who convinced almost no one in his defense today, also counted among his clients Carlos Puigmont and other leaders of the independence movement (Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez), whom he represented before Spain and before the United Nations for “violate their political rights”.
From being considered a “Goliath of human rights” and confronting Vladimir Putin over the case of the radioactive poisoning of Aleksander Litvinenko, Emmerson has gone on to defend the chavista dictatorshipaccused of crimes against humanity such as torture, extra-summary executions, sexual violations, arbitrary detentions and forced disappearances.
“I am surprised that the Venezuelan government, with an anti-imperialist narrative, hire an english lawyer. What did not surprise me was his exposure,” she revealed to THE WORLD Alfredo Romero, president of Foro Penal, present in The Hague. Romero, in an opinion shared by different human rights defenders, highlighted the work of Massida and the team of prosecutor Karim Khan.