Colombia’s Prosecutor General Guillermo Mendoza Diago said Thursday that the Andean nation is considering whether to take evidence of numerous FARC and ELN camps in Venenzuela to the International Criminal Court (ICC), given that the guerrillas commit crimes against humanity and then seek refuge over the border.
“If we manage to establish that and we have information that the people who attack seek refuge in Venezuela and the authorities don’t do anything, but instead support them, then we would be able confirm that we could take the case to the International Criminal Court,” Mendoza said.
According to Mendoza, high-ranking Venezuelan officials, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, could hypothetically be called to testify before the court.
“If the International Criminal Court prosecutor – after we were to have presented the corresponding complaint, well founded in evidence were to be able to establish that Venezuelan authorities were co-participants in these acts, they could all be called to respond,” Mendoza said.
The prosecutor general said that the Colombian government had handed him a file documenting at least 60 attacks against Colombians, committed by FARC guerrillas, who had then fled to Venezuela.
Mendoza attended an emergency meeting called by outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Thursday evening, to evaluate the crisis with Venezuela. The socialist nation broke all relations with Colombia Thursday morning, after Colombia’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Alfonso Hoyos, presented evidence to the international body of the presence of 87 guerrilla camps in Venezuelan territory.
Venezuelan Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega responded to Mendoza’s comments Friday by saying that while Colombia’s accusation are “based on lies,” her nation will defend itself before the ICC if need be.
Ortega rejected the evidence Colombia presented to the OAS as “false” and said “they are directed to create fissures in the brotherhood of the brother peoples of Venezuela and Colombia.”
According to Ortega, the only thing Hoyos clarified in his presentation was that “the Colombian state doesn’t have sufficient diligence to control [the guerrilla], nor care for its borders, like the Venezuelan government has done.”
“Venezuela does not have to show everybody that it is innocent,” Ortega said, adding that international law prioritizes “the principle innocent until proven guilty.”
Ortega said she backed Chavez’s decision to sever all ties. She added that the Venezuelan Prosecutor General’s office “activated a plan to reinforce prosecutor presence in the border states” in order to detect “any crime classified by Venezuelan law.”