UN Experts to Expand Investigation of Nicaragua’s Repressors
The UN mandate is to determine who the aggressors are “by name and surname,” as well as the institutions involved.
HAVANA TIMES – The two-year extension of the mandate of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua (GHREN) will make it possible to document the violations committed by the repressive apparatus of the dictatorship and identify each of the perpetrators and chain of command, which include public institutions such as the Nicaraguan Army and the National Police.
“In addition to going deeper into the problem, to have the victims, is to identify those responsible for those actions. To determine the responsibility of the facts, either by omission or by action. Therefore, it is extremely important, because we need to know who is responsible,” comments civil society activist Amaru Ruiz.
Gonzalo Carrion, of the Nicaragua Nunca Mas Collective, adds that, for example, in the case of the stripping of the nationality of 317 Nicaraguans, this further investigation will point out the responsibility of the National Police, the Judiciary, and in particular the judges who were involved in this political decision that has no legal basis.
“Since the systematic repression is ongoing and the time in which they developed the first stage of the first report was short, now there will be the opportunity to document more victims, to track down the perpetrators, evidence, criminal structures, chains of command and responsibility,” explains Carrion.
Ruiz emphasizes that GHREN “is interested in determining who the aggressors are, with first and last names, or the institutions or political bossess who were involved.”
The UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua for two more years, through a resolution that obtained 21 votes in favor, five against and 21 abstentions.
More resources to denounce
In the first report of the GHREN, presented last March, it was noted that the regime of Daniel Ortega and the authorities of at least seven state institutions, led by the Police, committed crimes against humanity and extrajudicial executions against Nicaraguans who expressed themselves in the April 2018 Rebellion.
Thus, they recommended to the international community to initiate legal actions against the individuals responsible for violations, abuses and crimes documented in Nicaragua. Ruiz believes that now with the extension of the investigation there will be more evidence backing the cases of human rights violations committed by the dictatorship.
“What is in the background is to have a series of direct documentation of the victims, with testimonies, data, information, and evidence that can serve so that the countries that decide to undertake, what they called in the previous report, accusations via universal law or universal justice, to serve as a basis of valid evidence for the process in the event that any country decides to take legal action,” explain Ruiz the president of the closed Fundacion del Rio.
Those who will do the information gathering will be, on the one hand, the Office of the UN High Commissioner, whose role is to monitor and follow up the human rights violations generally, and the GHREN experts will delve into the investigation of particular issues. “That is the difference. That is why they are complementary and do not duplicate each other,” says Ruiz.
In the resolution, the UN Human Rights Council “urged the Nicaraguan government to adopt effective measures to guarantee the independence, transparency and impartiality of the justice system, the electoral authorities, the National Police, the Ministry of the Interior, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ombudsman Office for Human Rights.”
They also call for an end to “political interference in the Judiciary through the arbitrary imprisonment and removal of judges and other high-ranking judicial officials and to adopt effective measures to guarantee the separation of powers and the reestablishment of the rule of law.”
Investigation includes vulnerable groups
Likewise, the United Nations body urged the Government of Ortega and Murillo to take effective measures to prevent, investigate and ensure accountability for acts of sexual and gender-based violence; adopt effective measures against acts of violence against indigenous and afro descendant people.
“What is new of this resolution is that it opens new investigation categories. It means that the Group of Experts is committed to delve deeper into violations against some vulnerable groups and here we are talking about indigenous and afro descendant people. Likewise, we are talking about sexual violence against women, which not only occurs in a broader context of violence, but in the abuses that have occurred in prisons,” Ruiz points out.
With the previous resolution, which ordered the creation of GHREN, there was little time for the investigation, between the approval, the election of the experts and of the technical team. Therefore, the two-year extension is an opportunity to broaden the scope.
“With this systematic and brutal repression, there is no sector, territory or community that has come out unharmed of this state of terror, from this totalitarian exercise of power (…) Since there is no territorial, sectoral or population area that is exempt from this repressive system, these two years will be an opportunity to have a complete picture of these serious human rights violations,” stated Carrion.
Another area of investigation that is being expanded is freedom of association with the closure of thousands of non-profit organizations, mainly those who were engaged with vulnerable groups such as children, women and indigenous peoples.