US Sanctions Against Venezuela Violate Nuremberg Charter - War Crimes Lawyer


US Sanctions Against Venezuela Violate Nuremberg Charter - War Crimes Lawyer

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st April, 2019) US economic sanctions against Venezuela constitute crimes against humanity as laid out in the 1945 Nuremberg Charter and violate other international legal treaties, human rights lawyer Francis Boyle told Sputnik.

The administration of US President Donald Trump imposed yet another round of sanctions against Venezuela last week, this time targeting the country's central bank. The move came amid Washington's attempts to entirely shut down Venezuela's oil trade, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the country's export earnings.

"These sanctions constitute a Crime against Humanity as defined by the 1945 Nuremberg Charter and customary international criminal law ... These sanctions also constitute a Crime against Humanity as defined by the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court," Boyle, who currently serves as a counsel to the Palestinian National Authority and has been involved in prosecuting several international war crimes cases, said.

In 1945, the Nuremberg Charter, or the London Charter, signed by France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union, established the laws and procedures for trying war criminals among the ranks of the Axis powers. The charter also laid out several key principles for dealing with later instances of genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity.

Boyle said that the economic sanctions were also a "clear-cut" violation of the Charter of the Organization of American States, a treaty to which the US government and Venezuela were contracting parties.

The lawyer acknowledged that the United States had successfully avoided international war crimes probes and had veto power to reject UN Security Council resolutions. Caracas, however, could look into other ways to stop Washington's aggression, he explained.

"Venezuela could consider researching its options for a lawsuit against the United States at the International Court of Justice ... Venezuela could also consider a strategy to invoke the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution by the UN General Assembly and see if the UNGA [UN General Assembly] is willing to take steps on its behalf," Boyle said.

The situation could get much worse, Boyle warned, because the United States could easily impose an illegal naval blockade on Venezuela "and shut them down completely."

Boyle suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin could help by sending legal advisers in addition to the military advisers whom Moscow had already deployed to Venezuela.

"Russia has a lot of first-rate international lawyers at the Peoples' Friendship University, Department of International Law, in Moscow, who could probably help them out," he said.

According to UN special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Idriss Jazairy, US sanctions have exacerbated Venezuela's acute economic crisis and will lead to starvation and medical shortages.

Washington, which has been employing sanctions against Venezuela for more than a decade, took measures to entirely new levels in 2017 after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro decided to stop pricing oil in US Dollars.

Soon after opposition leader Juan Guaido in late January illegally tried to proclaim himself interim president, the United States seized billions of dollars' worth of Venezuelan oil assets. The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on state-run oil company PDVSA, Venezuelan trading partners and dozens of government officials.

White House officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, have publicly stated that US energy companies could benefit by installing a new government in Venezuela, a country with the largest oil reserves in the world.

Maduro has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as a US puppet so that Washington can take control of Venezuela's oil resources. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey and a number of other countries have voiced their support for Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

Boyle, who is also a professor of international law at the University of Illinois, filed the original complaint with the International Criminal Court against George Bush's administration officials over abuses related to the war on terror.

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