Bolivia: ICC referral indicates ongoing ‘polarization’ of the country Bolivia News


International Criminal Court (ICC) is Asked Bolivia asked the court to investigate former President Ivo Morales and his supporters after Bolivia’s death to decide for the first time whether a crime against Bolivia’s humanity could be committed.

Headed by Interim President Jeanine Anz The Bolivian government last week caused Morales and his agitation for the Socialism (MAS) party to cause deaths of people by blocking their access to medical supplies and oxygen.

But some experts say the ICC referral is a political exercise because of the ongoing tension caused by the Bolivian election delays, which has raised criticisms and concerns that the interim government is trying to seize power.

“Unexpectedly, referrals have specific goals in mind – in this case, an opposition movement – and this is undoubtedly seen as a political referral,” said Otilia Maunganidze, head of special projects at the Institute for the Study of Security. Will go. Which works on governance and justice issues in Africa.

In writing to the ICC, Bolivia’s interim leadership argued that the hurdles Supporters of In August Morales led to “many deaths and concerns among the rest of the population”.

The odds were stacked against the decision to delay the election – “deliberate [caused] Charged accusations, for the “great victims” civilian population.

Morales resigned in November 2019 after weeks of mass protests over disputed election results [File: Agustin Marcarian/Reuters]

Morales, Bolivia’s longest serving leader and its first indigenous president, resigned in November 2019 after weeks of controversy over the election results. The former president, now living in exile, accused his opponents of plotting against his government.

The case “gives the court an opportunity to think about whether the provision of healthcare is a crime against humanity”, Markstein A. Advisers at the Velamo Foundation, a Berlin-based non-profit organization that works on the rule of law, told Al Jazeera.

Political polarization

Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal postponed the election from 6 September to 18 October following warnings from medical experts that it would be unsafe to hold elections during the epidemic, which has hit the country hard.

The epidemic as political tensions continue to divide people in Bolivia. A report by Amnesty International released last month accused the country’s interim government of harassing and threatening alleged political opponents.

Human Rights Watch also said on Friday that terrorism charges leveled against Morel stemmed from the November violence. Politically motivated. Morels was accused of encouraging protests and disruptions during a nationwide unrest.

Bolivia is currently experiencing a moment of intense political and electoral polarization

Ramiro Orias, Program Officer in due process of Law Foundation

The Program Officer of the Law Foundation of Law Foundation (DPLF) in La Paz, Ramiro Oras, said the referral should be understood in the context of current political polarization in Bolivia.

“Bolivia is currently experiencing intense political and electoral polarization,” Oras said, adding that the division extends to how citizens feel about ICC referrals.

“While some citizens are supporting the referral as they feel that the losses and deaths caused by the actions promoted by the Morels should not go without punishment, social sectors that support the previous Morales government [do] Do not think that there should be accountability and they say the process is political, ”Udas told Al Jazeera.

He said that under those conditions, an international justice system is needed.

ICC Referral

Nevertheless, ICC referrals from Latin America have been rare.

A group of six states – Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru – made one on the status of Venezuela in 2018, and Caracas filed its own referral in 2020.

“Many referrals may be deployed by one party to stigmatize the other, but the application of international law is always political,” said Mark Drumble, a law professor at Washington and Lee University in the US state of Virginia.

Drumbl said that in recent years the ICC has pushed for expanding international crimes.

“This referral fits into this band. I expect more of these steps in the future, especially in the area of ​​public health,” he said, adding that it may be difficult to show intent in these cases.

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