Practice Relating to Rule 161. International Cooperation in Criminal Proceedings
Section A. Cooperation between States
In 2001, in the Ballestas case
, the Colombian Government requested the preventive detention and extradition of a Colombian citizen belonging to the armed group known as the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army) for the crimes of rebellion, kidnapping, wrongful death, seizure and diversion of aircraft. The Chamber of Criminal Appeals of Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice stated: “An unfailing means [to ensure] the application of Humanitarian law internationally is that States grant each other mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
(emphasis in original)
The tribunal held:
It is a firm and incontrovertible fact that political armed struggle must be governed by the laws of war. As a result, attacks against innocent [people] or against private rights or the rights of individuals are absolutely unjustified, even where a political motive is claimed.
Thus: if such an attack against innocent [persons] and private rights is carried out with such a violence and malicious intent that it causes unnecessary suffering, havoc and terror, it would [constitute the offence of] indiscriminate terrorism, namely [those acts] that are not selective when choosing their targets and expressly target the innocent.
Terrorism, and particularly indiscriminate terrorism, ignores the requirements of Humanitarian … law; it endangers innocent human lives and many times destroys them …
Terrorism takes many forms, as it can be committed through several means. One is the kidnapping [hijacking] of planes, which is one of the acts of which … José María Ballestas Tirado is accused in Colombia. Another is the kidnapping of persons, which is also one of the acts of which … José María Ballestas Tirado is criminally accused (“extortive kidnapping”) in Colombia …
… Solidarity must unite States in the rejection of this type of action. An international problem must have an international solution and, faced with the universalization of terrorism
, it is an international duty to lend all the cooperation to this effect: it is indispensable for the application of Humanitarian law that States grant each other mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
[emphasis in original]
In 2012, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Venezuela stated:
A diplomatic mission of the Federal Republic of Germany requested that Venezuela should permit the Federal Republic Criminal Police to search the archives in order to investigate crimes perpetrated in relation to the Second World War, especially those committed in concentration camps and crimes against prisoners of war. To date, there is no explicit legal provision governing such assistance to other States. Venezuela has, however, incorporated in its domestic legal system the commonly accepted principles governing criminal cooperation between countries by signing various international agreements on mutual assistance in criminal matters, the provisions of which include the possibility of authorizing the presence of officials of the requesting party who were identified in the request beforehand in the course of conducting cooperation or assistance procedures under the direction and supervision of our competent authorities, so long as there is no legal provision to the contrary.