The International Criminal Court (ICC) will investigate whether crimes against humanity were committed during Venezuela's crackdown on anti-government protests in 2017.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said the state respects the decision to investigate, but does not share it.
More than 100 people died during the clampdown on protesters.
The demonstrations started after the Supreme Court decided to dissolve the opposition-dominated National Assembly.
The ICC's Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan announced the move after a three-day trip to Caracas.