A complaint against President Jair Messias Bolsonaro has been presented in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. This adds international pressure to his continuous attacks on human rights, indigenous peoples and environmentalist NGOs
By openDemocracy. Published 11-29-2019
A group of Brazilian lawyers, along with a powerful human rights group and some former ministers, denounced President Jair Bolsonaro before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for inciting the “genocide of indigenous peoples” of Brazil and committing “crimes against humanity”.
The Arns Commission and the Human Rights Defense Collective delivered a note to Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, this last Wednesday. Lawyers promoting the complaint reported to democraciaAbierta and other media that the document is 60 pages long and identifies 33 actions and official speeches of Jair Bolsonaro that might have a criminal character, as established by the Rome Statute, ratified by Brazil in 2002.
“Yesterday we presented, through CADHu and the Arns Commission, a complaint against President Jair Messias Bolsonaro in the International Criminal Court, for crimes against humanity for his speeches and systematic actions aimed at dismantling public social and environmental protection policies in the Amazon” the lawyers reported.
Former minister José Carlos Dias, currently president of the Arns Commission, signed the document. Former Minister José Gregori also stamped his signature on the complaint.
Before taking the decision to request or not authorization to initiate an investigation, Bensouda may request information to the governments of the Brazilian states and those of other countries, to the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations, to NGO s and to other sources.
“The purpose of the complaint is to launch an international monitoring body for the actions and omissions of the President and respond to his crimes against activists, civil society organizations and indigenous peoples,” says the note sent to democraciaAbierta.
The complaint takes place one day after the new version of the Military Criminal Code was approved by the Constitution and Justice Committee of the House of Representatives, this last Tuesday (26). Human rights groups fear that the new text is a license to kill civilians, as it dangerously expands the concept of self-defence. Under the new law, military personnel who use force to ‘prevent aggression’ may be exonerated, since no real or imminent threat is now required to act.
Since he took office in January this year, Bolsonaro has repeatedly attacked the indigenous peoples of Brazil, comparing them with animals in zoos and prehistoric men. Bolsonaro also led efforts to dismantle the National Indigenous Foundation (Funai), the agency that protects the more than 300 indigenous communities in Brazil. The president also pressed to open indigenous reserves for mining companies.
The complaint puts more international pressure on a president who steadily attacks human rights and environmental non-governmental organizations, denies climate emergency. Bolsonaro systematically puts his interests and those of the ultra-conservative groups that support him above the human and civil rights and the general interest of the Brazilian people.
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