Jair Bolsonaro may face charges in the International Criminal Court after he has been charged with crimes against humanity.
Aboriginal leaders in Brazil And human rights groups are urging the court to investigate the Brazilian president over his dismantling of environmental policies and violations of indigenous rights, which they say amount to environmental genocide.
William Burdon, a Paris-based attorney, filed for a preliminary examination of the court in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday. Attorney General Fatou Bensouda will then determine whether there are grounds for an investigation against Bolsonaro.
There is no deadline for taking a decision, but “this is a very urgent issue,” Burdon said. “We are moving against the clock, given the devastation inflicted on the Amazon region.”
Since Bolsonaro took office in 2019, vast stretches of rainforest have been destroyed and traditional communities threatened. Deforestation rates have increased Nearly 50% in two years and reached its highest level since 2008. Invading indigenous lands It is up 135% in 2019, and at least 18 people were killed in land disputes last year.
Despite this, environmental crime fines fell by 42% in the Amazon Basin in 2019, and the federal government slashed the enforcement budget by 27.4% this year. report I showed.
“While the scenario is getting worse, the government is working to reduce enforcement,” said Marcio Astrini, executive director of the Climate Observatory, the group of NGOs behind the report. “It is scary to see that there is a coordinated attack on the climate, the forest and its inhabitants.”
The UN-backed court has ruled predominantly in cases of genocide and war crimes since its establishment in 2002. However, after facing criticism In 2016 I decided to assess the crimes in a broader context, Which could include major environmental and cultural crimes.
Bourdon believes that this case could lead to Bolsonaro being tried for environmental genocide, a term defined as causing serious and permanent harm to the environment and people. The case was brought by counsel on behalf of indigenous leaders Almir Suroy and Raoni Metoceter.
Several NGO members and lawyers from the United States, Brazil and France also worked on the 68-page report describing what they claim to be crimes against humanity. It includes cases of murder, forced transfer and persecution of indigenous people in Brazil.
Ronnie is famous For his fight to preserve the Amazon rainforest and indigenous culture. The 91-year-old chief of the Kayapu people is currently isolated in his village in Xingu indigenous territory due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Batson Metuktter, his 35-year-old grandson, followed him as he sought help in the international community over the past year: “My grandfather thought it important to file a complaint because a nation’s president should protect communities, but he doesn’t.
“People feel supported to commit crimes, because the president supports them,” Pattson added. My grandfather believed that the Brazilian people couldn’t get the president to stop working against the natives. He continues violating our rights, so this is the last resort. My grandfather is ready to testify and clarify anything to prosecutors if needed. “
Scholars careful Bolsonaro’s destructive policies could push the Amazon rainforest into an irreversible tipping point, turning swathes of tropical forests into savannas. This will make climate change impossible to control.
“Bolsonaro is not just a threat to indigenous peoples, it has turned into a global problem, because what he’s doing here has an impact on the planet,” said Sonia Guajajara, president of the Indigenous Peoples’ Association of Brazil. “He is committing one crime after another against the peoples of the forest and against the environment.”
at November 2019At the ICC, Brazilian activists filed an “information note” arguing that Bolsonaro had encouraged genocide against indigenous people. More than a year later, the attorney general’s office said it was analyzing the case to determine whether to open an investigation.
Eloísa Machado, a member of the Brazilian human rights advocacy group that has worked on the legal process, welcomed the case brought by Burdon. “Bolsonaro’s actions are now being analyzed, even if they are elementary,” she said.
Although the proceedings are still at an early stage, Machado said it was an important milestone from The Hague: “It is an indication that the reported incidents are serious and that the Attorney General’s office is sensitive to the issue.”