Murder, Persecution, and Other Inhumane Acts: Brazil´s President Bolsonaro Faces New Legal Hurdles

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Source: Mayke Toscano/Mato Grosso State Communication/AFP/Getty Images

By Ryan Chou

In a scathing 286 page filing about deforestation in the Amazon, Austrian not-for-profit environmental group AllRise is accusing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of “crimes against humanity” to the International Criminal Court. 

Unfortunately, deforestation in the Amazon isn’t news, but under Bolsonaro, it has been catalyzed to its highest level since 2008. Every acre lost is an acre of oxygen production and carbon sink reservoirs, and this has built up into about 15% of the rainforest being gutted. Without any major change, the Amazon is on pace to lose over a quarter of its trees by the end of the decade. 

Earlier in April this year, Bolsonaro expressed his support for transitioning out of illegal deforestation by 2030 and connected it with a plan to deal with deforestation in the next two years, but his environmental record is also rejected by activists for financially gutting environmental programs. 

AllRise is claiming that Bolsonaro’s failure to act on protecting the Amazon has, and will hurt, “its dependents and its defendants that not only result in the persecution, murder and inhumane suffering in the region, but also upon the global population.”

What sticks out about Bolsonaro is this isn’t the first time he has been accused of crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court. During summer last year, the far-right leader was swamped with accusations of “contempt, neglect and denial” in his COVID-19 response, which has now killed over 600,000 Brazilians. 

Dealing with an election in 2022 and record unpopularity, Bolsonaro will have to defend what millions of Brazilians see as a dumpster fire of a term. During a speech this August, Bolsonaro seemed to rule out defeat, saying, “I have three alternatives for my future: being arrested, killed, or victory.” He can still make a comeback, but the building cesspools of scandal aren’t giving him a good look. 

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