Brazilian Senate Calls for President Jair Bolsonaro to be Charged with Crimes Against Humanity Over COVID-19 Response

Brazilian senators have recommended President Jair Bolsonaro to be charged of a series of crimes, including crimes against humanity, over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 600,000 Brazilians.

A Senate panel officially presented their 1,180-page inquiry on Oct. 20, accusing Bolsonaro of “reckless” mismanagement of the pandemic and of “deliberate neglect” of indigenous people — amounting to crimes against humanity.

According to the report, the accusation of crimes against humanity will be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The six-month inquiry also calls for Bolsonaro to be charged of charlatanism, incitement to commit crimes, the propagation of pathogenic germs, irregular use of funds, falsification of documents, and social rights violations.

“By allowing the virus to proceed… he caused death and suffering remotely. The constant harassment and deliberate neglect, combined with the pandemic, were worse than weapons,” the final draft of the report, seen by British newspaper The Guardian, said.

The report further said that the most serious failure of the Bolsonaro administration was the “unjustifiable and intentional delay” of negotiations to purchase COVID-19 vaccines from companies.

A previous draft of the report had recommended Bolsonaro to be charged with homicide and genocide against Brazilian Indigenous groups, but they were removed to ensure that the report would lead to Bolsonaro’s possible prosecution, the New York Times reported.

“The report has to be very strong, very devastating, but it has to be very solid legally,” Senator Humberto Costa told reporters.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters at an inauguration ceremony for an infrastructure project, Bolsonaro dismissed the report as politically motivated.

“We know that we are guilty of absolutely nothing. We know that we did the right thing from the first moment,” Bolsonaro said.

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