According to Austrian NGO All Rise, “a crime against nature is a crime against humanity” and, for this reason, it denounced Jair Bolsonaro to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Tuesday, October 12. This adds to the complaint by the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, which in August also filed a criminal action against the Brazilian president.

 

In the introduction of the complaint document, which is in English and contains 184 pages, the executive secretary of the NGO, Marcio Astrini, affirms that the authors present clear evidence of the Brazilian authorities’ inaction in prosecuting and sentencing those responsible for environmental crimes committed in the country, as well as highlighting the immediate, imperative and urgent need for investigation and prosecution of any perpetrators of these crimes”. He highlights that we are dealing with “an exceptional situation, which extends far beyond the immediate victims in Brazil”, as it impacts on climate, health and justice.

According to the document, Brazil’s Legal Amazon, its Dependents, and Environmental Defenders are being attacked, with a combination of diverse factors behind these attacks, including agricultural expansion, legal and illegal mining operations and infrastructure development. “Rampant crime has been an aggravating factor in these attacks, with organized crime groups often abandoned due to corruption and political convenience,” says the document, noting that the main (political and economic) stakeholders are the same ones that facilitated Jair Bolsonaro’s election in 2018.

The complainants state that, as soon as he took over as President, Bolsonaro surrounded himself with a team that would facilitate his criminal scheme, fuelled by the BBB caucus (bullets, beef and bible) made up of evangelicals, landowners, businessmen in the meat sector and members of the security forces, as well as ex-military, who adopted “a series of measures to achieve their objective, including measures to regularize land-grabbing”. The complaint further emphasizes that the Bolsonaro government has sought to neutralize federal agencies by replacing staff with unskilled military personnel.

According to the complaint, the Ruralistas (the “beef”) rank among Bolsonaro’s strongest political supporters. The document reminds us that, during a meeting in Brasilia in July 2019, with members of parliament and senators from the Parliamentary Agricultural Front, the president told them: “This government is yours”. He also highlighted the fact that his government was not like those that came before, which delimited dozens of indigenous areas and quilombolas, and expanded protected areas.

Among the many issues included in the complaint, it is evident that there is a reasonable basis for believing that Crimes Against Humanity have been committed and are being committed in Brazil’s Legal Amazon since Bolsonaro took office on January 1, 2019, and that, under this government, deforestation, fires and forest degradation in the Amazon have reached their highest rates in 12 years. The complaint originated from the campaign “The planet vs Bolsonaro”, created by the NGO All Rise, which was also behind the website theplanetvs.org.