The cacique Raoni Matuktire, iconic defender of the Amazon rainforest, calls on the International Criminal Court to investigate for “crimes against humanity” against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, accused of “persecute” indigenous peoples by destroying their habitat and violating their fundamental rights. “Since his inauguration [en janvier 2019], the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has accelerated beyond measure: increase in deforestation by 34.5% in one year, the highest rate of assassination of indigenous leaders in the past eleven years, collapse and threats from environmental agencies … “, summarizes the complaint of the leader of the Kayapo people and the cacique Almi Surui, unveiled on Saturday January 23 by The world and consulted by AFP.
“This situation, the most dramatic over the last ten years, results directly from the state policy developed by the government of Jair Bolsonaro”, which aims to “remove all obstacles to plunder the riches of the Amazon”, continues the complaint which also targets several ministers. This fifty-page communication to the ICC, written by the French lawyer William Bourdon, brings together the accusations made by dozens of local and international NGOs, international institutions and by climate scientists: suspension of the demarcation of indigenous territories, a bill to open up protected areas to mining and agriculture, a limited budget for environmental agencies taken over by the military, unpunished murders of seven indigenous leaders in 2019 …
“A destruction of the Amazon rainforest”, essential for climate regulation and hit by record fires in 2020, “would constitute a direct danger not only for the Brazilians but also for all humanity”, underlines the complaint. The complainants believe that this state policy leads to “murders”, “forced population transfers” and “persecutions”, constituting “crimes against humanity” as defined by the Rome Statute of the ICC.
In July 2020, health workers in Brazil also requested an ICC investigation for a “crime against humanity” against Bolsonaro, this time for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. A month earlier, in an interview with AFP, Chief Raoni accused the far-right Brazilian president of wanting to “enjoy” of the pandemic to eliminate its people. The ICC, created in 2002 to try the worst atrocities committed in the world and which sits in The Hague (Netherlands), is not obliged to follow up the thousands of requests filed with its prosecutor, who decides cases independently. to be submitted to the judges.