The Austrian NGO AllRise filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for alleged “crimes against humanity” due to the deforestation of the Amazon and its consequences on life and health around the world.
Under the title ‘The planet versus Bolsonaro’, the complaint presented to the court in The Hague on October 12 seeks to create jurisprudence by estimating that the actions of the Brazilian president (and his Administration) not only represent an attack against the Amazon, but also against all mankind.
“They are the lungs of our planet, so their destruction affects us all. In the complaint we presented evidence that shows how Bolsonaro’s actions have a direct connection with the negative consequences of climate change around the world,” explained the founder from AllRise, Johannes Wesemann, in a press release.
The complaint of this newly created NGO was attended by experts in international law such as lawyers Maud Sarlieve and Nigel Povoas, as well as one of the authors of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC), presented in August, climatologist Friederike Otto.
“Crimes against humanity”
This team of experts estimates that the emissions that can be linked With the Bolsonaro Government’s decisions on deforestation, they will cause an additional 180,000 deaths this century, due to the increase in temperatures in the world.
In addition, they affirm that their Government sought “systematically to eliminate, mutilate and empty of content the laws, organizations and individuals that protected the Amazon.”
Therefore, they consider him responsible for the loss of about 4,000 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest per year and monthly increases in the deforestation rate of up to 88%, since he took office in 2019.
According to their report, deforestation in this part of Brazil is already releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere than the Amazon can absorb.
“Crimes against nature are crimes against humanity,” Wesemann recalled. “Jair Bolsonaro is promoting the massive destruction of the Amazon with full knowledge of the consequences” that it will bring, he added.
“In recent years, climate science has taken a great step forward by providing evidence of the specific relationship of greenhouse gas emissions with global consequences,” Rupert Stuart Smith, from the University’s Sustainable Law Program, told AFP. from Oxford.
AFP questioned the Bolsonaro government about this complaint, but for now there was no response or reaction to it.
Bolsonaro and his “accomplices”
The ICC Prosecutor’s Office considers since 2016 that “Destruction of the environment, illegal exploitation of natural resources and land grabbing” can constitute a crime against humanity.
Since Bolsonaro took office, indigenous Brazilians have filed three complaints against him with the ICC for “ecocide” or “genocide.” The president was also denounced before this instance for his management of the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic.
The complaint of this October 12, according to its promoters, is the first that relates deforestation with an impact on health on a global scale.
But the ICC, created in 2002 to judge the worst atrocities in the world, does not have the obligation to study the thousands of complaints filed before its prosecutor by individuals or groups.
The prosecutor can independently decide which cases to refer to the court judges and the judges then decide whether to allow a formal investigation.
The complaint, in this case, also affects several important officials of the Bolsonaro government, explained Povoas. “They are accomplices helping those who on the ground commit murders, persecute and perpetrate other inhumane acts,” explained the lawyer.
The founder of AllRise, Johannes Wesemann, also stressed that the objective of the complaint “was not to speak on behalf of Brazilians but to show the seriousness of massive deforestation on a global scale.”