A Brazil-based Indigenous organisation has moved to the International Criminal Court (ICC) asking for an investigation against Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro for “genocide” and “ecocide”, accusing him of persecuting native peoples and destroying their homelands.
In a case filed with the Hague-based court on Monday, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) alleged that the far-right Brazilian president has led “an explicit, systematic and intentional anti-Indigenous policy” since he came to power in 2019.
“We believe there are acts in progress in Brazil that constitute crimes against humanity, genocide and ecocide. Given the inability of the justice system in Brazil to investigate, prosecute and judge these [crimes], we denounce them to the international community,” Global Times quoted the group’s legal coordinator, Eloy Terena.
Now, it is upon the ICC prosecutors to make the final decision of pursuing the cases against Bolsanaro.
Meanwhile, Brazilian advocates remarked that is the best alternative they have since the judicial system in their country is unable to “prosecute and judge” Bolsonaro´s crimes.
66-years Bolsonaro has presided over a surge of destruction in the Amazon rainforest, slashed environmental protection programs, and pushed to open indigenous reservations and other protected lands to agribusiness and mining.
The lawsuit by the group highlights that “the dismantling of public structures for social and environmental protection, as well as those aimed at protecting Indigenous peoples, has resulted in the escalation of invasions of Indigenous lands, deforestation, and fires in Brazilian biomes, and also in the increase of illegal mining in the territories.”
Indigenous rights activists have further accused Bolsonaro of exacerbating the murderous effect of COVID-19 on these communities with his stance against stay-at-home policies and vaccination.
Bolsonaro has been repeatedly questioned by the Indigenous leaders for attacking their people and homelands with neo-liberal economic policies aimed at giving a free hand to corporates at the expense of the indigenous lives.
In January, Indigenous chief Raoni Metuktire filed a separate case to the ICC asking the court to investigate Bolsonaro for crimes against humanity, saying the “destruction of the Amazonian forest has accelerated without measure” under his government.