Climate activists call for investigation of Bolsonaro

Since taking office, Bolsonaro has encouraged development within the Amazon and dismissed global complaints about its destruction as a plot to hold back Brazil's agribusiness.

Published: 12th October 2021 02:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th October 2021 02:15 PM   |  A+A-

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro (Photo | AP)

By PTI

THE HAGUE: A group of climate lawyers called Tuesday for the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into Brazil's president for possible crimes against humanity over his administration's Amazon policies.

The AllRise group filed a dossier with the global court alleging that Jair Bolsonaro's administration is responsible for a “widespread attack on the Amazon, its dependants and its defenders" that affects the global population.

The call comes less than three weeks before the United Nations' 26th Climate Change Conference of the Parties, known as the COP26, starts on Oct. 31 in Glasgow.

The 12-day summit aims to secure more ambitious commitments to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius with a goal of keeping it to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels. The event also is focused on mobilizing financing to fight climate change and protecting vulnerable communities and natural habitats.

Since taking office, Bolsonaro has encouraged development within the Amazon and dismissed global complaints about its destruction as a plot to hold back Brazil's agribusiness. His administration also weakened environmental authorities and backed legislative measures to loosen land protections, emboldening land grabbers.

“Crimes against nature are crimes against humanity. Jair Bolsonaro is fueling the mass destruction of the Amazon with eyes wide open and in full knowledge of the consequences, “ AllRise founder Johannes Wesemann said in a statement. ”The ICC has a clear duty to investigate environmental crimes of such global gravity.”

It is not the first time opponents of the right-wing Brazilian leader have asked the ICC to intervene.

Two years ago, a group of Brazilian lawyers and former ministers requested that the court investigate Bolsonaro for allegedly inciting the genocide of indigenous people and failing to safeguard the forests and protected lands they live in.

The court's prosecution office receives hundreds of such filings each year, detailing alleged crimes around the world. It is obliged to study them all and evaluate whether the request falls within the court's jurisdiction and, if it does, whether it merits further investigation or inclusion in one of the prosecution office's ongoing probes.

Activists are increasingly pushing for prosecution of crimes against the environment to become part of the ICC's core mission. In June a panel of international lawyers and experts published a proposed legal definition of the crime of “ecocide,” saying that it is time to extend the court's founding treaty to include “protections for serious environmental harm, already recognized to be a matter of international concern.”

Before Bolsonaro took office in 2019, the Brazilian Amazon hadn’t recorded a year with more than 10,000 square kilometers of deforestation in over a decade. Between 2009 and 2018, the average per year was 6,500 square kilometers compared with the average of 10,500 square kilometers during Bolsonaro’s term.

But preliminary figures released last month by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research showed that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon dropped for the second consecutive month in August compared to the same period in 2020.

Wesemann, however, insists Bolsonaro needs to be held accountable for Amazon communities and for the world.

“Our initiative has strong Brazilian support, but we don’t seek to speak on behalf of any Brazilian communities, nor claim to represent them," he said. "Our case aims to add an important international dimension to their struggle. The Amazon is theirs, but it is needed by us all.”



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp