Group urges international court to probe Brazil s president

(28 Nov 2019) A group of Brazilian lawyers and ex-ministers requested Wednesday that the International Criminal Court investigate President Jair Bolsonaro for allegedly inciting the genocide of indigenous people and failing to safeguard the forests and protected lands they live in.
During a news conference Thursday the group denounced what it said are “widespread, systematic attacks” on indigenous tribes under the Bolsonaro administration, eager to weaken environmental regulation at the benefit of economic development.
Eloísa Machado de Almeida, a law professor at the Fundacao Getulio Vargas university in Sao Paulo who presented the details of the indictment request Thursday, said the document included 33 actions and comments from Bolsonaro.
The allegations range from the president’s vocal support of small-scale illegal mining in protected areas, to his fierce criticism of public servants working with environmental and indigenous affairs.
Bolsonaro’s office declined to comment.
Experts say the Hague-based International Criminal Court receives thousands of similar communications each year.
Most do not lead to investigations or indictments.
The complaint was co-authored by the Brazil-based Arns Commission for Human Rights Defence, which includes five former Cabinet ministers from previous administrations, as well as lawyers, philosophers, a journalist and an environmentalist.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has argued that environmental protections often become an obstacle to economic development in Brazil.
His administration says it is working on new legislation that would regularize small-scale mining activities in protected areas.
Bolsonaro has targeted nonprofits organizations, suggesting at one point that they might be behind some of the fires that swept through the Amazon in July and August.
The fires in the region are mostly intentional, used to clear deforested land for soy production or pastures, spread at a pace unseen since 2010.
Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is also at its highest level in more than a decade, government data shows.

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Author: Rich