Bolsonaro's record on Amazon sparks accusations of crimes against humanity

Bolsonaro's record on Amazon sparks accusations of crimes against humanity
© Getty Images

A group of climate lawyers is calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for alleged attacks on the Amazon, which they argue amount to "crimes against humanity," as reported by CNN

AllRise, a nonprofit group based in Austria, filed a complaint at The Hague on Tuesday. The complaint alleges that Bolsonaro and his administration's actions are a "widespread attack" on the Amazon, people who depend on the rainforest, and the defenders of wildlife there. 

The lawyers allege that this so-called attack not only results in persecution, murder and inhumane suffering of those in the region, but also in the global population at large. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The 286-page filing reads in part, "Climate science demonstrates that consequent fatalities, devastation and insecurity will occur on a far greater scale regionally and globally, long into the future, through the attributable links between the rapid acceleration in deforestation, its contribution to climate change, and the frequency and intensification of extreme weather events." 

The document was handed over to an ICC prosecutor and is supported by the Climate Observatory, a group of 70 Brazilian civil society organizations.

AllRise founder Johannes Wesemann told the AFP, "What's happening in Brazil — mass deforestation — we want to understand the causal link to the global climate." 

"It is exactly what the Rome Statute defines as a crime against humanity: the intentional destruction of the environment and environmental defenders," he added.

The point of the complaint was "not to speak on behalf of any Brazilian, but rather to show the global gravity of mass deforestation," Wesemann said.

The ICC has no obligation to consider complaints filed to the prosecutor and does not comment on filings until a preliminary examination has been made. In addition, any group or individual can send information the the ICC for consideration. According to the ICC website, to date, it has received more than 12,000 communications of that nature. 

The Hill has reached out to Bolsonaro's office for comment.