COVID-19 in Brazil | Overwhelmed by senators, Bolsonaro says he is “not guilty of anything”

(Brasilia) Accused of having “deliberately exposed” Brazilians to “massive contamination” by COVID-19 by a Senate Investigation Commission (CPI) that on Wednesday requested their indictment for ten crimes, President Jair Bolsonaro said it was not “guilty of absolutely nothing.” ”.

Posted on Oct 20, 2021 at 9:53 am

Updated at 13:34

Valeria PACHECO with Louis Genot in Rio de Janeiro
French Media Agency

“We know we did the right thing from the beginning,” he insisted, during an official ceremony in the state of Ceará.

The final ICC report, released on Wednesday, however, names the far-right president as “the main person responsible for the government’s mistakes during the pandemic” that has left more than 600,000 dead in Brazil.

In addition to the “crime against humanity”, which can be tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the rapporteur Renan Calheiros has retained nine charges ranging from “charlatanism” to “incitement to crime” for “violation of sanitary measures”. and “trespass”.

“The president has committed many crimes and he is going to pay,” ICC President Omar Aziz said at the opening of the session on Wednesday.

However, these extremely serious allegations should have an especially symbolic meaning for the moment, as Jair Bolsonaro benefits from support in Parliament that prevents him from opening impeachment proceedings. Likewise, the Attorney General Augusto Aras, one of his allies, can block any accusation.

However, the political impact could prove disastrous for this former army captain, whose popularity is already at an all-time low. In this sense, he is far from being sure of being re-elected in a year, since the former left-wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva leaves him at the polls largely behind.

For the senators, the crimes cited in the report are “intentional”, the Bolsonaro government having deliberately decided not to take the necessary measures to contain the circulation of the virus, hoping that the population will achieve “herd immunity,” a strategy “on the top. level”. risk ”, according to the ICC.

“Instrument of Vengeance”

“After six months of intense work, this Parliamentary Commission has gathered evidence that shows that the federal government […] He acted slowly in the fight against the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, deliberately exposing the population to a real risk of massive contagion, ”summarizes this damning report of almost 12,000 pages read in abbreviated version by Renan Calheiros.

The ICC notably denounced the “deliberate delay” in the acquisition of vaccines, having preferred the Bolsonaro government to promote ineffective “early treatments” such as hydroxychloroquine against the virus, with “tragic consequences” for the population.

Le rapporteur avait dans a premier temps prévu d’inclure deux autres chefs d’accusation, pour “homicide” and “genocide de populations indigènes”, more to retires au dernier moment, pour s’assurer who are rapport will be approuvé par vote the next week.

The commission also requested the indictment of four ministers and two former ministers. Three of the president’s sons have also been targeted by the ICC for “incitement to crime” by spreading false information.

“This report is an instrument of revenge against Bolsonaro and his family, it is obvious that neither my brothers, nor I, least of all the president, have committed any crime,” Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, his older brother, said shortly before the presentation. . of the text.


The report will be sent to the Public Ministry, which has exclusive competence to accuse those accused by the ICC. In the case of Jair Bolsonaro, specialists consider this accusation unlikely, since it is the responsibility of the Attorney General.

The ICC has investigated the government’s responsibilities in the severe oxygen shortage that has resulted in the death of dozens of patients from suffocation in Manaus.

The Commission also examined suspicions of corruption in the purchase of vaccines, as well as relations between Brasilia and private health mutuals accused of promoting “early treatment.”

One of them, Prevent Senior, is suspected of having carried out experiments with this type of treatment without the knowledge of her patients and of having pressured her doctors to prescribe them to “human guinea pigs”.

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