Is it a crime against humanity to play politics with a deadly pandemic? The Brazilian Senate believes so. they have backed a reportFor the prosecution of President Jair Bolsonaro for his handling COVID-19.
Although the original report had called for Bolsonaro’s arrest on genocide and mass murder charges against the indigenous people of Brazil, the larger Senate overturned those charges before the vote. Unknown is whether the International Criminal Court will be able to investigate and adjudicate the charges of crimes against humanity. If they are, this will be a first.
The 1,300-page document also lists eight other charges against Bolsonaro. They include misuse of public funds, spreading fake news about the pandemic, falsification and incitement to criminal activity. Brazil’s top prosecutora close ally of President Trump who is unlikely to be prosecuted.
Brazil’s death toll is huge — second only to the United States — with over 600,000 deaths and counting. Their first wave was massive with mass graves, overwhelming hospital overload, and a monstrous second wave. They were so unprepared for the second wave that they couldn’t even get to the hospital. ran out of oxygen. Bolsonaro’s response has been to tell people to “stop whining” about “the little flu.” He refused necessary lockdown measures from the beginning and relentlessly pushed snake oil cures like hydroxychloroquine. Bolsonaro has disparaged vaccines and masks as well as other public health measures.
Brazil is a signatory to the International Criminal Court so it could theoretically agree to hear the case should it be forwarded to them. The law seems pretty straightforward, according to this analysis Jen Kirby Vox:
A crime against humanity exists “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.” “other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.”
Kirby spoke with David Scheffer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, who told her that the “catchall nature” of the last part of the statute was deliberate:
“It is obvious that other types of assaults on your civilian population are going to emerge in the future, and you have to provide for that in the statute. It’s hard to think of a better example than intentional mismanagement of a Covid-19 pandemic or some other pathogen. And so I would argue that, yes, that’s fair game.”
Bolsonaro defiantly says that he is guilty of “absolutely nothing” despite his decisions to allow the virus to spread through the country in pursuit of “herd immunity” which basically translated to “let ‘er rip.” And he has continued to spread disinformation. Facebook and Youtube were just launched this week. removed a videoBrazilian President falsely claimed a link between Covid-19 and AIDS.
You will no doubt recall that Bolsonaro and Donald Trump were great friends and kindred spirits during Trump’s term. They shared many common interests, but none more than the proper response to the pandemic.
The virus was spreading quickly and the Brazilian leader intervened. visited Trump’s private club, Mar-a-Lago, and it became one of the earliest Trump super-spreading events when Bolsonaro’s press secretary tested positive for the virus after meeting with Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and others. Bolsonaro came away from the meeting inspired by Trump, telling his health minister “that life was normal at Mar-a-Lago, everything was cured, and that hydroxychloroquine was the medicine that was supposed to be used. From that time on, it was very hard to get him to take the science seriously.”
We all saw the similarities between Bolsonaro and Trump’s reaction to the pandemic in real-time.
Both downplayed and were obsessed with the economic consequences. They relied on scientists to distort the numbers. Both were constantly out in the open exposing themselves and others the virus. They each recommended unscientific cures, while ignoring the public’s health recommendations that actually mitigated the effects of the virus. Trump really wanted to take credit for the vaccines but he has been forced to downplay that achievement due to skepticism among his followers, while Bolsonaro just comes right out and says they don’t work. Their pandemic record is remarkable.
The U.S. House Select Subcommittee for the Coronavirus Crisis has been given the task of investigating the pandemic. It has been quiet in recent months. But on Tuesday they took the testimony of Dr. Deborah Birx, Trump’s COVID-19 coordinator. According to the New York TimesBirx repeated her shocking claim of at least 130,000 deaths that were unnecessary because the administration failed in its duty to protect the nation from the spread of the disease.
She also testified that the administration became distracted from the presidential campaign, and lost interest in the crisis as a result. This means that Donald Trump was able to win the election by killing a lot of people.
When asked if she felt Trump did everything he could to save lives, Birx replied, “no.”
She also complained about the malign influence of Dr. Scott Atlas, the radiologist who caught Trump’s eye on Fox News and was brought in to push the idea that the country should seek “herd immunity,” just as Bolsonaro had tried to do in Brazil. She testified that Atlas even brought to the White House the three physicians who later authored the “Great Barrington Declaration,” which called for deliberately hastening herd immunity. Trump was all in
Trump claimed that “you’ll develop like an “herd mentality”, misstating the term “herd immunity.”
— Bloomberg (@business) September 16, 2020
Bolsonaro, his family members and others are being criticized for their corruption. He could be facing prison time as well as tough re-election next years. The International Criminal Court could also be facing charges of crimes against humanity.
His friend and inspiration, Donald Trump is in a similar position, although he still has three years to make people forget the terrible response he gave to the pandemic. Trump needn’t worry about the ICC, of course. The U.S. isn’t a signatory. The powers that were thought that signing it could lead to U.S. troops being charged with war crimes. They didn’t anticipate that a U.S. President might be accused of helping to kill hundreds of thousands of his citizens. Donald Trump has always been a very fortunate man in that way.