Bolsonaro Should Face Homicide Charges Over Pandemic, Brazil Lawmakers Say
One of the four senators on the committee who support the president is his son, Flavio Bolsonaro. The report that he will vote on next week will recommend criminal charges against him, too.
In addition to the homicide and genocide charges, the report recommends nine additional charges against Mr. Bolsonaro, including forging documents and “crimes against humanity.”
If the report is approved, Brazil’s attorney general will have 30 days to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Bolsonaro and the others named in the report. Brazil’s lower house in Congress would also have to approve charges against Mr. Bolsonaro. Mr. De Souza said that outcome was unlikely: Mr. Bolsonaro appointed the attorney general, who remains his supporter, and his supporters control the lower house.
Mr. Calheiros said that if the attorney general did not pursue charges against the president, the senate committee would seek other potential legal avenues, including in Brazil’s Supreme Court and the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
If Mr. Bolsonaro is formally charged, he will be suspended from office for 180 days while the Supreme Court decides the case, said Irapuã Santana, a law professor at Rio de Janeiro State University. If convicted, he would be blocked from the presidency for eight years and face years in prison, Mr. Santana said. There is no death penalty in Brazil.
Mr. Bolsonaro, Brazil’s 38th president, would not be the first to face homicide accusations. Brazil’s 13th president, Washington Luis, was arrested and charged with murder in 1930 after an opposition politician was assassinated, Mr. Santana said. Once Mr. Luis was deposed the military took control and installed a political rival as president.
The three presidents who preceded Mr. Bolsonaro have all had their own legal issues, too.
Michel Temer, a center-right president, was arrested on corruption charges that were later dropped. Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, was impeached in 2016 on accusations she had manipulated the federal budget. And Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a leftist who led the country from 2003 to 2010, served 19 months in prison on corruption charges. They were dropped this year and he is now leading Mr. Bolsonaro in the polls in the 2022 presidential race.