This Tuesday (24) and Wednesday (25), the Permanent People’s Court (TPP) will take place, this time judging President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) for crimes committed against humanity during the covid-19 pandemic and threats to Brazilian democracy.
Founded in 1979, the TPP replaced the Russell Tribunal, which investigated crimes committed by the United States during military intervention in Vietnam and even military dictatorships in Brazil and Chile. On the 50th session, the event takes place in Rome, Italy, and, in a hybrid way, at the Faculty of Law of the University of São Paulo (USP).
The complaint against the retired captain was presented by the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, the International Public Services (ISP), the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib) and the Black Coalition for Rights, with the support of the Indigenist Missionary Council (CIMI) and other entities linked to the defense of human rights.
Read more: Permanent People’s Court will judge Bolsonaro for crimes against humanity::
The jury is made up of 12 personalities and a president who will hear the witnesses of the cases and the indictment prepared by the lawyer and professor at the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) in São Paulo, Eloísa Machado.
According to the former Minister of Human Rights and member of the Arns Commission, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the government of Jair Bolsonaro will have the right of defense, but it is still uncertain whether the Planalto will send any representatives. “The indictment minutes were delivered to the Brazilian ambassador to Italy, sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the Republic. We reserve a space of 50 minutes for the defense of the president. If the government does not indicate – we hope it does –, the Secretary General of the Court shall appoint a rapporteur to present the defense of the acts indicated by the prosecution.”
Despite being an opinion body, without condemnatory effects from a legal point of view, the Court is “extremely important”, since Brazil finds itself “in a situation of escalation of a coup against the rule of law”, Pine, in an interview with TVT. “There is no better time to carry out this judgment on the crimes committed by this government, its ministers and especially the President of the Republic.”
When asked if Bolsonaro could be held responsible for any crimes committed during his administration, the former minister was skeptical. “At the national level, I don’t see any possibility of the president being prosecuted or sanctioned,” he said.
“An example of this is the total disregard for the denunciations of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on covid, the Attorney General of the Republic did absolutely nothing. It is not an exaggeration, he did nothing. that helps this escalation to the coup d’état that the President of the Republic dreams of”, he ponders.
“In the international order, everything is very slow. We have the complaints at the International Criminal Court (ICC) – important not to confuse with the International Court of Justice, a body created in the 10’s, which judges especially the States, it is also in The Hague, which causes the confusion. The ICC is much more recent and there are four complaints against the current president. We have received a response from the secretariat that ours is being examined, but this will not occur in the year 2022,” he said.
“So, it is very opportune that this court of opinion takes place to compensate for such a long period of time that it enshrines, within the scope of its mandate, total impunity”, he added.
::What will Bolsonaro’s trial be like at the People’s Permanent Court::
In the same vein, Shirley Marshal, president of the National Federation of Nurses (FNE) – one of the entities that will represent the International Public Services (ISP), along with the National Confederation of Social Security Workers (CNTSS) and the National Confederation of Health Workers (CNTS) –, states that the trial is important so that “in the future” there can be accountability “for what happened in our country”. “We see [o Tribunal] as a hope that justice will be done for what happened.”
Marshal says that the combination of entities that will be present is of “great representation” of the Brazilian population. “Hence the importance of this court. During our speeches, we will talk about the delay in the issue of vaccines, denialism, the issue of lack of information, a series of factors that concern not only our workers and the populations represented by the entities, but the entire conjuncture that the country ended up suffering”, says the president of the FNE.
The FNE representative also claims that the trial can bring a little “hope to the Brazilian people”, lost during the pandemic. “When you have this court that proposes to listen to the population so that there is a process of constitution of justice, it brings back the hope that we must have to continue fighting for our rights.”
One of the tasks of the entities that denounced the president is to analyze which populations were most affected by the mismanagement of the covid-19 pandemic. In this debate, says Shirley, health professionals were “invisible”.
“We have those workers who worked in the health sector who became completely invisible, such as receptionists and general service personnel, who died during the pandemic and were not even counted as health workers”, says Marshal.
“We had a series of situations with health professionals who went to face a pandemic with only their bodies. These workers were not prioritized in relation to personal protective equipment and the vaccine. Everyone worked in the same sector, but the priority was to supply equipment to the doctors and then, if there was one, to the nurses and assistants. Same thing with vaccination,” he reports.
::What is the weight of the pandemic for health professionals?::
According to Marshal, the situation to which health professionals were subjected during the pandemic will be precisely the topic to be addressed in the Court by the entities that will represent the PSI. “We don’t even know for sure how many workers die from covid-19 with the lack of information. We will also talk about this, because the information is extremely important for us to draw up a strategic plan to provide better assistance to these workers.”
Shirley also points out that the burden of these workers will also be carried over to the TPP. “The majority profile of health workers is made up of women, poor and peripheral, who have double employment contracts, because they have very low wages and at the same time they have very precarious work contracts, culminating in many mental health disorders” , recalls the president of the FNE.
According to the survey Depression and Anxiety Among Essential Workers in Brazil and Spain During the Covid-19 Pandemic, carried out by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in partnership with the University of Valencia (Spain), about 47.3% of essential service workers were affected by symptoms of anxiety and depression during the covid-19 pandemic in Brazil and Spain.
Between the two countries, Brazil has the highest data. Of the essential service workers who had symptoms of depression and anxiety, 55% are Brazilian and 23% are Spanish.
The final report of the Pandemic CPI, presented at the end of October last year, will also be remembered at the TPP. The senators even indicted President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) for epidemic crimes resulting in death, violation of preventive health measure, incitement to crime, falsification of private document, irregular use of public funds, malfeasance, crimes against humanity in the following modalities. extermination and persecution, violation of social rights and the decorum of office.
Editing: Rebeca Cavalcante