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Supreme Court decides new malfeasance law can retroactively benefit politicians

malfeasance The Supreme Court bench in session on August 18, 2022. Photo: Nelson Jr./SCO/STF
The Supreme Court bench in session on August 18, 2022. Photo: Nelson Jr./SCO/STF

Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a new malfeasance law can be applied to politicians retroactively as long as defendants have not yet exhausted all appeals.

The new malfeasance law came into effect in October 2021 and defines that public officials can only be prosecuted if it is proven they acted with malice, with the intent of harming the public administration and enriching themselves. 

Damages caused by recklessness, malpractice, or negligence can no longer be considered malfeasance.

The Supreme Court ruled, however, that the new law cannot retroactively benefit officials if their cases can no longer be appealed. Also, the new rules for the statute of limitations will only apply to cases after the law entered into force.