Botched Covid-19 response exposes politicians to lawsuits

Botched Covid-19 response exposes politicians to lawsuits
Photo: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Now third in the number of Covid-19 deaths worldwide, Brazil’s response to the pandemic (or lack thereof) could bring about serious legal implications for Brazilian politicians and policymakers. According to a report by website El País those responsible for the country’s public health response are already facing civil, administrative, and criminal lawsuits both in Brazil and abroad. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Brazilian Supreme Court has received more than 2,800 petitions related to the public health crisis. On a more local level, legal specialists believe governors and mayors could also face administrative malfeasance charges, which could prevent them from holding public office in the future. If the same principle is applied to the president, it could constitute abuse of power — a charge that could lead to impeachment proceedings against Jair Bolsonaro.


The report suggests Brazil could face implications based on international conventions. Back in April, Brazilian human rights organizations denounced President Jair Bolsonaro to the International Criminal Court for ignoring the World Health Organization’s recommendations and “putting the lives of millions at risk.” A month later, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received a petition demanding Brazil to “pay reparations to the families of those who died as the result of the lack of medical care and for human rights violations, including compensations for material and moral damage.”

On Sunday, an investigation by newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo found that the Brazilian National Intelligence Agency repeatedly warned Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration about the need to implement social isolation policies. If it is proven that the president — as well as other Brazilian politicians — have acted in bad faith despite being aware of scientific findings, he could well face legal and political implications.

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