The left-wing Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal announced its symbolic “conviction” of President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday for crimes against humanity committed during the early stages of the Covid pandemic. The event has no legal bearing.
The symbolic tribunal is the brainchild of Lelio Basso (1903-1978), a Marxist Italian politician who sat in the Russell Tribunal, a private body founded in 1966 by British philosopher Bertrand Russell to expose American war crimes in Vietnam.
“There is no doubt that thousands of lives were extinguished [in Brazil] as a result of the decisions of the government presided over by Jair Bolsonaro. (…) there was the result of mass deaths with the intention of privileging the economy to the detriment of human life,” said Eugénio Raúl Zaffaroni, a former Argentinian judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The conviction was announced at an event held at the University of São Paulo’s law school, where a pro-democracy manifesto was read last month.
The Permanent People’s Tribunal invited the Brazilian federal government to send a legal representative, but the Bolsonaro administration declined. The symbolic jury was formed by 12 people from seven countries, including legal scholars, activists, and a physician.