Thirteen victims of violence by Bolsonaro’s supporters during political rallies are considered victims of crimes against humanity.
Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Saturday drew criticism for human rights violations when a prosecutor told the United Nations Human Rights Council the winner of the country’s elections engaged in crimes against humanity against indigenous and black voters, the Washington Post reports.
Prosecutor Nerea Coutinho told the UN meeting in Geneva that Brazilian voters elected Bolsonaro for his anti-establishment, hard-line message but also as a result of a policy of repression.
“It wasn’t only the ideology, that came first,” Coutinho said, according to the Post. “It was the systematic assassination of democratic institutions and values.”
At the meeting of the council, Bolsonaro defended himself against criticism of his supporters who were recorded in violent and crude manner at political rallies after they said they were inspired by a former right-wing president, Fernando Collor de Mello, who supported the death penalty, eradicating the Amazon rainforest and sentencing criminals to death.
Coutinho said Bolsonaro’s support of some of those policies, particularly committing discrimination against indigenous and black voters, is grounds for charging him with crimes against humanity, or crimes against humanity as a well as “members of the state,” or violating the human rights of minorities.
Coutinho said the 13 Brazilians are considered victims of crimes against humanity by the country’s state prosecutors association for what they suffered during the August 2002-November 2003 government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who remains Brazil’s most popular president after seven years in office, according to McClatchy DC.
“The acts of violence committed during this period also forced thousands of victims into exile to hide from the state,” she said.
Defense attorneys called for the charges to be dismissed, saying the victims spoke through media interviews after Brazil gave the case to the UN and only appeared before a judge when the Brazil’s Supreme Court named a prosecutor on Friday, the Post reports.
The government accused Bolsonaro of engaging in the crimes through comments to the press in which he said he would govern the Brazilian people in order to enact policies that would encourage economic growth.