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Indigenous tribes accuse President Bolsonaro of genocide at The Hague

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By Josephine Joly  & Joao Vitor Da Silva Marques
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In this file photo taken on August 05, 2021 Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.
In this file photo taken on August 05, 2021 Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.   -   Copyright  SERGIO LIMA / AFP
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of genocide at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, following claims by indigenous tribes that the far-right leader was responsible for more than 1,160 deaths.

Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation (APIB), a coalition of Indigenous associations across the country, filed a statement before the ICC on Monday, accusing Bolsonaro’s government of genocide and crimes against humanity due to its role in alleged crimes perpetrated against their community during the pandemic.

The statement is composed of several complaints from community leaders, official documents, academic research and technical notes.

An analysis concluded the planning and execution of explicit, systematic and intentional anti-indigenous policy headed by the far-right leader.

"We believe there are acts in progress in Brazil that constitute crimes against humanity, genocide and ecocide. Given the inability of the Brazilian justice system to investigate, prosecute and judge these crimes, we denounce them to the international community,” Eloy Terena, the group’s legal coordinator, said in a statement.

The group calls for the investigation to start from the beginning of Bolsonaro’s term in January 2019.

Negligence leading to deaths

Brazilian tribes claim Bolsonaro is responsible for the deaths of more than 1,160 indigenous people in 163 communities due to his negligence over the virus currently devastating the South American nation.

Sonia Guajajara, a community leader fighting for indigenous people's rights, says demonstrations are scheduled to take place on August 22 and 28 in the capital.

She said Brazilian indigenous will occupy the federal capital once again, to prevent setbacks imposed against their rights by the government.

“We have been fighting every day for hundreds of years to ensure our existence and today our fight for rights is global. The solutions for this sick world come from indigenous people and we will never remain silent in the face of the violence we are suffering," Guajajara said.

“Bolsonaro needs to pay for all the violence and destruction he is committing,” she added.

It is the third time that Bolsonaro has been the target of a complaint at the International Criminal Court since taking office.

In January, Indigenous chief Raoni Metuktire filed a separate case at The Hague asking the court to investigate Bolsonaro for crimes against humanity, saying the “destruction of the Amazonian forest has accelerated without measure” under his government.

According to new data by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE, deforestation soared by 67% in May from the same month last year, and for the first five months of the year, data shows deforestation was up 25% compared with the previous year, with 2,548 square kilometres destroyed.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor must now decide whether to pursue the cases.

Watch the full video report in the player above.

Additional sources • AFP