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Brazilian Health Workers File ICC Complaint Arguing Bolsonaro Covid-19 Response Has Been Crime Against Humanity

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/28/brazilian-health-workers-file-icc-complaint-arguing-bolsonaro-covid-19-response-has

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Would adding trump to the complaint make a class action?

It all sounds very familiar. Unfortunately I don’t believe the US is a signatory to the ICC.

As Corbett notes, the question of whether executive malpractice in responding to a communicable disease can be adjudicated a crime against humanity is unprecedented, but more information on the legal standards the Court is expected to apply would be helpful. Leadership on Covid, or should we say lack thereof, from Donald Trump in the USA has been atrocious and I imagine what’s coming from Jair Bolsonaro is even worse. Yet the bar for a crime against humanity, once exemplified by WWII Nazi German annihilation programs, was set high for a reason, and I’m not sure that a president’s ignoring the current pandemic will meet it.

The greatest differences of circumstance, in my view, are that leaders in genocide or political repression control the turn of events, that they know what they’re doing is wrong, and that they know it is punishable if caught. The guilty hide these offences, yet Bolsonaro declares himself. Perhaps he believes the coronavirus insufficiently dangerous to warrant action, or that its spread is inevitable no matter what’s done. His quote, “So what?” suggests fatalism and defensiveness more than a wish for others to die. Proving malice aforethought will be harder here than in a case like Milosevic’s.

And in the end, a successful suit can at best only deter neglect of public health in the future, assuming such arrogant politicians receptive to an ICC decision. Given the hundreds of thousands of carriers they have now, America and Brazil have both lost their opportunities to limit the spread of Covid through measures short of a vaccine.