President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with homicide for making “deliberate and conscious” choices to stoke a “stratospheric” death toll from COVID-19 in Brazil, a pandemic report from the country’s Senate has concluded. It asserts that the president allowed the virus to infect and kill hundreds of thousands of Brazilians as the government struggled to revive the floundering economy. Bolsonaro’s “unfounded belief in the idea of herd immunity through natural infection” also fueled the public health emergency. His stance led to his administration’s decision to drag its feet on buying COVID vaccines; its pushing of unproven drugs like hydroxychloroquine; and his fierce castigation of anyone who dared criticize his approach.
“I am personally convinced that [Bolsonaro] is responsible for escalating the slaughter,” a Brazilian senator who co-authored the report told The New York Times. The document concludes by asking authorities to imprison the president. It also recommends bringing criminal charges against 69 other people, including three of his four sons. The 1,078-page report was published by local media on Tuesday afternoon, but is an official draft that could still be changed by the Senate. The panel is not expected to vote on it until next week.