Tsavkko Garcia, Raphael
Publication year: 2018
Few institutions in Brazil are as highly regarded as Operation Car Wash. For 95 percent of Brazilians, the investigation should continue and scrutinize the country’s entire political class. In over four years, Brazil’s most comprehensive take on corruption has amounted to 140 convicted defendants. Guess how many of those were politicians in office?
You guessed right: none.
In Brazil, highly ranked officials enjoy a privilege known as “foro privilegiado” – our parliamentary immunity. It grants them the right to only be prosecuted and tried by the Supreme Court. This could in theory be quite dangerous for politicians, since Supreme Court verdicts cannot be appealed. But the immunity helps politicians to avoid any consequences for their actions.
The Brazilian Supreme Court is perhaps the world’s most overburdened court system. Each of the 11 justices must handle over 12,000 cases a year – which can range from crimes attributed to the president to divorce custody battles over pets. As a result, approximately one-third of all cases against politicians at the federal level are dismissed after reaching the statute of limitations.
Even when this is not the case, the justices can prove to be extremely favorable to the defense. According to a survey by think tank Fundação Getulio Vargas, indictment requests were only accepted in just in 5.6 percent of cases between 2011 and 2016. And only 0.74 percent of defendants were actually convicted.
Full article at The Brazilian Report’s website. Date of publication: 17/04/2018

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