Greenpeace Brazil, the Climate Observatory and the Climate Council approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Here they hand over a file showing that the Brazilian government (2011-2021) has committed crimes against humanity, and ask the ICC to prosecute the Brazilian government. © Marten  van Dijl / Greenpeace

The Hague, 9 November 2022 – There have been over 12,000 land or water-related conflicts in the Brazilian Amazon over the past 10 years, according to a Communication filed to the Prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The case, filed by Climate Counsel in conjunction with Greenpeace Brasil and Observatório do Clima, provides evidence that an organised network of politicians, civil servants, law enforcement officers, businessmen, and other criminals carried out a widespread or systematic attack against rural land users and defenders in the Amazon region. These abuses may amount to crimes against humanity. The Filing Parties request the ICC Prosecutor to open an examination to fully investigate the alleged crimes against humanity.

According to Richard J Rogers, Executive Director of Climate Counsel:

“The crimes committed in the Amazon against vulnerable communities are massive, widespread, systematic, and well-orchestrated by a network of powerful actors. Their policy of dispossession, exploitation, and destruction promotes violence on a scale that may amount to crimes against humanity.”

The underlying crimes – which include murder, persecution, and inhuman acts – were executed in furtherance of an organisational policy to facilitate the dispossession of land, the exploitation of natural resources, and the destruction of the environment, irrespective of the law. The evidence shows that, from 2011 to 2021, the conflicts have resulted in 430 murders, 554 attempted murders, 2290 death threats, 87 cases of torture, and over 100,000 expulsions or evictions. The victims are from a variety of Indigenous Peoples, traditional communities, and other vulnerable groups whose land has been ruthlessly exploited for profit through a widespread or systematic attack against their lives and livelihoods.

Paulo Busse, lawyer for Greenpeace Brasil and Observatório do Clima, adds:

“The attack on the Amazon Rainforest and its traditional communities has reached new extremes under the Bolsonaro administration. If the Amazon is to help save the world from lethal global heating, the mass crimes against those who protect the rainforest – rural land users and their defenders – must stop.”

The Communication is accompanied by an online platform developed by INTERPRT, that hosts testimonies of survivors, photographic evidence, 3D reconstructions of crime scenes, visualizations of data, analysis of satellite images, and deforestation data.

The Communication is supported by the Comissão Pastoral da Terra, Instituto Zé Claudio e Maria, Global Witness, and Greenpeace International.

To mark the filing of the case, activists demonstrated in front of the International Criminal Court building in The Hague with photos of victims of violence against environmental and human rights defenders in Brazil.

Leia em português: Tribunal Penal Internacional é acionado por crimes contra a humanidade cometidos na Amazônia

Media Enquiries:

For Media Coordination:

Diego Gonzaga, Communication Specialist for Greenpeace International [email protected]

For International Media comment:

Richard J Rogers, [email protected]

Paulo Busse, [email protected]

For Brazilian Media Comment:

Paulo Busse, [email protected]

Suely Araújo, [email protected]

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