Brazil’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Cármen Lúcia has slated a session for May 2 that may lead to the restriction of the so-called foro privilegiado, a legal prerogative given to Brazilian politicians, who can only be brought to trial at high courts.
The case started in November last year, but was halted due to Justice Dias Toffoli's request to examine the proceedings. The case was freed to be brought back to discussion as of last month.
The first statements were made in June last year by Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, tasked with drafting the report in the case. In his view, those protected by foro privilegiado—like lawmakers and cabinet members—should be brought before the Supreme Court in cases where wrongdoing is believed to have taken place during their term of office. In case of offenses prior to that period, the politician would answer to a trial court, just like any other citizen. The majority of the top court’s 11 justices are expected to vote in favor of Barroso’s view.
The specific case under examination involves the restriction of foro privilegiado for Marcos da Rocha Mendes, mayor of the city of Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro, and former congressman. He once took office as the substitute of former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, but resigned in order to serve in the local government.
Rocha Mendes is being charged of buying votes and is being tried by the Supreme Court. Due to Mendes’s position with the municipal government, Barroso argued for the case to be brought back to a lower electoral court.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Brazil politicians’ near-immunity to be examined by top court on May 2