(CNN) — A Brazilian commission investigating the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has voted in favor of charges against President Jair Bolsonaro, among others.
Seven of the commission’s eleven senators voted on Tuesday evening to support recommendations contained in a 1,288-page report on the pandemic. The document calls for charges against two companies and 78 individuals, including Bolsonaro, over the pandemic’s enormous toll on the country.
More than 605,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Brazil — the second-highest number of deaths in the world after the United States.
The report alleges that Bolsonaro’s government allowed the lethal coronavirus to spread through the country in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity. It recommends indicting the president personally with nine crimes, including incitement to crime, charlatanism, and crimes against humanity.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the commission’s investigation and resulting report as politically motivated.
The final document — the result of six months of investigation — will now be sent to Brazil´s Attorney General’s Office. However, Attorney General Augusto Aras is considered an ally of the president and is not expected to pursue charges.
The commission is also expected to send a copy of the report to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
‘It is absurd what these guys have done’
Commission rapporteur Senator Renan Calheiros first presented the report publicly last week.
He said on Tuesday that the document attributes responsibility for the uncontrolled pandemic to many in Brazil, but that Bolsonaro bears the main responsibility.
“It is (the responsibility) mainly of this president, this serial killer, who has a death compulsion and continues to repeat everything he has done before,” said Calheiros in a press conference on Tuesday morning.
Bolsonaro has already rejected the commission’s findings as biased, and on Monday complained about the report during an interview with a local radio broadcaster in Mato Grosso do Sul.
“They label me as genocidal, charlatan, document forger and exterminator. It is absurd what these guys have done,” the Bolsonaro said, referring to the lawmakers involved in the commission.
Bolsonaro has long downplayed the severity of the coronavirus, and argued for the need to prioritize Brazil’s economic health. He tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020.