On August 22, 2019, two congressmen, Fabiano Contarato and Randolph Rodrigues, and one congresswoman, Joenia Batista, filed a petition before the Federal Supreme Court to investigate political-administrative infractions leading to high crimes and misdemeanors (crime de responsabilidade) against Ricardo Salles, then-Minister of Environment of Brazil. The plaintiffs maintain that the public management of the defendant, as the head of the Ministry, was incompatible with the probity and decorum required of leaders in office. Among other decisions and omissions considered undignified, they allege the violation of international commitments ratified by the Brazilian government to combat climate change, in particular the Paris Agreement. They claim that the ministerial policy implemented by the defendant has not been proactive in achieving Brazil's targets for reducing Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). They affirm, in this sense, a lack of commitment to combating the illegal deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. They also state that the budget of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) has been cut, compromising its environmental monitoring and enforcement activities. Finally, they request that the then-Minister of the Environment be recognized as having committed high crimes and misdemeanors (crime de responsabilidade) and that he be removed from office and disqualified from holding public office for eight years.
On October 24, 2019, Justice Edson Fachin held that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing and determined that the case should be dismissed. The plaintiffs then filed an Interlocutory Appeal in which they repeated the terms of the Petition, emphasizing that its legitimacy is supported by Article 14 of the Law of High Crimes and Misdemeanors (Lei dos Crimes de Responsabilidade – Law 1.079/1950), which allows any citizen to denounce a Minister of the State. In a subsequent decision from August 20, 2021, the Justice extinguished the case, ruling that the appeal had lost its grounds in view of the resignation of Ricardo Salles from the position of Minister of the Environment.
|08/22/2019||Petition||Download||Initial petition (in Portuguese)|
|10/24/2019||Decision||Download||Decision dismissing the case for lack of legal standing (in Portuguese)|
|08/20/2021||Decision||Download||Decision extinguishing the case for loss of grounds in view of Ricardo Salles' resignation from the position of Minister of the Environment (in Portuguese)|