A significant move was made by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro when he signed the Anti-Crime Bill on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.
Minister of Justice and Public Security Sergio Moro, one of the bill’s primary author, explained that the legislation would allow the country’s police force to effectively crackdown political corruption, violent crimes, and organized crimes.
Earlier this month, the new law was unveiled by Brazil’s new right-wing government. It is now subject for approval by the National Congress.
President Bolsonaro, a far-right former paratrooper, won the citizens’ hearts in 2018 election on a campaign promise of abolishing Brazil’s battle against widespread corruption and violent crimes.
Upon taking his presidential seat, he instantly removed hundreds of left-wing government officials who did not agree with his ideology.
Ironically, an investigation on Bolsonaro’s son, Flavio, and his alleged involvement in dubious payments that happened during his period as a Rio de Janeiro legislator was reopened by a Brazilian judge earlier this month.
In an effort to make the State more competent in combating deadly crimes, the Anti-Crime Bill recommends amendments in 14 laws. This allows the creation of new investigative tools and modifying procedural regulations in tackling violent crimes.
Minister Moro also expressed that they looked into the various aspects of the new law that would improve the country’s crime-fighting strategies.
Moro was widely known for sending dozens of powerful business tycoons and corrupt politicians, including the ex-President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to jail, as part of the anti-graft investigation named as “Operation Car Wash”.
Minister Moro further added that in order to get to grips with Brazil’s ailing crime dilemmas, it is necessary to understand the interconnections of the issues related to these crimes.
Violent crimes were significantly increased by organized crimes, Minister Moro said. Furthermore, he claimed that the existing political corruption impaired the effectiveness of the State’s clampdown strategies directed against organized and violent crimes.
The new legislation would not solve all the problems at hand, he noted. But, moving into the right direction would make a leap to efficiently solve these deadly crimes.
Among the amendments of the new law include the toughening of jail terms for those involved in serious crimes such as corruption, embezzlement, and robbery; increasing penalties for crimes involving firearm use; improved confiscation of the proceeds of a crime.
Additionally, with the new law, there shall be an increase in the prison terms of convicted individuals in federal maximum security prisons of three years, with possible extensions, with the goal of making the convicted person to cut his ties with his criminal organization. Furthermore, the law provides favorable conditions for creating new maximum security facilities or incorporation of current ones to the new, more stringent framework.
In 2017, the Brazilian Public Security Forum reported that 63,880 people were murdered across Brazil, making it one of the countries with the highest murder rates in the world. This reflected a 3 percent increase in the murder rate compared to the previous year.