More than a hundred civil society organizations sent a letter this Tuesday, March 2, to the speaker of the Lower House of Congress, Arthur Lira, calling for the rejection of all bills pending in the house to expand what is known as “exemption from illegality” providing qualified immunity to police officers and military personnel.
According to the organizations, the Brazilian Criminal Code already establishes the possibility of exemption from culpability when lethal use of force is practiced by officers due to necessity, in legitimate self-defense, in strict compliance with their legal duty or in observance of the regular enforcement of law.
“The current proposals go beyond protecting the work of law enforcement and aim to provide a real ‘license to kill’, given that their approval would result in inquiries not being opened to investigate possible illegal acts,” said the organizations in the letter. “This would inevitably increase the already unacceptably high number of killings by the police, one of the highest in the world,” they added.
There are currently at least four bills pending in the Lower House of Congress giving immunity to law enforcement and military personnel who commit willful crimes against life: Bill 6125/2019, Bill 9432/2017, Bill 7883/2017 and Bill 1595/2019.