Federal Judge Sérgio Moro, the man behind Brazil’s biggest-ever corruption probe, has become a star in Brazil. He was given titles such as “Brazilian of the Year,” “Personality of the Year,” or one of Brazil’s “Most Influential People.” Notwithstanding his notoriety, Moro is a man who doesn’t give interviews and believes that “judges must only talk through their rulings.” On Thursday, however, he released a statement criticizing Brazil’s lower house.
That out-of-character move was motivated by an effort to pardon politicians who have already benefited from irregular campaign donations. Congress is discussing a set of laws to prevent corruption, and one of them criminalizes illegal campaign funding – currently, it is considered only an electoral offense. Members of Congress want to add a paragraph to the text stating that all previous crimes should not be prosecuted. “All kinds of amnesty are questionable,” said Moro, “as it stimulates contempt for the rule of law.”
Congressmen also want to approve a law against abuse of authority, punishing prosecutors and judges who are considered to have gone “too far.” Moro himself has been accused of disrespecting the rights of Operation Car Wash defendants. His harshest critic is Brazil’s former President Lula, who complained to the United Nations that Moro violated his human rights and promoted a political witch-hunt disguised as an investigation.
It was the first time Moro has made a public statement about Brazil’s Congress. Deltan Dallagnol, chief prosecutor of the investigation, said in an interview for GloboNews that the statement “was a cry for help.” The investigators fear that Brazilian politicians will pull a move similar to the one taken by their Italian counterparts back in the 1990s. At that time, a similar corruption probe ravaged the country’s political establishment. Italian politicians then approved laws to reduce the independence and capacity of the justice system to investigate economic crimes.