On Wednesday (08/02), Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD) said, during a speech that one month after the attacks on the headquarters of the three Powers by supporters of former President Bolsonaro, that the consequences for those who plundered public property will be ” severe”. Pacheco also said that “Brazilian institutions will not refrain from investigating and exemplarily punishing all the criminals involved”. Despite Pacheco’s declarations, it seems that at least one group is still untouched, the military. The scenario may be connected to the fact that the government and the Supreme Court (STF) have not agreed on by whom the military investigated should be judged. The stalemate could lead to a crisis between the Justice Power and the central administration.

No Consequences to Military

A month after the coup attacks on the headquarters of the three Powers, the civil investigation bodies advanced on part of the vandals involved in the depredations, politicians pointed out as omissive and members of the Military Police of the Federal District, but nothing so far has happened to members of the Armed Forces.

At least 1,420 people have been arrested in the act or during operations launched by the Federal Police (PF). Of those caught red-handed, 916 had their prison converted into preventive, and 464 were provisionally freed. However, no member of the armed forces were affected.

Despite repeated promises that there will be no impunity and that those responsible will pay for omissions, there is an absence of military personnel among the targets of accusations made by the Public Ministry or even of operations launched by the PF. Military personnel only appear, so far, in the eight preliminary investigations opened in the military sphere, conducted by the Military Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Involvement of Military

Political experts reported that the event of 8 January reinforced the Worker’s Party (PT) assessment of infiltration by Bolsonaro’s supporters in the Armed Forces and in other organs of the national security apparatus. Since then, President Lula has continuously criticized the politicization of the Forces and said that State careers cannot be transformed into a “political party”.

A series of factors have associated members of the Armed Forces to the riots perpetrated by supporters of former President Bolsonaro. Among them:

  • The maintenance of the protesters camp in front of the Army headquarters in Brasilia
  • The suspension of at least two joint operations with the Government of the Federal District to remove tents and facilities from the camp in the capital
  • The fact that the Army prevented the Military Police from entering to arrest the coup plotters on the night of the attacks to the Three Powers Plaza

A Stalemate

The fact that military were not yet reached by the investigations is likely connected to the uncertainty about who will judge them. Federal Supreme Court (STF) Minister Alexandre de Moraes, who is responsible for the cases involving the attack on the Three Powers Plaza, wants the military judged by the common justice, while the government announced once that they should face the Military Justice.

The final word on competence to investigate the military rests with the Supreme Court, if provoked. Thus, the government can only exercise influence behind the scenes or eventually manifest itself in the processes. Considering the fragile relation that President Lula and his team have with the Armed Forces, if the STF’s disturbs any political arrangement that the federal administration may have sealed with the military, Morae’s decision could result in friction between the Justice and the Executive powers.

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