Justice Under Suspicion

After almost three decades of democratic stability, Brazil is flirting with fascism. Award winning director Maria Ramos looks at the decisive role the judiciary has been playing in this process, how ‘lawfare’ – the use of the law as a weapon against political opponents – is endangering democracy all over the world. Three journalists from the newspaper El País investigate how an anti-corruption criminal operation was turned into an instrument of ideological persecution by an unscrupulous judge and helped the far right and Bolsonaro to power.


Justice Under Suspicion

After almost three decades of democratic stability, Brazil is flirting with fascism. Award winning director Maria Ramos looks at the decisive role the judiciary has been playing in this process, how lawfare – the use of the law as a weapon against political opponents – is endangering democracy all over the world. Three journalists from the newspaper El País investigate how an anti-corruption criminal operation was turned into an instrument of ideological persecution by an unscrupulous judge and helped the far right and Bolsonaro to power.

The film follows the work of Carla Jimenez, editor in chief of El País – Brazil and two journalists, Regiane Oliveira and Marina Rossi, as they investigate the links between an anti-corruption discourse and the rise of fascism in Brazil. Starting in 2019, in partnership with The Intercept, the journalists publish a series of reports based on the private messages exchanged between the prosecutors and Judge Sergio Moro, who led the anti-corruption operation known as ‘Car Wash’. These leaked messages exposed the backstage of the operation revealing unlawful acts, a promiscuous relation between Judge and prosecution and a hidden political agenda. Jimenez, Oliveira and Rossi investigate the destruction of major companies in an important sector of the economy, obscure and illegal cooperation with the US Department of Justice and the political use of the justice system.

Three figures are crucial in the film: Judge Sergio Moro, the head of ‘Car Wash’ who becomes Bolsonaro´s Minister of Justice. The President himself – a former meaningless far-right representative in Congress whose election was made possible by Moro and ‘Car Wash’. Third character is former president Lula, sentenced and imprisoned by Moro.

Driven by Bolsonaro’s denial of science and facts, the arrival of the coronavirus in Brazil accelerated a process of political extremism and set the stage for a great tragedy.

Director: Maria Ramos
Producers: Christian Beetz, Ilja Roomans
Creative Producer: Julia Krampe
Commissioning Editor ZDF/ arte: Martin Pieper

Koproduktion

Kooperation