SAO PAULO – Brazilian President Michel Temer praised on Saturday the “personal and moral responsibility” of Judge Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court (STF) investigating judge in the Petrobras case who died on Thursday in an airplane crash.
“This is a terrible loss for the country and for the justice system,” Temer said after attending the vigil for Zavascki in the city of Porto Alegre, the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul.
Temer must now appoint a substitute for Zavascki, who had on file cases against some 50 politicians of privileged status and in the coming weeks was to hand down a ruling on the admissibility of informer agreements signed by almost 80 former executives of the Odebrecht construction company in exchange for a reduction of their sentences.
Nonetheless, the internal code of the Supreme Court indicates that in “exceptional” cases, the high court’s Chief Justice Carmen Lucia Antunes may distribute the cases among other STF members before the appointment of a substitute for the late judge, who was originally to have tried the case.
For the first time, Temer referred to the judicial complications and said in Porto Alegre that he will only appoint a replacement for Zavascki once the Supreme Court decides who will be the new judge in the Petrobras case, which is investigating the corruption that festered for a decade within the state-run oil company.
The Brazilian president, who has been in power since last Aug. 31 after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, said that Zavascki, 68, was a “good man” who set an “example worth following.”