- This article is about a step in the removal of a public official. For challenging a witness in a legal proceeding, see: Witness impeachment.
Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body formally levels charges against a high official of government. Impeachment does not necessarily mean removal from office; it is only a formal statement of charges, akin to an indictment in criminal law, and is thus only the first step towards removal. Once an individual is impeached, he or she must then face the possibility of conviction via legislative vote, which then entails the removal of the individual from office.
Because impeachment and conviction of officials involve an overturning of the normal constitutional procedures by which individuals achieve high office (election, ratification, or appointment) and because it generally requires a supermajority, they are usually reserved for those deemed to have committed serious abuses of their office. In the United States, for example, impeachment at the federal level is limited to those who may have committed "high crimes and misdemeanors".
Impeachment has its origins in English law but fell out of use in the 18th century. It exists under constitutional law in many states around the world, including Brazil, the Republic of Ireland, India, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
- The cancer of corruption
- Corrupted Brazilian leaders
- National leaders, ministers, governors and UN officials who were ousted, quit or impeached between 2014 and 2018 after claimed and\or proven corruption and\or gross misconduct