Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official. Impeachment does not in itself remove the official definitively from office; it is similar to an indictment in criminal law, and thus it is essentially the statement of charges against the official. Whereas in some countries the individual is provisionally removed, in others they can remain in office during the trial. Once an individual is impeached, they must then face the possibility of conviction on the charges by a legislative vote, which is separate from the impeachment, but flows from it, and a judgment which convicts the official on the articles of impeachment entails the official’s definitive removal 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 "Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors".
Impeachment exists under constitutional law in many countries around the world, including Brazil, France, India, Ireland, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.