HRW: Brazil should prosecute Dictatorship-Era abuses Thijs Bouwknegt
Posted by sarkout on April 20 2009 16:24:44
HRW: Brazil should prosecute Dictatorship-Era abuses Thijs Bouwknegt

Brazil should prosecute human rights abuses committed during the 1964-1985 dictatorship, says Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The Brazilian military regime was responsible for systematic human rights violations, including killings, forced disappearances, torture and the curtailment of free expression. Some 50,000 persons were detained and roughly 10,000 went into exile.

No Brazilian official has been criminally charged for the violations because a 1979 Amnesty law has effectively barred such prosecutions.

HRW says the abuses should be dealt with.

"Brazil has had neither trials nor even a truth commission to address the very serious crimes that took place, and is lagging behind the region in accountability for past abuses," says José Miguel Vivanco, America's director for Human Rights Watch.
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HRW: Brazil should prosecute Dictatorship-Era abuses Thijs Bouwknegt

15-04-2009
Brazil should prosecute human rights abuses committed during the 1964-1985 dictatorship, says Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The Brazilian military regime was responsible for systematic human rights violations, including killings, forced disappearances, torture and the curtailment of free expression. Some 50,000 persons were detained and roughly 10,000 went into exile.

No Brazilian official has been criminally charged for the violations because a 1979 Amnesty law has effectively barred such prosecutions.

HRW says the abuses should be dealt with.

"Brazil has had neither trials nor even a truth commission to address the very serious crimes that took place, and is lagging behind the region in accountability for past abuses," says José Miguel Vivanco, America's director for Human Rights Watch.

"It's been nearly a quarter - century since the transition to democracy. The victims and their families have waited too long for justice."

HRW's appeal comes after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ruled on 8 April that amnesties cannot be applied to crimes against humanity that were committed during Brazil's military dictatorship.

The petition was brought to the commission by relatives of 70 persons forcibly disappeared by the military during its operations against the Araguaia communist guerrilla movement in the 1970s.

The commission's conclusion provides a new opportunity to consolidate jurisprudence on amnesty laws as they relate to forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions, and on States' obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish serious human rights violations.

Calls for accountability in Brazil have grown in the past two years. Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal is currently deciding challenges to the Amnesty Law and to laws allowing for the permanent secrecy of government documents, although President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has opposed such challenges.

Some limited accountability measures have been put in place. Brazil has provided for the payment of reparations to victims of the dictatorship and the Special Commission on Political Deaths and Disappearances officially recognized the state's responsibility in 356 cases before it.

Brazil: Never Again (Brasil: Nunca Mais), an authoritative report secretly researched using the archives of Brazil's military justice system and released by the São Paulo Archdiocese in 1985, described 1,918 accounts of torture from 1964 to 1979 and noted that its source material excluded an "incalculable" number of other cases.




Tags: 1964-1985, Brazil, dictatorship, HRW, human rights abuses, junta, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva , nunca mais, prosecute, says Human Rights Watch, truth commission