Brazil Hides its Crimes Through Inhumane Legislation

It has been 25 years since Brazil’s military regime ended.  Yet, the crimes and violence enforced by the country’s authorities from 1964 to 1985 have failed to see the light of justice.

Military Dictatorship in Brazil

Brazil's Military Regime

As a condition to allow the restoration of democracy in Brazil in 1979, the military regime enacted legislation designed to provide blanket amnesty for ”political or political related crimes” committed since 1961.  The law has been used since then, to provide state agents with immunity from crimes they committed during the country’s military era.  Because of it, state officials were able to get away with torture, enforced disappearances and killings.  These crimes are so grave, that they  fall under the jurisdiction of international law.

A few months ago, in April of 2010, the Brazilian Supreme Court had an opportunity to repeal the amnesty law.  Many of us hoped that the “new Brazil” would show maturity and respect for human rights.  Instead, they decided to uphold the old interpretation, indicating that crimes committed by members of the military regime were political acts and therefore they were protected by the amnesty law.

Brazil is the only country in South America that has failed to address human rights violations of past regimes. While the country still debates issues surrounding the interpretation of the law, countries like Argentina, Peru and Chile have gone a long way to bring to justice those who oversaw the human rights violations of thousands of victims, under their past governments.  As the most recent example, a few days ago Argentina’s Court sentenced the country’s first military dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, for life in prison.  He was found guilty for committing crimes against humanity between 1976 and 1981, when he was head of the country’s military regime.

In an effort to uphold justice, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights had to step in, in what is known as the Araguaia Case.  After a long and careful review of the facts and circumstances, the Court found Brazil responsible for the enforced disappearance of sixty-two people, between 1972 and 1974. Importantly, the international court stated that Brazil violated the right of truth when its authorities failed to investigate the disappearances and when they decided not to prosecute those responsible for the ruthless acts.

Although the Court’s decision demonstrates that Brazil’s Amnesty Law violates its international human-rights obligations by standing in they way of truth, the President of Brazil’s Supreme Court, Mr. Cezar Peluzo, affirmed that the decision of the international court does not change to way the country’s judiciary power will continue  interpreting and applying the amnesty law.

It is incredibly disappointing to see the legislative, judicial and executive powers of Brazil continue to rely on a law that places greater importance on lies and lawlessness than on truth and justice.  Why is it that such a promising country fears facing its own past? Why is it that even after decades after the crimes, the victims and their families still haven’t seen justice?

I may not have the answers to those questions, but for a country that has huge aspirations in the international scenario and is extremely proud for its peaceful character, Brazil should face its past to avoid the same mistakes going forward. Brazilian people deserve better.  They deserve justice.  They deserve to know the truth and to see those responsible for this shameful and sad past, to be accountable for their acts!

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16 thoughts on “Brazil Hides its Crimes Through Inhumane Legislation

  1. how about the unjustice administerd upon my daughter that was raped by her uncle who fled to brazil to escape justice in the united states.

  2. how about the unjustice administerd upon my daughter that was raped by her uncle who fled to brazil to escape justice in the united states.

  3. I'm Brazilian, and I'm just 19 years old and did not pass through all these problems of a dictatorship, however we get a lot of information about it, that was, for sure the most sad era of our History. It is very terrible to watch on TV, read on newspapers and all kind of mass media that my country simply does not make anything to punish those, responsible for many disgusting crimes.
    For me they do not hide these crimes… they do something that's even worse! They simply do not pay attention to something that's very important to the Brazilian population – allienation is for sure, the saddest thing one can suffer from!
    Everyone thinks we are the new Eldorado, but no one better to say that, this country isn't the country of future, a democratic country – I take one thing with me, and I think about it every single day "our so called democracy and social justice, do not exist".
    We live in accordance to old structures, Brazil got to become modern… starting with our laws!
    I hold on blog where I speak about several different stuff, mainly politics, what I really love… it is all in Portuguese, but with some help of the Internet, you can get a translation: http://flaviossantos.wordpress.com
    Check it out and spread the idea… I'll soon write more often, and for sure, translate it!
    Wish you guys the best! Merry X-mas and Happy New Year!

  4. I'm Brazilian, and I'm just 19 years old and did not pass through all these problems of a dictatorship, however we get a lot of information about it, that was, for sure the most sad era of our History. It is very terrible to watch on TV, read on newspapers and all kind of mass media that my country simply does not make anything to punish those, responsible for many disgusting crimes.
    For me they do not hide these crimes… they do something that's even worse! They simply do not pay attention to something that's very important to the Brazilian population – allienation is for sure, the saddest thing one can suffer from!
    Everyone thinks we are the new Eldorado, but no one better to say that, this country isn't the country of future, a democratic country – I take one thing with me, and I think about it every single day "our so called democracy and social justice, do not exist".
    We live in accordance to old structures, Brazil got to become modern… starting with our laws!
    I hold on blog where I speak about several different stuff, mainly politics, what I really love… it is all in Portuguese, but with some help of the Internet, you can get a translation: http://flaviossantos.wordpress.com
    Check it out and spread the idea… I'll soon write more often, and for sure, translate it!
    Wish you guys the best! Merry X-mas and Happy New Year!

  5. I'm Brazilian, and I'm just 19 years old and did not pass through all these problems of a dictatorship, however we get a lot of information about it, that was, for sure the most sad era of our History. It is very terrible to watch on TV, read on newspapers and all kind of mass media that my country simply does not make anything to punish those, responsible for many disgusting crimes.
    For me they do not hide these crimes… they do something that's even worse! They simply do not pay attention to something that's very important to the Brazilian population – allienation is for sure, the saddest thing one can suffer from!
    Everyone thinks we are the new Eldorado, but no one better to say that, this country isn't the country of future, a democratic country – I take one thing with me, and I think about it every single day "our so called democracy and social justice, do not exist".
    We live in accordance to old structures, Brazil got to become modern… starting with our laws!
    I hold on blog where I speak about several different stuff, mainly politics, what I really love… it is all in Portuguese, but with some help of the Internet, you can get a translation: http://flaviossantos.wordpress.com
    Check it out and spread the idea… I'll soon write more often, and for sure, translate it!
    Wish you guys the best! Merry X-mas and Happy New Year!

  6. I’m Brazilian, and I’m just 19 years old and did not pass through all these problems of a dictatorship, however we get a lot of information about it, that was, for sure the most sad era of our History. It is very terrible to watch on TV, read on newspapers and all kind of mass media that my country simply does not make anything to punish those, responsible for many disgusting crimes.
    For me they do not hide these crimes… they do something that’s even worse! They simply do not pay attention to something that’s very important to the Brazilian population – allienation is for sure, the saddest thing one can suffer from!
    Everyone thinks we are the new Eldorado, but no one better to say that, this country isn’t the country of future, a democratic country – I take one thing with me, and I think about it every single day “our so called democracy and social justice, do not exist”.
    We live in accordance to old structures, Brazil got to become modern… starting with our laws!
    I hold on blog where I speak about several different stuff, mainly politics, what I really love… it is all in Portuguese, but with some help of the Internet, you can get a translation: http://flaviossantos.wordpress.com
    Check it out and spread the idea… I’ll soon write more often, and for sure, translate it!
    Wish you guys the best! Merry X-mas and Happy New Year!

  7. Well the crimes of the US administration 2001 to 2008 have failed to see the light of justice.

    These crimes are so grave, that they fall under the jurisdiction of international law. Well they would if the US hadn't placed itself above the application of international law and international courts.

    And as for that foreigner Julian Assange who has helped uncover some of these crimes? Well he's not American. He's not covered by the Constitution. He's not entitled to Freedom of Speech or Press Freedom. No. Let's send a 'black ops' squad after him and deliver him Justice American style.

    And as for AI saying something…

    …Julian Assange?

    To be honest, we here at Amnesty couldn’t give a f&^% about his human rights!

    Well. You did ask!

  8. Well the crimes of the US administration 2001 to 2008 have failed to see the light of justice.

    These crimes are so grave, that they fall under the jurisdiction of international law. Well they would if the US hadn’t placed itself above the application of international law and international courts.

    And as for that foreigner Julian Assange who has helped uncover some of these crimes? Well he’s not American. He’s not covered by the Constitution. He’s not entitled to Freedom of Speech or Press Freedom. No. Let’s send a ‘black ops’ squad after him and deliver him Justice American style.

    And as for AI saying something…

    …Julian Assange?

    To be honest, we here at Amnesty couldn’t give a f&^% about his human rights!

    Well. You did ask!

  9. "Brazil is the only country in South America that has failed to address human rights violations of past regimes."

    The USA is the only country in North America that has failed to address human rights violations of past regimes.

    Oh, really. But surely they are the U S A so that is perfectly all right.

    Yes. Suppose you're right. Anyway, Amnesty doesn't really care.

  10. “Brazil is the only country in South America that has failed to address human rights violations of past regimes.”

    The USA is the only country in North America that has failed to address human rights violations of past regimes.

    Oh, really. But surely they are the U S A so that is perfectly all right.

    Yes. Suppose you’re right. Anyway, Amnesty doesn’t really care.

  11. It is not difficult find the answer to this brutality, while Brazil is a country that has huge aspirations in the international scenario and is extremely proud for its peaceful character, otherwise politicians have not the courage or the wills to face its past and avoid the same mistakes going forward.
    Brazil is a country that has developed economically and politically but not socially,because this is the most difficult part to manage.The poor still poor and and the rich are getting richer, as the economy builds up in a few hands.
    Now, who have, good for them, and who blight, blight.This is the motto of false democracies.
    Whatever there are what Brazil deserves, it won't be easy to achieve.
    Police forces took long time ago the control of Brazilian society (beyond political control) killing poors and juvenile delinquents from "Favelas".
    To kill anyone sunked in poverty and marginalization, was the easiest way to achieve sociall security.
    It must be Brazilian people or humanitarian institutions Who take charge of the marginalized population.Otherwise, nothing will change in Brazil.

  12. It is not difficult find the answer to this brutality, while Brazil is a country that has huge aspirations in the international scenario and is extremely proud for its peaceful character, otherwise politicians have not the courage or the wills to face its past and avoid the same mistakes going forward.
    Brazil is a country that has developed economically and politically but not socially,because this is the most difficult part to manage.The poor still poor and and the rich are getting richer, as the economy builds up in a few hands.
    Now, who have, good for them, and who blight, blight.This is the motto of false democracies.
    Whatever there are what Brazil deserves, it won't be easy to achieve.
    Police forces took long time ago the control of Brazilian society (beyond political control) killing poors and juvenile delinquents from "Favelas".
    To kill anyone sunked in poverty and marginalization, was the easiest way to achieve sociall security.
    It must be Brazilian people or humanitarian institutions Who take charge of the marginalized population.Otherwise, nothing will change in Brazil

  13. It is not difficult find the answer to this brutality, while Brazil is a country that has huge aspirations in the international scenario and is extremely proud for its peaceful character, otherwise politicians have not the courage or the wills to face its past and avoid the same mistakes going forward.
    Brazil is a country that has developed economically and politically but not socially,because this is the most difficult part to manage.The poor still poor and and the rich are getting richer, as the economy builds up in a few hands.
    Now, who have, good for them, and who blight, blight.This is the motto of false democracies.
    Whatever there are what Brazil deserves, it won’t be easy to achieve.
    Police forces took long time ago the control of Brazilian society (beyond political control) killing poors and juvenile delinquents from “Favelas”.
    To kill anyone sunked in poverty and marginalization, was the easiest way to achieve sociall security.
    It must be Brazilian people or humanitarian institutions Who take charge of the marginalized population.Otherwise, nothing will change in Brazil.

  14. It is not difficult find the answer to this brutality, while Brazil is a country that has huge aspirations in the international scenario and is extremely proud for its peaceful character, otherwise politicians have not the courage or the wills to face its past and avoid the same mistakes going forward.
    Brazil is a country that has developed economically and politically but not socially,because this is the most difficult part to manage.The poor still poor and and the rich are getting richer, as the economy builds up in a few hands.
    Now, who have, good for them, and who blight, blight.This is the motto of false democracies.
    Whatever there are what Brazil deserves, it won’t be easy to achieve.
    Police forces took long time ago the control of Brazilian society (beyond political control) killing poors and juvenile delinquents from “Favelas”.
    To kill anyone sunked in poverty and marginalization, was the easiest way to achieve sociall security.
    It must be Brazilian people or humanitarian institutions Who take charge of the marginalized population.Otherwise, nothing will change in Brazil

  15. Elisabeth Simon says it so well.

    See how she defines, respectively, Brazil …. & "democracy".

    "Brazil is a country that has developed economically & politically but not socially".

    "Now, who have, good for them, who blight, blight.This is the motto of false democracies."

    Who blight, blight.

    The best definition of the truth i have heard in a long time.

  16. Elisabeth Simon says it so well.

    See how she defines, respectively, Brazil …. & “democracy”.

    “Brazil is a country that has developed economically & politically but not socially”.

    “Now, who have, good for them, who blight, blight.This is the motto of false democracies.”

    Who blight, blight.

    The best definition of the truth i have heard in a long time.