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.
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.