San Jose and Rio de Janeiro, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais de Rio de Janeiro (GTNM-RJ) and Comisión de Familiares de Muertos y Desaparecidos Políticos (CFMDP), representatives of the victims in the Gomes Lund et al. v. Brazil case (known as “Guerrilha de Araguaia”), call on the State of Brazil to completely comply with the judgment issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court), as well as to progress in removing obstacles to obtaining justice for the victims.
On December 14, 2010, Brazil was condemned by the IA Court for the forced disappearance of 69 people in the framework of the operations of the Brazilian armed forces undertaken to eradicate the militants belonging to the Communist Party of Brazil, Partido Comunista do Brasil, between 1972 and 1975. In the judgment, the State was sentenced to conduct a criminal investigation of the acts, determine the corresponding criminal responsibilities and punish those responsible, among others. See Judgment
After nearly 40 years since the events took place and after almost four years since the judgment was issued, the State of Brazil still has not progressed in establishing the necessary measures to provide information on the whereabouts of those disappeared, nor has there been progress in the investigations that allows for progress in the search for the remains.
Despite the Federal Public Prosecutor’s commitment to the denunciation and investigation of the crimes committed during the dictatorship, no convictions have been made. The criminal charges against the military for kidnapping six of the Araguaia victims have been suspended.
Some of the obstacles in obtaining justice include the lack of criminalization of forced disappearance, the lack of a proactive attitude from the judges in helping overcome the obstacles of the Amnesty Law, the statute of limitations, the absence of control of compliance and the ignorance of the value of the IA Court’s judgment.
Viviana Krsticevic, CEJIL’s executive director, mentioned that, “50 years after the military coup and four years since the Inter-American Court’s judgment, the victims still await justice. The Public Prosecutor advanced a criminal investigation policy on the forced disappearances committed during the dictatorship, but these efforts will not produce results without a substantial change in the response of the judiciary and the legislature. The judges need to assume their responsibility in the compliance with the judgment linked to the Araguaia case. Furthermore, Congress should criminalize forced disappearance.”
Lorena Moroni Barroso, one of the victim’s relatives, added, “We have been looking for our relatives for 40 years; many of the State officials have little understanding of the judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the sense of giving respectful treatment to us, the relatives of the victims, and acting with responsibility in the search for the those disappeared.”
Press Release: Brasil segue sem realizar justiça e verdade (Portuguese only)
Press Release: Brasil está obligado a investigar y castigar los crímenes de la dictadura militar (Spanish only)