Conectas comments on Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling on case of Gomes Lund et al. (Araguaia Guerrilla). Read our public statement Public Statement 04/2010
Public Statement 04/2010
Conectas Human Rights applauds the historic ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR Court) on the case of Gomes Lund et al. (Araguaia Guerrilla). The Court concluded that Brazil is responsible for the forced disappearance of 62 people between 1972 and 1974, in the region known as Araguaia, and it ordered the Brazilian State to investigate and criminally prosecute those responsible for the crimes.
The sentence reasserts IACHR Court case law by declaring that Brazil?s amnesty laws constitute obstacles to the investigation and punishment of serious human rights violations and crimes against humanity. These laws allow the perpetrators of the crimes to enjoy impunity and prevent the victims of persecution and human rights violations by authoritarian regimes receiving reparations.
The Court also held Brazil responsible for violating the right of personal integrity of the families of the victims, for the suffering caused due to the lack of effective investigations and for denying the right of access to information by preventing access to the State files containing information on the events.
In May this year, Conectas came out in opposition to the ruling of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF), which declared the constitutionality of the amnesty law (Read the full article "Brazil: a paradise for torturers
?") and brought upon the country the deserved condemnation of the OAS. At the time, we said that the STF had missed an opportunity to set an example that the Brazilian Judiciary is not an accomplice in the institutionalized torture and impunity in our society. In Brazil, this law still protects agents of the State accused of acts of torture during the military dictatorship (1964 to 1985).
Nevertheless, since the STF considered the amnesty law to be primarily a political matter, it recommended that the Brazilian Congress take up the issue and attempt overturn the law. We understand, therefore, that the decision by the STF does not constitute an insurmountable barrier for Brazilian political forces to carry out the ruling of the Inter-American Court.
Conectas hopes that the proper authorities will act promptly to implement the ruling and start to settle the country?s debt with the past. We need to acknowledge, investigate and punish those responsible for torture and other human rights violations in the past, so we can combat them in the present and build a future that is more respectful of human dignity.
The official text of the ruling is available at http://www.corteidh.or.cr/docs/casos/articulos/seriec_219_por.pdf
Conectas Human Rights
São Paulo, December 15, 2010.