Against ‘express justice’ at demonstrations
Conectas and IDDD call for ban on high-speed trials of protestors
The NGOs Conectas Human Rights and IDDD (Defense of the Right to a Defense Institute) today filed an Application for an Injunction with the CNJ (National Justice Council) to prevent rights from being violated during the World Cup by ‘express justice’ or ‘high-speed trials’ – on-the-spot courts for judging demonstrators arrested by the police during protests.
The two organizations claim that the initiative violates fundamental principles of law, such as the ‘natural judge’ principle and the right to a defense, while also creating an environment reminiscent of a state of emergency to deal with protests, which are an integral part of a living democracy.
“The judges are hand-picked by the São Paulo State Court (TJ/SP) to try the demonstrators on the spot. These same judges may be removed from their positions if they do not, for example, apply the sentences with the severity that the authorities expect. This is a clear assault on the independence of judges and undermines the right of citizens to an impartial judge, particularly if they are picked based on this punitive zeal that the authorities have demonstrated,” said Rafael Custódio, coordinator of the Justice Program at Conectas. According to the organizations, express justice is unconstitutional and needs to be revoked by the CNJ.
Conectas and IDDD consider that the TJ/SP Decree that created the express justice system not only violates the Constitution but also breaches the rules of the CNJ that apply to judicial shift work. “Creating a special court to try a specific group of citizens – and worse, citizens who are merely exercising their right to express themselves – is very different from regulating how judges work shifts on weekends, for example. There is no doubt about of the emergency status of this initiative, which goes far beyond any of the previously issued rules,” said Custódio.
The organizations also plan to submit the request personally to Supreme Court Justice Francisco Falcão, who currently serves as the CNJ’s Internal Affairs Commissioner, in Brasília.
Read the TJ/SP Decree that creates express trials and the application to the CNJ filed by the organizations.