Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS Marcone Sarmento, accused of participating in the murder of Manoel Leal de Oliveira on January 14, 1998, in Itabuna, Bahia, was found not guilty in December 2005, that the Public Ministry presented an appeal, and the judge still has not pronounced a sentence, that Mozart Brasil, another person accused of the crime, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but presented a habeas corpus and is actually free while waiting for his sentence; that the mastermind of the crime has still not been identified and that the Public Ministry considers that the judicial investigation does not give enough proof to identify this person WHEREAS the judge accepted the complaint against the former mayor of Eunápolis, Paulo Dapé, and his officials Maria José Ferreira Souza (Maria Sindolá), Waldemir Batista de Oliveira (Dudu) and Antônio Oliveira Santos (Toninho da Caixa), accused of the murder of radio journalist Ronaldo Santana de Araújo on October 9, 1997, in Eunápolis, Bahia, which will be brought to trial on a not yet specified date, given that there have been several attempts to delay the process; that the other accused party, Paulo Sérgio Mendes Lima, charged as co-author of the murder, accused Paulo Dapé of being the intellectual author of the crime WHEREAS the legal process in the murder of Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, found dead in the Paulo Alfonso dam on July 22, 1995, has been reopened and sent to the Public Ministry, which has asked the police to conduct new investigations WHEREAS the principal person accused in the August 16, 2001, murder of Mário Coelho de Almeida Jr. in Mage, Rio de Janeiro, was the former councilman Genivaldo Ferreira Nogueira, who was found not guilty June 30, 2005, for lack of evidence; that the mastermind of the crime has still not been punished: that the other accused party, Reynaldo Polary Stumpf, who was a fugitive from the law for a long time, is now in jail and his trial is still in the phase of taking testimony from defense witnesses WHEREAS Marcos Egydio Costa, César Narcizo da Silva, José Alayr Andreatta and Romualdo Euságuio da Luz Faria, accused of participating in the murder of social columnist Maria Nilce Magalhaes on July 5, 1989, in Vitória Espirito Santo, were ready to go to trial, although no date has been set: that another prisoner, police official Charles Roberto Lisboa, was suspended from trial because of dementia; that there was a change of prosecutors in charge of the case WHEREAS the case under investigation in the October 29,1997, murder of Edgar Lopes de Faria (known by the nickname of Escaramuça) in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, was shelved on January 31, 2006, at the petition of the Public Ministry, after the conclusion that the investigations carried out by André Matsushita Gonçalves, the police official attached to the Integrated Combat Unit against Organized Crime (Unicoc) WHEREAS the mastermind of the March 10, 1998, murder of radio journalist José Carlos Mesquita in Ouro Preto do Oesta, Rondônia, has not been identified by name; that there is a person in jail, and the remaining accused have died---one of them in a conflict with police; that neither the police nor the Public Ministry has new clues about the case WHEREAS radio journalist José Wellington Fernandes, known as Zezinho Cazuza, was killed March 13, 2000, in Canindé de São Francisco, Sergipe, and that the primary person accused, former mayor Genivaldo Galindo da Silva, is in jail in connection with other administrative charges; that his trial for Cazuza´s murder will take place in the city of Propriá (the trial was transferred to another jurisdiction to avoid pressures), although the date has not yet been set WHEREAS in relation to the April 24, 2004, murder of radio journalist José Carlos Araújo, in Timbaúba, Pernambuco, Fernando Mariano da Silva Jr., Marcelo de Melo y Helton Jonas Gonçalves de Oliveira were charged with murder, but that, of the three, Oliveira is the only one in jail, and the rest are at large. Oliveira´s trial will be transferred to the capital, Recife, but as of March 9, 2006, the transfer has not taken place WHEREAS the police have identified the eight individuals involved in the June 30, 2003, murder of radio journalist Nicanor Linhares Batista in Limoeiro do Norte, Ceará, and that their trial is finishing up its probable cause phase to be presented later before a judge; that the prosecutor in Limoeiro do Norte, Alexandre Pontes Aragão, presented an amendment to the accusation against former mayor Arivan Lucena, accused of being the intellectual author of the crime, and that the trial is underway; that the process against magistrate José Maria Lucena, Arivan´s husband, also accused of the crime, is being studied by Minister Hamilton Carvalhido of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), who has still not passed a sentence WHEREAS the nine individuals who participated in the April 2004 murder of journalist Samuel Román in Coronel Sapucaia, Mato Grosso do Sul, the only one who is still in prison is Cleyton de Andrade Segovia, who has requested conditional liberty (which is still being studied); that former mayor Eurico Mariano, accused of being the mastermind of the crime, managed to obtain a habeus corpus and faces trial not in jail; that Alfredo Rui Dias Arevalos was accused by the justice system, but is still at large; that the rest have not been charged because their whereabouts are unknown or they have died WHEREAS Aristeu Guida da Silva was murdered May 12, 1995, in São Fidélis, Río de Janeiro, and that Vladimir Rainieri Pereira Sobrosa,accused of being one of the murderers and sentenced to 28 years of prison in April 2002, appealed his sentence and is now waiting for a new trial, while the other two accused parties are still fugitives from the law, one of them being a policeman; that the process has been in this situation since 2002 WHEREAS during the investigations of the murder of radio journalist Jorge Vieira da Costa, killed in March 2001 in Timón, Maranhão, witnesses were pressured, and the prosecutor in charge of the case identified mistakes in the initial phases of the trial; WHEREAS the three individuals sentenced for commiting the crime appealed the sentence, and that the appeal process is still being heard in court ; that the three persons accused of being intellectual authors of the crime managed to obstruct justice; that the Public Ministry appealed the sentence to the Superior Court of Justice, but that the appeal has not yet been seen by the court WHEREAS businessman Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, owner of the newspaper Folha do Estado do Mato Grosso and Rádio Cidade de Cuiabá FM, was killed September 30, 2002, and that the authors of the crime were sentenced, with the intellectual author, João Arcanjo Ribeiro, accused of leading an organized crime ring, prisoner in Uruguay and waiting extradiction to Brazil to be put on trial; that the former military police soldier Célio Alves de Souza, sentenced to 17 years and six months in prison in June 2005 for his participation in the businessman´s murder, escaped from the Pascoal Ramos Prison on July 24, 2005, and is still at large WHEREAS the investigation of the case of the August 29, 1995, murder of journalist Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro, was virtually paralyzed for a long time until prosecutor Rubem Vianna proposed following another clue, but since 2003, he had not obtained a reply to a request for information and the prosecutor in the case has been changed WHEREAS the investigation of the murder of radio journalist Jorge Lourenço dos Santos, killed July 11, 2004, in Santana do Ipanema, Alagoas, was sent by the Public Ministry, together with a request for further investigation, to the regional delegation in 2005, but that, with the change of the head of the delegation, the above-mentioned investigation has not been found, and the police chief has no knowledge of such a request WHEREAS in the majority of the cases investigated of murders of journalists and radio reporters, occurring in the exercise of their profession, the police have only managed to identify and arrest the material authors and intermediaries, but not the masterminds of the crimes WHEREAS the constant turnover of prosecutors and delegates of circuit courts and police stations makes the development of investigations difficult WHEREAS that the lack of judges in certain circuit courts such as that of Goiás, with the resulting accumulation of work, fosters impunity WHEREAS the threats and pressures against the witnesses of crimes committed against journalists and radio reporters are very great and that an efficient system of protection, witnesses refuse to provide information or are forced to leave their cities WHEREAS there are significant flaws in the registry system of prisoners and fugitives, as well as in communication between the prisons and the judicial branch and the very police WHEREAS reporters in São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Brasília have faced serious problems in obtaining access to public documents from the Security Secretariat, the police and the judicial branch WHEREAS cases of aggression have been registered against reporters, photographers and filmmakers in the cities of Pará, Santa Catarina, Tocantins, Piauí, Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Rondônia, Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahia, Minas Gerais, and Goiás WHEREAS the proximity of land borders and delays in carrying out investigations and trials can facilitate criminal flight and the coverup of conclusive proof WHEREAS the National Congress enacted on December 8, 2004, a Proposal for a Constitutional Amendment No. 29 of 2000, for the reform of the judicial branch, with articles already in force concerning the jurisdiction of the federal court in the case of crimes against human rights; that as the majority of the cases of journalists and radio hosts murdered in Brazil, the crimes have been linked to politicians, police, or influential people in their cities—which impedes a rapid , fair and effective investigation of the intellectual authors and others involved in the crimes—it would be important that the investigations be carried out on the federal level WHEREAS article 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes that “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly.” THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to ask the Brazilian Government that investigation of crimes against journalists and radio reporters be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Federal Police, since the murders are generally in retaliation for accusations made by media professionals in their cities and therefore investigations can be subject to local pressures and interference to ask for the enlargement and improvement of the witness protection program, since witnesses in this program at the present time are subject to survival conditions, which makes many of them prefer not to be included in the program to ask the authorities to effectively guarantee the right to freedom of expression and of access to public documents, trials and investigations to ask the state Secretaries of Public Security to provide the technical conditions and necessary infrastructure to effectively investigate crimes, including payment of travel expenses for those looking for suspects, agility in laboratory services for ballistics, DNA and fingerprints, mobility to conduct basic investigations, and fast tracking of search and prison warrants to demand that the police and the judicial branch provide investigations that are not limited to the identification and jailing of gunmen and intermediaries, but that also include those who mastermind the crimes to ask the state Secretaries of Public Security to adopt the necessary measures to prevent the flight of people involved in these crimes to ask that the necessary steps be taken to keep bureaucracy and corruption from delaying court procedures in the judicial Branco, and thus to avoid delays in the trials of the accused parties to guarantee that accused parties who presently hold political posts can also be brought to trial, even if they belong to the higher sphere of the judicial branch, preventing them from having the possibility to delay investigations in the proceedings in which they are involved to ask the members of the Public Ministries of the various states to make a strong effort to follow up these proceedings and to demand new inquiries to identify guilty parties and to guarantee that trails are not interrupted every time a prosecutor or a police chief is rotated.