Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS investigation of the 1995 murder of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva is still at a virtual standstill with the police claiming difficulty in gathering evidence leading to the identification of those responsible for planning and carrying out the crime WHEREAS significant progress has been made in investigation of the January 14, 1998 murder of Manoel Leal de Oliveira through the efforts of judge Marcos Bandeira and prosecutor Cinthia Portela, but the proceeding is being bogged down by bureaucratic problems such as the delay in execution of motions to take testimony from one of the defendants, while the other defendant remains at large WHEREAS a new lead has come to light in relation to the murderers of Edgar Lopes de Faria, killed on October 29, 1997, but the lead cannot yet be confirmed due to technical difficulties the police are having with continuing the investigation and witnesses being afraid to testify WHEREAS despite significant progress by prosecutor João Alves da Silva Neto in the search for those responsible for the October 9, 1997 murder of radio announcer Ronaldo Santana de Araújo, and for evidence of the suspects’ involvement, the main trial remains at a standstill as of October 17, 2002 WHEREAS investigation has finally begun into the death of television anchor José Carlos Mesquita after the necessary travel expenses were approved for the police to follow the suspects’ trail, two years after the event, and Rondônia Police Chief Carlos Eduardo Ferreira has pledged his full support to solving the case WHEREAS on November 22, 2001 judge Ronaldo Gonçalves de Souza accepted the arguments of prosecutor Euclésio Ribeiro da Silva that there is evidence of the involvement of Cézar Narciso da Silva, Alayr Andreatta, Romualdo Eustáquio and Marcos Egidio in the July 5, 1989 murder of society columnist María Nilce Magalhães, but authority to ratify the judge’s decision rests with the Espírito Santo trial court, and the defendants have the right to appeal WHEREAS former police officer Divino José de Matos, aka Divine 45, who is accused of murdering journalist Mário Eugênio Rafael de Oliveira on November 11, 1984, remains at large after successfully delaying his prosecution for 17 years WHEREAS radio announcer José Wellington Fernandes, known as “Zezinho Cazuza,” was murdered on March 13, 2000, and the principal defendant, former mayor Genivaldo Galindo da Silva, remains at large despite having been given a prison sentence for this crime and in at least 30 more administrative proceedings WHEREAS police have identified Reynaldo Polari Stumpf as the murderer of journalist Mário Coelho de Almeida Jr., who was killed August 16, 2001, but have not yet detained him, and Rio de Janeiro homicide detective Luiz Alberto de Oliveira announced on October 4, 2002, that he was very close to identifying the mastermind of the crime WHEREAS Aristeu Guida da Silva was murdered on May 12, 1995, and one of the accused perpetrators, Vladimir Rainieri Pereira Sobrosa, who was sentenced to 28 years in prison, has appealed the judgment and is awaiting a new trial WHEREAS police have identified and apprehended the murderers of journalist Tim Lopes of TV Globo, and they are being brought to trial; the principal defendant in Tim Lopes’s murder, the trafficker known as Elias Maluco, is in the temporary custody of the Military Police Strike Battalion and represents a flight risk, since investigation into police involvement in providing protection to Maluco while a fugitive is still not closed WHEREAS businessman Domingos Sávio Brandão, who owns the newspaper Folha do Estado do Mato Grosso and radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM, was killed September 30, 2002, and police have identified one of the suspects, but not yet the mastermind WHEREAS organized crime activities in the state of Mato Grosso have prompted a request for task-force assistance in fighting crime there WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states 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 IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES to call upon the Federal Government to transfer jurisdiction for investigations into crimes against human rights, including the murders of radio, television and print journalists, to the Federal Police, inasmuch as the “federalization” contemplated under Senate Constitutional Amendment 29/2000, which provides for changes to the Judiciary, has already been studied by the House of Representatives and is pending approval in the Federal Senate to call for expansion and enhancement of the Witness Protection Program, which discourages witnesses from participating by maintaining them in subsistence-level conditions to call upon re-elected political leaders and those taking office in January to guarantee the right to freedom of expression and to make a commitment to ending impunity to call upon the Public Safety Ministries of the states of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Sergipe, Espiritu Santo and Rondônia to make the necessary technical resources and infrastructure available for the police to investigate crimes, including the payment of travel expenses for the search and pursuit of suspects, to speed up laboratory services for ballistics, DNA and fingerprint testing; to provide automobiles for basic investigation; and to fast-track search and detention requests to demand that police and court investigations not confine themselves to identifying and jailing gunmen and intermediaries, but extend to the masterminds behind the crime.