Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS the investigation into the 1995 murder of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva remains virtually stalled because the Civil Police claims difficulties in obtaining evidence that would lead to identification of the murderers and those behind the crime WHEREAS the investigation into the January 14, 1998, murder of Manoel Leal de Oliveira has progressed a great deal thanks to the efforts of Judge Marcos Bandeira and District Attorney Cinthia Portela, but the name of the person who masterminded has never been determined and one of the accused, who is at large, was seen in the city where the journalist was murdered in a clash with police WHEREAS the murderers of Edgar Lopes de Faria, killed on October 29, 1997, have not been identified due to technical difficulties of the police in pursuing their investigation and to witnesses continuing to be fearful of talking WHEREAS District Attorney João Alves da Silva Neto is encountering bureaucratic red tape and political pressure in seeking to identify those responsible for the October 9, 1997, murder of radio show host Ronaldo Santana de Araújo WHEREAS the investigation into the murder of television anchor José Carlos Mesquita finally led to the jailing of Orico Rodrigues, one of the accused who had been on the run, but the other accused remains at large and the person who masterminded the crime has gone unpunished WHEREAS former police officer Divino José de Matos, known as Divino 45, named as the person who killed journalist Mário Eugênio Rafael de Oliveira on November 11, 1984, remains at large following the change of his 17 years’ imprisonment sentence, and despite evidence that he was living in another state the police have not yet been able to loctate him WHEREAS Aristeu Guida da Silva was murdered on May 12, 1995, and Vladimir Rainieri Pereira Sobrosa, accused of being one of the perpetrators, was sentenced to 28 years’ imprisonment, appealed the sentence and is now awaiting a new trial, and other accused remain at large WHEREAS businessman Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, owner of the newspaper Folha do Estado de Mato Grosso and radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM, was murdered on SEptember 30, 2002, the Civil Police named one of the suspects as having carried out the crime and he is in custody, but investigations are continuing to determine who was behind the murder WHEREAS the police casefile in the investigation into the April 22, 1991, disappearance of radio show host Ivan Rocha was shelved, despite the alleged kidnappers being identified, arrested, held in custody and then released for lack of evidence WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec hold that “freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, 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 MIDYEAR MEETING RESOLVES to ask the Brazilian government for the investigation of the crimes against human rights, including the murder of journalists and radio announcers, to be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Federal Police. to request expansion and improvement of the witness protection program, unknown to people in general, which fails to meet the demand and in some cases keeps witnesses in a very precarious situation which makes many of them prefer not to take part in the program to ask the federal government and state governors to make a commitment to the right to freedom of expression and an end to impunity to ask the federal government and municipal and state governments to give a guarantee of transparency in information, so that reporters may follow investigations and legal proceedings, contrary to what is stipulated under the Gag Law and other internal guidelines on the control of information to ask the Secretaries for Public Safety of the states of Mato Gross, Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Sergipe, Espírito Santo and Rondônia to provide the technical conditions and infrastructure to enable police to effectively investigate crime, including payment of expenses for tracking down suspects, a speed-up in forensic ballistic, DNA testing and fingerprinting lab work, provision of vehicles for basic investigations, and a speed up in the issuance of arrest warrants to urge to police and the judiciary that investigations not be limited to the identification and arrest of the actual murderers but also include those behind the crimes to ask the Public Safety Secretaries of the states to have those arrested moved to maximum security prisons, so as to prevent their escape to ask for the implementation of a more efficient program for hunting down fugitives, inter-connecting the states so that police around the country can easily identify suspects whose arrest is sought and actually carry out such arrest to request the necessary means to prevent bureaucracy and corruption thwarting due process and delaying trial of the accused.