Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS the proceedings on the death of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, who was murdered in 1995 in Río de Janeiro, are stalled because the Civil Police experienced difficulties in obtaining evidence leading to the perpetrators and planners of this crime WHEREAS the investigation of the death of Manuel Leal Oliveira, who was murdered on January 14, 1998 in Itabuna, Bahía, has made substantial headway thanks to the efforts of Judge Marcos Bandeira, who sentenced Mozart da Costa Brasil to 18 years in prison for aggravated homicide, but later obtained a record-setting habeas corpus that implied a threat for the witnesses, and resulted in more witnesses claiming to have received threats even before the habeas corpus WHEREAS the proceedings on the death of Edgar Lopes de Faria on October 29, 1997 have practically come to a standstill because, according to the police, there were no leads, although the case was sent to the Organized Crime Combat Group (Gaeco, in its Portuguese acronym) WHEREAS in spite of the fact that prosecutor Joao Alves de Silva Neto has made substantial progress in the search for the perpetrators of the murder of journalist Ronaldo Santana de Araújo on October 9, 1997 in Bahía, Paulo Dapé, former mayor of Eunápolis and main suspect of being the person behind the crime, continues in his efforts to try to delay the judicial procedure or to manipulate the results and has named as witness for the defense, a regional influential politician who is a probable candidate to the mayor’s office of the city in this year’s election WHEREAS Orico Rodrigues was apprehended and sentenced to 16 years in prison for the death of television anchorman José Carlos Mesquita, who was murdered on March 10, 1998 in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia; there is another suspect at large against whom there is a warrant for arrest: and although there are leads for locating him, the police have not gone after him nor have the masterminds of the crime been caught WHEREAS Judge Ronaldo Gonçalves de Souza accepted prosecutor Euclésio Ribeiro da Silva’s allegations that there is evidence of the participation of Cézar Narciso da Silva, Alayr Andreatta, Romualdo Eustáquio and Marcos Egydio Costa in the murder of social columnist Maria Nilce Magalhães on July 5, 1989 in Vitória, Espíritu Santo, but it is up to the Court of Justice of that locality to confirm or reject the judge’s ruling because the accused appealed the decision WHEREAS former policeman Divino José de Matos, known as Divino 45, accused of murdering journalist Mário Eugênio Rafael de Oliveira on November 11, 1948, is under arrest but has not identified those responsible for the crime WHEREAS radio journalist José Wellington Fernandes, aka Zezinho Cazuza, was murdered on March 13, 2000, and the main person accused, former mayor Genivaldo Galindo da Silva, was convicted but appealed the sentence and is now waiting for a ruling from the Court of Justice WHEREAS the Civil Police identified suspects who were then accused by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the murder of journalist Mario Coelho de Almeida Filho on August 16, 2001; the suspects are former president of the Commissioners’ Chamber of Magé, Genivaldo Ferreira Nogueira, who was released by habeas corpus and is now awaiting sentencing in freedom and has been reinstated in his duties as a commissioner despite the fact that he is suspected of having been involved in two other crimes, and Reynaldo Polari Stumpf, who is a fugitive and the trial against him has been suspended WHEREAS Aristeu Guida da Silva was murdered on May 12, 1995 and Vladimir Rainieri Pereira Sobrosa, who was identified as one of the two hit men and was sentenced to 28 years in prison, appealed the sentence and awaits a new ruling by the judge without a date for said ruling having been set; two other suspects remain fugitives WHEREAS the Civil Police identified and captured those accused of murdering journalist Tim Lopes, from TV Globo, and the case is now in the courts; WHEREAS businessman Domingo Sávio Brandâo de Lima, owner of the newspaper Folha do Estado do Mato Grosso and of the FM radio station Cidade de Cuibá was murdered on September 30, 2002; the Civil Police identified both the perpetrators and the mastermind of the crime all of whom are in jail; police corporal Hércules de Araújo Agostinho who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for having shot the businessman and who had previously escaped from prison and is also accused of having committed other crimes, has now denounced other participants in organized crime and his life is at risk in the prison; Joâo Arcanjo Ribeiro, known as “Comendador”, accused of being the person who ordered the crime, is now in Uruguay awaiting extradition as is Fernando Barbosa Belo, who was captured in Italy WHEREAS businessman Edgar Ribeiro de Oliveira, co-owner of the weekly Boca do Povo of Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, was shot to death on July 9, 2003 WHEREAS radio journalist Nicanor Linhares Batista, director and owner of AM Radio Vale de Jaguaribe, was murdered on June 30, 2003 in Limoeiro do Norte, within the facilities of the radio station. The police captured some of the perpetrators of the murder and are still looking for four other fugitives. José Maria Lucena, judge of the Court of Justice and former president of the Federal Regional Court of the 5th Region, and his wife, the mayor of Limoeiro do Norte, Arivan Lucena (PTB), were accused by the State Prosecutor’s Office of Creará of being the masterminds of the murder of radio journalist Linhares, but due to the positions they hold, the Lucenas can only be tried by the Higher Court of Justice, and the case is now with the General Attorney’s Office of the Republic and with the General Attorney’s Office of the State where proceedings are underway to determine if the mayor and the judge can be charged WHEREAS on April 22, 1991, radio journalist Ivan Rocha was reported missing in Texeira de Freitas, Bahía, but the case was filed away in spite of the fact that there were witnesses to the kidnapping of the radio journalist WHEREAS Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, a writer for the newspaper Ponto de Encontro, was found dead at a dam of the hydroelectric station of Paulo Alfonso in July, 1995; the police opened a criminal case but investigations were not initiated until October 2003 WHEREAS photographer Luís Antônio da Costa was murdered on July 23, 2003 while he was carrying out the photo coverage of a homeless camp in San Pablo and the murderers were detained WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec declares 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 severely” THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to ask the Federal Government to investigate the crimes against human rights, including the murders of journalists, and that the jurisdiction of said investigations be assigned to the Federal Police and to the Federal Courts of Justice to prevent manipulation and pressure on those in charge of investigating and sentencing. “Federalization” is foreseen in Senate amendment bill to the Constitution #29/2000 that provides for the reform of the judicial branch. This bill has already been discussed by the House of Deputies and its approval now depends on the Federal Senate to ask for the expansion and improvement of the Witness Protection Program; since the current program keeps witnesses under precarious conditions of survival, many witnesses do not join it to ask the Federal Police to protect prisoners who are willing to collaborate in the identification of the masterminds of the crimes to ask the Federal Government and the municipal and state governments to guarantee the right of freedom of expression and of access to public information, and to pledge their commitment in putting an end to impunity to ask the Ministries of Public Security of the states of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahía, Río de Janeiro, Brasilia, Sergipe, Espíritu Santo, Ceará, San Pablo and Rondônia to provide technical and infrastructural conditions so policemen can investigate crimes properly, including payment of mobilization expenditures in the search for suspects, swiftness in the laboratory services of ballistics, DNA and finger printing, and the availability of vehicles for basic investigation and prompt issuing of search and arrest warrants to demand that police and justice investigations not be restricted to the identification and detention of the criminals and middlemen, but also to the masterminds of the crimes to ask the ministries of Public Security of the states to take measures to prevent escape attempts by criminals and that no privileges be given to them in prison that would allow them to continue establishing contact with other suspects to ask that steps be taken to prevent that bureaucracy and corruption delay legal procedures by postponing the sentencing of the accused to ask that members of the prosecutor’s offices of the various states deal promptly with the cases and demand new procedures for identifying culprits to guarantee the follow-up of cases without interruption every time a change of mayor or commissioner takes place.