Impunity - Brazil

WHEREAS the IAPA, through its Rapid Response Unit, is investigating the situation of proven impunity in the cases of the murders of journalists Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, Ronaldo Santana de Araújo, Edgar Lopes de Faria and Manoel Leal de Oliveira WHEREAS the case of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, murdered in 1995, was taken up in August 2000 by police official Paulo Passos, head of the Homicide Department in Rio de Janeiro after having been bogged down in bureaucratic problems WHEREAS because of fear of reprisals and threats some witnesses have not wanted to testify and have virtually disappeared WHEREAS the investigation of the death of Manoel Leal de Oliveira, murdered on January 14, 1998, was reopened in April 2000, although police official Gilberto Mouzinho, who is in charge of the investigation, has not called key witnesses who could provide new evidence about the murder WHEREAS the investigation is slow because of the sluggishness of the bureaucratic process and probably the fear of witnesses to testify without having the proper safeguards to protect their lives WHEREAS Edgar Lopes de Faria was murdered on October 29, 1997, and since then there has been no progress in the inquiries, with the loss of some evidence and leads, mainly because of a lack of human and technical resources WHEREAS radio reporter Ronaldo Santana de Araújo was murdered October 9, 1997, and the guilty parties have not yet been found, despite the fact that the main suspect is in jail and has given contradictory statements about his participation and that of others in the crime 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 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to ask the authorities of Rio de Janeiro state to give maximum support and guarantees so the police official can make an in-depth investigation until the murderers of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva and the masterminds are found to ask the authorities for a special system to protect witnesses so they can testify with guarantees of their safety and protection of their identity to ask the Public Security Secretariat in the state of Bahia to establish the priority of the investigation into the death of Manoel Leal de Oliveira and put the witnesses in a special protection program to ask the government of Mato Grosso do Sul state to guarantee working conditions so the investigation into the murder of Edgar Lopes Faria can continue and new interrogations can be conducted to ask that in that case the investigation be deepened and the suspect’s statements be verified as well as his relationship to people he accused of involvement in the crime, and that he be given the necessary protection and guarantees to demand that the cases be moved to federal jurisdiction to counteract political pressure to request the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, through documents presented by the IAPA, to pressure Brazilian authorities to totally solve the murders of Ronaldo Santana de Araújo, Manoel Leal de Oliveira and Edgar Lopes de Faria.