Impunity / Brazil

WHEREAS the Internal Affairs Office of the Bahia Police Department decided after a disciplinary proceeding to dismiss police officer Mozart Brasil, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison in September 2003 for killing journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira in January of 1998; and it is now up to the governor of the state, Jaques Wagner, to decide whether to remove the policeman; and there has not been a decision about the Public Ministry´s appeal of the acquittal of Marcone Sarmento; and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has suggested in a friendly agreement with the Brazilian government that the Oliveira case be reopened so the masterminds can be identified; and the same agreement foresees the payment of compensation to the journalist´s family, but this compensation must be approved by the state´s Legislative Assembly WHEREAS the former mayor of Eunápolis Paulo Dapé and his employees Maria José Ferreira Souza (Maria Sindoiá), Waldemir Batista de Oliveira (Dudu) and Antônio Oliveira Santos (Toninho da Caixa), who were accused of killing radio journalist Ronaldo Santana de Araújo on October 9, 1997 in Eunápois, Bahia, filed appeals in an attempt to delay their sentencing WHEREAS Minister Geraldo Og Fernandes has had special appeals by those accused of killing radio journalist Jorge Vieira da Costa in March of 2001 in Timon, Maranhão, for a year, with no prediction of a date for the decision WHEREAS although the police department director Carlos Eduardo Ferreira sent a document with a copy to the IAPA urging local authorities to take measures to determine who was responsible for killing José Carlos Mesquita on March 10, 1998 in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia, no new investigation has been opened; and the police chief of Ouro Preto do Oeste said he needs an order from the Public Ministry to begin the investigation while the prosecutor alleges that the police must provide new evidence WHEREAS more than a year ago a request for telephone surveillance was made so investigations could proceed in the death of Nivanildo Barbosa Lima who was found dead in the Paulo Afonso hydroelectric complex on July 22, 1995 and as of October, 2009 the Public Ministry had received no answer to its request; and it is difficult to pursue the investigation without this information WHEREAS the investigations of the killing of Edgard Lopes de Faria on October 29, 1997 in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, and the disappearance of journalist Ivan Rocha on April 22 of 1991 in Teixeira de Freitas in Bahia were shelved; and no one was punished for the killing of Mário Coelho de Almeida Filho on August 16, 2001 in Magé, Rio de Janeiro WHEREAS the eight people accused of killing radio journalist Samuel Román, who died in Coronel Sapucaia, Mato Grosso do Sul on April 20, 2004 are considered fugitives, among them Alfredo Rui Dias Arevalos, who had been in prison but obtained a habeas corpus hearing and fled; and this is one of the few cases in which the mastermind was identified and convicted; and two of those accused of killing journalist Aristeu Guida da Silva, who died on My 12,1995 in São Fidélis, Rio de Janeiro and no one was punished for the crime since the only person who was convicted appealed the sentence and it was overturned; and one of the two main defendants in the killing of reporter Luiz Otávio Monteiro in Manaus, Amazonas on December 29, 1988 has been a fugitive for more than 20 years and the mastermind of this crime has not been identified WHEREAS The Public Ministry is still awaiting results of the psychological evaluation of Romualdo Estáquio da Luz Faria, who is accused of killing society columnist Maria Nilce Magalhães on July 5, 1989 in Vitoria, Espírito Santo; another defendant in the case, police clerk Charles Roberto Lisboa, is waiting to learn if he will be prosecuted WHEREAS João Arcanjo Ribeiroi has not yet been prosecuted for being a leader of organized crime in the state of Mato Grosso and for having ordered the killing on September 30, 2002 of Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, owner of the newspaper Folha do Estado and radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM; WHEREAS the Homicide Department of Niteréroi/São Gonçalo should submit soon the final report on the killing of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva on August 29, 1995 in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro WHEREAS the case against Associate Justice José Maria Lucena, named as responsible for the killing of radio journalist Nicanor Linhares Batista on June 30, 2003, in Limoeiro do Norte, Ceará, continues in camera; and his wife, former mayor Maria Arivan de Holanda Lucena is being prosecuted for the same crime in a court of Limoeiro do Norte WHEREAS a decision is set for March 25, 2010 in the case of police officers Valnei Bertoni, Paulo César Ronceiro, Edson Luiz Ronceiro and businessman Carlos Alberto da Costa, who are accused of killing journalist Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho on May 5, 2007 in Porto Ferreira, São Paulo; and the trial of Adélcio Carlos Avelino was separated because he filed an appeal; the Supreme Court denied habeas corpus for Avelino because he was threatening witnesses WHEREAS the investigation of the killing of radio journalist Jorge Lourenço dos Santos on July 11, 2004 in Santana do Ipanema, Alagoas is progressing, but the court hearing the case has had no regular judge for two years, which hampers the investigation WHEREAS in most of the crimes the masterminds were not identified, arrested or punished; and generally the investigations are ended by identifying just the hit men and intermediaries WHEREAS The defendants manage to delay the decision by using mechanisms available in the law WHEREAS the lack of judges and prosecutors in some cities, telephone companies’ delays in releasing surveillance information, fear of testifying and poorly conducted inspections contribute to the delays in the process and pose a major difficulty in obtaining evidence WHEREAS There is no efficient system to find fugitives and the land borders of Brazil make it easy for criminals to flee WHEREAS at the 2nd National Meeting of the Judiciary in February of this year in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazilian courts set 10 goals for the judiciary in 2009 to provide greater efficiency in the handing of cases, improve the quality of judicial service, and increase Brazilian citizens´ access to justice; and currently the judiciary is attempting to achieve Goal 2, which would identify the oldest cases and adopt concrete measures to reach a decision in those that were filed before December 31, 2005 (first and second degree, and higher courts) WHEREAS Article 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says, “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 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to ensure that the government of Bahia compensates this year the family of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira, killed in January of 1998, according to a friendly agreement signed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to request a redoubling of the effort to see that the case of Reinado Coutinho da Silva in Rio de Janeiro and similar cases are not shelved to assist judges and prosecutors to make it possible for them to comply completely with the goals defined by the judiciary, especially Goal 2 to ask the federal government to have the federal police investigate crimes against press professionals so there is no risk of pressure on prosecutors, police officers and witnesses to demand that investigations and judicial proceedings not be limited to identifying those who commit a crime, but also target the masterminds whose punishment should serve as a warning to suggest adoption of a more efficient and interconnected system to find and punish fugitives, intensifying control on land borders and within the country to request improvement of programs to protect witnesses and human rights defenders to request revision of the law that gives people convicted of violent crimes and murder the benefit of home detention, since this has allowed some criminals to flee to ensure access to all public documents and investigations and to ensure that police and other public institutions make the information available.