IMPUNITY / BRAZIL
WHEREAS the friendly agreement between the government of Brazil and the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights recognizing the responsibility for the death of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira, murdered in January, 1998 in Itabuna, Bahia, contemplated reopening the case in order to identify the instigators of the crime, and that the bureaucracy, vacations, and leaves taken by the regular prosecutor s of the District prevented the case from being reassessed by March, 2011; WHEREAS the murder remains unpunished of radio journalist Ronaldo Santana de Araújo, which occurred on October 9, 1997 in Eunápolis, Bahia, since those accused of the crime, former Eunápolis mayor Paulo Dapé and his employees Maria José Ferreira Souza (Maria Sindoiá), Waldemir Batista de Oliveira (Duda), and Antônio Oliveira Santos (Toninho da Caixa) filed appeals that still have not been decided; and in 2008 Sérgio Mendes Lima, the only one convicted of the crime, fled after having been given the benefit of progression to a semi-open regime of imprisonment; WHEREAS those accused of the murders of radio journalist Samuel Román, killed in Coronel Sapucaia, Mato Grosso do Sul, on April 20, 2004, and of journalist Aristeu Guida da Silva, killed on May 12, 1995 in São Fidélis, Rio de Janeiro; and the accused of instigating the murder of radio journalist Jorge Vieira da Costa, killed in March, 2001 in Timon, Maranhão, were able to tie up the case in the courts; WHEREAS the masterminds have not been identified in the murders of reporters Luiz Otávio Monteiro in Manaus, Amazonas on December 29, 1988; Edgar Lopes de Faria on October 29, 1997 in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul; José Carlos Mesquita, on March 10, 1998 in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia; and Mário Coelho de Almeida Filho, on August 16, 2001, Magé, Rio de Janeiro; nor have the cases been solved of Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, found dead at the Paulo Afonso Dam in Bahia, on July 22, 1995; and the disappearance of Ivan Rocha on April 22, 1991, in Teixeira de Freitas in Bahia; WHEREAS on December 29, 2010, Fernando Barbosa Belo was murdered while on parole; he had been convicted of participating in the murder of businessman Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, owner of the Folha do Estado newspaper and radio station Cidade de Cuiabá FM, which happened on September 20, 2002; WHEREAS Judge Laurita Vaz, of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), ruled for the immediate processing of the criminal case against João Arcanjo Ribeiro, who had been accused of instigating the crime against Sávio Brandão, and ordered that the case come before a Jury of the People, with no further right of appeal on a date to be set; the judge considered that Arcanjos defense attorney was trying to stall the case with an exaggerated number of baseless appeals; WHEREAS matters are moving forward in the Homicide Division of the Niterói/São Gonçalo police on the murder of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, which occurred on August 29, 1995 in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro state; WHEREAS there is no date contemplated yet for the trial of Nilson Osterne Maia and Otaviano de Lima, accused of murdering radio journalist Nicanor Linhares Batista on June 30, 2003; that the pronouncement of Appeals Judge José Maria Lucena about the instigators of the crime is to be decided upon in a special forum; that former mayor Maria Arivan de Holanda Lucena, wife of the Appeals Judge, is answering a charge brought in the courts of Limoeiro do Norte as co-instigator of the crime; WHEREAS the investigation seeking those responsible for the murder of radio journalist Jorge Lourenço dos Santos, killed on July 11, 2004 in Santana do Ipanema, Alagoas, was sent to the Court of Justice of Alagoas to proceed with the criminal case, since the suspects of the crime include the former mayor of the city; and there are eight people indicted; WHEREAS police officer Valnei Bertoni had his trial moved to São Paulo for the murder of journalist Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho, which occurred on May 5, 2007 in Porto Ferreira, but the date has yet to be set; WHEREAS the police have identified and arrested the instigators of the murder of print and radio journalist Francisco Gomes de Medeiros (F. Gomes) which occurred on October 18, 2010 in Caicó, Rio Grande do Norte, and of José Rubem Pontes de Souza, President and Editor of Entre-Rios Jornal, which occurred on November 1, 2010 in Paraíba do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, but that they have not yet come to trial; and, six months after the murder of Wanderley dos Reis on October 16 in Ibitinga, São Paulo, no suspect has been arrested, although in this case it is possible that the crime is related to Reis professional work.; WHEREAS the change in the presidency of the Commission on the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship of the Federal Senate caused Proposal to Amend the Constitution No. 15 of 2010 to be distributed among different rapporteurs; that amendment would establish the competency of federal judges to try and judge crimes carried out against journalists while carrying out their professional activities, and Senate Bill no. 167 of 2010 which changes the penal code, assuring priority of judgment in cases involving the murder of journalists in the course of their professional activities; WHEREAS reports were already ready and that they will now be reassessed by Senator-rapporteur Vital do Rêgo; WHEREAS in many cases, especially in interior areas of Brazil, witness are afraid to talk and there is strong pressure on local authorities during the course of investigations; WHEREAS the masterminds of the crimes are rarely arrested, just the intermediaries or the shooters; WHEREAS there is a high turnover of judges and prosecutors, which sometimes impedes the progress of cases; 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 MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES: to complement Judge Laurita Vaz of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), who understood that the appeals filed by the defense of João Arcanjo Ribeiro were simply delaying his trial and ruled to move to proceed with the case; to request the government of Bahia to make all necessary efforts to comply with the agreement with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; that it guarantee the structure of the appeals necessary so that investigations be reopened and the instigators of the murder of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira in January, 1998 be identified; to demand efforts be made so that the murder of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva in Rio de Janeiro may finally be solved, avoiding political disputes or any barrier that would lead to indefinite delay of the procedures or later shelving of the case; to demand efforts to solve the crime against Wanderley do Reis; to request senator Vital do Rêgo to consider the reports already prepared on proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 15 of 2010, and Senate Bill no. 167 of 2010, and move along his findings in order that the issues may be evaluated and voted on in a timely manner by the Commission on the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship of the Federal Senate; to demand that all investigations and processes work to identify the masterminds of the crimes, and not be limited to indicating and punishing those who carry them out; to suggest improvements in the system to locate and arrest fugitives, whether along land borders or within the country; and widening of protection programs for witnesses and defenders of human rights; to request a reassessment of the criteria for granting the benefit of progression from a closed to a semi-open prison regime to prevent the flight of criminals.