In the News…

Posted by David McCoy

On June 18, it became public knowledge that Claudio Fonteles had resigned form the National Truth Commission (CNV). While Fonteles stated that his reasons were strictly personal, there was speculation about whether the divergence between two ideological camps within the Commission had something to do with his resignation. Allegedly, Fonteles and Rosa Cardoso (the current coordinator) have been at odds with Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro and José Carlos Dias over issues of transparency and the scope of action that should be pursued by the Commission. One civil society organization, the Commission of Relatives of Dead and Disappeared Politicians [A Comissão de Familiares de Mortos e Desaparecidos Políticos] made public a note requesting that Fonteles reverse his decision on the grounds that he might potentially lead the Commission toward more transparency and participation. For more information, see the story from Globo or the press release from the Commission.

Luiz Cláudio Cunha, a journalist and former collaborator of the National Truth Commission, recently wrote a scathing article about the Commission after being dismissed on July 2nd. While the journalist argues that his dismissal was  unjust and a means of silencing descent, it also describes a scenario in which Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro attempts to dominate the other members of the Commission, regularly loses his temper, and operates under “militant secrecy” that makes transparency impossible. Cunha recounts several stories to substantiate his claims. Cunha criticized another member of the Commission, José Carlos Dias, in a recent opinion article.

Rosa Cardosa, the current coordinator of the CNV, recently participated in a public debate about the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ decision that ruled in the case of Gomes-Lund (Aruguaia). The Court ruled that Brazil must take action to promote memory, truth, and justice in relation to the violations of human rights that occurred during the military regime regardless of the 1979 Amnesty Law that prevents prosecution of any involved party. In the debate Cardoso affirmed that “it is a contradiction to not accept the ruling.” According to Cardoso, accepting the decision “is not a violation of Brazil’s sovereignty, because the country decided to submit to the norms of international law.” For more information, click here.

A federal judge recently denied the CNV’s request for forceful presentation of two ex-agents of repression from the era of the military dictatorship after they failed to attend the public hearing they were summoned to by the CNV in Foz de Iguaçu, Paraná. The judge, Edilberto Barboso, found that the ex-agents would be punished for not attending the public hearing but that the law that created the CNV (lei 12528/2011) did not specify that forceful presentation could be applied, which Barboso argued impedes the action. The Federal Prosecutor is preparing to press charges on the agents for disobeying the summons, which carries a penalty of 15 days to six months. For more information, click here.

On July 4, the state of Minas Gerais established a state truth commission with the approval of law 3,296/12. For more information, click here.

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