Photo: Brazil's military regime
The Brazilian Attorney General’s Office has called for a revision of a 1979 law that has prevented the prosecution of members of the 1964-1985 military regime for crimes against humanity, a document released Friday shows.
The brief, signed by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot, was submitted to the federal Supreme Court and is based on a 2010 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights demanding that Brazil investigate and punish human rights abuses committed under the dictatorship.
Even though the amnesty was imposed by the very people who stood to benefit from it, Brazil’s highest court in 2010 rejected a motion brought by grassroots groups asking for the measure to be overturned as unconstitutional.
Brazil, as a member of the Organization of American States, decided, “in a sovereign and juridically valid manner,” to accept the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court and has a corresponding obligation to comply with the court’s rulings, Janot wrote.
The Brazilian Supreme Court is currently considering another challenge to the amnesty law, filed by the Socialism and Freedom Party.
Domestic and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have long demanded an end to impunity for those who tortured and murdered dissidents during military rule.
In Brazil, official efforts to document the crimes of the junta began only in 2011, when President Dilma Rousseff, a former leftist militant who was jailed and tortured during the dictatorship, established a truth commission.
Human rights activists say “thousands” were killed by the regime, but authorities have acknowledged only around 400 cases of forced disappearance.