Lula Readies Truth Committee Bill to Punish Torturers from Brazil’s Dictatorship

Journalist Herzog was killed by torturers Brazil is seriously considering naming a "truth committee" a quarter of a century after the return of democracy to the country, to look into the torture crimes committed during the 21-year military dictatorship (1964/1985) and which were never taken to court.

Brazil's Human Rights minister Paulo Vannuchi anticipated that Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would be sending a bill to Congress to create a "truth committee", according to international law and based on the experiences of neighboring Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.

Apparently the bill which has been drafted will be ready and sent to Congress December 21st. Contrary to what happened in the rest of the region the 21-year Brazilian military dictatorship was never accused of crimes against humanity based on an Amnesty Law dating back to 1979, which is currently under review by the country's Supreme Court.

According to Vannuchi the 1979 Amnesty Law which opened the doors for the return of the political exiles and political activities, also impeded legal actions against members of the police and armed forces allegedly involved in killings, but not necessarily in torture crimes.

"President Lula will be sending the bill for the naming of national truth committee such as in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. This never happened in Brazil so it's going to be a big step forward," said Vannuchi.

He added that if the Brazilian Federal Supreme Tribunal interpretation does not allow to begin legal actions against cases involving torture crimes "this would contradict with the Human Rights conventions from the United nations and from the Organization of American States of which Brazil is signatory".

"Brazil can walk out of those conventions, some banana republics have threatened to do so, but Brazil is in the opposite direction, besides the fact that it is strongly lobbying for a seat in the UN Security Council", added Vannuchi.

The minister said Latin American countries could very well not support Brazil's bid to the UN Security Council because "it has a contrary position in the human rights issue".

Vannuchi then quoted Chilean president Michelle Bachelet: "We don't want more bleeding from old wounds, we want them to heal and only the injuries properly washed heal".

Mercopress

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