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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  • João da Silva

    [quote]Lula Readies Truth Committee Bill to Punish Torturers from Brazil’s Dictatorship [/quote]

    Actually the title is misleading. It is [b][i]not[/i][/b] Lula, but his minister Paulo Vanucchi who has been making quite a bit of noise to attract attention to himself especially on the eve of the election year. This issue has been widely debated and most of the “victims” of the “ditadura” got a fat life long monthly pension or high posts in the government or [b][i]both[/i][/b]. Even the owners of the infamous magazine “Pasquim” managed to extract money from the government! However, occasionally we read that the innocent victims caught in the crossfire between the left and the right are not faring too well.

    So, I am not sure if the proposed bill is going to be big vote getter for Mr.Vanuchhi & Co. Of course, he is quoting Michelle Bachelet of Chile to reinforce his argument. But the recent first round election results in Chile is not an encouraging sign, as BaheletÀ‚´s partyÀ‚´s candidate didn’t get the majority and has to go for a run off round against the Right wing candidate who got 41% in the first round. The Chileans have clearly shown that they are not influenced by the anti-Pinochet slogans. We shouldn’t be surprised if the winner in January is the rightist candidate.

    The Brasilian voters are not all that dumb and this bill and the propaganda made about it are hardly likely to sway the electors in VanucchiÀ‚´s favor!

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