Minister Pans Brazil’s Law Giving Congressmen Right to Be Judged by Supreme Court

The president of Brazil’s Federal Elections Court (TSE, Tribunal Superior Eleitoral), Minister Carlos Velloso, criticized Thursday, August 11, the privileged bar enjoyed by legislators and the President of the Republic when they are tried for ordinary crimes.

During a debate at the International Conference on Challenges and Prospects for Strengthening Brazilian Political Institutions, in the Chamber of Deputies, Velloso said he is fearful that recent accusations of legislators’ involvement in irregular campaign financing will cause a bottleneck in the Federal Supreme Court (STF, Supremo Tribunal Federal).


“The Supreme Court has hundreds of criminal suits to judge. How many will there be now? The Supreme Court will not be able to clear the docket and lacks the capacity to make all these rulings,” he remarked.


The privileged bar allows federal deputies, senators, and the President of the Republic to be judged by the STF instead of regular courts.


According to Velloso, the function of the Supreme Court is to decide direct actions of unconstitutionality, not electoral or ordinary crimes.


“Lower court judges are the ones suited for such cases. When these cases are transferred to higher courts, it represents a privileged bar, a vestige of the Imperial era inconsistent with republican principles,” he emphasized.


In the opinion of the president of the TSE, the privileged bar contributes to corrupt practices in the country, because it assures politicians of impunity.


“Brazil is currently 52nd in the international corruption ranking. In each municipality there is a public prosecutor who is a judge, and he is the one who effectively supervises government accounts, preventing corruption. But political suits are not assigned to the lower courts,” he pointed out.


Velloso cited the example of the United States, where there is no privileged bar. “Former president Richard Nixon had to appear before a lower court judge,” he recalled.


Agência Brasil

Tags:

You May Also Like

On the Shores of Brazil’s Sea of Mud There Are Pleasant Gardens

Despite the political crisis, Brazil is doing OK. It could be better, but it ...

Folia de Reis

Caipira May Be Hick But It Also Can Be Hip, in Brazil

"It dawned, I grabbed my viola, put it in the bag, and went traveling…" ...

Brazil Seeks International Pacts to Fight Corruption

By the end of 2006, the Brazilian government intends to negotiate and sign judicial ...

Women Candidates Still Few in Brazil

Despite the existence in Brazil of quotas which oblige political parties to reserve at ...

Brazil’s Top Bank Slashes and Terminates Client Charges

Apparently in an effort to consolidate its just acquired title of biggest Brazilian private ...

Movits’s multifaceted art

Brazilian Ricardo Movits is the artist who is writer who is musician who is ...

Brazil: Expect a No-Bubbles Growth

According to Brazil’s Central Bank president, Henrique Meirelles, the country is ready for renewed ...

Elections keep the status quo

Brazilians are going to the polls for the runoff election November 15. But for ...

Brazil: Children’s Rights Are Just a Legal Fiction

Some jurists regard Brazil’s constitutional and statutory protection as a model for the world ...

Thanks to Soy, Brazil Harvest to Grow 13%

The 2005 harvest in Brazil could be 13.29% greater than in 2004. The forecast ...