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How Free is Brazil’s Judiciary? The UN Wants to Know.

The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the Independence of the Judiciary, Leandro Despouy, began a series of official visits today to obtain first-hand knowledge of the situation of the Judiciary in Brazil.

The meetings will proceed through the 25th of this month. The interviews, according to Despouy, will be used in the preparation of a report to submit to the UN.


Despouy’s first encounter was with the Secretary of Judicial Reform in the Ministry of Justice, Sérgio Renault.


During the meeting, Renault made a presentation on the situation in his Secretariat and spoke about the Constitutional judicial reform amendment that is presently being examined by the Congress.


The UN representative then met with the Federal General Public Defender, Anne Elizabeth Nunes.


His third appointment was with representatives of the National Association of Members of the Public Interest Defenders Office.


The last item on his schedule was a meeting with the Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, the Director of the Federal Police, Paulo Lacerda, and Secretaries of the Ministry of Justice.


Speaking to the press, Despouy said that he is getting a good reception and intends to listen to as many people from civil society and government officials as possible, in order to obtain information to prepare his report on the situation of judicial independence in Brazil.


He informed that he plans to submit his report to the UN Commission on Human Rights in March or April of next year.


Despouy emphasized that Brazil is an important, open country with an international presence.


“Therefore, the branches of government should be available to provide information,” he observed.


He said that his function is to defend the independence of the Judiciary throughout the world, “but also to see how the judicial system is working, most of all so that people have access to this basic right of judicial attention.”


“I must become more familiar with the situation of the country, not just in a laboratory, but through a first-hand look at the reality, in order to make decisions with serenity and conviction about the report to be drafted,” he said.


The UN Rapporteur said that he expects to make some concrete recommendations concerning the current situation and that these recommendations may serve to orient the United Nations with respect to the country’s future.


He denied the existence of any kind of resistance to his presence. “People have received me cordially and furnished information.”


Besides Brasí­lia, the UN representative will travel to São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Recife, and Belém.


He informed that he will be back in Brasí­lia on the 25th, when he plans to meet with upper echelon members of the Judiciary.


Agência Brasil
Translator: David Silberstein

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