Justice Can’t Be Blamed for Impunity in Brazil Says Judges Association

The performance of the Brazilian Judicial system in the agrarian conflicts does not stimulate rural violence, in the opinion of the President of the Brazilian Magistrates Association (AMB), Rodrigo Collaço.

He refutes the comments by the Brazilian Farm Worker Union (CONTAG) that the slowness of the system and lack of punishment are an invitation to violence.

Contag is launching, this Tuesday, March 7, the international campaign "Enough Violence in the Countryside," that will focus mainly on putting some pressure over the judicial system.

"The Judicial system has no means of preventing the violence caused by land disputes. It works with the consequences of the facts", stresses AMB President, as he adds that the current explosive situation is due to the fact that few people own most part of the land, and that the State is not following up on its land distribution policy.

Collaço mentioned the case of Dorothy Stang, the American missionary murdered in Anapu, Northern state of Pará, in February of 2005. He believes this case is a symbol of the rural violence caused by the absence of the State, of a good police structure, and of regional environmental organisms.

Another symbolic case of violence related to agrarian issues was the massacre of Eldorado dos Carajás, also in Pará, in 1996, when 19 rural landless workers were murdered and all individuals accused were absolved.

For Collaço, the courts have nothing else to do on this case, since it was a sentence given by popular jury. "I think it’s important that we are indeed going through the trial process. We may or may not agree with the result. But in this case, the sentence was given by the society itself."

According to the Land Pastoral Commission, 1,500 people, among rural workers and leaders, were murdered in the country, in the last 20 years. Of this total, 76 cases went through trial, and 82 people were condemned. Rodrigo Collaço said he will invite CONTAG for a meeting to discuss the accusations against AMB.

According to Collaço, AMB is as worried with the rural situation in Brazil as Contag. He adds that the entity would like to join efforts with CONTAG to do everything possible to put an end to impunity.

Agência Brasil

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