Outcomes of the Brazilian Truth Commission: achievements, failures and challenges

March 26, 2015, 12:30pm - 2:00pm

Wilf 5th Floor Conference Room
139 MacDougal Street
New York, NY

Valid ID and RSVP required. RSVP here or email Audrey.Watne@nyu.edu. Lunch will be provided.

CHRGJ is pleased to welcome Hauser Global Fellow Marlon Weichert to discuss the outcomes of Brazil’s National Truth Commission. Brazil instituted a the truth commission in 2012 to investigate gross human rights violations perpetrated in the country from 1946 until 1988, but mainly those that occurred after 1964, during the military dictatorship. The Commission issued its report on December 2014, which concluded that the military governments and their repressive apparatus committed crimes against humanity, such as illegal detentions, torture, extrajudicial executions, and enforced disappearances, and that grave human rights violations by security forces are still ongoing in Brazil.

Weichert will discuss his recent article analyzing the commission, which argues that the Brazilian Truth Commission did not exhaust the duty of the State to investigate gross human rights violations nor did it bring Brazil’s transitional justice process to a close, but it reinforced the demands for accountability and for institutional reforms in security forces. In the article, Weichert examines the main contents of the report, its central findings and recommendations. It details the difficulties that the Commission faced and how they impacted its mandate. In reaching his conclusion, Wiechert sets forth the expectations and challenges that the Commission failed to fulfill and explains the reasons for such shortcomings.

About the speaker:

Marlon A. Weichert has been a federal prosecutor in Brazil for 19 years, primarily dedicated to humanrights litigation and advocacy. During the past 14 years he has worked a variety of areas to advance the adoption of transitional justice measures in Brazil. He has headed the program to search and identify the remains of victims of dictatorship-era crimes and actively participated in discussions concerning the right to truth about human rights violations during this period. He was the first scholar and prosecutor in Brazil to publicly argue that the Amnesty Law of 1979 – that prevents perpetrators of human rights violations from being held accountable in the country – was contrary to international law. Since 2008 he has lead and coordinated the investigation and persecution of several cases involving such types of crimes. He has also been involved in memory recovery projects, including the development of the Brazil Never Again Digital project – a website that hosts a collection of around 850,000 digitalized documents pertaining to judicial processes initiated against victims of political repression during the Brazilian dictatorship – and the creation of sites of conscience.

In 2013, Weichert was invited by the Brazilian Minister of Justice to join a commission responsible for granting reparations to victims of political persecution, the so-called Amnesty Commission. He has also been requested to provide expert testimony before both the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (2008) and the Inter-American Human Rights Court (2010). In parallel to his work for the Public Ministry, Weichert has been frequently invited to lecture on human rights issues in different academic venues and has a vast set of publications on these subjects.