Military era impunity ‘leads to police violence’

Here’s a good insight into the importance of punishing the crimes committed by the military during the dictatorial period (1964-1985). In a recent interview in Brazilian website Opera Mundi, prosecutor Marlon Alberto Weichert argued that the lack of proper punishment to crimes against opposition members – including violent assaults, illegal detentions, torture, murders – has a direct effect in the way the security forces act nowadays.

To Mr Weichert, the Brazilian state sends a clear sign to state agents that they can torture and kill marginalized people but will still be protected. “In terms of human rights abuse, Brazil is worse today than it was back in the military era. Brazilian police tortures and kills at least as much as the military government did, and they use the same methods, the same logics, and the same culture of impunity".

Mr Weichert is one of the prosecutors who filed a civil action against two retired colonels, Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra and Audir dos Santos Maciel, who ran the intelligence and repressive service during the dictatorship. For him, the fact that Brazil conceded amnesty to all military involved in the repression as well as to pro-democracy activists does not mean they can not be prosecuted within the judicial system.

“The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that all member states must apply the international convention rules even for crimes committed during dictatorial governments. The Amnesty Law is incompatible with Brazil’s international obligations”, he said.