Status of compliance with the recommendations of the IACHR
CASES 11.286, Aluísio Cavalcante et al., 11.407, Clarival Xavier Coutrim, 11.406, Celso Bonfim de Lima, 11.416, Marcos Almeida Ferreira, 11.413, Delton Gomes da Mota, 11.417, Marcos de Assis Ruben, 11.412, Wanderlei Galati, and 11.415 Carlos Eduardo Gomes Ribeiro, Report N° 55/01 (Brazil)
105. In its April 16, 2001 Report N° 55/01, the Commission concluded that the Federative Republic of Brazil was responsible for violating the right to life and personal security and integrity (Article I of the American Declaration), and the right to a fair trial and to judicial protection (Article XVIII of the Declaration and Articles 8 and 25 of the Convention), and was in breach of the State’s obligation to ensure and respect the rights recognized in the American Convention on Human Rights (Article 1(1)) in relation to the homicide of Aluísio Cavalcanti, Clarival Xavier Coutrim, Delton Gomes da Mota, Marcos de Assis Ruben, and Wanderlei Galati, and in relation to the assaults and attempted homicides of Cláudio Aparecido de Moraes, Carlos Eduardo Gomes Ribeiro, Celso Bonfim de Lima, and Marcos Almeida Ferreira, all perpetrated by military police agents of the state of São Paulo, as well as the failure to effectively investigate and punish the persons responsible.
106. The IACHR issued the following recommendations to the Brazilian State:
1. That it carry out a serious, impartial, and effective investigation into the facts and circumstances of the deaths of Aluísio Cavalcanti, Clarival Xavier Coutrim, Delton Gomes da Mota, Marcos de Assis Ruben, and Wanderlei Galati, and of the assaults on and attempted homicides of Cláudio Aparecido de Moraes, Celso Bonfim de Lima, Marcos Almeida Ferreira, and Carlos Eduardo Gomes Ribeiro, and that it duly prosecute and punish the persons responsible.
2. That such investigation include the possible omissions, negligence, and obstructions of justice that may have resulted from the failure to convict the persons responsible in a final judgment, including the possible negligence and mistakes of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and of the members of the judiciary who may have decided to waive or reduce the corresponding sentences.
3. That the necessary measures be taken to conclude, as soon as possible and in the most absolute legality, the judicial and administrative proceedings regarding the persons involved in the above-noted violations.
4. That the Brazilian State makes reparation for the consequences of the violations of the rights of the victims and their families or those who hold the right for the harm suffered, described in this report.
5. That the necessary measures be taken to abolish the jurisdiction of the military justice system over criminal offenses committed by police against civilians, as proposed by the original bill, introduced in due course, to repeal Article 9(f) of the Military Criminal Code, and to approve, to take its place, the single paragraph proposed in that bill 27.
6. That the Brazilian State take measures to establish a system of external and internal supervision of the military police of São Paulo that is independent, impartial, and effective.
7. That the Brazilian State present the Commission, within 60 days of transmittal of this report, a report on compliance with the recommendations, for the purpose of applying the provision at Article 51(1) of the American Convention.
107. During 2007, neither the State nor the petitioners submitted any information regarding the recommendations issued by the Commission. During 2006, the petitioners told the IACHR that in connection with this case, the following progress had been made:
- Case 11.286 (Aluísio Cavalcante): They affirm that only three military policemen have been tried, on June 12, 2003, and they were acquitted. The office of the prosecutor appealed the decision and the result of the appeal may take more than three years more.
- Case 11.407 (Clarival Xavier Coutrim): The petitioners inform that the defendants were acquitted by the military court that tried them. It was also decided, they add, that compensation was out of order, and that said decision was appealed but has not yet been decided.
- Case 11.413 (Delton Gomes da Mota): The petitioners inform that the military policemen charged in this proceeding appealed the decision finding them guilty. The court accepted their arguments and decided they should receive a new trial, with no date set for it. They are waiting for the judgment in order to file action for compensation.
- Case 11.417 (Marcos de Assis Ruben): the petitioners inform that a judgment was handed down deciding not to try the accused (sentencia de improcedencia [judgment of out of order]. This judgment was appealed by the Office of the Attorney General, but to date no decision has been handed down.
- Case 11.412 (Wanderlei Galati): the petitioners inform that the military policeman who shot the victim was tried and convicted, and sentenced to such a short sentence that it was affected by the statute of limitations, so he was not imprisoned at all. They add that the suit for damages was declared out of order, and that the mother of the victim was compensated.
- Case 11.406 (Celso Bonfim de Lima): The petitioners stated that the military police officer who shot the victim was convicted but not expelled from the force. Indeed, he never served any time either, because the sentence he was given was so light that the statute of limitations had already expired. The petitioners added that the ruling on the suit for damages was in the petitioners’ favor and called for payment of a monthly allowance. While the monthly allowance is being paid, the amount owed for the period from the time the events occurred to the date on which payment of the allowance began is still due and payable.
- Case 11.416 (Marcos Almeida Ferreira): The petitioners noted that the military policeman who shot the victim was convicted, but served no time because the statute of limitations had expired. Nor was he expelled from the police force. They added that the suit seeking damages was declared admissible and a monthly allowance was ordered. The amount owed for the period from the date of the events to the date on which payment of the monthly compensatory allowance began took place in the year 2005.
- Case 11.415 (Carlos Eduardo Gomes Ribeiro): The petitioners observed that the military police officer who shot the victim was not convicted, as the statute of limitations had expired. His only punishment was an administrative sanction from the Police. They added that the suit seeking compensation is moving forward: the Treasury has issued a statement in agreement with the accountant’s estimates of the amount by which the victim should be compensated. The amount was received by the victim in the year 2006.
The Commission, therefore, concludes that compliance with the
aforementioned recommendations remains pending.
CASE 11.517, Report N° 23/02, Diniz Bento Da Silva (Brazil)
109. In Report N° 23/02 dated February 28, 2002, the Commission concluded that the Federative Republic of Brazil was responsible for violating the right to life (Article 4) of Mr. Diniz Bento da Silva in Paraná State on March 8, 1993, and for violating the right to judicial guarantees (Article 8), the right to judicial protection (Article 25), and the right to guarantee and respect the rights listed in the Convention (Article 1(1)).
110. The IACHR issued the following recommendations to the Brazilian State:
1. Conduct a serious, effective, and impartial investigation through the ordinary justice system to determine and punish those responsible for the death of Diniz Bento da Silva, punish those responsible for the irregularities in the investigation by the military police, as well as those responsible for the unjustifiable delay in conducting the civil investigation, in accordance with Brazilian law.
2. Take the necessary steps to ensure that the victim’s family receives adequate compensation for the violations established herein.
3. Take steps to prevent a repetition of such events and, in particular, to prevent confrontations with rural workers over land disputes, and to negotiate the peaceful settlement of these disputes.
111. Regarding recommendation No. 1, the State reported that the police investigation into the murder of Diniz Bento da Silva, which was reopened in 1998, encountered a series of difficulties, such as the lack of evidence supporting the accusation that the Governor of Paraná at the time was involved and problems in locating witnesses of the incidents, specifically those affiliated with the Landless Movement (MST). At the current stage in the proceedings, the Public Prosecution Service is disputing the denial of the request lodged by two of the accused that the case be sent to the archive, the follow-up of the technical expert statements, and the collection of statements from the witnesses.
112. Regarding recommendation No. 2, the State reported that the civil compensation action on behalf of Diniz Bento da Silva’s family is under analysis by the Supreme Court of Justice, the highest court in Brazil. The decisions adopted at the lower venues, within the state of Paraná, were favorable to the victim’s next-of-kin.
113. The State reported that, in connection with recommendation No. 3, it had implemented a series of measures to prevent rural violence. Thus, the Ouvidoria Agrária Nacional (OAN), an ombudsman for rural affairs, was created in 2004, with the aim of preventing, mediating, and reducing agrarian conflicts. This agency works by means of public hearings, meetings, and dialogues with the National Institute for Settlement and Agrarian Reform (INCRA), the judiciary, rural social movements, state governments, municipal authorities, churches, landowners, and organized civil society. The OAN has also set up local offices in seven of the nation’s states. The OAN also runs the Disque Terra e Paz (“Dial Land and Peace”) program: a toll-free telephone service available throughout the nation’s territory, seven days a week, offering information on agrarian matters in Brazil and enabling the filing of complaints about violence in rural areas, irregularities in agrarian reform processes, human rights violations, etc.
114. In addition, the OAN coordinates the Paz no Campo (“Rural Peace”) program, created by the Ministry for Agrarian Development, which works in the following areas: preventing social tension in rural areas; training social conflict mediators; receiving complaints; mediating agrarian conflicts; creating Ouvidorias Agrárias in the nation’s constituent states; and providing social, technical, and legal assistance for families in the camps. The OAN has also signed cooperation agreements with nongovernmental organizations in order to implement the program’s objectives.
115. The State also indicated that in 2003, through the Special Secretariat for Human Rights of the Office of the President of the Republic, the National Commission for Combating Rural Violence was established, with the responsibility of drawing up the National Plan for Combating Rural Violence (PNCV) and chaired by the OAN. This plan involves a set of fifteen measures, such as the creation of courts, chambers within the Federal Public Prosecution Service and state agrarian attorneys’ offices, and police detachments specializing in agrarian conflicts.
116. In turn, in connection with recommendation No. 1 (supra), the petitioners reported, that more than 15 (fifteen) years after the death of Diniz Bento da Silva, the police investigation was still being evaluated by the Public Prosecution Service and that no progress had been made. They note that in accordance with the understanding of the Supreme Federal Court, the Public Prosecution Service could report the case before the conclusion of the investigation, provided that it found the necessary elements to indicate the existence of the crime and its perpetrators.
117. Regarding recommendation No. 2 (supra) the petitioners reported that in May 2005, the state of Paraná filed a special remedy against the decision of the Court of Justice ordering to pay compensation to the victims’ families. That remedy was dismissed on the grounds that it was presented after the deadline; nevertheless, the state of Paraná lodged another remedy against that decision. The proceedings are currently being studied by that court. The petitioners state that the proceedings could take years, and that could mean that the victim’s next-of-kin never receive compensation. They point out that the victim’s son, Marcos Antonio da Silva, died without having received any compensation from the State.
118. Regarding recommendation No. 3 (supra), the petitioners report that the problem of violence in Brazil’s rural areas is still serious. They note that the “Comissão Pastoral da Terra” (CPT) recorded a total of 1,657 (one thousand six hundred and fifty-seven) rural conflicts during 2006. These involved an approximate total of 783,801 (seven hundred and eighty-three thousand, eight hundred and one) people, and left an alarming death toll of 39 (thirty-nine). During the same period, 72 (seventy-two) attempted killings took place, 3 (three) of them in the state of Paraná; 749 (seven hundred and forty-nine) attacks, of which 37 (thirty-seven) took place in the state of Paraná; and 917 (nine hundred and seventeen) rural workers were imprisoned, 55 (fifty-five) of them in the state of Paraná.
119. According to the petitioners, the situation with private militias in the State of Paraná has worsened with the emergence of the Rural Producers’ Movement (MPR). They claim that the MPR’s goal is to set up and finance armed groups to counter the “landless” workers and to work for extrajudicial evictions. The petitioners also report that on April 24, 2007, a group of “security agents” contracted by the MPR evicted 60 (sixty) families belonging to the Landless Liberation Movement (MLST). They say that actions by these private militias have increased, with records showing that 764 (seven hundred and sixty-four) families have been evicted, representing an increase of 23.22% (twenty-three point two-two percent) over the previous year. In addition, the petitioners state they reported the actions of those armed groups on October 21, 2007, which led to the death of one MST leader, against whom threats had previously been made, and physical attacks on five workers.
Based on the information provided, the Commission concludes that
compliance with the aforementioned recommendations remains pending.
CASE 10.301, Report N° 40/03, Parque São Lucas (Brazil)
121. In Report N° 40/03 of October 8, 2003, the Commission concluded that the Brazilian state violated the human rights of Arnaldo Alves de Souza, Antonio Permonian Filho, Amaury Raymundo Bernardo, Tomaz Badovinac, Izac Dias da Silva, Francisco Roberto de Lima, Romualdo de Souza, Wagner Saraiva, Paulo Roberto Jesuino, Jorge Domingues de Paula, Robervaldo Moreira dos Santos, Ednaldo José da Fonseca, Manoel Silvestre da Silva, Roberto Paes da Silva, Antonio Carlos de Souza, Francisco Marion da Silva Barbosa, Luiz de Matos, and Reginaldo Avelino de Araujo, enshrined in Articles I and XVIII of the American Declaration and Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention, and that it breached the obligations established in Article 1 of the Convention.
122. The IACHR issued the following recommendations to the Brazilian State:
1. That it adopt the legislative measures needed to transfer to the regular criminal courts the trial of common crimes committed by military police officers in the performance of their public order functions.
2. That use of the cells designed for solitary confinement (celdas fortes) be discontinued.
3. That it punish, in keeping with the gravity of the crimes committed, the civilian and military police officers involved in the facts that gave rise to the instant case.
4. In those cases in which it has not done so, that it pay fair and adequate compensation to the victims’ next-of-kin for the harm caused as a result of the breaches of the above-mentioned provisions.
123. In the same report, the Commission examined the degree of compliance of such recommendations, as follows:
[T]he Commission considers that the recommendation that Brazil “adopt the legislative measures needed to transfer to the regular criminal courts the trial of common crimes committed by military police in the performance of their public order functions” has met with partial compliance. In effect, the IACHR reiterates that although Law No. 9,299/96 represents major progress in this respect, it is insufficient, as it merely transfers to the regular courts crimes against life committed by military police in the performance of their functions, and keeps jurisdiction over all other crimes committed by members of the Military Police under the Military Police.
124. Regarding recommendation No. 1, the State reports that crimes against life are still under the jurisdiction of the Jury Court (“Tribunal do Júri”), and that the crimes of abuse of authority and torture are still under the jurisdiction of the regular courts. However, with the enactment of Constitutional Amendment No. 45, other crimes committed by the military police against the civilian population at the state level would be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Military Justice Judge. That judge, while a member of the military justice system, is hired through public competition, by means of an evaluation that is exclusively technical. Thus, in contrast to the previous Council of Justice, which was made up of civilian and military judges, the military no longer participate in trials when the victim is a civilian. In addition, the State has studied the possibility of holding a seminar to address the topic of military courts and their jurisdiction, in order to assess measures that could improve the Brazilian justice system. It also reports that on November 27-29, 2007, the International Seminar on Human Rights and the Administration of justice by the Military Courts was held, in accordance with resolutions adopted on April 19, 2005, by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The State reports that the topic of this recommendation was discussed.
125. Regarding recommendation No. 2, the State said that its legislation was consistent with the United Nations recommendations on prison treatment and detainees’ rights, and that any abusive practices that occur are tackled by the State of Brazil. In the state of São Paulo, police station jails were removed from service; there are no more jails, only provisional custody centers and penitentiaries.
126. Regarding recommendation No. 3, the State reported that the criminal prosecution of the jailer José Ribeiro is currently before the First Jury Court (Primeira Vara do Tribunal do Júri), and the criminal action brought against Carlos Eduardo de Vasconcelos (police officer) is currently underway, with the case file being reviewed by the responsible judge since September 30, 2007. It was unable to submit up-to-date information regarding the investigation and punishment of the members of the Military Police.
127. Regarding recommendation No. 4, the State indicated that the government of the state of São Paulo published Decree 42.788/98, authorizing compensation payments for the families of the victims who died to cover moral damages, in the amount of 300 (three hundred) times the minimum wage per dependent. A working group was set up within the Office of the State Attorney General to identify the beneficiaries and the amount of compensation. The IACHR was told that the result of that group’s work was that compensation payments were made to the families of 8 (eight) of the victims, relatives of a further 7 (seven) victims could not be found, and 2 (two) of the victims were determined not to have any beneficiaries.
128. The Commission recognizes the importance of the payment of compensation through the adoption of administrative measures, but must note that there are still victims and next-of-kin who have not received compensation, and whose rights need to be protected.
129. The petitioners said with respect to recommendation No. 1 (supra) that unfortunately there has been no change in the information to report since last year. After enacting Law 9.299/96, no other legislation has been proposed by the administration, and the existing bills related to this issue have not made headway in Congress. There was no progress with information from the state regarding its intent to organize a national seminar to discuss the jurisdiction of the military courts in Brazil or a possible piece of legislation.
130. Regarding recommendation No. 2 (supra), the petitioners report that according to information received from the Secretariat of Public Security of the state of São Paulo, on November 7, 2007, in the city of São Paulo, there were 9 (nine) police stations intended to hold detainees overnight or over weekends. They have no information on whether those jails share the same architecture as the Parque São Lucas Police Station and, if so, whether the solitary confinement cells (celdas fortes) had effectively been taken out of service. They also describe what are known as “special prisons,” of which there are specifically 8 (eight): one intended for former police officers or their relatives (8th DP, Belém), another for women university graduates (89th DP, Morumbi), one for men university graduates (13th DP), one for child-support and/or alimony debtors (18th DP), one intended for detainees in temporary imprisonment (77th DP), one for female civilian police officers (33th DP), and another for civilian police officers (52th DP).
131. As to recommendation No. 3 (supra), the petitioners noted that, concerning the criminal trial against José Ribeiro, he was convicted and sentenced. With respect to Celso José da Cruz, they said that he was convicted by the court of first instance, and acquitted in the second instance. The Public Prosecution Service filed an appeal, which was ruled partially admissible on March 8, 2007, by the First Criminal Chamber of the Court of Justice of São Paulo. On that same date, the Public Prosecution Service filed a declaratory embargo remedy. On June 19, 2007, the Public Prosecution Service and the convict filed two special remedies, with no final decision being reached. Carlos Eduardo Vasconcelos was acquitted and the proceedings were ruled res judicata in 2003. The Court resolved not to charge the 29 (twenty-nine) military police officers involved, and so they will not face trial for homicide, but will be prosecuted by a Single Judge for the crime of inflicting bodily injuries, which has already proscribed. The Public Prosecution Service filed an appeal against that decision, on which a ruling has not yet been given.
132. Finally, regarding recommendation No. 4 (supra), the petitioners emphasized that they have not had access to the final results of the Work Group created in the Office of the Attorney General of the State. They also requested that the IACHR recommend to the Brazilian state that it submit both information and documentary evidence on the ends results of the work, in order to identify the beneficiaries and determine the amount of compensation.
133. The Commission concludes that the State complied partially with the aforementioned recommendations.
CASE 11.289, Report N° 95/03, José Pereira (Brazil)
134. On October 24, 2003 the Commission approved a friendly settlement agreement in the José Pereira case.
135. By means of the agreement the State recognized its international responsibility in the case, since “the state organs were not capable of preventing the occurrence of the grave practice of slave labor, nor of punishing the individual actors involved in the violations alleged.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the Brazilian State undertook to:
1. Publicly recognize its responsibility by the solemn act of creating the National Commission for the Eradication of Slave Labor – CONATRAE (created by Presidential Decree of July 31, 2003), which will take place on September 18, 2003.
2. Keep under reserve the identity of the victim at the moment of the solemn act recognizing State responsibility and in public declarations about the case.
3. Continue with the efforts to carry out the judicial arrest warrants against the persons accused of the crimes committed against José Pereira. To this end, the friendly settlement agreement will be forwarded to the Director-General of the Department of the Federal Police.
4. Compensate José Pereira for material and moral damages suffered.
5. Implement the actions and proposals for legislative changes contained in the National Plan for the Eradication of Slave Labor, drawn up by the Special Commission of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights, and initiated by the Government of Brazil on March 11, 2003, in order to improve the National Legislation aimed at prohibiting the practice of slave labor in Brazil.
6. Make every effort to secure the legislative approval (i) of Proposed Law No. 2130-A, of 1996, which includes among the violations of the economic order the use of “unlawful means of reducing production costs such as the non-payment of labor and social taxes, exploitation of child, slave, or semi-slave labor”; and (ii) the version presented by the Deputy Zulaiê Cobra to take the place of the proposed law No. 5,693 of Deputy Nelson Pellegrino, which amends Article 149 of the Brazilian Criminal Code.
7. Defend the establishment of federal jurisdiction over the crime of reduction to conditions analogous to slavery, for the purpose of preventing impunity.
8. Strengthen the Public Ministry of Labor; ensure immediate compliance with the existing legislation, by collecting administrative and judicial fines, investigating and pressing charges against the perpetrators of the practice of slave labor; strengthen the Mobile Group of the MTE; take steps along with the Judiciary and its representative entities to guarantee that the perpetrators of the crimes of slave labor are punished.
9. Revoke, by the end of the year, by means of the appropriate administrative acts, the Cooperation Agreement signed between the owners of estates and authorities of the Ministry of Labor and Public Ministry of Labor, signed in February 2001, and which was denounced in this proceeding on February 28, 2001.
10. Strengthen gradually the Division of Repression of Slave Labor and Security of Dignitaries (STESD), established under the Department of the Federal Police by means of Administrative ruling (Portaria)-MJ No. 1,016, of September 4, 2002, so as to give the Division adequate funds and human resources for the proper performance of the functions of the Federal Police in the actions to investigate reports of slave labor.
11. Take initiatives vis-a-vis the Federal Public Ministry to highlight the importance of Federal Prosecutors according priority to participating in and accompanying the actions to perform inspections for slave labor.
12. Undertake in October 2003 a national campaign to raise awareness of and oppose slave labor with a particular focus on the state of Pará. On this occasion, through the presence of the petitioners, publicity will be given to the terms of this Friendly Settlement Agreement. The campaign will be based on a communication plan that will include the preparation of informational materials geared to workers, inserting the issue in the media through the written press, and through radio and TV spots. In addition, various authorities are to make visits to the targeted areas.
13. Evaluate the possibility of holding seminars on the eradication of slave labor in the state of Pará no later than the first half of 2004, with the presence of the Federal Public Ministry, ensuring that the petitioners are invited to participate.
136. With respect to the recognition of international responsibility, in December 2005 the State informed it had created a national commission for the eradication of slave labor (CONATRAE). Likewise, in its 2006 annual report the Commission considered the pecuniary reparations obligation to have been fully complied with.
137. On October 31, 2007 the Commission requested updated information from the State and the petitioners, but did not receive a response from either party.
138. The IACHR concludes that the measures spelled out in the Friendly Settlement Agreement have been partially carried out.
CASE 11.556, Report N° 32/04, Corumbiara Massacre (Brazil)
In Report N° 32/04, dated March 11, 2004, the Commission concluded that
the Brazilian State was responsible for: a) violating the right to life,
to humane treatment, to judicial protection, and to a fair trial,
established in Articles 4, 5, 25, and 8, respectively, of the American
Convention, to the detriment of the landless workers identified in this
report, as a result of the extrajudicial executions, inhumane treatment,
and violations of the obligation to investigate, of the right to
effective recourse, and of the right to a fair trial committed to their
detriment; b) violating its duty to adopt measures of domestic law,
pursuant to the terms of Article 2 of the American Convention, and
further that it violated the obligation imposed under Article 1(1) to
respect and ensure the rights recognized in the Convention; and c)
violating Articles 1, 6, and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to
Prevent and Punish Torture.
140. The IACHR issued the following recommendations to the State:
1. Conduct a complete, impartial, and effective investigation into the events, by nonmilitary organs, to determine responsibility for the deaths, personal injuries, and other acts that occurred at Santa Elina ranch on August 9, 1995, and to punish all the material and intellectual authors, whether civilian or military.
2. Make adequate reparations to the victims specified in this report or to their next-of-kin, as appropriate, for the human rights violations determined in this report.
3. Adopt the necessary measures to prevent similar events from occurring in the future.
4. Amend Article 9 of the Military Criminal Code, Article 82 of the Code of Military Criminal Procedure, and any other domestic legal provisions that need to be amended in order to abolish the competence of the military police to investigate human rights violations committed by the military, and to transfer that competence to the civilian police.
141. Regarding recommendation No. 1 (supra), the State reported that 12 (twelve) military police officers and 2 (two) rural workers were prosecuted by the Jury Court. As a result, 3 (three) military police officers and the 2 (two) farmers were sent to prison. It also reported that the actions of one of the officers was reclassified as bodily harm. After several remedies were filed by the convicts and the Public Prosecution Service, all of which were denied by the higher courts, the conviction became final as regards 3 (three) of the convicted persons, with the remaining 2 (two) still having remedies pending before the Supreme Federal Court. The State notes that orders were given for the imprisonment of all 5 (five) convicts, including those not covered by the final judgment, of whom only 3 (three) police offers are actually in detention. Thus, the State maintains that it has met this recommendation.
142. As regards recommendation No. 2 (supra), the State says it has encountered difficulties in implementing its terms, given the particular nature of this case in terms of the number of its victims.
143. Nevertheless, on August 24, 2007, a meeting was held between the Santa Elina Victims Committee (COVISE), the Special Secretary for Human Rights, the President of the National Institute for Settlement and Agrarian Reform (INCRA), and the Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic. On that occasion it was agreed that within the following 60 (sixty) days, the Special Secretary for Human Rights and the President of the INCRA would visit the region where the massacre took place in order to hold a public hearing with the victims and announce the steps taken by the federal government. That visit took place on October 30, 2007, during which the Governor of the state of Rondônia agreed to enforce Law No. 786/98, issued to compensate the families of the dead victims, as referred to in Report 32/04. The commitment signed by the representatives of the victims and the federal agencies on August 27, 2007, also stipulated that the federal government was to study the possibility of assuming responsibility for compensating all the victims of the massacre and also to take steps to urge the Rondônia State Government to meet its obligations. Thus, after a legal analysis of the case, the federal government reported that the responsibility for paying the compensation lay with the state of Rondônia, in that the perpetrators of the violations were members of that state’s military police forces.
144. Regarding recommendation No. 3 (supra), the State indicated that 625 (six hundred and twenty-five) families who were on the Hacienda Santa Elina the day of the incident were settled in two municipalities in the state of Rondônia. The INCRA has studied the situation of the other 80 (eighty) families who have not yet been settled. The State announced investments in highways, bridges, and homes, increased technical assistance, and the expropriation of estates in the region for subsequent settlement by the families. It also reported the implementation in the State of Rondônia of the Rights Balcony Program (Balcão de Direitos), run by the Special Secretariat for Human Rights with the aim of providing legal, social, and psychological assistance on various matters. The state government also created the Integrated Management Cabinet (GGI), under the Secretariat of State for Public Security, Defense, and Citizenship, to seek out solutions to possible violence hotspots, including agrarian conflicts, and thus preventing the occurrence of further episodes similar to the Corumbiara incident.
145. Again regarding recommendation No. 3 (supra), the State claims it has adopted a series of measures to prevent rural violence, such as the creation of the National Agrarian Ombudsman (Ouvidoria Agrária Nacional, OAN); the Disque Terra e Paz program (“Dial Land and Peace”); the Paz no Campo (“Rural Peace”) program; and the National Commission for Combating Rural Violence.
146. Regarding recommendation No. 4 (supra), the State reports that it has studied the possibility of holding a seminar to address the topic of military courts and their jurisdiction, in order to assess measures that could improve the Brazilian justice system. It also reports that on November 27-29, 2007, the International Seminar on Human Rights and the Administration of Justice by the Military Courts was held, in accordance with the resolution adopted on April 19, 2005, by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and that the matter of this recommendation was discussed on that occasion.
147. The petitioners stated that in 2006 the State manifested its disposition to carry out negotiations regarding compliance with the Commission’s recommendations, without reaching any consensus about the redress of all the victims.
148. With respect to recommendation No. 1 (supra), the petitioners stated that there has been no progress in judicial proceedings, and that compliance with this recommendation has largely been non-existent. All investigations carried out with respect to this matter suffered from irregularities and delays. Regarding recommendation No. 2 (supra), they affirmed that to date no victim or next-of-kin has received any compensation from the State. At this point in time, after the aforementioned meetings took place, the victims’ expectation of receiving the compensation they deserve has grown greatly. That issue is complicated by the lack of clarity regarding the total number of victims, in that Report 32/04 establishes the number of 11 (eleven) victims killed and 17 (seventeen) workers wounded. Nevertheless, the same report refers to a number of wounded in excess of 50 (fifty). According to the petitioners, the State initially said it would provide compensation only with respect of the 18 (eighteen) victims individually identified in the report. The petitioners claim, however, that many other victims have expert rulings indicating the injuries they suffered; the Commission itself stated in its report that it was impossible to determine the total number of victims on account of the State’s failure to investigate the incident; and there are two lists of injured victims: one in the case file of the military criminal investigation and another used as part of the proceedings before the Special Criminal Court. In spite of the State’s expressions of its intent to provide the victims of the massacre with redress, none of them has actually been compensated.
149. Regarding recommendation No. 3 (supra), the petitioners report that the problem of violence in Brazil’s rural areas is still serious. They note that the “Comissão Pastoral da Terra” (CPT) recorded a total of 1,657 (one thousand six hundred and fifty-seven) rural conflicts during 2006, of which 26 (twenty-six) were in the state of Rondônia, with an alarming death toll of 39 (thirty-nine), two (2) of them in the state of Rondônia. During the period in question, they report that there were 72 (seventy-two) attempted killings, 207 (two hundred and seven) death threats, of which one (1) was in the state of Rondônia, 749 (seven hundred and forty-nine) incidents involving attacks, 30 (thirty) cases of torture, and 917 (nine hundred and seventeen) rural workers imprisoned, 15 (fifteen) of them in the state of Rondônia. They also report that 1,809 (one thousand, eight hundred and nine) families were evicted by private citizens, 19,449 (nineteen thousand, four hundred and forty-nine) families were evicted on court orders, 698 (six hundred and ninety-eight) of them in the state of Rondônia, and 12,263 (twelve thousand, two hundred and sixty-three) families were intimidated by gunmen, 230 (two hundred and thirty) of them in the state of Rondônia. They add that impunity is still a factor that encourages violence in rural areas.
150. Concerning recommendation No. 4 (supra), the petitioners stated that, after passage of Law 9.299/96, no other bill has been submitted by the administration, and the existing bills on the matter have not made any headway in the Congress. The Brazilian state has not taken any steps towards this end.
The Commission concludes that compliance with the aforementioned
recommendations is still pending.