Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul







PUCRS Law School group helps international court reach verdict in Herzog case

Brazil pleaded guilty by Inter-American court for not punishing murderers of journalist during military dictatorship

03/01/2019 - 08h29
Assassination of Vladimir Herzog is emblematic for the military dictatorship |

Assassination of Vladimir Herzog is emblematic for the military dictatorship |Image: SILVALDO LEUNG VIEIRA/REPRODUCTION

Murdered in 1975 for being affiliated to the Communist Party of Brazil, at 38, journalist Vladimir Herzog was a symbol of the violence of the state against civilians in the military era. Even over four decades after the incident, the Judiciary has decided not to continue with the investigations, trials and convictions. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights  has found Brazil guilty and has recognized that this is a crime against humanity, committed by a state agency in a context of systematic violations and, therefore, indefeasible.

The sentence included the contributions of the Research Group Right to Truth and to the Memory and Transitional Justice, of the Graduate Program in Criminal Sciences of PUCRS. Parts of this document look at the dictatorship offenses as crimes against humanity. It also addresses the right to truth and the backward movements in transitional justice in Brazil. Four other institutions that served as amicus curiae (Latin expression meaning friends with Court) have endorsed it.


Professor Moreira and the research group

The Inter-American court has determined that the criminal procedure on the event occurring on Oct 25, 1975 needs to be reinstated. “The Brazilian State was not granting families access to legal guarantees, as stated in the Pact of San José”, says José Carlos Moreira da Silva Filho, Law School professor and coordinator of the research group. Brazil has been a signatory of the Inter-American Convention of Human Rights, since 1992. Six years later, the country submitted to the jurisdiction of this Court. “Brazil has not been convicted for the death of Vladimir Herzog, since the country was not yet a member of the convention, but because it refused to keep the process, trials and investigations going”, complements he.

International Human Rights Day

On Dec 10, we celebrate the International Human Rights Day. On that date, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified.