Fulfilling one of her electoral promises, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has established a Truth Commission, which is to investigate human rights violations in the country, including those committed during the military dictatorship (1964-1985). The Commission is headed by former Justice Minister José Carlos Dias and former Attorney General Cláudio Fonteles. It was officially constituted on May 16.

While the Truth Commission does not have the authority to punish those responsible for crimes – as it cannot supercede the 1979 Amnesty Law, which prevents legal proceedings against those responsible for murder, disappearances and acts of torture committed by the dictatorship – it can call witnesses under oath and have access to government documents. Moreover, it has two years to hear the testimonies of victims and witnesses, and analyze all the information it considers necessary to clarify the facts.

Its starting point is investigations undertaken prior to the Amnesty Commission, which studied formal requests for state apologies to victims of the military regime, and those of the Political Deaths and Disappearances Commission, responsible for acknowledging them.

With this initiative, the government hopes that an account of what happened during the years of 1964 through 1985 will act as a guarantee that Brazil will never relive a similar situation.

Brazil has thus joined countries such as Argentina, Chile, Peru and Guatemala, where similar commissions have been created to reveal those horrific moments of their histories.

Source: Granma.cu