Brazil: reliable, but far from dynamic

17 June 2007 by Thierry Ogier

Brazil played an active part in the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Yet the Latin American giant has mostly stayed on the sidelines when it comes to international criminal justice. This is because, for several years now, its diplomatic activity has focused on gaining a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. At the same time, Brazilian courts have been slow to act when it comes to judging human rights violations committed under the prior military regime.

While the ICC was being set up, the Brazilian government showed marked interest in it. “At that time, Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s government was seeking to change the country’s image after a series of unsavory precedents under the military regime. The creation of the ICC, along with a National Human Rights Secretariat, can both be situated in this context,” explains former magistrate Walter Maierovitch, who was Brazil’s national anti-drug secretary under Cardoso. Brazil’s recognition of the Inter-American human rights system also dates back to the same period. Brazil was one of the last countries to ratify the American Convention – Chile and Argentina had already done so by the 1980s. Since then, Brasilia has steadfastly collaborated with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

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