Victims’ frustration with truth commission report

17 December 2014 by Thierry Ogier, São Paulo (Brazil)

As international human rights organizations praised the 10 December report of Brazil’s truth commission on military regime-era torture, victims and surviving families expressed indignation. The official report on human rights violations from 1946 to 1988 came after a 30-month investigation led by the National Truth Commission, locally called the CNV [IJT-170]. 

With tears in her eyes, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, herself a former guerrilla and a victim, presented the report during a ceremony at the presidential palace. It concluded that torture was not conducted by rogue officers, but rather the product of an orchestrated state policy. 

The CNV recommended prosecuting 377 individuals believed to be responsible for repression and acts of torture during the military regime. Among them, nearly 200 are still alive. The list includes five late generals who served as Brazilian presidents between 1964 and 1985: Humberto de Alencar Castello Branco, Arthur da Costa e Silva, Emílio Garrastazu Médici, Ernesto Beckmann Geisel, and João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo. 

Officially, the CNV was tasked with investigating the period between 1946 and 1988, but most of its attention focused on the 1964-1985 regime. It put the number of dead and missing individuals at 434, and managed to discover the final resting places of only 33 of the 240 people who officially went missing during the dictatorship.

Disappointing toll

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