IV Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law 41-71 (January 2017)
Keywords: Transititional Justice, Human Rights, Democracy-building, Constitution-
al Law, Authoritarianism, Amnesty Law.
Transitional justice in Brazil, as elsewhere, has to do with movements
forwards and backwards in time.1 Prosecutions that should have been
pursued immediately were postponed. In Brazil, the Amnesty Law of
1979 seemed to retroactively erase all responsibility for crimes against
humanity carried out during the dictatorship of 1964–85.2 We shall see
that criminal proceedings only began more than 30 years aer the Am-
nesty Law was adopted.
is gap can be explained by several factors: the indierence of the
majority of the population; the absence of public policies connected
with transitional justice; and cultural motives.3 Recently however,
things have started to change. e hypothesis of this article is that
Brazilian institutions are nally recognizing and embracing (as they
must) a binding “international human rights rule of law.” According
to this point of view, rule of law, transitional justice and international
human rights law are directly linked and, as a result, transitional
justice processes become less domestic and more internationalized.4 To
1. For an account of the Brazilian transitional justice process, see, E M,
D R: E J T-
B (); J T A C-
(Emilio Meyer & Marcelo Cattoni eds, 2014) (especially regard-
ing the 25 years of the Brazilian Constitution of 1988); E M, J
T P T (); M T,
J T E C D: P-
T-C A C B (2012); T-
J: D V-
(Ulfrid Neumann et al. eds, 2013).
2. Although one can argue for dierentiations between gross violations of human
rights and crimes against humanity, I will adopt them as equivalents for the
purposes of this article, only opposing them when it is necessary to the context.
3. Regarding the latter reason, see, R A, M’ T: R-
D B (2014).
4. For a critical point of view on the relationship between transitional justice and
rule of law, see, P MA, T J R