Report No. 112 (2020) IACHR. Petition No. 606-10 (Brasil)

CourtInter-American Comission of Human Rights
Report Number112
Alleged VictimJorge Vieira Da Costa y Familiares
Petition Number606-10
Case TypeAdmissibility
Respondent StateBrasil
R. No. 112/20














REPORT No. 112/20

PETITION 606-10

REPORT ON ADMISSIBILITY


JORGE VIEIRA DA COSTA AND FAMILY

BRAZIL


OEA/Ser.L/V/II.

D.. 122

24 A. 2020

Original: Portuguese






























Approved electronically by the Commission on A. 24, 2020.







Cite as: IACHR, R. No. 112/20. Petition 606-10. A.. J.V. da C.. B.. A. 24, 2020.



www.iachr.org


  1. INFORMATION ABOUT THE PETITION

Petitioning Party:

Sociedade Interamericana de Imprensa [Inter-American Press Society]

Alleged victim:

Jorge V. da C. and family

S. denounced:

B.1

Rights invoked:

Articles 4 (life), 8 (judicial guarantees), 13 (freedom of thought and expression) and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights.2

II. PROCEDURE BEFORE THE IACHR 3

Filing of the petition:

A. 26, 2010

N. of the petition to the S.:

A. 20, 2015

S.’s first response

August 21, 2015

Additional observations from the petitioner:

J. 14, 2017

Additional observations from the S.:

J. 25, 2018

III. COMPETENCE

Ratione personae

Y.

Ratione loci

Y.

Ratione temporis

Y.

Ratione materiae

Y., American Convention (adopted on September 25, 1992)

IV. DUPLICATION OF PROCEDURES AND INTERNATIONAL RES JUDICATA, COLORABLE CLAIM, EXHAUSTION OF DOMESTIC REMEDIES AND TIMELINESS OF FILING

Duplication of procedures and International res judicata:

No

Rights declared admissible:

Articles 4 (life), 8 (judicial guarantees), 13 (freedom of thought and expression) and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, all of which are related to Article 1.1 (obligation to respect rights) of the American Convention.

Exhaustion of domestic remedies or applicability of an exception to the rule:

Y.

Timeliness of the petition:

Y., M. 15, 2010

V. ALLEGED FACTS

  1. The petitioning party claims that the S. of B. is responsible for violating the rights to life and freedom of expression of Jorge V. da C. (hereinafter, “alleged victim” or “Mr. V.”), a radio personality who broadcast political criticism on his radio program. The petitioning party alleges that the murder may be tied to the mayor of the city of Timon and that no effective investigations were conducted. The investigations and proceedings related to the intellectual authors of the crime were closed; therefore, there were no guarantees of due legal process and judicial protection.

  2. According to the petitioning organization, M.V. had a program on Rádio Tropical, which no longer exists. The program was broadcast in the city of Teresina, in the state of Piauí, and in neighboring cities. On his program, he would criticize the administration of F.R. de S., then-mayor of the neighboring city of Timon, in the state of M.. The alleged victim had purportedly condemned anonymous threats he had been receiving on his program, though he never reported them to the authorities. The petitioning organization claims that on M. 20, 2001, Mr. V. heavily criticized the aforementioned mayor and, on M. 23, 2001, was struck by four gunshots fired by two individuals on a motorcycle. The alleged victim died while still in the hospital seven days later.

  3. The petitioner states that the investigation located the firearm and the motorcycle that were used to commit the crime. W. said the firearm had been delivered to one of the murderers by an employee of the Timon mayor’s office. On A. 15, 2002, G. da Silva e Silva (municipal public servant), J.M.P. (military police officer), and R. Teles de S.V. were charged as the material authors of the crime. On J.5., 2002, the Public Ministry (hereinafter, the PM) additionally charged Maria Deusa Pires da Silva, M.B.F. de S. (the mayor’s wife), and D.F. de A., all of whom were municipal public servants, as intellectual authors of the crime.

  4. On August 5, 2002, defense counsel for the six defendants filed a writ of habeas corpus with a request for preliminary injunction to stay the criminal proceedings against them, pending a ruling on the writ. The habeas corpus was partially granted and appealed by the PM, as the ruling absolved the intellectual authors of the murder based on Article 43 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in force at that time.4 However, protestations by the Federal and S. Public Ministries indicate that presumably there was sufficient evidence to find the intellectual authors responsible, but because they were “influential” people, that evidence might disappear. T., the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (hereinafter, “STJ”) ruled that the criminal prosecution of G., R., and João Matias should proceed, while staying the prosecution of the individuals charged as intellectual authors of the crime. On September 29, 2003, the verdict was issued against the defendants to the Jury Tribunal, and in a session held on September 28, 2005, Messrs. G. da Silva e Silva (municipal public servant), João Matias Pinheiros (military police officer), and R. Teles de S. Vida (driver) were found guilty of the murder of the alleged victim. All appeals presented thereafter by the three convicts were denied, the final ruling having been issued on February 23, 2010.

  5. Despite the guilty verdict against the material authors, the petitioner calls attention to the impunity of the intellectual authors of the crime since their prosecution was stayed by the writ of habeas corpus. On December 2009, the STJ purportedly ruled that a special appeal filed by the PM, seeking to have the stay lifted in the prosecutions of M.D., M.B., and Dolival, was unfounded. L., the petitioner reports that a context of impunity exists in B. in cases of extrajudicial executions of reporters, and states that Mr. V.’s murder is one more case in that context that sees those responsible go unpunished.

  6. The S., in turn, points out that the fact that the investigation followed paths that did not align with the petitioner’s expectations does not constitute denial of justice. It draws attention to the fact that the STJ observed in its ruling of December 15, 2009, that the stay of criminal prosecution through habeas corpus is an exceptional measure that is only allowed when unequivocal evidence attests to the atypical nature of the conduct, the occurrence of a cause that extinguishes punishability, or the absence of evidence of authorship. Regarding the defendants Maria Deusa, M.B., and Dolival, the STJ reasoned that [the evidence] did not carry the minimum probative weight needed to support the charge. With that ruling on M. 15, 2020, the case became res judicata. In the S.’s view, by admitting this petition the Commission would analyze anew a matter already disposed through domestic law, thus violating the fourth instance formula.



VI. EXHAUSTION OF DOMESTIC REMEDIES AND TIMELINESS OF THE PETITION

  1. Regarding the exhaustion of domestic remedies, the petitioner claims that the intellectual authors of the alleged victim’s murder have filed a variety of appeals to keep from being prosecuted, for more than a decade after the facts. The S. counters, stating that domestic appeals have not been exhausted given that the criminal prosecution is still in the execution phase, that three defendants were found guilty by the Jury Tribunal and, additionally, that it is not proper that the Commission analyze anew the merits of domestic rulings issued.5

  2. In this case, according to the petitioner’s allegations, six individuals were involved in the death of the alleged victim, given that the three potential intellectual authors of Mr. Veira’s execution were employees of the Timon city hall and have not been held responsible for the crime. According to the information available, prosecution of these three public servants was stayed by the STJ ruling of December 15, 2009 and became res judicata on M. 15, 2010. On the issue of domestic remedies not having been exhausted, the Commission reminds that when the S. raises this point, the S. itself must indicate which remedies are still pending or not yet exhausted and demonstrate their good standing. The Commission observes, however, that the S. did not indicate which remedies these are.

  3. The Commission has also established that any time an alleged crime is committed that could be prosecuted by the S.’s own initiative, the S. has the obligation to prosecute and drive the criminal proceedings. In those cases, that is the proper way to clarify the facts, try those responsible, and determine fitting sanctions for the crime, in addition to making possible other forms of pecuniary reparation. L., the Commission has already determined that, as a general rule, a criminal investigation must be conducted in a timely manner to protect the interests of the victims, preserve evidence, and safeguard the rights of every individual who might be considered a suspect in the criminal investigation6.

  4. The Commission further observes that the facts alleged in the petition involve the arbitrary deprivation of life for reasons presumably related to the alleged victim’s freedom of expression. On this issue, the Commission reiterates that the S.s have the duty to investigate, identify, try, and punish all authors of these crimes, including intellectual authors. This process must be conducted within a reasonable period of...

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