Yesterday, 21 December, Brasil’s President Lula da Silva presented a human rights action plan which includes the creation of a national truth commission. The Commission will have the purpose to elucidate the human rights violations during the military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985. Since the end of the dictatorship in 1985, no systematic investigation of the grave human rights violations that haunted the country, including torture and forced disappearences, has been carried out. According to the national Human Rights Secretary, the Commission will, among other things, conduct interviews with the victims and their relatives to collect systematic information on the violations, which will be used to create a public data base.
The Commission will not act as a commission of inquiry nor will it act as an ad-hoc criminal tribunal. Currently, an act of 1979 grants amnesty to the perpetrators of torture and similar crimes during the dictatorship. A legal dispute on this act is currently pending at the Brasilian Supreme Court. El País has the full story.