By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has announced the names of those who will form the so-called “Comissão da Verdade” (Truth Commission) – a panel of former justice ministers, human rights secretaries, attorneys and social scientists set up to investigate the atrocities of the post-war and military regime eras of Brazil’s history.
The Commission, to start on May 16th, will be attended by four former presidents: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Fernando Collor, and José Sarney – whose taking office in 1985 effectively ended Brazil’s 21-year military dictatorship.
Originally the Truth Commission was heralded as a chance to investigate the abuses and human rights violations that were committed during the military regime’s time in power – but the period has been extended back to 1946 to include accusations from the post-Second World War era, as well.
The panel will have access to government files from the period and can invite witnesses and victims to testify – although they are not obliged to attend.
One of the Commission members, an attorney, represented President Rousseff legally during the authoritarian military regime, which began in 1964 after a coup d’état led by the Armed Forces against democratically-elected leader João Goulart.
Once convened, the Commission will run for two years, after which it will produce a final report detailing the group’s findings.
In 1979, Brazil passed a law granting amnesty for crimes committed by those either in government or in the Armed Forces between September 2, 1961 and August 15, 1979.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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