Fair and true — Jandson Bernardo Soares’s (UFRN) review of on the book “Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil?”, by Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio Santos

Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio Santos| Image: Linked in

Abstract: Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil? was written by Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio Santos with the aim of investigating the institution, functioning and results of the Brazilian National Truth Commission (CNV). The author declares that the initiative results from the organization of an international legal body around human rights, between the 70s and 80s of the last century.

Keywords: National Truth Commission, Transitional Justice, Reparation.


Published in 2022, a moment that the author considers to be one of institutional contraction and pressure towards the autocratization of the Brazilian State, the work Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil?, by Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio Santos, investigates how it happened the elaboration, performance and results of the Brazilian National Truth Commission (CNV). Given her interest in the historicity of this process, she argues that this commission, like those that emerged in other countries, would be the result of the development and organization of an international legal body around human rights at the turn of the 70s to the 80s of the 20th century. , which provided the parameters, including the lexicon and jurisprudence, so that, at the household level, justice could be demanded in the face of serious violations of human rights in the recent past. At the same time, local experiences would serve as a form of conceptual and practical updating, giving legal tools, in their formulation and practice, a living character, related to each context in which struggles for justice unfolded.

The book is the result of her master’s thesis and combines knowledge from two areas that were part of her training: International Relations, in which she graduated, and Law, the field in which she developed most of her research. Organized into three chapters, the author relied on the concept of “truth commission” as one of the manifestations of transitional justice. This type of justice would encompass legal practices related to the violation of human rights, whether in a domestic context or in relationships between nations. She builds this argument based on the writings of Onur Bakiner, who started from the diversity and historicity of such manifestations to present them as mechanisms relatively independent of governments, breaking with the idea that this would only be the result of state will. At the same time, these would be crossed by power relations that emerge from various levels, which implies considering each context in which these experiences develop, and there is no certain formula for their production. Amanda Santos also relies on the characterization presented by Priscilla Hayner and Mark Freeman, in order to understand the extent to which the Brazilian commission approaches or distances itself from other experiences, constituting parameters that make it possible to understand its exceptionality.

It is based on these parameters that the author employs two categories of documents. At an international level, it appropriates the writings issued by the United Nations (UN), related to human rights, as well as the legal body and jurisprudence generated by the International Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which dealt with of enabling justice in contexts in which nations did not recognize or hindered access to reparation. At the national level, it used documents issued by the amnesty and dead and missing commissions, as well as the materials that supported the composition of the CNV and its reports. This also reaffirms its position based on analyzes of other truth commissions, such as those in South Africa and South American countries, with Brazil being the last country to adopt such a procedure.

Based on these resources, Amanda argues that the fact that Brazil was a latecomer in the process of establishing an effective transitional justice and a truth commission would be the result of the maintenance of a political and institutional corpus that was installed in the Democratic State of Brazilian law, post-dictatorship (1985-), which would serve to protect those involved in serious human rights violations, based on the use of Amnesty laws as a point of pacification. This process would have been responsible for what she called a cycle of impunity that would extend from the past to the present, justifying the maintenance of violence, especially among police agencies.

When analyzing the Brazilian CNV, the author demonstrates that it was the result of social disputes, materialized from debates held in the Legislative Chamber, revoking any possibility of delegitimization that was based on the ideas of autocracy or its use to persecute certain political groups. This process would have, on the one hand, forces interested in making this commission a point of closure, through confronting violations based on the institution of the right to truth and memory, making the State responsible for uncovering the past of violations, guaranteeing access to the truth and information regarding the victims, the perpetrators and the modus operandi, as well as the zeal for maintaining this memory. On the other, social agents who were betting on the constitution of a right to justice that was not limited to remembering, but to the capacity for a restructuring of legal and organizational bodies that could judge and punish everyone involved, an aspect that was endorsed by international institutions. Such issues were directly reflected in the constitution of the commission project implemented.

In terms of execution, according to the author, the initiative spread throughout Brazil, as the National Commission offered references for the creation of similar commissions in the federative units that fed the national version, configuring itself as a collaboration scenario for the investigations. The author points to innovations. The first would be the use of coercive power to summon deponents, transforming it into a hearing space for victims, who were able to present their versions of the facts. The enterprise also made those involved in the violations known and used the media to present its achievements and discoveries, favoring the creation of a public image linked to justice.

The Brazilian commission also contributed to updating the concept of victim of repression, as it identified that violations were not always due to political issues, but had at their core, discriminatory issues of economic and social bias, which, according to the author, reached peasants, indigenous people, women and the LGBT community.

The Araguaia ‘war’ told by the Aikewara | Image: Pública

The author also demonstrates how the execution of the CNV was marked by resistance, since the preparation of its guiding document, implying a time frame that preceded the Dictatorship, as well as the short period of time to carry out the work. Although the CNV report was configured, based on the guidance of its members, as proof of violations, and should serve as an instrument for justice actions and new investigations, the document came up against resistance in the field of Brazilian law itself. She highlights how the interpretations of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) of the Amnesty Law and the refusal of the judiciary bodies to receive the complaints went against international guidelines, corroborating the image of Brazil as an international parity in terms of Human Rights. .

This process, according to the author, was reinforced during the Bolsonaro government with the progressive disengagement from the Human Rights agenda and the rapprochement of values such as family and religion. This would also have occurred at the organizational level, manifested by the disconfiguration of the Dead and Missing Commissions, as well as that of Amnesty, inserting military and police officers into their composition who would be in favor of ending their activities, under the false argument that justice would have been established. In ideological terms, these changes culminated in the disqualification of the victims, to the extent that, based on revisionism, the conception that the violations had occurred on both sides was established.

The work contributes to reflection on the role of historical knowledge in understanding the present, revealing the aspects that structured it and providing the tools for its transformation. For the case in question, the increase in pressure surrounding the review of the amnesty law, contributing to the torturers and supporters of the Brazilian Civil Military Dictatorship being brought to justice, as well as the development of memory and reparation policies for those who were their victims.

This approach to the present also provides reflections on what justice is and how it is far from being fully objective. This fact can be observed in the text based on the complaints that materialize the existence of a scenario of impunity in Brazil after the Dictatorship, taking shape from the overlapping of private interests over the public, materialized in the equipment of institutions, giving selectivity to the field of justice. It also allows us to observe how the history of law and its manifestations offer resources that expand the complexity of historical interpretations, as it reveals the disputes and tensions behind the elaboration of laws, their interpretation, but also the practices that actually put into effect up as justice.

It is worth mentioning that the work misses the opportunity to develop some reflections that are related to the therapeutic function of history which, despite being recognized, does not establish a dialogue with the concepts of “memory” and “trauma” as its correlates. With this, he left aside literature that would enhance the text in relation to the importance of preparing a Public History of the Dictatorship, supported by state actions capable of stopping new symbolic violence. Furthermore, it loses, in potential terms, the possibility of establishing itself as a work of comparative History, since it signals the diversity of international experiences related to transitional justice, but which are limited to the first chapters, leaving this type of approach as a possible one to be followed by other researchers.

Despite the absences, the work fulfills the announced objective. It should be read by historians because it makes us think about our social responsibility in the face of present-day problems, in particular, the role that our science plays in supporting awareness and reparation. Thinking about historical knowledge from this orientation represents the need for reconnection between this specialized knowledge and reality. In the end, sometimes, it is we, historians, through our research, who guarantee some kind of justice.

Sumary of Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil?

  • Apresentação
  • Introdução
  • 1. O direito internacional à verdade, as comissões da verdade e a justiça de transição
  • 1.1 A Emergência do direito internacional à verdade
  • 1.2. A difusão internacional das comissões da verdade no âmbito da justiça transicional
  • 1.3. As comissões da verdade e sua permeabilidade política
  • 2. Um novo capítulo na justiça transicional no Brasil
  • 2.1. O debate interno sobre memória, verdade, justiça PNDH-3
  • 2.2. O sistema Interamericano e o Caso Gomes Lund e Outros vs Brasil
  • 2.3. O processo de instituição da Comissão Nacional da Verdade (CNV)
  • 3. Comissão Nacional da Verdade: verdade tardia, impunidade perpétua
  • 3.1. Uma análise normativa sob o prisma da lei n° 12.528/11
  • 3.2. O funcionamento da CNV: desafios e avanços
  • 3.3. O relatório final da CNV: principais aportes ao direito à verdade e à justiça
  • 3.4. Uma verdade entre outras? A recepção do relatório final da CNV
  • Conclusão
  • Referências bibliográficas

Reviewer

Jandson Bernardo Soares – PhD in History from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. He published, among other works, A institucionalização do livro didático no Brasil (2021), História e Espaços do Ensino: historiografia, PNLD e a busca por um livro didático ideal, A institucionalização do livro didático no Brasil and, Produzindo livros didáticos de História: prescrições e práticas – notas de uma pesquisa em andamento. ID LATTES: 915196220680100; ID ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8195-5113. E-mail: [email protected] .


To cite this review

SANTOS, Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio. Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil? Belo Horizonte: Initia Via, 2022. 231p. Review by: SOARES, Jandson Bernardo. Fair and true. Crítica Historiográfica. Natal, v.3, n.12, July./Aug., 2023. Available at <https://www.criticahistoriografica.com.br/en/fair-and-true-jandson-bernardo-soaress-ufrn-review-of-on-the-book-comissao-nacional-da-verdade-o-ultimo-capitulo-da-justica-de-transicao-no-brasil-by-amanda-cat/>. DOI:


© – Authors who publish in Historiographical Criticism agree to the distribution, remixing, adaptation and creation of their texts, even for commercial purposes, provided that due credit is guaranteed for the original creations. (CC BY-SA).

 

Crítica Historiográfica. Natal, v.3, n.12, jul./Aug., 2023 | ISSN 2764-2666

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Fair and true — Jandson Bernardo Soares’s (UFRN) review of on the book “Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil?”, by Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio Santos

Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio Santos| Image: Linked in

Abstract: Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil? was written by Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio Santos with the aim of investigating the institution, functioning and results of the Brazilian National Truth Commission (CNV). The author declares that the initiative results from the organization of an international legal body around human rights, between the 70s and 80s of the last century.

Keywords: National Truth Commission, Transitional Justice, Reparation.


Published in 2022, a moment that the author considers to be one of institutional contraction and pressure towards the autocratization of the Brazilian State, the work Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil?, by Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio Santos, investigates how it happened the elaboration, performance and results of the Brazilian National Truth Commission (CNV). Given her interest in the historicity of this process, she argues that this commission, like those that emerged in other countries, would be the result of the development and organization of an international legal body around human rights at the turn of the 70s to the 80s of the 20th century. , which provided the parameters, including the lexicon and jurisprudence, so that, at the household level, justice could be demanded in the face of serious violations of human rights in the recent past. At the same time, local experiences would serve as a form of conceptual and practical updating, giving legal tools, in their formulation and practice, a living character, related to each context in which struggles for justice unfolded.

The book is the result of her master’s thesis and combines knowledge from two areas that were part of her training: International Relations, in which she graduated, and Law, the field in which she developed most of her research. Organized into three chapters, the author relied on the concept of “truth commission” as one of the manifestations of transitional justice. This type of justice would encompass legal practices related to the violation of human rights, whether in a domestic context or in relationships between nations. She builds this argument based on the writings of Onur Bakiner, who started from the diversity and historicity of such manifestations to present them as mechanisms relatively independent of governments, breaking with the idea that this would only be the result of state will. At the same time, these would be crossed by power relations that emerge from various levels, which implies considering each context in which these experiences develop, and there is no certain formula for their production. Amanda Santos also relies on the characterization presented by Priscilla Hayner and Mark Freeman, in order to understand the extent to which the Brazilian commission approaches or distances itself from other experiences, constituting parameters that make it possible to understand its exceptionality.

It is based on these parameters that the author employs two categories of documents. At an international level, it appropriates the writings issued by the United Nations (UN), related to human rights, as well as the legal body and jurisprudence generated by the International Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which dealt with of enabling justice in contexts in which nations did not recognize or hindered access to reparation. At the national level, it used documents issued by the amnesty and dead and missing commissions, as well as the materials that supported the composition of the CNV and its reports. This also reaffirms its position based on analyzes of other truth commissions, such as those in South Africa and South American countries, with Brazil being the last country to adopt such a procedure.

Based on these resources, Amanda argues that the fact that Brazil was a latecomer in the process of establishing an effective transitional justice and a truth commission would be the result of the maintenance of a political and institutional corpus that was installed in the Democratic State of Brazilian law, post-dictatorship (1985-), which would serve to protect those involved in serious human rights violations, based on the use of Amnesty laws as a point of pacification. This process would have been responsible for what she called a cycle of impunity that would extend from the past to the present, justifying the maintenance of violence, especially among police agencies.

When analyzing the Brazilian CNV, the author demonstrates that it was the result of social disputes, materialized from debates held in the Legislative Chamber, revoking any possibility of delegitimization that was based on the ideas of autocracy or its use to persecute certain political groups. This process would have, on the one hand, forces interested in making this commission a point of closure, through confronting violations based on the institution of the right to truth and memory, making the State responsible for uncovering the past of violations, guaranteeing access to the truth and information regarding the victims, the perpetrators and the modus operandi, as well as the zeal for maintaining this memory. On the other, social agents who were betting on the constitution of a right to justice that was not limited to remembering, but to the capacity for a restructuring of legal and organizational bodies that could judge and punish everyone involved, an aspect that was endorsed by international institutions. Such issues were directly reflected in the constitution of the commission project implemented.

In terms of execution, according to the author, the initiative spread throughout Brazil, as the National Commission offered references for the creation of similar commissions in the federative units that fed the national version, configuring itself as a collaboration scenario for the investigations. The author points to innovations. The first would be the use of coercive power to summon deponents, transforming it into a hearing space for victims, who were able to present their versions of the facts. The enterprise also made those involved in the violations known and used the media to present its achievements and discoveries, favoring the creation of a public image linked to justice.

The Brazilian commission also contributed to updating the concept of victim of repression, as it identified that violations were not always due to political issues, but had at their core, discriminatory issues of economic and social bias, which, according to the author, reached peasants, indigenous people, women and the LGBT community.

The Araguaia ‘war’ told by the Aikewara | Image: Pública

The author also demonstrates how the execution of the CNV was marked by resistance, since the preparation of its guiding document, implying a time frame that preceded the Dictatorship, as well as the short period of time to carry out the work. Although the CNV report was configured, based on the guidance of its members, as proof of violations, and should serve as an instrument for justice actions and new investigations, the document came up against resistance in the field of Brazilian law itself. She highlights how the interpretations of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) of the Amnesty Law and the refusal of the judiciary bodies to receive the complaints went against international guidelines, corroborating the image of Brazil as an international parity in terms of Human Rights. .

This process, according to the author, was reinforced during the Bolsonaro government with the progressive disengagement from the Human Rights agenda and the rapprochement of values such as family and religion. This would also have occurred at the organizational level, manifested by the disconfiguration of the Dead and Missing Commissions, as well as that of Amnesty, inserting military and police officers into their composition who would be in favor of ending their activities, under the false argument that justice would have been established. In ideological terms, these changes culminated in the disqualification of the victims, to the extent that, based on revisionism, the conception that the violations had occurred on both sides was established.

The work contributes to reflection on the role of historical knowledge in understanding the present, revealing the aspects that structured it and providing the tools for its transformation. For the case in question, the increase in pressure surrounding the review of the amnesty law, contributing to the torturers and supporters of the Brazilian Civil Military Dictatorship being brought to justice, as well as the development of memory and reparation policies for those who were their victims.

This approach to the present also provides reflections on what justice is and how it is far from being fully objective. This fact can be observed in the text based on the complaints that materialize the existence of a scenario of impunity in Brazil after the Dictatorship, taking shape from the overlapping of private interests over the public, materialized in the equipment of institutions, giving selectivity to the field of justice. It also allows us to observe how the history of law and its manifestations offer resources that expand the complexity of historical interpretations, as it reveals the disputes and tensions behind the elaboration of laws, their interpretation, but also the practices that actually put into effect up as justice.

It is worth mentioning that the work misses the opportunity to develop some reflections that are related to the therapeutic function of history which, despite being recognized, does not establish a dialogue with the concepts of “memory” and “trauma” as its correlates. With this, he left aside literature that would enhance the text in relation to the importance of preparing a Public History of the Dictatorship, supported by state actions capable of stopping new symbolic violence. Furthermore, it loses, in potential terms, the possibility of establishing itself as a work of comparative History, since it signals the diversity of international experiences related to transitional justice, but which are limited to the first chapters, leaving this type of approach as a possible one to be followed by other researchers.

Despite the absences, the work fulfills the announced objective. It should be read by historians because it makes us think about our social responsibility in the face of present-day problems, in particular, the role that our science plays in supporting awareness and reparation. Thinking about historical knowledge from this orientation represents the need for reconnection between this specialized knowledge and reality. In the end, sometimes, it is we, historians, through our research, who guarantee some kind of justice.

Sumary of Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil?

  • Apresentação
  • Introdução
  • 1. O direito internacional à verdade, as comissões da verdade e a justiça de transição
  • 1.1 A Emergência do direito internacional à verdade
  • 1.2. A difusão internacional das comissões da verdade no âmbito da justiça transicional
  • 1.3. As comissões da verdade e sua permeabilidade política
  • 2. Um novo capítulo na justiça transicional no Brasil
  • 2.1. O debate interno sobre memória, verdade, justiça PNDH-3
  • 2.2. O sistema Interamericano e o Caso Gomes Lund e Outros vs Brasil
  • 2.3. O processo de instituição da Comissão Nacional da Verdade (CNV)
  • 3. Comissão Nacional da Verdade: verdade tardia, impunidade perpétua
  • 3.1. Uma análise normativa sob o prisma da lei n° 12.528/11
  • 3.2. O funcionamento da CNV: desafios e avanços
  • 3.3. O relatório final da CNV: principais aportes ao direito à verdade e à justiça
  • 3.4. Uma verdade entre outras? A recepção do relatório final da CNV
  • Conclusão
  • Referências bibliográficas

Reviewer

Jandson Bernardo Soares – PhD in History from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. He published, among other works, A institucionalização do livro didático no Brasil (2021), História e Espaços do Ensino: historiografia, PNLD e a busca por um livro didático ideal, A institucionalização do livro didático no Brasil and, Produzindo livros didáticos de História: prescrições e práticas – notas de uma pesquisa em andamento. ID LATTES: 915196220680100; ID ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8195-5113. E-mail: [email protected] .


To cite this review

SANTOS, Amanda Cataldo de Souza Tilio. Comissão Nacional da Verdade: o último capítulo da justiça de transição no Brasil? Belo Horizonte: Initia Via, 2022. 231p. Review by: SOARES, Jandson Bernardo. Fair and true. Crítica Historiográfica. Natal, v.3, n.12, July./Aug., 2023. Available at <https://www.criticahistoriografica.com.br/en/fair-and-true-jandson-bernardo-soaress-ufrn-review-of-on-the-book-comissao-nacional-da-verdade-o-ultimo-capitulo-da-justica-de-transicao-no-brasil-by-amanda-cat/>. DOI:


© – Authors who publish in Historiographical Criticism agree to the distribution, remixing, adaptation and creation of their texts, even for commercial purposes, provided that due credit is guaranteed for the original creations. (CC BY-SA).

 

Crítica Historiográfica. Natal, v.3, n.12, jul./Aug., 2023 | ISSN 2764-2666

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