Community Blog

  • 7 Mar 2018 20:51 | Izabela Zonato Villas Boas

    Interviewed by: Izabela Zonato

    At UNSW she supervises post-graduate and under-graduate research students and she teaches in the LLB, JD and LLM programs as well as in Criminology (Faculty of Arts and Social Science) and in the Forensic Psychology Masters Program (Faculty of Science). Her fields of research and 6they typically focus on the criminal trial. Her empirical research has focused on juries and also on the role of mental health expertise in refugee determinations. Her publications include 10 books, a monograph report and numerous articles and chapters in books.

    1.      We know that a Master student from last year was accepted to take a Ph.D. with you in Sydney. How do you see this relationship? I mean, how did you identify him, for example.

    Alexandre Brandao was a really excellent, intellectually curious student in the class of 2016-17. Essentially, Alex was in the right place at the right time. His talent, an opportunity and some luck intersected. Both he and I share an interest in the impact of social media on criminal trials and on courts and just after I finished teaching at the Institute last year I was asked if I had a project that my university might advertise for a Scientia PhD scholarship. With Alex in mind, I put forward the Social Media, Courts and Community project. Alex competed internationally and was one of two successful applicants.

    2.      Could you talk about this teacher relationship with students who want to continue in the academic career?

    Academic careers are undoubtedly competitive. This means that its important to be as well-positioned as possible to get that first academic position and to be skilled in all that academia requires. A PhD equips a person with the ability to undertake and complete innovative and sustained research. It is also an important credential for an academic resume, especially nowadays. Your IISJ Masters’ theses will provide very good preparation for a PhD. It might also give you a possible basis for publishing an article – also a very useful addition to your resume.

    The supervisor/student relationship is a unique one – ideally it is one of trust, friendship, mutual respect - and gentle guidance.

    3.      Can you talk a little bit about your PhD and the "set-backs" you had during this?

    I expect you know the answer to this question. My son might prefer not to be referred to as a set-back, but yes, I did have my first child in the second year of my PhD studies. It was particularly challenging, and for the whole of my pregnancy I blamed my husband bitterly! Young Paul David Hunter did not turn out to be a set-back (either for my PhD or for my happiness – quite the opposite on both counts). Pregnancy meant I had a definite deadline. It could not be extended (and there was a danger it might shift earlier) so I threw myself into my PhD in a very intense and focused way. I did not complete it before Paul was born, but I got close. I finished it when he was 3 months old, and took 2 years to complete my doctorate.

    4.      Do you have any advice for people who want to take a PhD?

    • 1.    Choose a topic that really means something to you. It will be with you for a long time, so you should really want to answer your research question.  If the field of study (broadly understood) is a core part of the LLB curriculum all the better, it means that your completed thesis might make your job prospects even stronger.
    • 2.   Remember that a PhD is an apprenticeship to becoming a scholar. It should be your very best work, but it is not your last opportunity to write on the topic. Indeed, it is probably your first - so make your topic one that is not too big for a PhD.
    • 3.  Give your supervisor the very best draft that you are capable of achieving in the timeline you have set yourself. A short excellent portion of a chapter is always preferable to a complete but patchy chapter.
    • 4.      Don’t have a baby at the same time.
    • 5.      If you ignore the above rule – or even if you obey it, make sure you are very well organized, very focused and waste not a moment of time. Plan. Plan further, and then sit down, and write out your chapter frameworks. Shape your thesis conceptually. Planning gives you a map. It gives you confidence, and as long as you remain flexible – as your plans will change, probably constantly (because it is very likely to be an imperfect plan) but you know where you are heading.
    • 6.      Keep yourself well-informed, open to new ideas, but focus on finishing. You must read widely – always, but you are also ready to start writing the first draft chapter if you have a plan to draw your thesis into a coherent whole.
    • 7.    Often the first chapter you write should be the central part of your narrative (I didn’t realise this, unfortunately - but I did start with my favorite chapter).
    • 8.      Publish articles from your thesis as you draft your chapters.
    • 9.     Enjoy. For me, in the first year I was motivated by a short holiday after each chapter. In the second year, no time for holidays.
    • 10.  Don’t forget your friends.

  • 21 Feb 2018 17:09 | Pável H. Valer Bellota

    La REVISTA DE LA FACULTAD DE DERECHO Y CIENCIAS POLÍTICAS es una publicación con periodicidad anual de la Facultad del mismo nombre publicada desde 1948 y cuenta con afiliación a la Universidad del Cusco (UNSAAC). Está abierta a trabajos intelectuales que planteen artículos originales, no publicados anteriormente, con una amplia visión teórica desde las variadas ópticas de las ciencias del Derecho, y desde una perspectiva plural.   Para este número se ha propuesto el tema “Recursos Naturales, Derecho y Conflictos Sociales”, con la intención de reunir trabajos académicos que aborden esta relación desde distintos enfoques, tanto teóricos como pragmáticos, analizando los fenómenos conflictivos recurrentes en Perú y América Latina. Mas información

  • 29 Dec 2017 16:12 | Anonymous

    2017 has been a very productive year for the online socio-legal journal OSLS -it has published eight issues, four of them extraordinary issues. The last of them has just been made available and is entitled "Working the Boundaries of Law". It is the result of a bilkura (meeting) celebrated in Oñati. The resulting issue has been coordinated by professors Morag McDermont and John Clarke.

    This monograph traces the significance of borders and boundaries as sites of social practice and considers how the boundaries of law are constructed and contested. 

    As usual, the issue can be read and downloaded from the OSLS website: http://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/issue/view/67.

  • 28 Dec 2017 16:03 | Anonymous

    The on-line journal Oñati Socio-legal Series published another extra issue within its volume number 7. In this case, it is a collection of articles inspired by a workshop that took place in Oñati and was chaired by Antal Szerletics and Lidia Rodak. Academics and experts from Central and Eastern Europe discussed the state of legal education in the CEE region, analyzed its main challenges and proposed possible solutions.

  • 21 Dec 2017 13:08 | Emma Hyndman

    December is Human Rights Month and we are celebrating by highlighting two of our amazing master’s students for the second installation of “Meet Our Kuadrilla” interview series. Pamela Teutli from México and Claudia Serna from Colombia sat down to talk about their work as human rights lawyers, activists, and educators. We are so lucky to learn from them this year and excited to share it with the Onati community. Enjoy!

     Do you work in human rights? Share your work, projects, and research with us so we can share it all month long

    This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

    Claudia: Hi, my name is Claudia Serna. I am a lawyer in Colombia. I have worked for 7 years as a human rights lawyer. I worked in an NGO called La Corporacion Juridica Libertad and I founded a community organization call Mesa Interbarrial that works with political and social issues. My work is based out of Medellin with the aim of helping poor people in the community gain access to water, housing, and other public services. 

    Pamela: I’m Pamela Teutli, from Monterrey, Mexico. My interest in human rights started in law school after I participated in human rights and United Nations moot courts. I worked with the Electoral Tribunal tackling issues related to political rights, specifically women in politics and in a consulting group that specializes in the implementation of Mexico’s new criminal justice system. I’ve also taught courses in my law school (FLDM) related to the Inter-American System of Human Rights after I completed an internship at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica.

    Pamela: So how did you get involve in the human rights field? 

    Claudia: In Medellin, there is a huge problem of inequality in our society. When I was a law school student, I was part of a group that investigated access to drinking water. We visited the poor neighborhoods of Medellin and I started to reflect on how access to drinking water is connected with poverty. In Medellin, there is a public company that handles public services. So, we saw the contrast between the economic capacities of those living in poverty and the availability of services offered to them by the company. At the same time, I was studying constitutional law in school, and I found that access to water needed to be a basic right guaranteed by the state. During this time, I started using the Acción de tutela, a writ for the protection of constitutional rights. I started making local demands on the basis of judgements from the Constitutional Court of Colombia to prove that the state was obligated to provide access to water as a human right. 

    Pamela: That must have been difficult because it was before the international law recognized it as a human right. You are a rock star!

    Claudia: Yes, one of the local demands we made was eventually studied by the Constitutional Court specifically the judgment T717 of 2010. In this judgement, they recognized that access to water for minors is an obligation of the state.

    Pamela: But only minors?

     Claudia: At the time, yes. But, there were many judgements. After that, we started making more local demands because we already had the precedent from the Constitutional Court.

     Pamela: What do you enjoy the most about working in human rights?

     Claudia: Traveling all over the world. The fame. The fortune.

     *everyone laughs*

     Just kidding. My work is not only about the juridical actions but also about raising awareness in society. I like that people can recognize their own rights and fight for themselves. 

    Pamela: You’ve also told me you like empowering people, too.

     Claudia: Yes, there are many problems and lawyers cannot support all of them. With the two organizations I was working with, we were visiting public schools in the neighborhood to teach people about this. We created a study group with the people from the neighborhood so they can learn about their rights and we have taught them how to stay vigilant and make sure they demand the state that their rights are protected. In a sense, this is what I like the most about my job, the experience of working directly with people.

     Claudia: What about you?

     Pamela: I haven’t worked as directly with the community, as you have, which I think is a marvel, and something everyone should do. But, as a professor, one of the most gratifying experiences is seeing the next generation involved in human rights. I always tell my law students that, it doesn’t matter if you become a human activist or not, as long as you are aware of the function you have as a lawyer. You need to recognize how you are a part of the protection and guarantee of human rights. Every area you will work in has something to do with human rights. If they can understand and embrace that, then I feel like my job is done.

    Pamela: You have also taught at your university, how can you tell me about your experience?

    Claudia: As a student at the University of Antioquia, I had the opportunity to join the investigative group where students and teachers can learn about the sociology of law and critical legal theories. When I started working as a professor at the law school, I recruited some students to be part of the same community organizations and investigative groups that I had worked with. My hope is that I can engage law students to come together with political science students and community leaders so that they can work together to build the path towards justice. 

    Interviewee (Emma): What brought you to human rights work?

    Pamela: It was one of the reasons I wanted to go to law school…it was similar to Claudia…I saw all the inequality in Mexico and it just didn’t feel right. I know I’m not going to change the world or even my entire country but I must do something, even if it is small. It’s my responsibility as a lawyer and my willing as a Mexican. 

  • 20 Dec 2017 11:18 | Izabela Zonato Villas Boas

    Interview by: Izabela Zonato

    Edited by: Emma Hyndman

    Martin Krygier is Gordon Samuels Professor of Law and Social Theory at the University of New South Wales, the co-director of its Network for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law, an Adjunct Professor at the Regulatory Institutions Network, Australian National University, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. His most recent book is Philip Selznick: Ideals in the World, (Stanford U P 2012). He has written extensively on the rule of law: its nature, conditions, and challenges. Below is an excerpt from an interview I conducted with Professor Krygier in December while he was in Oñati teaching his course “Rule of Law: Law, Philosophy, Sociology, Politics, and Reality.”

    Do you have a writing process? Could you talk about this? How it works? Do you need to do something specific to write?

    I think a quiet place is important. I think don’t drink alcohol while you’re writing…but there is no general recipe, you find what works for you in writing, there’s no general message. I’m a messy writer, some people make a detailed plan that works for them, but that never works for me, but that’s just a matter of what you prefer. But you should try to keep at it. Writing accumulates. If you do it regularly, you become used to your ways of working, and what works for you, and it also adds up. If you do it sporadically, every now and then, at least this used to be my experience when I wrote less, you frighten yourself by each day discovering anew all the ways of wasting time a writer finds, and that can be paralyzing. Now I know that my writing involves taking walks, cleaning the kitchen, attending to emails, etc., but I also know that so long as this is in my writing time something will keep ticking away in the background and jump out eventually. But all this is individual and variable. What is probably less so is the need to keep at it.

    Do you write every day?

    That would be ideal. I don’t. That’s what novelists often do, they write every day. Philip Selznick used to write every day. Since he wrote for about 70 years, that’s a lot.

    I do try to write every day now, or at least I think about writing every day now, because I’m not teaching undergraduates. When I did I was distracted, I had things going on. So yes, it’s an ambition. But then most of my ambitions are only partially fulfilled.

    When is the best time for writing?

    There is no time that suits everyone. Writers find what suits them. For me, I mess around a bit in the morning, and I have to sort of build-up and then it all comes out in a burst for a little while, and then I have to mess around again, comes out in another burst. The way I write, every day when I’m writing, I first of all read what I’ve written and edit what I’ve written, so the absurd thing about my articles is the first parts have been read fifty times and edited, but the last part I’ve read very few times, but I sort of need to get a run-on. So, I need to internalize what I have said, then push it on a bit further. So I often start in the morning with the reading and editing, which is relatively easy but can take time, and then wait for the painful part – writing something new – to come on me. That happens in a burst, sometimes long, sometimes short. I do that for as long as takes, until it runs out. Then I have a drink. And the next day, same story.

    Do you have a recommendation for a person who wants to be a teacher and a writer too?

    Well, it’s a very general question, since both teaching and writing at their best are intensely personal, not at all mechanical, activities. In both, a key is to find your own voice as a teacher and a scholar, and that often takes time and confidence.

    Teaching is an individual, personal, thing, at least in key parts. Some parts of teaching can be taught, but others are picked up in more indirect ways – having had good teachers, listening to students, and so on. Sometimes the best things you can teach a student are that you are and why you are engaged with a subject, rather than the content of the subject. That’s something I fear will be lost as teaching comes to be thought of as pure transmission of information, which could be done by a robot, and is increasingly done by a computer.

    I fortunately stopped regular teaching before it became electronified, so I never had to mess with powerpoints and other thought-and-expreessiveness numbing devices. For me undergraduate teaching at its best was intellectual engagement and thinking aloud with an audience you hoped you could spark, interest and influence. With higher level students the interest and influence became more reciprocal, and that is a special joy. My allergy in both domains is to homogenizing the process – making everyone’s teaching and writing conform to tight ‘educational’ or ‘disciplinary’ templates and/or methods. It’s hard to avoid that these days, but I would encourage people who have a vocation for teaching, research and writing, to seek to find their own ways of doing things, rather than to start talking and writing like everyone else.

    As for the writing stick to it, write hard, read widely. If you can be better disciplined than I was when I taught regularly, find a block of time you keep for writing, and stick to it. I was rarely able to do that, but it’s obviously a good approach.

    Pay attention in what you write to the shape of it, whether an article or a book. Apart from substance, everything should have a place and be in that place and not another. Often I read drafts of doctoral theses that throw stuff in because the writer had had to work hard to find it, thought it intrinsically interesting and/or important, thinks it’s a sharp or original point, thinks the reader needs to know it, etc. These are all good things, but a key test is: does what you say in one place fit in with the shape of what you are trying to say in the piece as a whole, and with what you say in other places, and should it fit in this place, rather than some other. If not, keep it for another day or move it.

    Another key issue for young writers is distinguishing background and foreground. You read a lot as a scholar, and sometimes you need to know a ton to say a word; but never make the mistake of thinking that what took you months to master has to find a place, commensurate to the time it took you to learn it, in what you write. Again think of what it is doing for the piece you are writing as a whole. It is important to get background straight, but it is equally important to decide what place it should have in a piece you are writing, that is of one particular sort and not some other. 


  • 12 Dec 2017 15:34 | Anonymous

    La revista online Oñati Socio-legal Series despide el año con un monográfico dedicado al problema de la escasez de jueces, y abordando este problema desde diversos puntos de vista, no sólo el de las consecuencias en cuanto a administración eficiente de justicia, sino el de la diversidad del cuerpo judicial y la igualdad de hombres y mujeres en la judicatura, por ejemplo.

    El número ha sido coordinado por los profesores Eyal Katvan, Ulrike Schultz, Avrom Sherr y Boaz Shnoor, y ha contado con la colaboración de expertos de instituciones de Reino Unido, Israel, Italia, Sudáfrica, Estados Unidos, Singapur y Australia. 

  • 28 Nov 2017 13:17 | Mentxu Ramilo Araujo

    Desde hace unos años, en torno a la comunidad de personas editoras de Wikipedia están surgiendo iniciativas para incrementar la presencia de mujeres editoras y de contenidos sobre mujeres en Wikipedia, ya que la brecha de género es muy importante: menos del 20% de editoras y de biografías en Wikipedia son mujeres.

    Women In Red (english), Wikimujeres (español), Viquidones (catalán)... y en Euskal Herria, WikiEmakumeok (español y euskara), son algunas de las iniciativas en marcha. En Euskal Herria mensualmente en distintas localidades hacemos wikikedadas para aprender a editar Wikipedia y lograr que más mujeres sean editoras y haya más contenidos y biografías sobre mujeres en Wikipedia y proyectos relacionados (Commons: imágenes; Wikidata: base de datos libre a nivel mundial...). 

    ¿Te animas a participar virtual y/o presencialmente? 

    Próximas wikikedadas: bit.ly/wikiemakumeok 

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wikiemakume/

  • 26 Nov 2017 15:57 | Izabela Zonato Villas Boas
    1. Introduction

    The present essay deals with collective memory in Brazil, thus, will explain the theme of the Araguaia Guerrilla, which occurred during the period of the military dictatorship in the 1970s. The traumatic result was dozens of dead and missing militants, which until today remain missing. Faced with this, the families decided to seek answers and filed a lawsuit against the Brazilian State, first in the Brazilian justice system, and later at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, resulting in the condemnation of Brazil, just in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and not in the Brazilian justice system.

    2. Historical Report - What did the Guerrilha in Araguaia

    The military dictatorship in Brazil was from 1964 to 1985. It happened when the government of President João Goulart (constitutional president elect) was overthrown by the intervention of the military counting on the civilians support, and including with the National Congress, that approved of the coup. For 21 years, Brazil underwent several repressive measures, such as suspension of political rights, dismissal of civil servants and expulsion of military personnel from the Armed Forces. During this period, several operations were made, for example, Operação Limpeza (Operation Cleaning) sought to eliminate all elements identified with the previous period or considered threatening to the objectives of the new regime. In the midst of such repression, several groups emerged against the dictatorial regime, but the one that was most known (later) was the Guerrilha do Araguaia.

    In 1966, about 70 members of the Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B), based on the Chinese and Cuban Revolutions, went to the southern region of the State of Pará known as the Rio Araguaia (Araguaia River) region. Their objectives were to organize an initial base of work, without the assistance of the public power, without schools, hospitals, etc., in order to educate the local population to transmit political doctrines such as the implantation of socialism in Brazil through the armed struggle.

    These militants were already persecuted politicians, and the Guerrilla of the Araguaia was a movement against the military dictatorship in Brazil. After arriving in the Araguaia region, there were a total of about 90 people, including militants and local people, who joined the movement.

    Before the fighting began, during the military dictatorship, there were about six military operations made by the Brazilian Army, Navy and Aeronautics, to repress this movement in the place. These operations happened underground, without the society or the press knowing or knowing the existence of the Guerrilla at that time. And, because of this, most of the members were killed by the repressive organs of the military government in Brazil at that time, because in that time the express order of the then President of the Republic, General Medici, was that "no one should leave alive". (1)

    After 1979, with the Amnesty Law (Lei de Anistia) in force in Brazil, the relatives of these dead and disappeared bodies, waited for their returns, and since this did not happen since they were all dead, after 1980, these relatives began to look for their loved ones and they discovered that the vast majority of them had disappeared, in fact been killed, in that region of Araguaia.

    Their bodies were never found, with the exception of two found until today. One of the bodies was Maria Lúcia Petit, who died in June of 1972 (22 years old) in an ambush and her remains were identified only in 1996. The other body located was the one of Bergson Gurjão. These are the only two dead and later identified, who had a dignified burial given by their relatives.

    And in 1982 the relatives of those who disappeared in the region of Araguaia filed a Civil Action against the Brazilian State to find out where their relatives were, but were not successful in this request, because the internal requirements in justice never had the attention they deserved on the part of the Brazilian State, the process lasted until 2008.

    3. The case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

    In times of postmodern (globalized and universalized) the decisions of the Supreme Court of Brazil (Supremo Tribunal Federal – STF) when talking about human rights no longer means the last word, because above the Brazilian Judiciary is the inter-American Human Rights System. This system is composed of two organs: the Inter-American Commission (Washington) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Costa Rica). In Europe the situation is similar to that of the European Court of Human Rights.

    This is because, in 1992, Brazil ratified the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969, known as the Pact of San José of Costa Rica, without any reservation. Therefore, when the rights provided for in the Convention are not covered by the Brazilian courts, it is possible to appeal to the Inter-American Commission, which becomes a kind of legal "5th instance" for Brazilians. (2)

    The violations of human rights not covered by the Brazilian Judiciary must be brought to the attention of the aforementioned Commission, which resolves the matter or forwards it to the Inter-American Court (like in the Araguaia Case).

    The Case Gomes Lund and others ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brazil, Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Brazil, a sentence on November 24, 2010, for the arbitrary detention, torture and forced disappearance of 62 people, including members of the PC do B and local farmers.

    The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, following its jurisprudence in relation to Argentina, Chile, and respecting the rights of victims and their families, decided that crimes against humanity (deaths, torture, disappearances, etc.) condemned by State agents during the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985) must be properly investigated, prosecuted and punished.

    The Court  understood that the judicial remedies of the relatives of the victims to obtain information about the facts were not effective to guarantee them access to information about what really happened in Araguaia, and more than that, the legislative and administrative measures adopted by the Brazilian government, such as the enactment of the amnesty law, only restricted the right of access to information to these relatives. (3)

    The first achievement with this decision is that the Brazilian Amnesty Law no longer has the legal value to prevent the investigation of the crimes committed by state agents (dictators or those who have acted on behalf of the dictatorship). (4) This means that it should no longer continue to present an obstacle to the investigation of the facts of this case, nor to the identification and punishment of those responsible, nor can this law have the same or similar impact on other cases of serious human rights violations enshrined in the American Convention. (5) 

    The Court condemned Brazil for people that were dead and disappeared due to occurrences in the Araguaia Guerrilla during the military dictatorship, and in 2010 already blamed the country, stipulating that it should prepare a report with the reparations provided for victims of the disclosure by March 2015.

    The Brazilian Amnesty Law that impedes the investigation and sanctioning of human rights violations has no legal effects, as it is incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights.

    After the decision, the country should eliminate all legal obstacles, including this Law, so that it does not prevent the victims access to information, truth and justice, since the right to access memory and justice.

    Thus, the main condemnations of the court are to initiate relevant investigations into the facts of the Araguaia Guerrilla, determine the material and intellectual perpetrators of the forced disappearance of the victims, and ensure the investigations and guarantee the Human Rights Education in the Armed Forces. (6)

    The court also ordered that Brazil designate the "day of the political disappeared", when activities were carried out to remind people who disappeared during the military dictatorship, to help raise awareness of the seriousness of the events and to ensure that they do not recur, and the designation of the commemorative date mentioned at the national level would be added to the commemoration of the International Day of the Political Disappearing, which takes place on August 30 of each year. (7)

    4. Collective Memory

    In Brazil, official policy of preserving the memory of the military dictatorship faces great difficulty. This should be done through the commemorative practices, for example, monuments with names, commemorations, collections, archives, museums, laws, decrees, national holidays, day of remembrance, books, special TV programs, parades, activities by the educational system, etc. The archiving of the documents of this period faces difficulties in individual actions and serious governmental policy of preservation and archiving. (8)

    After the dictatorial regime, in February 15, 1991, Brazil promulgated a national decree (Decreto nº40/1991), after the ratification, making valid the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

    Even today, the soldiers of the time who are still alive insist on omitting reports about Guerrilla warfare, and this contradicts the well-known precept that history is usually told by the victors. Thanks to the oral tradition it is possible to know the history of the Guerilla, otherwise the memory of the guerilla would be erased. (9)  In light of this, it can be said that most of the information available on the guerrilla today is due to journalistic matters, which preserved memory and avoided forgetting.

    According to Brazilian Criminal Law, no one is obliged to create evidence against himself, which makes it difficult for the facts confessed by the military and some also for the militants, such as articulation, torture, execution, concealment and disposal of mortal remains.

    Of course there are exceptions, such as published books and testimonials provided. As an example we have the book of Colonel Licio Maciel, who worked in the fight against the Guerrilla, told his story after 30 years, and the book of captain aviator Pedro Cabral, helicopter pilot, who published "Xambioá - Guerrilha do Araguaia" confirming that participated in so-called 'cleaning operations', transporting bodies to be burned in the Serra das Andorinhas. But the key characters didn’t give testimony, which means that the problem cannot be completely solved.

    The Brazilian State also published a book on the dictatorship, Direito à Memória e à Verdade (Right to Memory and Truth), dedicating 76 pages exclusively to the narrative of the events of the Araguaia Guerrilla. (10)

    Among the museums that keep the history of the Guerrilla, there are the archives organized in the nearby Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi – nearby the Araguaia region –, which has the intention of making available to the general public all collected material, such as interviews, maps, sketches, photos and documents. The intention is to connect this collection with other archives and memory centers that already exist or are being deployed in Brazil, such as Memorial da Anistia Política no Brasil. In addition, it should join efforts for the preservation of memory that are being undertaken in the region, such as the small Museu da Guerrilha do Araguaia (Araguaia Guerrilla Museum), in São Geraldo do Araguaia, and the Instituto de Apoio aos Povos do Araguaia (IAPA - Araguaia Peoples Support Institute), in Xambioá.

    But there are also memorials and tributes to the soldiers killed in combat, for example, with the militants of the Araguaia Guerrilla. Among these honors we can find the website Museu Vítima dos Comunistas (Museum Victims of the Communists).

    On May 15, 2008, the Minister of Justice, Tarso Genro, signed the ordinance establishing the Memorial da Anistia Política no Brasil (Political Amnesty Memorial in Brazil). The memorial should have been built by 2010 and house a documentation center with collections from the repression periods between 1946 and 1988, as well as all Amnesty Commission files. It should also promote actions to promote the research and publication of socially relevant materials on the struggle for democracy in Brazil. (11) But as of January 22, 2016, there is still no Memorial, as on this date the Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (National Bank for Economic and Social Development – BNDES) approved financial support of R$10 million for its creation. (12)

    In Recife, the monument "Tortura Nunca Mais” (Torture Never Again) is the first monument of the type built in the country in honor of the dead and disappeared politicians and victims of the military dictatorship installed in Brazil in 1964. In Porto Alegre the City Hall inaugurated the Memorial aos Mortos e Desaparecidos (Memorial to the Dead and Disappeared). In São Paulo, the Memorial da Resistencia (Memorial of the Resistance) was inaugurated in the building where the Department of Political and Social Order (DOPS) operated, which was one of the most feared places of repression of the military dictatorship in the city of São Paulo.

    It is important to say that the existence of the crimes committed by the Brazilian State is indisputable, since the very existence of the Associação dos Torturados da Guerrilha do Araguaia (Araguaia Guerrilla Torture Association), in the city of São Domingos do Araguaia, is already evidence of this violence. That is why it is important to emphasize the collective memory not only local but also national so that the event is not forgotten - as they still want sectors of the State.

    After the condemnation by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, those who died during the military dictatorship won a monument in Belo Horizonte - The first of ten monuments to be erected in Brazil to honor the dead and missing politicians in the struggle against the military dictatorship. (13)

    In 2014, at Ibirapuera Park, one of the most visited in the city of São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, was inaugurated a monument with names of 463 dead and missing during the period of military dictatorship. The monument is located near the gate 10 of the park, making neighborhood with the Comando Militar do Sudeste (Southeastern Military Command), which at the time of the dictatorship was known as the Quartel Gerenal 2 do Exército (Army's Gerenal Quarters 2) and also with the former Destacamento de Operações de Informação - Centro de Operações de Defesa Interna (Deployment of Information Operations - Operations Center of Internal Defense – DOI-Codi), considered one of the greatest torture centers of the dictatorship.

    Among the commemorative and remembrance practices we can find: federal government website which is the largest collection on the history of memories of the military dictatorship (14);  a big diversity of documentaries and interviews, for example, the Brazilian documentary “Osvaldão”(15) – which tells the story of the militant Osvaldo Orlando da Costa who was the first combatant to arrive in the region of Araguaia with the mission of establishing a guerrilla group along with other comrades (16) –, the documentary Camponeses do Araguaia: A Guerrilha vista por dentro (Peasants of Araguaia: The Guerrilla seen from within) the movie “Araguaya Conspiração do Silêncio” (Araguaya Conspiracy of Silence). (17)

    Recently, a super series called Os Dias Eram Assim (The Days Were Like This) was reproduced in prime time of Brazilian TV. The story happened at the time of the Brazilian Military Dictatorship, showing images and recordings of that time and showing how the crimes were supposedly committed and how the support of the military was given.

    Among the personalities who fought against the military dictatorship regime are the two former presidents-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, and the former deputy José Genoino. Genoino was in combat in the region of Araguaia and managed to survive. Nowadays this prisoner, but the doubt as to the reason for his arrest is: is he imprisoned for being corrupt, or not corrupt, but a political prisoner persecuted to this day?

    Peasants of Araguaia received compensation after 30 years, this was based on a work that had hundreds of testimonies on cases of torture, loss of small properties and deaths during the action of the Brazilian military against the guerrilla. These testimonies were collected, filmed and recorded in the Araguaia region by the Comissão de Anistia (Amnesty Commission). In addition, in order to promote moral and not just economic reparations, a public apology was issued in the square of Santo Antônio do Araguaia, in the State of Pará, with the presence of the then Minister of Justice. (18)

    In the year 2009, on June 18, in a public act where hundreds of people were present in the streets of São Domingos do Araguaia, the Amnesty Commission of the Ministry of Justice made public the granting of political amnesty to 44 peasants persecuted for military repression during the Guerrilha do Araguaia.

    After 50 years of the beginning of the military regime, the Comissão Nacional da Verdade (CNV – National Truth Commission) was established in Brazil in 2011, and began work only the following year. The National Truth Commission was yet another of the determinations of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. (19)

    This commission is extremely important because it not only aims to construct the narrative of memory and truth about the practices of violence and repression of the State at that time, but also formulated 29 recommendations with the purpose that the State can promote justice in relation to the crimes occurred in the period, repair symbolic, perfecting democracy and focusing on the non-repetition of human rights violations that occurred in that period. (20)

    5. Collective memory and social-cultural featuring

    It is very important for the community to preserve the memory, so that the gaps are not left are important witnesses of the story and also its protagonists, what causes me not to have a single memory but rather polysemic. (21)

    Currently, Brazil is governed by a democracy, and is also a signatory of international conventions and agreements that deal with Human Rights. In addition, the jurisprudence of international courts demonstrates and serves as a reminder that a country (not only Brazil) needs to know its past and assume its faults.

    Currently in Brazil, the division between parties and followers of "right" (conservative) and "left" (progressive) political parties is very large. Often this is confused with corruption and not with conservatism or progression, which causes the population to end up being divided not by ideals but by supporting a party that is not what is involved with corruption at the moment - this is technically impossible in Brazil, since all parties are involved in corruption.

    For this reason and because of a number of other factors, it is still difficult to know what the truth is in the context of the present and in the past of the country, but one thing cannot be denied that the military dictatorship really happened, unfortunately, there are people who deny that the military regime was a coup, but that it was only a time when there were many uprisings - that's why there were deaths - but that the country's economy improved significantly at that time, but there are also those who say the contrary, which makes complete sense, given that even the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recognized the guilt of Brazil.

    By way of illustration, in my own family the two versions are present, through a person who fought against the regime and another who is retired military, who says that the command of the military is governed with great efficiency.

    The last two president-elects of the country, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Vana Rousseff, who fought and were perceived by the military regime, advanced significantly in respect of the impositions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. But other things were not accomplished, such as the already-mentioned Memorial construction that has been thinking for almost 10 years, and having including authorized money for the construction.

    The current president, Michel Temer, assumed the presidency after several articulations against the president Dilma Rousseff, who ended up being removed from power by having suffered impeachment.

    At the beginning, a large part of the population was supporting the process of impeachment, but after, in the early days of government, it became clear that the concerns of the president are not linked to the memory of the country and neither to the population, personal interests and of great businessmen and politicians.

    Despite the great evolution over the years, Brazil still has a lot to do to keep the memory of those who fought and still have much to do so that the practices of remembering what happened is really remembered so that it will not happen again.


    (1) Marcos José Pinto, A condenação do Brasil no caso da Guerrilha do Araguaia pela Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos. Available in: https://jus.com.br/artigos/21291/a-condenacao-do-brasil-no-caso-da-guerrilha-do-araguaia-pela-corte-interamericana-de-direitos-humanos

    (2) Luiz Flávio Gomes e Valerio de Oliveira Mazzuoli, Condenação internacional do Brasil e o dever de investigar os crimes da ditadura. Available in: http://www.migalhas.com.br/dePeso/16,MI123895,11049-Condenacao+internacional+do+Brasil+e+o+dever+de+investigar+os+crimes

    (3) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010, Série C, nº 219, parágrafo 219: Este Tribunal salientou que o direito de acesso à justiça deve assegurar, em um prazo razoável, o direito das supostas vítimas ou de seus familiares a que se faça todo o necessário para conhecer a verdade do ocorrido e, se for o caso, sancionar os responsáveis.  A falta de razoabilidade no prazo de andamento de um processo judicial constitui, em princípio, por si mesma, uma violação das garantias judiciais. A esse respeito, a Corte considerou quatro elementos para determinar a razoabilidade do prazo: a) a complexidade do assunto; b) a atividade processual do interessado; c) a conduta das autoridades judiciais, e d) a afetação provocada na situação jurídica da pessoa implicada no processo.

    (4) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010, Série C, nº 219, parágrafo 253: (...) o Brasil deve adotar todas as medidas que sejam necessárias para assegurar que a Lei de Anistia e as leis de sigilo não continuem a representar um obstáculo para a persecução penal contra graves violações de direitos humanos. Além disso, solicitou que se publiquem os resultados dessa investigação, para que a sociedade brasileira possa conhecer esse período de sua história.

    (5) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010, Série C, nº 219, parágrafo 174: Dada sua manifesta incompatibilidade com a Convenção Americana, as disposições da Lei de Anistia brasileira que impedem a investigação e sanção de graves violações de direitos humanos carecem de efeitos jurídicos. Em consequência, não podem continuar a representar um obstáculo para a investigação dos fatos do presente caso, nem para a identificação e punição dos responsáveis, nem podem ter igual ou similar impacto sobre outros casos de graves violações de direitos humanos consagrados na Convenção Americana ocorridos no Brasil.

    (6) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010.

    (7) idem.

    (8) Joana D’Arc F. Ferraz, Carolina D. B. Scarpelli. Ditadura Militar no Brasil: Desafios da Memória e do Patrimônio. Available in: http://encontro2008.rj.anpuh.org/resources/content/anais/1212961440_ARQUIVO_TrabalhoCompletoanpuhrj2008.pdf  page 2

    (9) Rodrigo Corrêa Diniz Peixoto. Guerrilha do Araguaia and the afterwards war's social memory. Available in: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1981-81222011000300002#back10

    (10) BRASIL. Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República. Direito à Memória e à Verdade. Comissão Especial sobre Mortos e Desaparecidos Políticos. Brasília: Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos, 2007.

    (11) Idem, page 3.

    (12) Brazilian Government, Memorial da Anistia Política do Brasil terá R$ 10 milhões. Available  in: http://www.brasil.gov.br/economia-e-emprego/2016/01/memorial-da-anistia-politica-do-brasil-tera-r-10-milhoes

    (13) Hoje em dia. Mortos da ditadura h=ganham monumento em Belo Horizonte. Available in: http://hojeemdia.com.br/primeiro-plano/pol%C3%ADtica/mortos-da-ditadura-militar-ganham-monumento-em-belo-horizonte-1.150554

    (14) Governo do Brasil, Memorias da Ditadura. Available in: http://memoriasdaditadura.org.br/ 

    (15) Portal Vermelho. Celso Sabadin. Osvaldão é filme obrigatório sobre líder do Araguaia. Available in: http://www.vermelho.org.br/noticia/274314-11

    (16) Revista Fórum, Filme narra a historia do comandante da Guerrilha do Araguaia que virou mito. Available in: https://www.revistaforum.com.br/rodrigovianna/vestigios/filme-narra-historia-comandante-da-guerrilha-araguaia-que-virou-mito-na-regiao/

    (17) Filme Araguaya - A Conspiração do Silêncio. Direção: Ronaldo Duque. Manaus. Produtora Paris Filmes. DVD, stereo, color. Duração: 109 min. 2007.

    (18) Governo do Brasil. Camponeses do Araguaia vão receber indenização após 30 anos. Available in: http://www.brasil.gov.br/cidadania-e-justica/2011/11/camponeses-do-araguaia-vao-receber-indenizacao-apos-30-anos

    (19) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010

    (20) Memórias da Ditadura. Comissão Nacional da Verdade. Available in: http://memoriasdaditadura.org.br/comissao-nacional-da-verdade-2/index.html

    (21) Joana D’Arc F. Ferraz , Carolina D. B. Scarpelli. Ditadura Militar no Brasil: Desafios da Memória e do Patrimônio. Available in: http://encontro2008.rj.anpuh.org/resources/content/anais/1212961440_ARQUIVO_TrabalhoCompletoanpuhrj2008.pdf  page 6.

    Note: This essay was conducted for the evaluation of the course Sociological Analysis of International Law (Prof. Moshe Hirsch - Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • 23 Nov 2017 15:51 | Pamela Teutli (Administrator)

    Conoce a nuestra Kuadrilla: Entrevistas con el alumnado de la Maestría del IISJ

    Serie de entrevistas semanales por Pamela Teutli y Emma Hyndman

    Los estudiantes de maestría David López Martínez (Colombia) y Narith Non (Cambodia) son compañeros de cuarto, compañeros de clase y amigos. Platicamos con ellos sobre su relación, que han aprendido en Oñati y sobre lo que su amistad significa para ellos. David y Narith se llevaron bien desde el primer momento y frecuentemente los puedes encontrar cocinando juntos en la residencia o compartiendo notas en clase. Fueron muy amables en ofrecerse como voluntarios para esta primera entrevista de una continua serie llamada “Conoce a nuestra Kuadrilla”. Estas entrevistas buscan que la Comunidad de Oñati tenga la oportunidad de conocer a los actuales estudiantes de maestría. Les hicimos unas algunas preguntas iniciales a David y Narith y luego les dimos la oportunidad de entrevistarse el uno al otro.

    Que lo disfruten!

    *Nota del editor: Esta entrevista ha sido condensada y editada para mayor claridad


    Entrevistadora: ¿Cómo decidieron venir al IISJ en Oñati?

    Narith: Para ser honesto, no sé que hacer con mi vida. Después de graduarme como abogado, quería trabajar en el sector privado pero estaba perdido. Tenía un amigo en Cambodia que estuvo de intercambio de la Universidad de Indonesia y él fue quién me compartió la información sobre Oñati. Decidí aplicar y fui exitosamente aceptado, entonces aquí estoy. Vine aquí a probar y ver que nuevas cosas pudiera aprender.

    Ya han pasado dos o tres meses desde que llegué y encuentro que todo es hermoso aquí, inclusive todo el nuevo conocimiento. Nunca me he arrepentido de haber venido. Todo lo que he aprendido ha sido muy satisfactorio.

    David: El venir aquí ha sido una grandiosa e interesante experiencia. Hay tantos temas por entender, tantas culturas, tantas cosas nuevas que he logrado aprender en tan solo un par de meses. Yo estoy en una situación similar a la de Narith, no tengo idea de lo que quiero hacer con mi vida. En la carrera de Derecho estaba interesado en sociología y antropología. Algunos profesores y amigos me sugirieron venir a Oñati a estudiar porque es el programa más importante de este estilo en todo Europa.

    German Bernal, mi profesor de sociología del derecho, me sugirió por primera vez este programa. El vino a Oñati como visiting scholar hace unos veinte años. Andrés Abel Rodríguez también influenció mi decisión de aplicar a este programa, el pasó tiempo en Oñati durante su post-doctorado. Finalmente, cuando conocí a Mauricio García de XXX, el me convenció que el Instituto es uno de los lugares más interesantes en el mundo para estudiar sociología del derecho.

    David: Ka [el apodo de Narith], ¿cómo haz percibido la multiplicidad de culturas?

    Narith: Hay muchas culturas y personas viviendo aquí, diferentes personas de diferentes lugares. Cuando estaba en mi país, no conocía mucho sobre otros países. Tenía una perspectiva de los Estados Unidos, que no aceptan personas musulmanas, por ejemplo. Pero aquí las personas son muy amables, aceptante a los migrantes. No les preocupa la competencia laboral, y aceptan diferentes religiones y culturas. Son muy amables, creo que esto es algo muy positivo.

    Narith: ¿Cómo te sientes viviendo en Oñati? ¿Cuándo ves a otras personas de Colombia te sientes como en casa o te da nostalgia?

    David: Es una cuestión de sentimientos encontrados. Es bueno el hecho de que hay una multiplicidad de culturas que están combinadas en una región geográfica pequeña. Me impresiona mucho esta situación. Tal vez esto nos está motivando a retener una sensación de unión que va más allá de los espacios continentales. La coexistencia de muchas culturas, muchos contextos, personalidades. Todas las personas tienen algo importante que enseñarnos. En esta maestría aprendes de las experiencias de los demás, de sus visiones, su lenguaje, pero lo más importante aprendes de sus historias.


    Entrevistadora: ¿Qué han aprendido el uno del otro y cómo ha sido su relación como compañeros de cuarto, de clase y amigos?

    David: Para mí ha sido sorprendente que somos tan similares. Compartimos muchas sensibilidades acerca del mundo. He admirado la disposición de Narith de escuchar a los demás en sus diferentes idiomas, su habilidad para aprender. Hay mensajes sobre el budismo que he aprendido de él. Por ejemplo, la idea de que la razón por la que estás vivo es para dar. Escucho las historias de Narith sobre su contexto, la historia de Cambodia con Khmer Rouge, sus costumbres.

    Narith: Yo también he aprendido mucho de ti. David es una persona muy disciplinada! A veces no es tan disciplinado pero una manera positive. Yo pospongo mi alarma si estoy viendo la tele y quiero seguir viéndola en vez de leer, pero David pospone su alarma mientras está leyendo para poder leer más. Siempre quiere seguir leyendo. Yo intento aprender de él pero es difícil. Es muy inteligente y disciplinado. Intento observar la forma en que come, como vive, trato de percibir su contexto en su país. ¿Qué es lo que lo hace así? A veces, cuando me lo cuestionó, se lo preguntó.

    David: Tú tienes muchas frases que me recuerdan a la sabiduría popular en Colombia. Disfrutas la simplicidad de la vida con las personas. Por ejemplo, he admirado tu sensibilidad con la naturaleza. Cuando vamos caminando, tú ves hacía arriba a los arboles y preguntas que tipo de árboles son y las plantas que nos rodean.

    Narith: Yo tengo una razón para ser sensible con la naturaleza, porque vengo de un contexto de agricultura, mi familia trabaja la tierra. Pero tú también tienes un gran amor por la naturaleza, de cualquier tipo! Cuando fuimos a Urrbia no querías perderte la oportunidad de ir hasta la cima, sin importar  que algunos de nosotros estábamos dudando porque hacía mucho frío. Te gusta pasar tiempo en el bosque y ver la naturaleza, aprender de estos lugares y de las personas.

    David: Yo admiro tus historias.

    Narith: ¿Sobre qué?

    David: Sobre todo. ¿Te acuerdas de la gacha?

    Narith: Sí, sí me acuerdo.

    David: Es una historia sobre el sufrimiento causado por la dictadura. Narith me contó sobre la comida que prepara y una forma especial de preparer el arroz--

    Narith: Usamos muy poco arroz para alimentar a muchas personas. Tal vez una taza de arroz sin cocer puede alimentar hasta 5 o 6 personas. Esto comenzó durante la dictadura. La gente se estaba muriendo de hambre porque el gobierno solo daba una taza de arroz para alimentar a cientos de personas y lo empezaron a mezclar con vegetales. David siempre aprecia este tipo de historias.

    "En esta maestría puedes aprender de todas las personas. Su lenguaje, su contexto, pero lo más importante, sus historias".


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