One month later, attacks in Brasília raise debate about Justice’s role

Movidos pela recusa em aceitar um presidente eleito e inspirados por teorias da conspiração, manifestantes cometeram uma série de atos de vandalismo (Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil)
Daniel Amorim – Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – On Sunday morning, January 8, 2023, the Three Powers Square in Brasília became the scene of the most serious attack on Brazilian democracy since the end of civil-military dictatorship. Supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) invaded the buildings of Congress, the Planalto Palace and the Supreme Court (STF), and committed a series of acts of terrorism.

Motivated by the refusal to accept the democratically elected president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), and instigated by conspiracy theories disseminated on messaging apps, vandals demanded for themselves the right to determine leadership in the country.

A month after the episode, no participant of the Three Powers invasions has been punished. According to Capoulican Padilha, president of the Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association in Amazonas (OAB-AM), this is a formal aspect of Brazilian justice, which works through deadlines defined by law for the production of evidence in the process and the manifestation of the defense and the prosecution.


“The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) is still making official the charges, the formal accusations of those involved. We can’t talk about successes and mistakes in this sense. Those who are in preventive custody are procedural prisoners awaiting trial”, he stresses.

On the other hand, among the measures that still need to be taken, Padilha cites the need for further investigations to define the profile of the coup plotters’ actions. “Another relevant information is the identity of the leaders, who did not participate in the events and financed the command chair and the criminal actions”, he adds.

Expert cites the need to identify those behind the coup attempt (Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino/Direitos reservados)

In this context, the only caveat is what Padilha calls the “precipitated action of the judiciary” which goes against the folkloric slowness of Brazilian justice, and may favor arguments from defense lawyers. “I think that the Public Prosecutor’s Office is offering charges and accusations in a somewhat hasty way. I don’t know what the motivation is. And this can compromise the progress of the process, insofar as a good defender can exploit these accusations.”

Rule versus exception

In the debates about the coup d’état in Brasília, there is a recurring criticism of the Justice system: the punishment in advance was applied to people without great purchasing power or influence in politics. Large-scale imprisonment is defended even by leftist groups, in general against a system that penalizes the black and peripheral population without conditions for defense.

“We need to understand that, according to the law, imprisonment is the exception and not the rule. You investigate the facts, identify the subjects involved in the criminal act and file charges with the Justice Department, which will accept them or not, and summon the accused for their own defense,” explains sociologist Luiz Antônio do Nascimento, a professor at the Federal University of Amazonas (Ufam). “The arrest occurs when the subject is hindering the investigations or continues to practice crime, which seems to be occurring.”

However, the professor believes that the standard procedure of justice should guarantee the punishment of the articulators of the coup attempt. “The police investigation starts with the ‘small fish’, which will provide evidence – because they are not worried about keeping evidence – and, after that, the authorities will get to the big and bigger fish,” he adds.


O que você achou deste conteúdo?



Os comentários são de responsabilidade exclusiva de seus autores e não representam a opinião deste site. Se achar algo que viole os termos de uso, denuncie. Leia as perguntas mais frequentes para saber o que é impróprio ou ilegal.