(Geneva, 16th November 2016) The international legal team of former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is filing additional evidence of abuses by the Brazilian justice system to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) in Geneva.
The submission of new evidence by former UN appeal judge, Human Rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC, Cristiano Zanin Martins and Valeska Teixeira Zanin Martins, Lula’s lawyers, follows the original petition filed at the United Nations on 28th July 2016 which was registered by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on 26th October 2016.
The violations by the judicial system outlined to the United Nations in the July petition have continued. There is no impartial judge and the judiciary haven’t observed the presumption of innocence. The Brazilian judiciary system has taken no effective measure to stop these violations. With the first hearings scheduled for next week, additional evidence of violations will be submitted regarding Judge Moro’s unfitness to be the trial judge including:
– Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which ensures presumption of innocence, continues to be violated. This was illustrated on 14th September by Operation Car Wash Task Force prosecutors holding a press conference broadcasted nationwide to accuse Lula –without any evidence– of being the leader of a criminal organization and treating him as a convicted person. Violations to Article 14 which ensures a fair and impartial trial including evidence of Judge Moro acting as the accuser not as a judge as well as denying Lula’s right to utilze independent expert account.
– Lula is attacked on a daily basis by sections of the Brazilian press which manipulate documents and information of Operation Car Wash. In addition, some Brazilian media organisations have even made public a schedule of Lula’s conviction and have also claimed there are “political conditions” to convict Lula illustrating the political nature of these proceedings.
– Operation Car Wash prosecutors require, as condition to accept plea bargain agreements, that they require some sort of accusations against Lula –even though knowing they do not effectively have any grounds or evidence. Several times Operation Car Wash has accused Lula of obstruction of justice based on the plea bargain statement signed by an impeached senator in return for their release from jail.
– Violations to Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights –which ensures the right to privacy – continues to be exploited with Lula’s private telephone conversations, which were wire tapped and made public by Judge Sérgio Moro continue to be publicised. Even conversations between Lula and his attorneys are explored by sectors of the national press on a daily basis. Other documents belonging to Lula and to his relatives, whose privacy are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution are daily made public on the press, such as bank statements and tax returns.
Cristiano Zanin Martins of Teixeira, Martins & Advogados said: “We are submitting to the United Nations further evidence of abuses against Lula by the Brazilian justice system as it is clear that we have exhausted effective legal remedies in Brazil. Despite evidence of violations being continually presented, the Brazilian Judiciary Branch has taken no effective measure to stop these violations. It is essential that Lula’s fundamental rights are guaranteed so that he has the right to a fair trial that starts next week.
We have consistently said that action against corruption, especially political and institutional corruption, is of vital importance to democracy. Lula does not oppose any investigation that is fair and open but it is clear the actions of the judicial system are designed to ensure that Lula does not receive a fair trial. It is a tragedy for Brazilian democracy that the actions of prosecutors have consistently been biased and flawed. That is why I have submitted further evidence to the independent and impartial Human Rights Committee in Geneva.”
Geoffrey Robertson QC of Doughty Street Chambers said: “Lula is bringing his case at the UN because he cannot get justice in Brazil under its unreformed inquisitorial system. We are submitting additional evidence to the Human Rights Committee regarding Judge Moro’s unfitness to be the trial judge, which he becomes next week. No judge in Europe could act in this way, in effect both as his prosecutor and as his trial judge. This is a serious fault in the inquisitorial system as it operates in Brazil.”
The UN Human Rights Committee has been asked to rule that Judge Moro and the “Car Wash” Federal Prosecutors have violated Lula’s rights to privacy, freedom from arbitrary arrest and right to be presumed innocent until found guilty. The evidence focuses on the leaking of confidential material to the media, the unlawful issue of a bench warrant, illegal disclosure of telephone intercepts, use of indeterminate pre-trial detention against “Car Wash” suspects, obtaining plea bargains and numerous examples of the prosecutors and Moro’s pronounced bias against Lula.
Citing precedents from previous decisions of the HRC and from other international courts, the petition maintains that under international law, Judge Moro, by virtue of his pronounced lack of impartiality and by the fact that he has already been found to have committed a number of unlawful acts against Lula, is irredeemably biased and therefore cannot be permitted to order his arrest or to put him on trial. If such steps are to be taken, they must be decided by an impartial judge.
The petition to the HRC is believed to be the first ever taken against Brazil, which ratified the Committee’s protocol in 2009. It has been prepared by Lula’s long-term legal advisers, Teixeira, Martins & Advogados with the assistance of a former UN appeal judge, Human Rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC. The Committee is comprised of 18 distinguished jurists drawn from a cross-section of countries (including Italy, France, United States of America, Germany, Argentina and United Kingdom.)
Lula vehemently denies the claims against him but is not opposed to be investigated in a fair and open manner. Prosecutors have presented no evidence against Lula and a fair trial will recognize this. Judge Moro has painted himself as an ‘attack judge’ willing to court publicity – particularly in the United States – for himself and to use techniques such as public disclosure of telephone taps and indefinite detention to pressuring suspects into “plea bargains.” The petition sets out reasons why such strategies violate the International Covenant. The Brazilian government has been given two months from 26th October 2016 in which to make any objections to the complaint going forward to adjudication.