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Brazil: Judiciary Under Attack

(Jan. 18, 2012) On January 12, 2012, another criminal attack occurred against Brazil's judiciary, the third to date in the new year, leaving two people wounded. The incident took place in the city of Rio Claro, in the State of São Paulo, when a package sent through the mail exploded after being opened inside a courthouse.

The first attack, a fire in the courthouse of Nova Serrana in the State of Minas Gerais, took place on January 2. The second occurred on January 4, in the State of Ceará, where the relatives of a judge were attacked.

A press release issued by the Brazilian Association of Judges (Associação Brasileira de Magistrados – AMB) stated, “for the third time this year, a tragic fact confirms the escalation of violence against judges and courthouses that started on January 2 in Minas Gerais and again on January 4 in Ceará.” (Presidente da AMB “Repudia” Terceiro Atentado Contra Juízes em Menos de Um Ano, JORNAL DO BRASIL (Jan. 12, 2012).) The release further says that the Association will not tolerate another act as barbarous as the August 12, 2011, murder in Rio de Janeiro of their fellow judge, Patricia Acioli, who suffered 21 gunshot wounds.

The Association emphasized:

It is not without reason that this has been repeatedly happening across the country, given the unique lack of security in the courthouses, as AMB has been reporting since the beginning of last year. These actions configure a real challenge to citizenship and democratic institutions, as reported in the Manifesto for Security issued by AMB and other affiliated associations. (Id.)

The Association called for the adoption of vigorous action by the security forces and by the legislative and judicial branches, such as the creation of a police service specially trained to meet the needs of the court house environment. (Id.)