Enforced Disappearance Legal Database

Gomes Lund et al. (“Guerrilha Do Araguaia”) v. Brazil

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Refusal to Disclose Fate | Right to Know the Truth | Duty to Investigate | Amnesties | Burden of Proof

The Court found that amnesty laws are expressly non-compatible with the ACHR, causing the laws in place at the time to lack legal effect. Further, the Court also elaborated its position regarding relatives' right to access information under Article 13 of the Convention. It held that a refusal to provide information must be accompanied by a well-founded response, and that it may not require the requester to prove the information sought exists, but that the state carries the burden of establishing denying access to this information. The state must act in good faith and diligently, particularly in cases of grave human rights violations such as enforced disappearances.

Judgment Date

November 24, 2010

Country

Brazil

Judicial Body

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Articles violated

Article 1(1) [ACHR], Article 2 [ACHR], Article 3 [ACHR], Article 4 [ACHR], Article 5(1) [ACHR], Article 7 [ACHR], Article 8(1) [ACHR], Article 13 [ACHR], Article 13(1) [ACHR], Article 25 [ACHR], Article 25(1) [ACHR]

Facts of the Case

Following a coup d’état in 1964, the Armed Forces of Brazil perpetrated violence against and forcedly disappeared members of the "Guerrilha do Araguaia" between 1972 and 1975. The Guerrilha do Araguaia group was a resistance movement against the military dictatorship that was formed following the coup d’état and included, inter alia, members of the opposition communist party of Brazil and students. The Armed Forces’ campaign included identifying members of the group and disappearing them, often by means of burying them in unmarked graves. The families were denied information about their loved ones’ whereabouts and in 1979, the state passed an amnesty law which meant that the disappearances were not investigated, and those responsible were not prosecuted or punished.

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