Memory and National Reconciliation: The Impasse of Amnesty in the Unfinished Transition to Democracy in Brazil


Thursday, September 9, 2010 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm


BSL Thomas and Mack Moot Court Facility

Professor José Carlos Moreira da Silva Filho, Associate Professor on the Faculty of Law and the Post-Graduate Program of Criminal Sciences at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Brazil, and a member of the Brazilian Amnesty Commission, will discuss the efforts of the current government to deal with the legacy of a brutal military dictatorship, and his role on the Amnesty Commission. Da Silva’s primary research interests are philosophy of law, human rights and private law. His specific research projects have focused on transitional justice, the relationship of philosophical hermeneutics to law, contract law, and the rights-bearing legal subject.

The Brazilian Amnesty Commission was created in 2001 to provide compensation to the victims of crimes of torture committed during Brazil’s years of military dictatorship, 1964-1985. That dictatorship granted amnesty to the perpetrators of political violence in 1979. In January 2010 Brazil’s National Secretary for Human Rights proposed the Third National Program of Human Rights. This proposed program includes a plan to create a Truth Commission for Brazil, the only country in South America that does not have one. The proposal is now stuck in the Brazilian Congress awaiting the next presidential election. Professor da Silva will address the difficulties now facing the proponents of the Truth Commission.

His talk is sponsored by the William S. Boyd School of Law, the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution, and the Institute for Latin America Studies.