Federal Prosecutors Office in Brazil denounces members of the military responsible for the death of journalist Vladimir Herzog

Rio de Janeiro, March 18, 2020.- Forty-five years after the murder of journalist Vladimir Herzog, the Federal Prosecutor's Office (MPF) announced it would start criminal proceedings against those responsible for his death, in compliance with a ruling issued in 2018 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I-A Court).

The MPF decided to denounce the military personnel who participated in the murder, those who tampered with the crime scene and the medical examiners involved in the preparation of false necroscopic reports to ensure the concealment and impunity of the murderer. The MPF also denounced other actors in the military justice system who committed the crime of malfeasance by failing to investigate in order to conceal the real truth about the death of Vladimir Herzog, a journalist who was arbitrarily detained, tortured and murdered on October 25, 1975 by agents from the Information Operations Department of the Army's II São Paulo   Internal Defense Operations Center (DOI / CODI) during a time of systematic and widespread attacks against civilians considered "opponents" of the military regime.

The official version of Vladimir Herzog's death, given by the military justice, was that the journalist committed suicide. In 1992, Brazilian authorities started an investigation,that was filed under the Amnesty Law.

On March 5, 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an international sentence in which it determined that the crimes committed by the Brazilian military dictatorship were crimes against humanity. The version of suicide given by the Military Justice was characterized, by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court), as fraudulent. The sentence made the Brazilian State responsible internationally for the lack of investigation and the lack of truth about the crimes committed against Herzog, and determined that the Brazilian State initiate with due diligence, the investigation and the appropriate criminal proceedings to identify, prosecute and, if applicable , punish those responsible for the torture and death of Vladimir Herzog.

“As an organization that represented Herzog's family members before the Inter-American System on Human Rights, the criminal complaint filed by the Federal Public Ministry is a significant step towards obtaining justice. We hope that the judicial authority will comply with the determination of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and that it will adopt a position on the interpretation of the Brazilian Amnesty Law that guarantees the realization of justice ”, stated Alexandra Montgomery, Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in Brazil.

Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL, indicated that “the steps taken by the Public Ministry imposes on the judiciary the enormous responsibility to reverse the impunity of crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship, in compliance with the international obligations assumed by Brazil. We hope that the Brazilian justice system will comply with the judgment of the Inter-American Court and support the claim of truth and justice of the family of Vladimir Herzog. ”

The Federal Public Ministry also submitted an urgent request despite the suspension of deadlines due to the coronavirus COVID-19. This measure was adopted due to the need to comply with the decision of the Inter-American Court and the defendants' advanced age.

"We hope that the Brazilian State, which sovereignly ratified the American Convention, will comply with the binding decisions of its court: the I / A Court," said Ivo Herzog, son of the journalist.