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Custody Hearing Project reaches 14 States with the inclusion of Piauí


Monday, August 24, 2015

Piauí, which is the state with the fourth highest percentage of provisional prisoners of the country (64%), behind only Sergipe, Bahia and Maranhão, joined last Friday (21/8) the Custody Hearing Project, developed by the National Council of Justice (CNJ) in partnership with the State Courts of Justice. The project is one of the priorities of the current management of the Council and, in States in which it has already been deployed, it has managed to reduce by up to 50% the number of people who remain trapped before even being judged.

The inclusion of Piauí to the project was marked by a ceremony of signing the terms of cooperation between the CNJ, the Court of Justice of the State of Piauí (TJ-PI) and the State Government. The event happened in the Civil and Criminal Forum Joaquim de Sousa Neto, in Teresina, with the presence of the President of the CNJ and of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Minister Ricardo Lewandowski, as well as Governor Wellington Dias, the Mayor of Teresina, Firmino Filho, the President of TJPI, judge Raimundo Eufrasio  Alves Filho, the General- Corregidor of Justice, judge Sebastião Martins, and the General-Public Defender of the State of Piauí, Francisca Hildeth Leal Evangelista Nunes, among other authorities.

The Custody Hearing  Project consists in the fast presentation of prisoners who have been arrested on the act of the crime to a judge to be evaluated the legality and necessity of the arrest, or the possibility of application of precautionary measures instead of prison, as provided in international treaties and conventions signed by Brazil, such as the Pact on Civil and Political Rights and the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Civilizing leap

According to Minister Lewandowski, the project represents a “Civilizing leap” for Brazil. "We are, with this step, not only giving effectiveness to a very important principle, which is the dignity of the human person, but also fulfilling an obligation that the country has taken by signing international treaties," he said.

In his speech, the President of the CNJ recalled the work of the Italian philosopher Norberto Bobbio, one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, which classifies as a "moral progress of humanity" the moment when the world acquires the awareness that is not enough to just theorize about fundamental rights or provide them in laws, but it´s necessary to give concreteness to them. "That's what we're doing right now in favor of a minority that historically has been relegated to the most complete abandonment, which is the people who are temporarily in the custody of the State," he said.

Minister Lewandowski recalled the importance of the local union between the organs of the three branches to the success of the project. "These initiatives will not succeed if they are printed only by the Judiciary. We need the collaboration of the Executive, the Legislative and civil society too”, he said, pointing out that, though unrelated, the three Branches must work in harmony for the good of the country.

Piauí is the fourteenth State to join the project. It was already adopted by São Paulo, Espírito Santo, Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Amazonas, Tocantins, Goiás, Paraíba, Pernambuco and Ceará.

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