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Chief Justice Peluso opens Judicial Year of 2012

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012


The Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) held today a formal session marking the opening of the Judicial Year of 2012. The event was attended by the President of the House of Representatives, Marco Maia, and of Congress, Senator José Sarney, and the Vice President, Michel Temer.

At the official Judicial Year opening ceremonythe President of the Supreme Court rejected an alleged crisis that would be going through the Judiciary and assured to "all Brazilian citizens" that the judges will continue to fulfill their function "with independence, haughtiness and pride, guarding the Constitution and the legal order". Emphasizing the "humbleness and courage necessary to the make course corrections and the improvement of justice". The President of the STF said, also, that the Judiciary will defend, "without fear, the honor of our staff and the prestige of the institution".


In the opening of his speech, Peluso remarked that he is hearing, "with surprise, that the Judiciary is in crisis. "The most alarmists do not rule out even the other two branches of government, but, oblivious to the catastrophic vision, that's not how I see the country nor the Judiciary", stated. To the Minister, the current debate is a result of advances such as increased transparency and openness, and not a symptom of crisis or failure of the Judiciary, "historically more translucent and monitored than their counterparts".

Peluso made sure to point out that "none of the ills that still plague Brazilian society can be attributed to the judiciary" - not even the sense of impunity, which can not be attributed only to the inertia of Justice, but a set of independent factors and actors. "A judge does not make investigation nor produce prosecution evidence", he said. "Neither the criminal justice system was invented only to punish, but to judge according to law".

Backed by numbers that reaffirm an "explosion of judicial demands" - which, in 2011, may exceed the mark of 23 million sentences - the President of STF said that the Judiciary did not lose credibility, and that the people continue to rely on Brazilian Justice. "If they did not trust, they would not turn to the judiciary on such a colossal scale", he said.


The speech stressed that the independence of the judiciary lies mainly in its ability to act against the majority. This role is not, however, the duty of protecting minority rights against the risk of oppression of the majority, but also to face undue pressure.

"Pressures are manifestations of authoritarianism and disrespect for democratic coexistence", stated. The assassination of four judges in recent past "did not cool down or intimidated the courage and independence of the Judiciary in its ordinary function, diurnal, almost hidden, but irreplaceable in terms of democracy”, said Peluso.


When mentioning the "passionate debate" about the constitutional role and powers of the National Council of Justice (CNJ), which awaits decision by the Supreme Court, Peluso said that the heart of the matter is not the indisputable need for punishment of abuses, but to know who should do it. "Between one thing and another goes a considerable distance", stated.

The President of the Supreme Court recognizes that the CNJ and the Judiciary is "as imperfect, in human ingredients, as all the other strata of society, without exception", but claims that its "astonishing majority" is loyal to moral principles in their professional practice. And he also recalled that corruption "is not the subject of spontaneous generation or the result of forces outside the social dynamics", but the product of societies that emphasize "the conquest and accumulation, by any method, of property, by damaging the cultivation of ethic values and public and private decency".

The Minister pointed out that none of the other Branches have an apparatus of control as structured as the Judiciary do, which have in the CNJ the only agency built by external agents to exercise "continuous and rigorous monitoring of their own power". And he also noted that while inspection tasks call more attention from society, the CNJ, in addition to administrative, financial and disciplinary control, is also responsible for the political and strategic planning of the entire Judiciary, and have been playing, in this area, a decisive role as "engine of development of the judiciary".

Read the full speech

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