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Representatives of the Judiciary of the Portuguese-speaking countries visit bodies of the Brazilian Judiciary

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The second day of activities of the Tobias Barreto program was marked by visits to bodies of the judiciary in order to show, in practice, the workings of justice in Brazil to judges from the member countries of the Conference on Constitutional Jurisdictions of the Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CJCPLP).

The delegation is composed of the Judge Efigenia Mariquinha dos Santos Clemente and Judge Issac Paulo, International Advisor, both from the Constitutional Court of Angola, Judge Anildo Martins, from the Constitutional Court of Cape Verde, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice of Guinea-Bissau, Maria do Céu Monteiro, Judge Lucia da Luz Ribeiro, from the Constitutional Council of Mozambique, Judge Justino Tavares Veiga, from the Supreme Court of Justice of Sao Tome and Principe and Judge Antonino Gonçalves, representative from the Court of Appeals of East Timor.

Protection to women suffering domestic violence

In the morning the magistrates visited the Court for Domestic and Family Violence against Women in Nucleo Bandeirante, and to the Judicial Center for Women Suffering Domestic Violence, both located in Forum Desembargador Hugo Auler (Nucleo Bandeirante/DF). The magistrates were welcomed by the second vice-president of the Court of Justice, Judge Lecir Manoel da Luz, by the coordinator of the Permanent Center for Methods and Conflict Resolution, Judge Roberval Belinatti, and learned good practices adopted by Judges Ben-Hur Viza and Carlos Bismarck, coordinators of the CJM/DF, regarding the applicability of the Maria da Penha Law (Law 11.340/2006).

Judge Ben Hur-Viza, head of the special Court on Domestic and Family Violence against Women, and the multidisciplinary staff of the court, presented a project developed in the area of Nucleo Bandeirante for full protection of women suffering domestic violence. The project relies on the joint efforts of the police, community and the judiciary.

The preventive action has as main objective to empower women, which in most cases are in a situation of subservience and domination. It covers all areas of action in combating domestic violence: in police service, the victim has full legal and psychological assistance; in the community level, lectures are taught at schools, seminars and meetings of the support group happen; in the legal area, the victim is received at the CJM/DF by the multidisciplinary staff, responsible for mediating solutions to the issues surrounding civil cases related to the conflict (child custody, alimony, divorce, partition of community property, etc).

Besides presenting their action, the speakers presented the statistical data of the service in the first half of 2012. From January to July, the Court for Domestic Violence of Nucleo Bandeirante made calls to 587 women, 287 calls to lawyers, held 345 hearings, determined pursuit of 189 cases, required 33 filings, concocted 54 civil agreements (alimony / parental visits / custody) and made 170 referrals to women to the protection network.

Electoral Justice

In the afternoon, the magistrates visited the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and the Superior Court of Justice (STJ). The visit to TSE occurred in a quite unique moment, just after the first round of the municipal elections of 2012. After learning a little about the electoral history of Brazil through means that depict the evolution from the wooden boxes of mid-nineteenth century to the twenty-first century electronic ballot box, and other objects from the museum of TSE, the delegation was received by the Secretary- general of the court, Carlos Henrique Braga, who guided them to a visit to the office of president of the TSE, Justice Carmen Lucia.

Then the auxiliary judge to presidency, Paulo Tamburini, explained the functioning of the Brazilian Electoral Justice, illustrating the constitutional rules and electoral law with case studies from the last election and past elections. During the meeting, were presented issues as the organization of the Brazilian state and its impact on elections, plebiscites and referenda, the concepts of the hare quota (simple quota) ratio and coefficient partisan election, geographical features of the various parts of the country that influence the logistics of preparing for elections, the Clean Record Law, speed and security of the elections in Brazil, processing of electoral crimes, among others. At the end, visitors had the opportunity to vote on an electronic ballot box.

Superior Court of Justice

In the STJ, the group was received by President of the STJ, Justice Felix Fischer, and Carlos Fernandes Mathias, retired judge of the Federal Court of the 1st Region. Justice Fischer spoke on the duties and functioning of the Superior Court of Justice. "It is here in STJ where congregate, so harmonious, judges, prosecutors and lawyers, in the task of standardizing the interpretation of federal law ". He added that the electronic handling of cases, which began in STJ is a major breakthrough for the Brazilian judiciary: "We are concerned in shortening as much as possible the distances between power structures and the recipients of its activity".

According to the representative of Guinea-Bissau, meetings like this strengthen the judiciary of Portuguese-speaking countries: "We are here to interact and we have succeeded. Yesterday was a phenomenal, perfect day and we learned very much. We have historical ties and a common language and this interaction is necessary". About the visit to STJ, Maria do Ceu Monteiro said one positive thing she noted was the tradition of electing presidents by the criterion of seniority. "For young countries like ours, it's always ugly when there are 'disputes' at the time of elections for the presidency. Here, it is more peaceful, because there is already the criterion of seniority. There is a tranquility that contributes to peace”, she said.

Tobias Barreto Program aims to enhance legal cooperation between the countries of the Conference on Constitutional Jurisdictions of Portuguese Language Countries (CJCPLP). The first edition of the program, inaugurated by the Supreme Court, took place between 8 and 10 October 2012.

* With information from the Appelate Court of the Federal District and Territories and the Superior Court of Justice.

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