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Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski lectures about international rules and sanctions in England

At a lecture that took place on Tuesday 24th in London, England, The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court's (STF) Chief Justice, Ricardo Lewandowski, defended the relevance of using sanctioning means in order to ensure the observance of international legislation and to solve possible violations. During the lecture presented on Global Law Summit, Justice Lewandowski addressed the given theme, “The relation between sanctions and the State of law” from a practical point of view, detailing in a direct manner the main international legal systems in which Brazil is a part of, and how this systems deal with the imposition of sanctions.

According to the Justice, the sanctions are means to reach a goal: bring back each country demeanour to the international legislation observance. “In order to enrich the international law improvement, they must be used as tools to peace, balance, justice and preservation of the State of Law itself”, he concluded.
The Global Law Summit gathers authorities, lawyers and businessmen to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the 1215 Magna Carta, considered to be a mark on the uprising of Constitutional Law. “The Magna Carta norms are the seed that, centuries later, would result on what we now call of State of Law”, highlighted the Justice. “They brought the basic understanding that a nation leaders can be held responsible for their actions, and that the people must be safe from any abuse or misconduct of power”.


The first international law discussed in the lecture was the UN system, in which Brazil is a founding member and member countries are submitted to the decisions of the Security Council, responsible for analyzing any threats and for inserting means to maintain the peace.  To exemplify, he recalled that in the days that he held the Presidency of Brazil, on september of 2014, he signed the Presidential Decree, ensuring the Security Council’s Resolution 2.111/2013, which introduced amendments to the arms escheat to Somalia.
"It’s important to notice that these measure - commonly called ' sanction' – is not to be understood as a punishment, but as a mechanism to induce compliance with the regulation and to 'maintain or restore international peace and security' , as explicitly ensured on Article 39 of the UN Charter , "he said . "When sanctions are not sufficient, the Security Council may decide to use military force ."


The World Trade Organization (WTO ) , which Brazil is also a founding member , is recognized for its sophisticated dispute resolution system and for sanctioning members who violate their legal obligations in international trade - which guarantees to the party that files a complaint the possibility of " retaliate " the member who has failed to fulfill its obligations - by increasing import tariffs , restrictions in accessing the services market or even to have its intellectual property rights suspended, among others.
"In 2014 , Brazil benefited  from the effectiveness of the WTO sanctions on the 'cotton dispute', which was a dispute that lasted over a decade of Brazil against the United States over state subsidies to cotton farmers in that country ," he concluded . With the signing of the agreement in 2010, in order to avoid the sanctions, the US paid more than US$ 600 million in compensation to Brazilian producers. The funds were directed to technical assistance programs and to the industry's research projects. “In 2014, the US and Brazil notified the WTO that the dispute was over."


The Justice also talked about Brazil's participation in the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which comprises the Court as well as the Commission of Human Rights. About the relationship between Brazil and the Inter-American Court, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court exemplified with the case Gomes Lund versus Brazil, which dealt with the liability of the State for the arbitrary detention , torture and disappearance of 70 members of the Communist Party of Brazil and peasants during the Araguaia Guerrilla.
At the trial, in 2010, the Court declined several guidelines related to the access of information on human rights violations in the past. "Brazil has put a lot of effort to be adequate with the determinations as soon as possible," said the Justice, citing the passage of the Access to Information Act (Law 12,527 / 2011) and the creation of the Truth Commission .

Mercosur and Unasur

On the two sub-regional breaches, the Justice explained that the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) was initially created for commercial purposes, but ended up encompassing issues such as social development and democracy. "The development of South American integration led to the creation of the South American Nations Union (UNASUR) in 2008," he said. "Assembled by Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Bolivia and Venezuela, UNASUR aims to establish a South American forum to address political, social, economic, environmental and infrastructure matters, based on a sub-regional perspective in line with other regional integration trials."
The member countries compromise themselves to promote and safeguard the State of Law, the democratic institutions , the human rights and the fundamental freedoms. Among all the sanctions is the suspension of the right to participate in the various bodies and branches of UNASUR or other regional and international organizations. One of the examples presented by Justice Lewandowski was the suspension of Paraguay from both organizations in 2012 , when the deposition of President Fernando Lugo was considered "a clear violation of the right to the due process of law with a minimum guarantee of adequate defense."


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