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Justice Lewandowski signs agreement with the OAS on penal treatment

Monday, October 19th

The Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and president of the National Council of Justice (CNJ), Ricardo Lewandowski, and the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, signed, on Monday (19), a memorandum of understanding on criminal judicial policy and prison system. The signing took place in Washington (USA), where Minister Lewandowski meets official agenda.

The CNJ-OAS agreement will consolidate the cooperation between the two institutions in the development, implementation and project exchange in Brazil and in other member states interested in a better distribution of justice and the establishment of better practices related to the prison system and criminal enforcement. Priority for the CNJ’s current management, the agenda for the criminal area was recorded in CNJ Ordinance 16/2015, which brings management guidelines for the biennium 2015-2016.

According to the cooperation agreement, the CNJ and the OAS will work to promote alternative measures to imprisonment; custody hearings; expanding access to justice; improving Judiciary’s efficiency to reduce the prison population; computerization of criminal enforcement proceedings; strengthening social integration by improving prison infrastructure; and professional training, as well as implementing management and planning tools in the prison system.

The CNJ projects referred to the improvement of the criminal justice system, as custody hearings, citizenship in jails, healthcare in prisons and electronic system of unified implementation are being displayed as models of judicial actions for the Americas and will be taken to other countries members of the OAS. In addition to seek implementation of the desired actions, the organs compromised themselves to monitor the execution of the projects and the results obtained. There will also be a system of exchange of information and experiences to facilitate the social reintegration of the punished and respect for human rights.


The CNJ will provide data to the OAS and disseminate information about the entity, including legislation and recommendations issued by the international body. It will also include the Inter-American entity in public debates of interest held in Brazil and in trainings on topics linked to criminal enforcement and the prison system.

In addition to supporting the CNJ in project management and implementation of actions in the criminal area, as well as the dissemination of results, the OAS also invites representatives of the Council for public interest meetings carried out in the international entity and its subdivisions.

The OAS was founded in 1948 and tries to bring to the 35 members values and actions directed to peace, justice, collaboration, solidarity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. The entity has as its pillars principles such as democracy, human rights, security and development.

Design for America

Commenting on the signing of the agreement with the OAS, the Justice Ricardo Lewandowski said that the Brazilian project of the custody hearing was received with enthusiasm by the institution. In his view, the project can be a model for other countries, mainly because it is a formula that prevents the undertaking of abuses by security forces. Almagro stressed the importance of the project and said it could be disseminated in Latin America, in order to solve serious human rights violations.

"The Secretary General was very interested in the project, and believes that it can be extended to other countries of the American continent, mainly because it is an important tool to combat torture. Because when the person is arrested and presented to the judge in until 24 hours, one of the first issues to be clarified is if he suffered mistreatment, if he was tortured, "said the Justice.

The President of the Supreme Court also commented that the measure is a way to avoid unnecessary arrests of criminals without a criminal record or misdemeanors. Therefore, pre-trial detention will be reserved for violent criminals and offering danger to society.

"The judge will decide whether the person should answer the criminal process in freedom, subject to conditions, or whether he should remain in prison during the criminal process. If the guarded does not have a criminal record, has a steady job, has committed a small offensive potential crime and does not offer danger to society, there is no reason to hold him or to make him respond arrested," he said.


Besides the agreement with the General Secretariat of the OAS, the Minister Lewandowski also will sign a cooperation protocol with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, one of the OAS arms, on Tuesday (20/10). The CNJ-IACHR agreement aims to improve the formation and training of Brazilian judges on human rights issues.

Source: CNJ

Photo Credit: Juan Manuel Herrera / OAS


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