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Presidency of the STF increase exchanges with supreme courts and international organizations in the last two years

Wednesday, 21st of July 2016

During his tenure as Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), which began in September 2014, Ricardo Lewandowski sought to increase exchanges with other constitutional courts and international organizations for the defense of human rights. For the president of the Supreme Court, the exchange of experiences is fundamental, as it allows the Brazilian judiciary to apply increasingly intense, institutes of Community law and international law to ensure the rights and guarantees of citizens.

In October 2015, on a visit to Washington DC (USA), President of the Supreme Court presented the Brazilian model of custody hearings during a public hearing in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an organ of the Organization of American States (OAS). Also at the time, he signed a technical cooperation agreement with the IACHR, aiming at the improvement of Brazilian judges on human rights issues. He said the measure should improve the effectiveness of the judiciary in handling cases involving human rights and reduce the volume of suits filed against Brazil in the Commission.

Also during the visit to Washington, an agreement was signed with the OAS in the criminal area, with the aim of promoting the exchange of projects of good practices related to the prison system and criminal enforcement. On the occasion, Minister Lewandowski met with the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John G. Roberts Jr., to discuss the operation of the two courts and exchange experiences on important cases tried by the two Supreme Courts.

In February 2015, in England, the Justice delivered a speech at the Global Law Summit, organized to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, dealing with the importance of sanctioning mechanisms to ensure compliance with international standards and remedies to any violations. Lewandowski noted that sanctions are a means of bringing the conduct of states back to compliance with international standards and contribute to the improvement of the international order, provided they are used "as a tool for the sake of harmony, balance, justice and ultimately , the preservation of the rule of law itself".

After the lecture, the Justice was welcomed by a group of MPs at Westminster Palace, the UK legislative seat, and afterwards attended a reception at Buckingham Palace in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.

The schedule of the official visit to England, included also a private audience with the president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury. During the meeting, common challenges faced by the judiciary of the two countries were discussed. The Justice also attended a work lunch with that court's judges.

In a visit to Italy, in February 2015, the president of the Supreme Court was received by Pope Francis in a private audience. The meeting, according to the President, allowed the exchange of ideas about common concerns to the Catholic Church and the judiciary, such as the protection of vulnerable social groups, social development and environmental preservation. During the hearing, scheduled upon the Vatican's invitation, Pope Francis and Justice Ricardo Lewandowski talked about the importance of the judiciary in promoting social peace, the guarantee of fundamental rights and the promotion of sustainable development.

In March 2016, Justice Lewandowski chaired the 10th Meeting of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice Bureau, as a representative of the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CJCPLP). One of the main meeting points was the preparation for the 4th Congress of the World Conference, to be held in September 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania. The Minister also attended the 106th Plenary Session of the Venice Commission. In April this year, the Supreme Court hosted the IV Assembly of CJCPLP, organization of judicial cooperation, judicial and scientific, in order to promote human rights and defend democracy and judicial independence. The meeting had as its theme "Effectiveness of Constitutional Guarantees." In the biennium 2014/2016, the presidency of CJCPLP is being exercised by the Supreme Court of Brazil.

Exchange

Justice Lewandowski also continued and sought to increase the exchange programs between Supreme Courts of MERCOSUR and associated countries in order to exchange knowledge on the activities of the courts and the legal backgrounds of the countries, with a focus on good-willed practices and innovative solutions, both administrative and judicial. The Joaquim Nabuco Program includes judges and civil servants of the Supreme Court. In addition, the Teixeira de Freitas Program, which aims to expand the academic dialogue and reflection on Law in the regional bloc, comprises students, teachers and researchers.

In both cases, the Supreme Court is responsible for the selection of Brazilians who participate in the programs in other countries. In the case of the Program Joaquim Nabuco, in addition to the Supreme Court, the judges selected by other countries have the opportunity to know how other High Courts, the Attorney General's Office and the National Council of Justice function too. In Teixeira de Freitas Program, in addition to participatin in courses at the University of Brasilia (UnB) Law School, in the mornings, the students intern at the Supreme Court during the afternoon.

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Photo: L'osservatore Romano

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