SNOHOMISH WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER Saturday, August 24, 2019   
Snohomish Times News
Home | Business News | County News | Entertainment | Local News | Photo Gallery | Prep Sports | Roads Traffic News | Snohomish News Archive | STSPN.COM

Can the State Pardon Itself?

KTKO AM1380
Published:2014-04-04 Opinion
Can the State Pardon Itself?    Print Snohomish Times    
Can the State Pardon Itself?

by Valdenor Junior

A retired colonel was heard on March 25th by Brazil’s National Truth Commission (Comissão Nacional da Verdade) to clarify how “political prisoners were tortured” and identify “who was alive when they arrived, who died and who is still missing, as well as the torturers” from Casa da Morte (“Death House”), an underground center for repression located in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, during the country’s military regime. The Truth Commission has been investigating violations of human rights during the dictatorship, but many have criticized it as an underhanded instrument used by leftists to advance their agenda.

Let’s turn back the clock. Fifty years ago, a coup d’état in Brazil kicked off the military dictatorship. Its officers, acting in stark opposition to the law, committed torture, forged suicides and made hundreds of people go “missing.” The transition to civil government is guilty of favoring “slow, gradual, and secure redemocratization” over individual rights. The Brazilian Constitution of 1988, so called “Citizen’s Document,” was an instrument of that injustice.

It has a name: The amnesty law, law number 6,683 from 1970. The problem wasn’t in pardoning political prisoners – which is fair and noble – but in its quid pro quo: The government gave out pardons to the violent crimes of its own officers in a kind of “self-amnesty.”

Victims and their family members were denied any hope of one day seeing the aggressors convicted for brutal violations of rights – which, for them, was not just a piece of technical jargon, but real pain and suffering in the hands of men who obeyed the command of authority, this terrible instrument of validation and insensitivity, as shown by the famous experiment carried out by Stanley Milgram. Hope dies last, but the state’s pardon of its own is hope’s capital punishment.

Current international law has an exaggerated deference for “states’ sovereignty” (it doesn’t recognize the right of free secession, for instance), but fortunately it recognizes that states must respect basic human rights. The Brazilian state has accepted the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to judge reports of human rights violations.

In the case Gomes Lund and others (“Araguaia Guerilla”) vs. Brazil, the Brazilian state was accused for having pardoned the crimes of its agents, despite the “incompatibility of amnesties of grave violations of human rights with international law,” and was convicted. That is why it is a little unsettling when people who consider themselves “libertarians” criticize initiatives such as the National Truth Commission or the criminal prosecution of agents of the regime, as if they were issues only the far left could care about.

To ascertain what happened and punish crimes accordingly is libertarian. No state should have the right to waive punishment for its own crimes. How can it be fair that officers who work for a regime commit barbarian crimes and in the end go about their lives unscathed, because the government has decreed it was all fair game? Only adamant advocates of the state, who see it as a god on earth, would be able to think so.

Victims are victims — it doesn’t matter whether they are from one or another political affiliation. Their bloodshed must be vindicated. How can a state claim the victims don’t have the right to have their tormentors prosecuted? It is not possible to be a libertarian and believe that a professional criminal organization has the legitimacy to pardon the crimes of its agents just because it labels itself “the state.”

Clarifying crimes such as murder, mutilation and concealing of dead bodies is not a leftist maneuver — it’s basic human decency. You can’t be a libertarian if you don’t stand for it.




Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Bridge work to close lanes on I-5 Bridge work to close lanes on I-5
Bridge work to close lanes of southbound I-5 in Snohomish County starting Saturday, Aug. 24


Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Free Car Wash Free Car Wash
This Thursday: Brown Bear offers free “Beary Clean” car washes at 26 tunnel locations


Published: Sunday, August 18, 2019
Financial Advisor Sterling Gurney gets CFP Financial Advisor Sterling Gurney gets CFP
Financial Advisor Sterling Gurney of Edward Jones Receives CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (TM) Certification


Published: Friday, August 16, 2019
Confirmed Hepatitis A Case Closes Lynnwood Restaurant Confirmed Hepatitis A Case Closes Lynnwood Restaurant
Patrons are encouraged to contact healthcare provider for vaccine


Published: Thursday, August 15, 2019
Snohomish County Solid Waste Launches New Webcams Snohomish County Solid Waste Launches New Webcams
More Time for Other Things Campaign highlights new facility web cams and streamlined commercial services


Rairdons Monroe Dodge

Snohomish Sports Network

Advertisement

Live Police Scanner

Snohomish County Sheriff, City of Snohomish,
Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Everett - Police & EMS/Fire


Advertisement

mondotimes
The Worldwide Media Guide

 


SNOHOMISH contact