Recognition, Redistribution and Popular Participation: Towards an Integrative Judicial Policy

Right to the city and social struggles in Porto Alegre - Fórum Justiça RS, June / 2019

June 17th, 2019

By Rodrigo de Medeiros Silva [1]

On June 13, the Justice Forum held its meeting in the Baroness Occupation, located in the region of Menino Deus, in Porto Alegre / RS. On the agenda were violations of the right to housing and the city of the families of this occupation, the process of revision of the Master Plan of Porto Alegre, the killing of bees in Rio Grande do Sul, the procedure opened in court about the suffering of indigenous gauchos during the Military Dictatorship and the crisis of the institutions of the justice system caused by the leakage of audios between members of the Federal Public Prosecution Service and the then federal judge Sérgio Moro, in the so-called “Operation Car Wash”.

Baroness Occupation in Porto Alegre

The Baroness Occupation is made up of mansions that were abandoned about 15 years ago on Rua Baronesa do Gravataí. Ownership of the real estate would have been acquired in 1926 by the Intendência Municipal, today Municipality of Porto Alegre, of an Italian family. Ten families occupied the site on the last 28 of March. They are black and indigenous families coming from a region known as the Islet, occupied by surrounding quilombos, of which the area is probably an extension. It is therefore people who have lived in those surroundings for a long time, who seek to realize their right to housing there.

By judicial decision, the repossession requested by the City Hall was fulfilled. However, families are still around the area, and the issue is still being discussed at the Court. The property has no destination and is not affected in any department. The city report, added to the process, identified only the risk from a claim and the lack of maintenance of only one of the six buildings. These were sections of roof that had already been removed by the residents. They also reported that there was abuse of authority by certain public agents. The District Attorney's Office would have coerced them into signing a document in which they would agree to receive a certain amount in exchange for leaving. In another complaint, residents indicated that prior to any court decision, a self-styled prosecutor of the Municipality and accompanied by vehicles forcibly turned off the light and water in the attempt to force the expulsion of families.

The case of the Baroness Occupation points to several violations committed by actors of the justice system. At first the Interinstitutional Protocol for fulfilling the mandates for repossession in Collective Urban Conflicts [2] would not have been observed. So far the mediation established for these situations has not been observed as determined by the Code of Civil Procedure (Articles 3, §3; 165; 334). Those present then decided to send documents to the competent institutions about the procedures being systematically disregarded, as well as denunciation of the violations suffered and support to the Baroness Occupation. The Justice Forum in Rio Grande do Sul (FJ-RS) also pledged to disclose the list of materials that families need: tarps (preferably thicker), ropes mats, tents, blankets, sleeping bags, beach chairs, toilet paper, tampons, wet wipes, toiletries, diaper M, disposable plates and cutlery, mattress toppers and water.

Regarding the revision of the Master Plan of the Municipality of Porto Alegre / RS, nothing effective has yet been forwarded by the public authorities and there is a concern that social rights and the right to the city are not harmed by economic interests in favor of real estate speculation. The law establishing the Master Plan has to be reviewed every ten years (Article 40, § 3º of the City Statute). The deadline for this review will end in 2020.

About the scandals from the leaking conversations of the members of the Lava Jato, it was consensus that causes nullity to the processes judged by it and that the conduct of the public agents involved should be ascertained. The conversations indicate that the judge presided over the investigation, affecting the independence of institutions and private powers, and the judge of suspicion, as it would be in the part of the so-called “fight against corruption”. It would not be an exempt subject. The Code of Criminal Procedure states that “the judge shall act as a suspect, and if he does not do so, he may be refused by either party if he has advised either party (Article 259, IV). He also remembered the Code of Ethics of the National Judiciary:

Art. 8 The impartial magistrate is one who seeks in the evidence the truth of the facts, with objectivity and foundation, maintaining throughout the process an equivalent distance from the parties, and avoids all kinds of behavior that may reflect favoritism, predisposition or prejudice. .

Promoting public prosecution is the exclusive responsibility of the Public Prosecution Service, and it is not for the judge to interfere precisely to ensure its impartiality. This competence is determined by the Federal Constitution (article 129, I) and the Organic Law of the Public Prosecution Service (article 6º, V). It is also noticed that the independence of the institution was shaken, as its actions were directed by an external agent. Serious is also the unfolding of these violations for Brazilian democracy, interfering with the outcome of the last elections. The FJ-RS has deliberated to make a public statement on this crisis.

The issue of bee killing is a concern not only of the state or of the country. The Justice-RS Forum has been warning that the agribusiness model of agricultural production, which uses pesticides and promotes the devastation of ecosystems, is highly harmful to the entire planet. The life of bees is of paramount importance to the environment. The FJ-RS participates in the Articulation for the Preservation of Integrity of Beings and Biodiversity-APISBio, which has already made representation regarding the use of pesticides and bee death to both the State Prosecutor and the Federal Prosecutor in Rio Grande do Sul. South.

Finally, a report was given on the open procedure regarding the suffering of the indigenous people of Rio Grande do Sul during the Military Dictatorship. Prosecutor Pedro Nicolau Moura Sacco is currently responsible for the matter. After listening to some victims of the time, it is expected that action or actions will be taken to repair the damage.

[1] Lawyer, member of Renap and Forum Justice, Master in Human Rights by UniRitter and Civil Law and Civil Procedural Law by IDC.
[2] Available at: https://www.anoreg.org.br/site/2018/12/13/tj-rs-acord-interinstitutional-patroniza-procedimentos-para-reintegracao-de-posse-no-rs/ . Accessed on: 14 Jun 2019.