REPORT Nº 33/01*
CASE 11.552
ARAGUAIA GUERRILLA MOVEMENT
JULIA GOMES LUND ET AL.
BRAZIL
March 6, 2001
I.

SUMMARY

1. On August 7, 1995, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the
Commission") received a petition from the Brazil section of the Center for Justice and
International Law (CEJIL/Brazil) and Human Rights Watch/Americas (HRWA) against the
Federative Republic of Brazil (hereinafter "the State" or "Brazil"). Subsequently, the Rio de
Janeiro Section of the Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais [Torture Never Again Group] (GTNM/RJ) and
the Comissão de Familiares de Mortos e Desaparecidos Políticos de São Paulo [Committee of
the Families of Those Who Died or Disappeared for Political Reasons] (CFMDP/SP) were added
as co-petitioners. The petition relates to the disappearance of members of the Araguaia
guerrilla movement from 1972 to 1975, and the State's failure, since that time, to investigate
those facts. Julia Gomes Lund and 21 others were presumably killed during military operations
conducted in the Araguaia region, in the south of the state of Pará. Since 1982, family
members of these 22 persons have been trying, by means of proceedings brought in Federal
Court, to obtain information on the circumstances of the disappearances and deaths of the
guerrillas, and to recover their bodies.
2. The petition alleges that the facts described constitute violations of rights guaranteed under
Article I (right to life, liberty, and personal security); Article XXV (right of protection from
arbitrary arrest); and Article XXVI (right to due process of law) of the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man (hereinafter "the American Declaration" or "the Declaration"),
and of Article 4 (Right to Life); Article 8 (Right to a Fair Trial); Article 12 (Freedom of
Conscience and Religion); Article 13 (Freedom of Thought and Expression); and Article 25
(Right to Judicial Protection), as well as Article 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights) of the
American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the
Convention”).
3. The State responded by alleging that the available domestic remedies had not been
exhausted and that, owing to the enactment of a law that provides for the investigation of and
reparation in cases involving those who disappeared for political reasons, the petition no longer
has substance, as reparation has already been made for the alleged violations, and that the
responsibility of the State for the facts has already been acknowledged.
4. After analyzing the petition, and concluding that the requirements for application of the
Convention had been met, the Commission decided to reject the claim that the grounds for the
petition lack substance and to declare the case admissible.
II.

PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION

5. On August 7, 1995, the Commission received a communication from the petitioners. On
December 12, 1995, the pertinent parts of the file were transmitted to the State, and at the
same time the State was requested to provide information regarding the case.
6. On May 20, 1996, the Commission received a communication from the petitioners
containing two new pieces of information. The first relates to the enactment by the State of a
law 1 acknowledging the responsibility of the Brazilian State for the disappearances arising from
political activity that took place from September 1961 to August 1979, and providing for
indemnification of the families of the victims. The second piece of information was that in
several newspaper articles, individuals who participated in events in the Araguaia region
identified places where the bodies of guerrillas were buried and provided secret documents and

* As prescribed in Article 19(2)(a) of the Commission’s Regulations, Member of the Commission Hélio Bicudo, of
Brazilian nationality, did not participate in the discussions or the voting on this case.
1 Law Nº 9140 of December 15, 1995.

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