NLG’s Azadeh Shahshahani to join International Tribunal for Democracy in Brazil

tribunalRio de Janeiro – Brazil is going through a critical moment in its political and institutional history – the process of impeachment against the President of the Republic Dilma Rousseff, unleashed in the Chamber of Deputies, now facing a decision in the Senate.

The process of impeachment of the head of state in the presidential structure, unlike a vote of “no confidence” in the parliamentary system, should require the indisputable evidence of the commission of a crime by the President. The relevant crimes for a process of impeachment in Brazil are provided in Article 85 of the Constitution and typified in Law No. 1079 of 10 April 1950. As is clear from the wording of the Constitution, impeachable offenses are serious administrative offenses, committed intentionally against legal interests directly linked to the structure of the Constitution and, consequently, the Brazilian state. As the impeachment procedure of the President implies a drastic break in the democratic process, embodied in her free and majority election by Brazilian citizens, impeachment must not be used for pure partisan political interests, or as a result of the discontent of part of the public or the opposition with the form and manner of governance by the nation’s leader.

In today’s world, a democratic rupture occurring in a country like Brazil is not limited to its domestic effects. Rather, the impeachment process also produces effects throughout the Latin American continent and also in other countries with which we maintain close diplomatic relations. In order to make transparent to the world the debate on this process of impeachment, which is not based on the demonstration of the occurrence of a crime committed by the President and is characterized instead as a new type of coup, the Brazilian social movements decided to establish in Rio de Janeiro an International Tribunal for Democracy in Brazil. Therefore, the social movements have invited several foreign intellectuals, with  high qualifications, to serve as jurors, with the exclusive assignment to judge this break in the democratic process.

The tribunal will be developed in three stages. First, witnesses and oral arguments by the prosecution and defense will be heard. Second, each juror will have 30 minutes to deliver his/her vote. Third, the final judgment in accordance with the decision taken by the judges will be delivered.

Democracy is our motto.


Opening:  July 19, 2016 at 18h

Conclusion: July 20, 2016 at 14h

Location: Teatro Oi Casa Grande – Av. Afrânio de Mello Franco, 290, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro

Entrance: The sessions of the Tribunal, with free admission, will take place on July 19 and 20 July at the Teatro Oi Casa Grande . Tickets with marked place (free) must be collected at the box office.


July 19 (evening)
18:00 – Opening
19:00 – Presentation of the Tribunal
19:15 – Witnesses
20:00 – Prosecution
21:00 – Defense
22:00 – Cessation of work

July 20 (morning)
09:00 – Resumption of Work
09:30 – Beginning of the votes of the judges
12:00 – Closing of the votes
12:30 – cloistered for deliberation
13:00 – pronouncement of sentence
14:00 – demonstration of civil society and press conference

Honorary President of the Tribunal: Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

President of the Tribunal: Juarez Tavares

Prosecution: Geraldo Prado

Defense: Margarida Lacombe

Prosecution Witnesses:
1) Ricardo Ribeiro Lodi
2) Jacinto Nelson de Miranda Coutinho
3) Tânia Oliveira

Defense Witnesses:
1) João Ricardo Dornelles
2) Magda Biavaschi
3) José Carlos Moreira da Silva Filho
4) Luiz Moreira


Azadeh N. Shahshahani (United States /Iran)
Prominent human rights lawyer from the United States, specializing in the defense of human rights of immigrant and Muslim communities. Author of several human rights reports. Former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Currently serves as Legal & Advocacy Director with Project South.

Bishop Raul Veras (Mexico)
Dominican friar and Mexican bishop, since 2000 is in front of the Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico. In 2012 candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in favor of human rights in Mexico.

Giovanni Tognoni (Italy)
Member of the Permanent Tribunale of Popoli (TPP) inspired by the Russell Tribunal, composed of lawyers, writers and other intellectuals and that is expressed on issues of violations of human rights and the rights of people around the planet. It was created by the Lelio Basso International Foundation for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples (FILB), founded in 1976, and following the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples (also known as the Charter of Algiers).

Jaime Cárdenas Gracia (Mexico)
Lawyer, politician and Mexican academic, former federal deputy for the Labour Party, Doctor in Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the Complutense University of Madrid. Visiting professor at various universities (Visiting Fellow at Yale University and Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University). He received several awards and recognitions and was invited as an expert in the installation of the Constituent Assembly in Bolivia in 2006.

Laurence Cohen (France) (to be confirmed)
French Senator, French Communist Party member, works issues related to feminism and women’s rights.

Maria Jose Farinas Dulce (Spain)
full professor in philosophy of law at the University Carlos III in Madrid, an expert on economic globalization issues and human rights, author of several books and one of the leading experts in Latin American legal sociology.

Walter Montealegre Antillon (Costa Rica)
Jurist and Costa Rican academic, co-founder of the School of Political Science at the University of Costa Rica, where he worked as a professor of law and political science and holds benemeritazgo.1 was elected candidate for the vice-presidency by the party Frente Amplio in 2014 elections.

Carlos Augusto Galvez Argote (Columbia)
Former Magistrate Criminal Casación la Sala de la Corte Suprema de Justicia; currently Profesor de la Universidad del Rosario. Author of several articles search in the area of penal rights.

Alberto Filippi (Argentina)

Organized by:
Via Campesina International
Brazil Popular Front
Brazilian Jurists Front for Democracy

Teatro Oi Casa Grande
Joaquín Herrera Flores Institute
Perseus Abramo Foundation
Casa Grande Institute
New Paradigms Institute
Declatra Institute
Ensaio Aberto Institute
Landless Workers Movement – MST
Brasil do Fato (weekly newspaper)

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