CEJIL expresses its concern regarding the military action that fired 80 shots at the car of a family in Guadalupe, Rio de Janeiro and calls for an independent investigation

Rio de Janeiro and Washington, April 10, 2019. The Center for Justice and International Law deeply regrets the murder of the 51-year-old musician Evaldo Rosa dos Santos on the afternoon of April 7. According to the report, the victim, his 7-year-old son, his wife, his father-in-law and a 13-year-old goddaughter were in a car on their way to a baby shower when they were shot 80 times by members of the Brazilian military as they traveled on Camboatá Road, in the neighborhood of Guadalupe, West Zone of Rio de Janeiro. Evaldo Rosa dos Santos died and two other people were injured.

Under Federal Law No. 13.491, the facts are being investigated by the army under the supervision of the Military Public Prosecutor's Office. This law, approved in 2017, amended the Military Penal Code and assigns jurisdiction to the country´s military tribunals when members of the Armed Forces that commit serious crimes against civilians.

First, the Center for Justice and International Law calls for a serious, independent, impartial and effective investigation to determine who is responsible for such a heinous crime. In accordance with international human rights law and consolidated jurisprudence in the Inter-American System, such investigations of possible violations of human rights must be carried out by ordinary courts. Both the IACHR and the Inter-American Court have repeatedly observed that military jurisdiction is not a competent forum to investigate, prosecute and punish alleged perpetrators of human rights violations. Moreover, the punishment of members of the military must be dealt with by the common justice system.

Second, it is also important to investigate the root causes of this murder. Institutional racism and bias permeate police activity and public safety operatives. In this regard, last year the IACHR considered the existence of "a pattern of extrajudicial executions by state agents against black men, particularly in outlying areas of cities." In their last visit on-site to Brazil in November of 2018, the Comission once again "noted the existence of  policies that institutionalized violence against this population, perpetuate existing patterns of discrimination and are accentuated by practices widely expanded  such as racial profiling, selective police persecution, and overrepresentation in the prison system."

Finally, we express our deep condolences, indignation, and solidarity with the family and friends of Evaldo Rosa dos Santos. To conclude, we ask authorities guarantee reparations for this serious situation;to fully investigate the military´s actions and determine the causes of Evaldo´s death before the appropriate jurisdiction, according to international standards.