Enforced disappearance of persons under international criminal law: the case “Guerrilha do Araguaia” in Brazil

Angela Pires Pinto


The case “Guerrilha do Araguaia” is well known in Brazil in the view of the disappearances of oppositors to the military regime occurred between 1972 and 1974, in the region known as Araguaia. Despite the efforts made by the families of the victims to seek responsibility and redress, few progress has been done. In 1995, Brazil recognized its responsibilities for the deaths and established a Commission to provide compensation to the families of the victims. The Amnesty Law prevented the State to initiate the criminal proceedings related to the responsibilities of those involved in the disappearances, torture and killings. On December 2010, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights decided that Brazil is responsible for the enforced disappearances in the Araguaia's region and, following its previous jurisprudence, determined that the State initiate adequate investigation and criminal proceedings related to the facts that amount to crimes against the humanity. In the view of the determination of criminal responsibilities on the “Guerrilha do Araguaia”'s case, this article will examine the grounds of criminal liability of the alleged offenders under the international criminal law as well as under the Brazilian domestic law, analysing the limitations that arise from both jurisdictions.


desaparecimento forçado, direito internacional criminal, anistia, crimes contra a humanidade, direitos humanos

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