Transitional Justice in Brazil: Accountability for Human Rights Violations

Student Work

From January to March 2012, three Stanford human rights clinical students, working with Professor Cavallaro and a team at Harvard Law School, produced memoranda for Brazilian prosecutors on amnesty laws and military jurisdiction for serious human rights violations. Students researched and wrote a briefing memo and prepared a three-hour presentation for federal prosecutors, who enthusiastically received the input.  The work of the Stanford and Harvard team helped advance transitional justice in Brazil: the prosecutors with whom the team worked have since proceeded with historic domestic litigation to overcome Brazil’s amnesty law. The amnesty law, which secured immunity for perpetrators of rights abuse during the military regime, had been declared invalid by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in late 2010.


After the Stanford Clinic’s intervention, Brazilian prosecutors re-opened cases against dictatorship era perpetrators.