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Brazil truth commission to limit scope to actions of government

Brazil's National Truth Commission [official website, in Portuguese] announced Monday that it will limit its inquiry to human rights abuses committed by the government [press release, in Portuguese] under Brazil's military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. There were some within the nation that hoped that the commission would also look at abuses by leftist guerrilla groups that were in conflict with the regime. According to their statement, the commission's organic statute [materials, in Portuguese] does not give the body any legal authority to investigate actions of individuals who were not acting on behalf of the government.

Brazil's Truth Commission was sworn in [JURIST report] by President Dilma Rousseff [official profile, in Portuguese] in May and will have two years to complete its work. In March prosecutors announced plans to charge a retired colonel [JURIST report] for his actions during the military dictatorship [investigation materials, PDF, in Portuguese] despite an amnesty law which bars prosecution of government officials during the military dictatorship's rule. In 2010 Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged Brazil to repeal its amnesty law [JURIST report] which protected former government officials.

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