RIO DE JANEIRO – The names of those who will make up a Truth Commission charged with investigating human rights abuses under Brazil's 1964-1985 dictatorship were published Friday, taking the country a step closer to accountability for the past crimes.
The seven appointees include the attorney who represented President Dilma Rousseff when she was a leftist guerrilla detained and tortured by the military in the early-1970s. It will have two years to investigate abuses committed under military rule.
The commission's report won't result in prosecutions because of a 1979 law granting amnesty for political crimes committed during that era. The commission does, however, have subpoena powers, and public servants and military personnel are legally obligated to cooperate.
Advocates say that investigating who was involved in torture, murders and disappearances is essential if the country is to move forward. Other South American countries that had repressive regimes, including Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, have punished those involved in abuses.
The November law authorizing the commission's creation met with great resistance from conservative segments of the military, who expressed concern the current left-leaning government would use it as an instrument of revenge.
Rousseff invited all of Brazil's living presidents since the end of military rule to take part in the commission's seating on Wednesday, a gesture to make clear that its mission is sanctioned by the state, and is not a project espoused only by the president and her Workers' Party. A statement from the president's press office said all the former living presidents had accepted the invitation.