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Open letter: 'I believe in our democratic institutions'

22/03/2016 10:43

I believe in our democratic institutions, and in the independent and harmonious relationships between the branches of government, as set out in the Federal Constitution. 

From the members of the Judiciary I expect, like all Brazilians, impartiality and firmness in the distribution of justice in guaranteeing respect for the law itself and unswerving obedience to the rule of law. 

I also believe in the criteria of impartiality, fairness and equilibrium that guide the judges charged with this noble mission. 

Because I believe in the institutions and the people who embody them, I have appealed to the Supreme Court whenever appropriate, especially in recent weeks, to guarantee the rights and prerogatives that are mine and not just extended to me alone, but to every citizen and to society as a whole. 

In the eight years that I held the presidency, the result of a sovereign decision of the people – the primary and irreplaceable source of the exercise of power in a democracy – I had the opportunity to show my appreciation and respect for the Judiciary. 

I did so, not only in word, but also in deed, by maintaining a daily relationship of respect, dialogue and cooperation; which is the most accurate reflection this truth. 

In my Administration, when the Federal Supreme Court was offended by the suspicion that the then Chief Justice of the Court was the victim of a wiretap operation, I did not get lost in concerns about the origin or the truth of the evidence offered. 

I presented instead a complete response, which seemed to me to be suitable for preserving the dignity of the Supreme Court so that the rumors could be freely investigated and the truth of the matter exposed. 

I acted that way not only because the intimacy and the opinions of the interlocutors would have been exposed. 

I acted out of respect for the institution of the Judiciary and because it also seemed to me that this was the proper response given the responsibilities entrusted to me by the Brazilian people. 

In recent weeks, as everyone knows, my privacy, and the privacy of my wife, my children and my colleagues has been violated by the illegal leaks of information that should have remained in the custody of the judicial authorities. 

Under the cover of procedures shown first to the press and only afterwards to those directly and legally involved, unjustifiable acts of violence were done to me personally and to my family. 

In this extreme situation, deprived of my fundamental rights by agents of the state, I expressed my anger in private, personal conversations, which never would have gone beyond the limits of confidentiality, had they not been publicly exposed by a judicial decision that breaks the law and deprives me of my rights. 

I do not expect the Justices of the Supreme Court to share my personal and political positions. 

But I cannot accept that in this episode words illegally taken from my private and personal conversations, protected under Article 5 of the Constitution, should become the subject of derogatory judgments about my character. 

I cannot accept that the words spoken in private should treated as a public offense, before being treated to an impartial examination, confident and free in the face of an illegal violation of confidentiality of information. I cannot accept that extremely personal value judgments should come to override the law. 

I did not have access to much formal education, as Brazilians well know. I am not a doctor, scholar or a jurist. But I know, as does every human being, how to distinguish right from wrong; fair from unfair. 

The sad and shameful episodes of recent weeks will not take away my faith in the judicial institutions of Brazil. Nor will it cause me to lose hope in the perception, the sense of balance, the fairness and the sense of proportion of the Justices that sit on the Supreme Court. 

Justice, simply justice, is all that I expect for me and for everyone, under the full effect of the democratic rule of law. 

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Former Brazilian President