Defense pressed for AGU assistance for military personnel – 12/07/2023 – Power

Defense pressed for AGU assistance for military personnel – 12/07/2023 – Power

The dispute between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice over the role of military personnel in the security of Rio de Janeiro involved an attempt, on the part of officers, to include in the GLO (Guarantee of Law and Order) decree an express guarantee that the AGU (Attorney General of the Union) would represent military personnel in possible legal proceedings for crimes committed within the scope of the operation.

The guarantee is contained in an article included in a draft written by the Defense and obtained by Sheet. The text said that “it will be up to the Federal Attorney General’s Office to assist or represent the military, extrajudicially or judicially, if they respond to a police investigation or legal proceedings for their role in the Operation resulting from this Decree.”

The protection of the AGU for the military was even discussed between government technicians and ministers from the Lula (PT) administration, according to reports made to Sheet. The conclusion was that the section should be removed from the decree.

Military personnel who are part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, a body linked to the Ministry of Defense, were responsible for producing the draft decree.

It would be a version to counter the draft created by the Ministry of Justice, which contained points considered controversial by general officers — within the scope of a political dispute between uniformed personnel and federal police officers.

Disagreements between the teams of ministers José Múcio (Defense) and Flávio Dino (Justice) marked the preparations for the operation that placed military personnel acting in security in Rio de Janeiro at ports and airports.

There were disagreements, for example, about who would command public security operations and what the role of each body would be, according to military personnel and other interlocutors.

There was also a question from the military about who would have the authority to judge them if they were prosecuted in these actions.

Laws and decrees that deal with the GLO already allow Union lawyers to represent military personnel accused of crimes during operations. The inclusion of the section in the decree would be a way of giving more legal security to the military in the operation, according to general officers who say privately.

In internal documents, the Ministry of Defense also stated that the need to decree GLO to reinforce security at ports and airports occurs to ensure that military personnel who may be prosecuted are tried by the Military Court.

“The decree of GLO is essential for the Armed Forces to assume operational control of public security bodies, as well as to configure such overt policing actions as activities of a military nature and, thus, attract the jurisdiction of the military justice system to assess and judge possible crimes arising from these actions”, says an excerpt from the opinion of the Ministry of Defense’s legal consultancy, signed by Union lawyer Carolina Cardoso.

Legal developments regarding military personnel who participate in GLO operations are one of the main concerns of the Armed Forces leadership.

Demands to provide special guarantees to the military intensified after 2011, when soldiers murdered Abraão Maximiano, a 15-year-old boy, during Operation Arcanjo in Complexo do Alemão.

The military responded in common court. Represented by Union lawyers, they participated in hearings for years until the case was closed, without conviction.

After this case, the heads of the Armed Forces began to lobby Congress and managed to pass a law to guarantee that those in uniform would be tried by military justice if they were prosecuted for acts that occurred during a GLO operation.

The Armed Forces also tried, unsuccessfully, to pass a bill in Congress, with the help of former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL), which dealt with the exclusion of illegality. In practice, the idea was to create a provision in the law that would mitigate penalties for soldiers who committed excesses “under excusable fear, surprise or violent emotion”, including in operations involving the dead.

In a note, the Ministry of Defense stated that the inclusion of the section that the department itself placed in the draft decree “was not necessary” because the AGU already assists military personnel who are the targets of legal proceedings.

“Thus, the soldier employed at GLO will be able to count on legal assistance from the AGU.”

The Ministry of Justice limited itself to saying that it was not against the inclusion of the section about AGU assistance in the presidential decree.

President Lula signed the GLO decree on November 1st. The operation is different from others already carried out by the Armed Forces because it defines a more restricted role for the military, limiting them to airport space and port polygons in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

The targets of the operation are the ports of Rio, Itaguaí (RJ) and Santos (SP), in addition to the airports of Galeão (RJ) and Guarulhos (SP).

According to the government, the objective is to combat drug and weapons trafficking, to limit the activities of criminal factions and reduce the flow of money they move.


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