The Law Society of Upper Canada condemns the death of Judge Patricia Aicoli and other acts of violence, including attempted assassinations and threats of violence against judges in Brazil. Acts of violence such as the assassination of judges undermines the importance and legitimacy of their work, while weakening democracy and the rule of law.
According to reports, Judge Aicoli was murdered by masked assailants and shot 21 times in front of her home in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. The reports suggest that her murder was in retaliation for her adjudication in the trials and convictions of members of the “Milicias” and in particular the murder investigation of an 18 year-old man that involved several police officers. Judge Aicoli was also known for her tough stance on police corruption.
Reports have also indicated that there have been several arrests made in connection with the murder of Judge Aicoli including a senior police commander. The Law Society of Upper Canada applauds the commitment of Brazilian authorities for addressing the level of violence being directed at judges.
The Law Society of Upper Canada is deeply concerned about judges in Brazil who carry out their work in a climate of intimidation and insecurity where they are subjected to threats and in some instances disappearances, assassinations and attempted assassinations. On October 27, 2011, Convocation approved the following letter of intervention.
Letter to Dilma Vana Rousseff