Friday, August 14, 2009
STF dismisses criminal charges against commandant
Justice Celso de Mello, of the Supreme Court denied a motion by the Brazilian Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (Febracta) for the tribunal to open two criminal cases against generals Juniti Saito, the Air Force commander, and José Américo dos Santos, minister of the Superior Tribunal Militar, and Luiz Carlos Bueno for the supposed commission of diverse crimes foreseen in the Military Criminal Code.
The cases were about a crisis that occurred in Brazilian air traffic control and which intensified after the accident with the Gol plane (Flight 1907). The airplane collided with a Legacy jet in 2006, killing more than 150 people. The accident, which took place in the Amazon, was one of the worst air disasters ever registered in the country.
The dean of the Court explained that the filing of a private criminal complaint subsidiary to a public one - as that presented by Febracta — is only admissible when the inertia of the Prosecutors' Office (MPF) to act within the required time is proven, as is foreseen in the Federal Constitution, in its Article 5, item LIX. In all other situations, the jurisdiction to propose this kind of action is exclusive to the MPF, as set forth in Article 129, I, also in the Constitution. But this was not the case, explained Celso de Mello.
The Prosecutors' Office had already taken a position in respect to these accusations, based on the criminal complaint brought by the Federation itself. After analyzing the request, the Prosecutors' Office determined that the charges be dropped, alleging that they did not fit any defined crime.
Besides this, the Justice reminded, the Federation does not have legitimacy to, in the name of its associates, propose this kind of action. The only one who has legitimacy to bring this kind of private criminal charge subsidiary to public charges is the person offended, the Justice said. With information from the Press Office of the Supreme Court.