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ASIAN REGIONAL SYMPOSIUM. ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND ENFORCEMENT IN BRAZIL Manila, Phillipines , 27-28, July , 2010. Vladimir Passos de Freitas Former Chief Judge of Federal Court of Appeal 4th. District ; Professor PhD of Environmental Law.

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environmental law and enforcement in brazil manila phillipines 27 28 july 2010

ASIAN REGIONAL SYMPOSIUM

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND ENFORCEMENT IN BRAZILManila, Phillipines, 27-28, July, 2010

Vladimir Passos de Freitas

Former Chief Judge of Federal Court of Appeal 4th. District; Professor PhD ofEnvironmental Law

brazil en environmental protection legislation
BRAZILEN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LEGISLATION

Administrative penalties are ruled by federal and state laws (sometimes by municipal laws). E.g.: if someone pollutes a river, he must pay between US$ 2,500 and US$ 25,000,000 (depending on the effects).

Civil penalties. The responsibility is objective. The convicted person has to repair the damage and pay damages to a Fund of Environmental Protection. We have thousands of precedents.

Criminal penalties. Law 9.605, 1998. More serious crimes, such as pollution (prison between 1 and 5 years), can result in prison. Corporations are convicted by environmental crimes.

brazil judiciary power
Brazil – Judiciary Power

Brazil doesn´t have Administrative Justice as in France, so all the environmental problems go to the Judiciary Power.

The Judiciary Power has administrative and financial autonomy (Constitution, clause 99). We have around 15,000 judges. They receive good salaries and have guarantees, such as lifelong function and can’t be removed from their local of work.

Brazil is a Federal State and has federal and state judges (like US, Australia, Argentina, etc.)

slide5

Some examplesof

Important Judicial

decisions

first environmental decision in brazil 2003
Firstenvironmentaldecision in Brazil2003

In 1973, in a popular action, Judge Rabello decided a case about a building, constructedwithoutsanitarytreatment, thatdischargedsewageintothesea. Judge Rabello prohibitedthebuilding to behanded to theowners. Butlater, theCourtofAppealreversedthispioneerdecision.

(Itanhaém, SP, StateDistrictCourt, suit nº 1.700/73, in 15/4/1974)

pet bottles federal justice mar lia sp proc 20 02 61 11 001467 2 31 1 2003 judge alexandre sormani
PET BOTTLES – FEDERAL JUSTICE, MARÍLIA, SP PROC. 20-02.61.11.001467-2, 31.1.2003JUDGE ALEXANDRE SORMANI
  • INJUNCTION IN CLASS ACTION PROPOSED BY PROSECUTORS, ORDERING THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE TO SUBMIT THE REGISTER OF BEER IN POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALAT (PET) BOTTLES TO EnvironmentalStudyImpact.
  • BRAZIL 4th CONSUMER OF BEER IN THE WORLD: 8.45 BILLIONS OF BOTTLES A YEAR. THE JUDICIAL DECISION AVOIDED THAT BILLIONS OF PET BOTTLES PER YEAR WENT TO THE SANITARY LANDFILL
public policies sewage system
PUBLIC POLICIESSEWAGE SYSTEM
  • ADMINISTRATIVE AND CONSTITUTIONAL. PUBLIC POLICIES ON ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH . SEWAGE TREATMENT. OMISSION.
  • Being proved the unjustifiable omission of the public powers in the implementation of public policies to grant a clean environment and public health, it is mandatory a specific performance conviction, consisting in the implantation of appropriate sewage treatment system.
  • (TRF4, Ap. Cível 2004.72.00.017675-8/SC, 4th. Panel, Judge Marga Tessler, j. 26.8.2009)
inexistence of prescription of the environmental damage
INEXISTENCE OF PRESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

Civil appeal. Public civil action. Environmental law. Non prescriptible. Appeal granted.

1. Prescription is the temporal institution that limits the creditor’s right to perform his intention, so that the debtor won’t be ad aeternum subject to charge. 2. However, environmental rights, due to their transcendental importance for the future generations, aren’t prescriptible. 3. Appeal received and sustained to revoke the prescription indictment.

(Minas Gerais State Court, Apel. Cível 1.0188.07.063974-8/001, 2nd. Civil Panel, Judge Caetano Levi Lopes, j. 22/09/2009)

first criminal judgement of a corporation in latin america
First criminal judgementof a corporation in Latin America
  • CRIMINAL APPEAL 2001.72.04.002225-0/SC, FEDERAL REGIONAL COURT 4th CIRCUIT, JUDGE PINHEIRO DE CASTRO, J. 06.08.2003 (www.trf4.gov.br)

THE FEDERAL COURT DECIDED THE FIRST APPEAL IN BRAZIL CONVICTING A LEGAL ENTITY - ENGINEERING COMPANY THAT EXTRACTED SAND FROM A RIVER WITHOUT THE LICENSE OF THE COMPETENT ORGAN, DESTROYING THE LOCAL VEGETATION. THE COMPANY DIDN’T STOP ITS ACTIVITIES EVEN AFTER BEING NOTIFIED. AT LAST IT WAS SENTENCED TO PAY AROUND US$ 5.000 AS MONETARY PENALTY, WHICH WAS MEANT TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE.

THE DIRECTOR OF THE COMPANY WAS ALSO CONVICTED. HIS PENALTY WAS 1 YEAR IN PRISON, CONVERTED TO COMUNITARY WORK

evidences
EVIDENCES:

The evidences will be more and more technologic.

  • Filming pollution and handing a CD to the judge is a great way of demonstrating the environmental damage
  • Wire tapping, with judicial authorization, is an efficient way to find out environmental crimes. It has been used in cases of gangs of endangered species.
  • Photos by satellite
judicial activism federal environmental court of curitiba paran state
PROC. 2001.70.00.032368-3, VISIT TO SANITARY LANDFILL, 19.7.2006

NGO AMAR AND ASSOCIAÇÃO ATMOSFERA X MUNICIPALITY OF CURITIBA AND FEDERAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL COURT OF CURITIBA, PARANÁ STATE
at present in brazil judges tend to conciliation
AT PRESENT IN BRAZIL JUDGES TEND TO CONCILIATION
  • Articles 125, IV, 331 and 447 of Procedimental Code state that judges must try conciliation.
  • So, now conciliation is mandatory .
economic impacts
ECONOMIC IMPACTS
  • In 1993 , the Federal prosecutor filed a kind of class action before the Federal Justice of Criciúma against 30 coal enterprises , their directors and major

partners, the State of Santa Catarina

and the Federal Union, aiming the

recovery of the environmental

damages caused by the

exploitation of mineral coal in

the south region of the State

slide15
In May 2007, the Superior Court of Justice decided an appeal ( 647493/SC, 2nd. Chamber, Justice JoãoOtavio de Noronha), and sentenced that the Union and the State of Santa Catarina were responsible for the recovery of the environmental liabilities, due to their omission in their inspection duties.
  • In the same decision the Court has also

convicted the coal enterprises and, in the

hypothesis of their insolvency, their

respective partners.

complexity of enforcement
COMPLEXITY OF ENFORCEMENT
  • RECUPERATION OF 6.191,59 hectares of damaged areas; - 3 river basins (Araranguá, Tubarão and Urussanga rivers); - 768 mines abandoned.
  • FEDERAL JUDGE MARCELO CARDOSO DA SILVA:
  • MEETINGS WITH EVERYBODY INVOLVED, WITH LECTURES, DISCUSSIONS AND VISITS TO PLACES TO BE RECOVERED.
  • IDENTIFICATION OF EACH DAMAGED AREA , that is, places that, due to antropic action, have lost some of their physical, chemical and biotic characteristics , enough to impair the balance of the ecosystem and negatively affect its social and economic potential.
  • Presentation of a recovery project for each damaged area by the person(s) in charge: to be presented to the environmental organ for approval.
site www jfsc jus br acpdocarvao
Site: www.jfsc.jus.br/acpdocarvao.

Public hearings and creation of monitoring.

Creation of a technical assessment group to the district court. The discussion becomes technical, not judicial.

This is a successful case in the enforcement of a complex environmental judgement.

slide19
SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE, RESP 403.190/SP, SEC. 2ND CHAMBER, JUSTICE JOÃO NORONHA, J. 27.6.2006(SOCIAL X ENVIRONMENT)
  • In 2004, a civil action filed by the Prosecutor’s Office requested the removal of 250 families who were living in a permanent preservation area, at the margins of the Billings Reservoir, that supplies water to the city of São Paulo. The families had bought areas irregularly sold and were polluting the water.
  • In 2006, the Superior Court of Justice decided that the families should leave the area,

because in the conflict between the

interests of the families and the possible

lack of water in the future for the

population, the protection to the millions

of inhabitants of São Paulo should prevail.

slide20

But: a) there are 250 families in theareaandit´s verydifficult to move them out; b) the legal decisionhasn’tbeencompliedwithup to themoment.

environmental courts
ENVIRONMENTAL COURTS

SWEDEN

Environmental Court of Appeal, Stockholm

(more 5 EnviromentalDistrictCourts)

slide22
BRAZIL - 1997

FIRST ENVIRONMENTAL DISTRICT COURT

  • CUIABÁ, MATO GROSSO STATE, PANTANAL REGION
  • THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MATO GROSSO STATE SPECIALIZED A DISTRICT COURT IN ENVIRONMENTAL CASES, IN 26.8.1996.

CIVIL AND CRIMINAL COMPETENCE INCLUDES THE CAPITAL CITY AND SOME CITIES NEARBY.

  • THE DISTRICT COURT HAS A BOAT AND EVERY MONTH THE JUDGE, 15 OFFICIALS, THE PROSECUTOR, THE ENVIRONMENTAL ORGAN STAFF AND THE JUDICIAL POWER STAFF, EXPERTS, AND POLICE GO AROUND THE REGION.
state courts of appeal
STATE COURTS OF APPEAL
  • SÃO PAULO, SÃO PAULO STATE

THE COURT OF APPEALS OF SP (PERHAPS THE BIGGEST IN THE WORLD, WITH 360 JUDGES) CREATED IN 2005 A SPECIALIZED ENVIRONMENTAL BOARD.

IT DECIDES ONLY CIVIL DAMAGES CASES.

THE DECISIONS ARE TAKEN IN A SHORT TIME, WITH A GOOD TECHNICAL QUALITY.

federal justice south of brazil
FEDERAL JUSTICE (SOUTH OF BRAZIL)
  • DISTRICT ENVIRONMENTAL COURTS WERE CREATED IN 2005 IN THE CAPITAL CITIES OF THE 3 SOUTHERN STATES: CURITIBA, FLORIANÓPOLIS AND PORTO ALEGRE
  • COMPETENCE: ENVIRONMENTAL, RURAL AND REMAINING CASES
  • ADMINISTRATIVE, CIVIL AND CRIMINAL COMPETENCE
  • EXCELLENT RESULTS
federal environmental courts 2010
Federal EnvironmentalCourts - 2010

This year 4 Federal Environmental District Courts were created by the Federal Council of Justice in the Amazon Region, in different States.

This is a real change of mentality.

slide26
But, ...
  • The population don't like the inspections, because it means less money in the city
  • Satellite monitoring is increasing, but they cut smaller trees hidden below the taller ones, so that the satellites can´t capture the images of the damage
  • State judges have big problems in distant cities
other measures to improve environmental law
OTHER MEASURES TO IMPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

1) To include Environmental Law in the program of public exams for judges and organize capacity building courses for them.

Besides the judges, also for the servants of the Judicial Power, because (in Brazil) they help the judges in their decisions.

slide30

2) To reconstruct the story of the Environmental Law, by interviewing judges who gave the first decisions and paying tribute to them. The initiative could be taken by environmental agencies, UNEP, NGOs and environmental foundations, universities or corporations.

slide31

3) To organize essay contests for judges on Environmental Law. It is a wonderful way to motivate judges to study Environmental Law. The prizes may be the participation in international congresses

slide32

4) To invite the stakeholders of the Judiciary Power and the leadership of judges to participate in some activities (e.g. to be examiners in essays contests or to chair panels in congresses), so that they would be introduced into Environmental Law and would be able to evaluate its importance.

slide33

5) To encourage the extensive application of International Agreements for crimes of “money laundry”, namely “Palermo Convention”, to environmental crimes whose effects, directly or indirectly, cross the borders and affect people of other countries. It meansresponsibility of corporations, confiscation of assets, extradition and mutual judicial assistance and simplified gathering of evidence. 

slide34

6) To be an example, the Judiciary, as a public power, should adopt the practice of environmental management. Thus, in their administrative action, Tribunals should encourage the economy of electricity, water and paper, e.g. by introducing the use, even partial, of non-chlorinated paper.

conclusion
CONCLUSION

“ In the Phillipines, land of the leading case about environmental protection for the future generations (A. Oposa x Factoran, 1993) I wish I had left the hope in the power of the Law to change the devastation.”

slide36

Many thanks to the ADB, UNEP

and to the organization for

inviting me.

Vladimir Passos de Freitas

(vladimir.freitas@terra.com.br)