The historic judgment in the Federal Supreme Court (STF) of the “time frame”, a legal thesis that restricts demarcations of indigenous lands, was suspended late this Wednesday afternoon (1st) without the reading of the ministers’ votes.
In the first session, held after a sequence of postponements since October of last year, the parties involved in the process and a group of entities interested in the cause, some represented by indigenous lawyers, were heard.
According to the President of the Court, Minister Luiz Fux, the judgment that will serve as the basis for numerous future court decisions will resume on Thursday (2), with the speech of the Republic’s Attorney General, Augusto Aras, in addition to the vote of the members of the STF.
:: Indigenous extermination and paralyzed demarcations: understand the consequences of the “time frame” ::
The only vote cast so far occurred in June this year, when the reporting minister Edson Fachin rejected the consolidation of the temporal criterion to demarcate the ancestral territories. He will resubmit the vote at the next session.
About a thousand indigenous people followed the session in Brasília (DF), where they are mobilized against the “time frame”. Leaders and experts affirm that the thesis’ validation is incompatible with the Constitution itself and would mean an unprecedented attack on the original peoples.
Contrary and favorable to the “time frame”
Among those in favor of consolidating the “time frame” criterion, which provides that indigenous peoples would only have rights to the lands they were occupying up to the date of promulgation of the Federal Constitution, was the attorney general of Santa Catarina.
“Do we need to protect indigenous land rights? Of course yes. But we must also protect the rights of entrepreneurs and farmers in Santa Catarina”, argued attorney Alisson de Bom de Souza.
The state of Santa Catarina was responsible for filing the lawsuit against the Xokleng people, which is now being judged by the Supreme Court. On the other side, representing the Xokleng, lawyers Carlos Marés and Rafael Modesto dos Santos shared the speaking time.
Modesto classified the defense of a criterion of time to define demarcations as “fiction” and “denialism”.
“To deny them the territory is to deny them the social organization. To maintain the ‘time frame’ is to say clearly: the Indians will be integrated and the indigenous societies will disappear”, added Marés.
Representing the federal government, which is also part of the process, the General Advocate of the Union Bruno Bianco Leal argued that the “time frame” will contribute to “social pacification”.
Indigenous people in the STF against the “milestone”
Among the entities that manifested themselves on the subject were non-governmental organizations, indigenous lawyers and religious associations. All were positioned against the “time frame”.
Representative of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib), the indigenous lawyer Eloy Terena highlighted that the Constitution understands the indigenous issue under the concept of traditionality, not the period of occupation of the territory.
“If the communities were not on their land on October 5, where were they? Just remember that we were leaving the period of the dictatorship, when many communities were evicted from their land, now with the support and approval of the state itself”, recalled Eloy Terena , lawyer for the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib).
For the United Movement of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Bahia (Mupoiba), Samara Pataxó mentioned the more than 500 years of exploitation experienced by indigenous peoples.
The judgment “will decide on the future of our lives and our existential continuity as indigenous peoples of our country,” said the lawyer.
Attorney Ivo Aureliano, from the Indigenous Council of Roraima, refuted the argument presented by the Santa Catarina attorney general, who stated that there is consolidated jurisprudence in favor of the applicability of the “time frame”.
“This Court defined the constitutionality of the demarcation in a continuous area of the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land, so it is of fundamental importance to say that the decision only links to that demarcation, contrary to what the state of Santa Catarina supports.
Representing Amazonas, state attorney Daniel Pinheiro said that the state, which has the largest and most diverse indigenous population in Brazil, has taken a stand against the “time frame.”
On behalf of Indigenistas Associados, an association of Funai employees, lawyer Camila Gomes de Lima defended the current criteria for demarcating indigenous territories and criticized those who defend the “time frame” as a way of “simplifying” the procedure.
What is the “timeframe”
The process that will be analyzed again by the ministers this Wednesday (1) concerns the possession of the territory of the Xokleng people, from Santa Catarina. This is a repossession action filed in 2009 by the state government regarding the Ibirama-Laklãnõ Indigenous Land (TI).
Severely criticized by indigenous organizations, the “time frame” is a legal thesis defended by ruralists that raises new barriers to the demarcation of lands from native peoples.
By the “time frame”, the territories can only be demarcated if the indigenous peoples are able to prove that they were occupying the area previously or on the exact date of the promulgation of the Constitution, on October 5, 1988, or if a conflict over the possession of the land is proven.
“Many were actually not on their land on that date because they were expelled, their land was taken over by farmers”, points out Samara Pataxó, legal advisor for Apib.
Edition: Vinícius Segalla