Matthew Taylor from the American University has quite a good piece in Brazil in Focus up on the Mensalão corruption scandal and some of the larger points it tells us about deficiencies in Brazil’s justice system. A telling section of the piece:
Whatever the reasons, this triumphalism is misplaced. Indeed, the mensalão trial is an important cautionary tale about Brazil’s rise to world prominence. Brazil’s byzantine judicial system is a significant impediment to development, and its failings aggravate corruption, stifle business, and threaten human rights. The court system is delay-ridden and exasperatingly formalistic, structured in ways that serve and benefit elites and their lawyers. Regardless of what sentences the high court eventually imposes, it is hard not to be appalled by how long it has taken to resolve a case that broke in 2005, during Lula’s first term. Although it started in the high court, and thus cannot be appealed, the mensalão case already has lasted more than seven times longer than a famously equivalent case, also involving a presidential chief of staff: the US Watergate case. And this is not even one of Brazil’s longest trials.
Worth a read.