|Prof. Flavia Piovesan|
Virtually no democratic nation allows, in actuality, the trial of civilians by military courts in peacetime. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to whose jurisdiction Brazil has submitted, is emphatic in asserting that in a democratic state military jurisdiction must have a restrictive scope directly linked to the protection of legal interests that are characteristic of the military. For the Court, only active duty military personnel may be tried by military courts, and only for military crimes. To do otherwise is an affront to the right to due process and the right to a fair hearing conducted by an impartial and independent judge. This is also the guidance of the UN and the European Court of Human Rights.