Brazil has passed a law to require DNA from convicted criminals for inclusion in the national Brazilian DNA database. The DNA database will match these profiles to evidence from unsolved violent crimes. Countries with similar programs have seen extraordinary increases in the amount of crimes both solved and prevented. President Dilma Rousseff signed this historic legislation on 28 May, 2012.
The legislative sponsor is Senator Ciro Nogueira, who became impassioned to pass the law upon learning of its power to prevent violent crime throughout Brazil. In August of 2011, Senator Nogueira brought the surviving family members of serial murderer Marco Trigueiro to visit with congressional leadership in Brasilia and promote the law. Trigueiro terrorized Belo Horizonte in 2009 by brutally murdering five women. “Most of the Belo Horizante murders could have been prevented if this law had been in place. I am proud of these families for their courage to come to Brasilia to tell their story, and I am proud of my fellow members of Congress who voted to pass this law and make Brazil a safer place,” said Senator Nogueira.
Brazil becomes the 56th country to pass DNA database legislation, and the third in South America (Chile 2007; Uruguay 2010).
“With a population of nearly 200 million, and a strong DNA crime lab foundation, Brazil is positioned to become the largest DNA database in Latin America and one of the largest in world,” said Tim Schellberg, President of Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs, a firm that consults globally on DNA law and policy.
Schellberg expects Brazil’s new law to create a wave of similar legislation throughout Latin America. “Brazil has great influence throughout Latin America. Other Latin American countries have been waiting to see what Brazil would do.”