It was already agreed behind the scenes of the STF (Supreme Federal Court) that a request for a review would once again postpone the judgment on rules for demarcating indigenous lands. It was no surprise in the plenary, therefore, when Minister Alexandre de Moraes announced, this afternoon, that he would interrupt the discussion to analyze the case for a longer time.

In practice, it is up to the minister who asked for a view to decide when to return the case for trial. Moraes is usually brief. To other ministers, he pledged to cast his vote soon – but did not specify when that will happen.

Moraes told colleagues that he would ask for a view because two ministers were absent from today’s session: the president, Luiz Fux, and Luís Roberto Barroso. For Moraes, the discussion is too relevant to be carried out without the full quorum of the plenary.

In a reserved character, justices of the STF understand that there is no way of postponing the judgment on the timeframe for much longer. Society demands a quick response to the cause. The demonstrations by the Indians in Brasília gained national prominence.

The most likely, therefore, is that the Supreme Court, even if it has been postponing the judgment for years, will take a decision before the National Congress, where the issue is also being discussed.

Until the trial resumes, the pressure on Alexandre de Moraes – who, now, will have another delicate process for the government in his office. Jair Bolsonaro is in favor of the thesis of the temporal framework, which makes the demarcation of indigenous lands difficult and favors agribusiness, a great pillar of support for the president.

Bolsonaro elected Moraes as his main enemy. The minister is the rapporteur of the main investigations that are running against the president of the STF.

The case over the timeframe reached the Court in 2016 and had the judgment postponed several times. The longer the STF takes to decide, the more it harms indigenous peoples, because it puts the issue in the lap of Congress. Parliamentarians tend to fix the time frame – and thus reduce the possibilities of land demarcation for ethnic groups.

According to the time frame thesis, indigenous peoples can only claim lands where they were physically present on the date of enactment of the Federal Constitution – that is, on October 5, 1988.

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