Recent News

June 2, 2017

Judge Peter J. Messitte is awarded the Order of the Southern Cross

Judge Peter J. Messitte is awarded the Order of the Southern Cross (Ordem do Cruzeiro do Sul) from Brazilian President Michel Temer.

This is the highest award that can be given to a foreigner by Brazil.  It is given “as a token of gratitude and recognition from those who have rendered significant service to the Brazilian nation.”  Prior winners include several Heads of State, among them Queen Elizabeth, President Eisenhower – and somewhat more controversially – Che Guevara.  The award was given to Judge Messitte is recognition of his work for many years with the Brazilian Judiciary.  Judge Messitte is currently Adjunct Professor of Comparative Law and Director of the Brazil-U.S. Legal & Judicial Studies Program at WCL. 

March 21, 2017

In her letter accepting WCL's invitation to speak at the Law School on April 10, 2017, Minister Carmen Lucia, President of Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal paid the Law School a very high compliment.

"I reaffirm the relevance of the prolific cooperation established between the Supreme Federal Tribunal and American University, which has permitted a greater depth of understanding of American and Brazilian legal institutions and which, ultimately, has strengthened the basis that supports a wide-spread and effective Rule of Law."

December, 2016

In late December, 2016, President Michel Temer issued a decree making Judge Messitte a member of the National Order of the Southern Cross (Ordem do Cruzeiro do Sul), the highest award that can be made to foreign nationals, “as a token of gratitude and recognition ... for significant service to the Brazilian nation.” The award, which is expected to be formally made in Brasília in April, is in recognition of Judge Messitte’s work and friendship with the Brazilian Judiciary over the years.  Among the most prominent recipients of the Award in the past have been Queen Elizabeth, President Eisenhower, and Helen Keller.

WCL and the Brazil-U.S. Legal & Judicial Studies Program are pleased to welcome two distinguished Brazilian legal personalities to WCL for this school term.  The first is Desembargadora (= Appellate Judge) Monica Sifuentes of the Federal Regional Tribunal for the First Region in Brasília.  Judge Sifuentes, for many years, has served as one of Brazil’s two International Network Judges under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.  (Judge Messitte, apart from his work with Brazil, happens to serve as the Federal Judicial Representative from the United States to the International Judicial Network under the Convention.)  Judge Sifuentes, who has been selected as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow at WCL, will study trafficking in persons, especially women.  The second jurist of distinction who is at WCL this term is Dr. Flávio Chiarelli Vicente de Azevedo, an attorney with the office of Brazil’s Attorney General for the Union (AGU), headquartered in Brasília.  Dr. Chiarelli is a Visiting Scholar at WCL, where he will focus on mediation techniques.  He will be working with Judge Messitte to develop future programs on mediation for other attorneys in the office of the AGU and other governmental entities.

August 11, 2016

Judge Messitte was interviewed by BBC, where was asked, as a foreign judge, to comment on the Petrobras “Lava Jato” prosecution in Brazil.  The Judge stated, among other things, that Brazil’s Public Ministry, Federal Police and Judge Sergio Moro have been cited around the world as models for how the prosecution of political corruption might proceed.  The interview with Judge Messitte was published in the Folha de São Paulo on August 11, 2016.  (A copy of the interview in Portuguese will be available on the Portuguese version of this website.)

March 2016

Judge Messitte recently authored an article entitled "An Institute for Legal & Judicial Studies at Washington College of Law" that appeared in the March 2016 issue of Justica e Cidadania.