Argentine actress Thelma Fardin has travelled to São Paulo “seeking justice,” after the rape trial against her former colleague Juan Darthés was annulled by a federal court.
Fardin, 29, shows no sign of giving up on her quest for justice. Her new legal team attempted to reverse the court’s decision this week in three separate hearings with the magistrates.
“I came here seeking both personal and collective justice,” Fardin told AFP in an interview, after arriving in Brazil on Wednesday for the first time since the start of the trial against Darthés, whom she accused of sexually assaulting her during a tour in Nicaragua in 2009, when she was a minor.
“It’s very important for me to be here to be sure that I’ve done all I could,” the actress explained.
In February, the São Paulo Federal Court annulled the trial commenced in November against Darthés during the later stages, as it held it should be heard by a state court in São Paulo, without dismissing the proceedings or acquitting the actor.
Darthés travelled to Brazil, where he was born, after Fardin’s presented charges in 2018, and was tried in that country because its Constitution does not allow citizens to be extradited. He has consistently denied the accusations.
On Friday, Fardin’s new legal team, led by Carla Junqueira, a Brazilian lawyer specialising in international law and gender, together with the public prosecutor who accused the actor, attempted to raise objections during three hearings with the three judges to prevent the trial from going back to square one and to continue in a federal venue.
“The hearings went very well. The judges were accepting of the defences,” Junqueira said in an audio sent to AFP.
The decisive date will be March 28, when the appeal for rectification of the February decision filed by Fardin’s defence team will be considered.
“The judges will then decide whether the proceedings are to be heard by state courts or the Higher Court of Justice [federal court],” the attorney explained.
“Their ruling disregarded an article in the Brazilian Constitution which states that all cases of interest to the Union must be referred to federal courts. This is an international law case in which the Brazilian State is accountable to other countries,” Junqueira explained in reference to international cooperation in this matter by the authorities of Nicaragua, Argentina and Brazil.
Fardin continued her schedule of meetings the following day, meeting with Argentina’s Ambassador in Brazil Daniel Scioli.
Until the trial was annulled, nine witnesses had testified, including Fardin, at the remote trial which was suspended before Darthés’ testimony.
Fardin claims she “feels re-victimised” due to a “perverse institutional game, with a victim chasing her assailant around the world to get justice.”
At the end of the proceedings, she still expects “a conviction” to prevent “a feeling of irreparable impunity.”
According to Junqueira, the accused is unlikely to serve time, given the period already elapsed.
As well as the massive support she got in her country, the actress was welcomed by local feminist collectives, such as the Mulheres do Brasil (Women of Brazil) Group and the local #MeToo movement.