International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International judicial Academy of the International Law Institute, Washington, D.C.
with circulation assistance from the American Society of International Law

Summer 2017 Issue

Justice In Profile


Sergio Moro, Judge (Brazil)

Sergio Moro

By: James G. Apple, Editor-in-Chief, International Judicial Monitor

One of the more consistent political issues that has plagued Brazil over the past decade has been corruption, apparently centered in the executive branch, but seemingly spilling over into the judicial branch. Judges, even some at the highest levels, have not been immune from charges of corruption in their judicial duties.

However, some judges have been and are fighting back at government corruption.

One ongoing crusading effort to end corruption in the executive branch, and to bring to justice those government officers who have been involved in corrupt activities, has been lead by federal judge Sergio Moro in the city of Curitiba, in Brazil’s southern region.

Judge Moro recently made headlines by overseeing the criminal corruption case against former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva which resulted in a conviction, sending shock waves throughout Brazilian society. Such a reaction is especially because Mr. da Silva has been one of the most prominent and powerful political figures in Brazil.  Judge Moro has been involved in government and prosecuting government anti corruption cases for four years. This continuing investigation has been named Lava Jato, which literally means “car wash.”

Judge Moro was born in 1972 and grew up in Maringa, in the state of Parana. His parents were teachers. He earned a bachelor of laws degree in 1995 at Maringa State University, followed by a doctorate at the Federal University of Parana in 2002. He was early on noted for his sense of justice and had a reputation of high moral standards, hard work and attention to detail. Judge Moro received his judicial appointment 1996.


In 1998 he attended a month long program at Harvard Law School dealing with criminal law and corruption. He was also a participant, in 2007, in a U.S. sponsored three week program for potential leaders of other countries, the International Visitor Leadership Program, which allowed him exposure to U.S. government agencies and officials involved in anti-money laundering and other forms of corruption among public officials. He has also studied Italian methods of combating corruption was able to apply lessons learned in that effort to his reform activities in Brazil.

Since his appointment as a judge, Judge Moro has conducted many trials involved money laundering. He has authored one book on the subject. In other corruption cases he has assisted other Brazilian judges in criminal prosecutions. In one of these cases he assisted Brazilian Judge Rosa Weber, and the Supreme Court of Brazil ordered the jailing of leading politicians from the Worker’s Party as a result of a vote buying  scheme.

Some of his cases have involved billions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. In addition to the Car Wash case, which involved the large state run oil company, Petrobas and bribery issues,  Judge Moro was the principal coordinator of a corruption case that resulted in the prosecution of 97 individuals.

The judge has also introduced new processes in the prosecution of criminal cases, to move them more quickly through the trial process. One of the techniques he has frequently used with success is the plea bargain, which before he became a judge was rarely if ever used.

Judge Moro has received international recognition for his work and successes. In Fortune Magazine’s 2016 List of World’s Greatest Leaders, he was Number 13. He was included in Time Magazine’s list of 100 of the world’s most influential people, also in 2016. He was listed in 10th place in Bloomberg Business Week’s list of 50 most influential people in the world of finance.

ASIl & International Judicial AcademyInternational Judicial Monitor
© 2017 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
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