“Crimes against international law are
committed by men, not by abstract entities,
and only by punishing individuals who
commit such crimes can the provisions of
international law be enforced.”
Judgment of the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, Germany, 1947
Two million refugees live in the U.S.
Over 500,000 are survivors of torture.
Former Salvadoran Minister of Defense,
General José Guillermo García,
resides in Florida.
An estimated 1,000 perpetrators of human rights abuses
enjoy safe haven in the U.S.
CJA and our pro bono co-counsel files suit against human
rights abusers who take refuge in the U.S. from
Bosnia, Chile, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras,
Indonesia, Peru and Somalia.
• Deter Human Rights Abusers
• Develop Human Rights
• Contribute to Transitional
• Provide “Closure”
for Torture Survivors
In the 1970s, 1.5 to 2.2 million Cambodians were killed by
the Khmer Rouge in one of the most brutal mass killings of
the 20th century.
CJA represents 45 Cambodian-Americans before the
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)
against two former leaders of the Khmer Rouge for charges
of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
The Khmer Rouge interrogated
and tortured thousands of victims
at Tuol Sleng Prison.
Out of an estimated 17,000
persons who entered there,
only 7 survived.
Mementos of life under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia,
shared by survivors at CJA’s first forum for the Cambodian Diaspora
On the morning of November 16, 1989, El Salvador and the world woke up
to the news that six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her teenage
daughter were brutally executed by the Salvadoran military, purportedly in
defense against the Farabundo Martí Liberation Front (FMLN).
In 2009, the Spanish National Court charged the 14 Salvadoran ex-officers
with crimes against humanity and state terrorism.
In 2008, CJA filed criminal charges in Spain against former
Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani Burkard and 14 former
military officers for their role in the Jesuit murders.
Thanks to CJA’s case, one of the
defendants in the Jesuits Massacre
Case was arrested by US authorities
in Massachusetts. On September
11, 2012, Former Vice Minister of
Public Safety of El Salvador
Inocente Orlando pled guilty to six
counts of federal criminal
immigration fraud and perjury.
During the 1980s, the military dictatorship of Siad Barré
subjected Somali citizens to horrific atrocities.
Many former officials from that period have sought refuge in the U.S.
General Samantar, former
Commander of the Armed Forces,
resides in Fairfax, Virginia.
CJA brought suit against three members of Siad Barre’s regime:
- former Commander of the Armed Forces, Mohamed Ali Samantar,
- Colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali (aka Tukeh, a notorious high-ranking
- former Chief of Investigations of the National Security Service,
Abdi Aden Magan.
These cases represent the first international effort to gain justice for the
victims of this brutal regime.
On February 23, 2012, Samantar appeared in a federal court in Virginia and
accepted liability for torture, extrajudicial killing, crimes against humanity, war
crimes, and other human rights abuses committed against Somali civilians during
Victory in Yousuf v. Samantar!
On August 28, 2012, plaintiffs were awarded $21 million in
damages against General Samantar.
Ahmed v. Magan
CJA client Abukar Ahmed won a historic victory against Colonel Abdi Aden Magan,
former chief of the Somali National Security Service, for the torture and arbitrary
detention he endured under Col. Magan’s orders.
Mr. Ahmed, a former constitutional law professor and human rights advocate,
currently serves as the legal advisor to the New Somali Government and is drafting
the Somali Human Rights Bill.
In September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the elected government of
Dr. Salvador Allende. In the ensuing 17 years of dictatorship, the people of Chile
were subjected to a systematic campaign of torture and state violence: an
estimated 2,600 - 3,400 Chilean citizens were executed or “disappeared” while
another 30,000 to 100,000 were tortured.
In 1999, CJA filed suit against
Pinochet death squad
Fernández Larios, for the
torture and murder of Chilean
economist Winston Cabello in
On October 15, 2003, a Miami jury found Fernández Larios liable for
torture, crimes against humanity, and extrajudicial killing.
They awarded $4 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the
family of Winston Cabello.
Over 200,000 Guatemalans were killed or forcibly disappeared in a civil war
that raged from 1960-1996: 93% of these human rights violations were
carried out by government forces.
In 1999, the Rigoberta Menchu Foundation filed a criminal complaint
before the Spanish National Court against Efrain Rios Montt and
others, charging terrorism, genocide, and systematic torture. In
2000, survivors filed a case in Guatemala.
In 2006, after efforts to obtain justice in Guatemala failed, CJA International Attorney
Almudena Bernabeu led an international legal team working together on the cases in
both Spanish and Guatemalan courts.
After Guatemalan Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz took office,
Rios Montt was indicted. On March 19, 2013, the trial began.
May 10, 2013 – Rios Montt was sentenced to 80 years in prison for genocide and
crimes against humanity. Tragically, the verdict was later overturned. CJA
continues to support the on going prosecution in Guatemala and remains hopeful
that justice will prevail.
“Survivors of torture around the world will not be
silenced. With the help of CJA we are rising up to hold
our abusers accountable under the law. CJA’s victories
are bringing us closer to a world in which state-
sponsored torture is unacceptable.”
-Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
“CJA is performing groundbreaking work. If the promise of the
Nuremberg Charter is to be fulfilled, it is crucial for the U.S. and its
courts to be active participants. CJA is leading the efforts of lawyers and
activists to enlist the U.S. courts in this global campaign for international
-Honorable Baltazar Garzon Real, Investigating Judge, Spanish National Court
“CJA has become the leader in
the never-ending fight to
demonstrate to the world that
America has not forgotten its
-Robert White, former United States
“When I testified, a strength came over me. I felt like I was in the prow
of a boat and that there were many, many people rowing behind – that
they were moving me into this moment. I felt that if I looked back at
them, I’d weep because I’d see them again: wounded, tortured, raped,
naked, torn, bleeding. So, I didn’t look back, but I felt their support, their
strength, their energy… Being involved in this case, confronting the
General with these terrible facts – that’s the best possible therapy a
torture survivor could have.”
-Juan Romagoza Arce, CJA Plaintiff
With your support,
CJA will continue to
rights abuses from
around the world –
and will bring those
Hibo Abdilahi, Somaliland