Center's personal timeline, a place to collect and share things from Center's life.
Created by CJA on Jul 15, 2009
Last updated: 03/12/10 at 12:50 AM
In a 711-page decision, a Peruvian Supreme Court panel finds Fujimori guilty of supervising the murder, kidnapping, and torture of civilians by a death squad waging a counterinsurgency campaign in the early 1990s. Fujimori is sentenced to 25 years in prison. The historic verdict marks the first time that an elected head of state has been convicted of human rights violations by a national court in his own country.
Thanks to actions taken by U.S. Senators following CJA's congressional testimony on human rights enforcement efforts, former Salvadoran Minister García - defendant in Romagoza v. Garcia and Vides Casanova - is indicted on two felony counts of immigration fraud, related to his concealement of human rights abuses.
CJA and the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos en España file criminal charges before the Spanish National Court against the alleged perpetrators of the infamous “Jesuits Massacre.” In 1989, members of the Salvadoran military murdered six priests, their housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter. The massacre was a major tipping point leading to the end of the twelve-year Salvadoran Civil War. In early 2009, the court agrees to initiate a historic criminal prosecution and formally charges fourteen Salvadoran ex-officers and soldiers for their roles in the massacre. [In photo: Members of the Atlacatl Brigade. In the 1980-1992 civil war, over 65,000 civilians died at the hand of government forces.]
CJA successfully distributes $580,000 of Colonel Carl Dorélien’s assets to Haitian torture and massacre survivors in the U.S. and Haiti. With the distribution, CJA crosses the one million dollar mark in assets recovered for our clients. The distribution comes after a 2007 jury verdict against Dorélien for torture, extrajudicial killing, arbitrary detention and crimes against humanity committed during Haiti’s 1991-1994 military dictatorship. [In photo: Mario Joseph from the Bureau des Avocats International distributes part of the recovery from Jean v. Dorelien to CJA client Marie Jeanne Jean.]
CJA secures a $37 million judgment against Peruvian Major Telmo Hurtado Hurtado for his role in the Accomarca Massacre committed in 1985 during Peru’s 20 year conflict. The judgment marks the first time that anyone has been held to account for the massacre. In 2008, CJA works behind the scenes to ensure that our other Peruvian defendant, Juan Rivera Rondón, is successfully transferred by U.S. authorities to law enforcement personnel in Peru for criminal prosecution.
As a result of the verdict against ex-Honduran intelligence chief, López Grijalba, the Honduran Attorney General approached CJA about training Honduran prosecutors to bring criminal human rights cases against López Grijalba and other perpetrators. In December 2007, CJA completed a historic training for over 80 Honduran prosecutors in Tegucigalpa.
In a CJA first, our client Dr. Juan Romagoza and Executive Director Pamela Merchant testify before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. Following CJA’s testimony, Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Coburn (R-OK) request that DHS and DOJ review prosecution and/or deportation of CJA Defendants García and Vides Casanova.
The Dodd Prize is awarded by the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut to a leader or group who has made a significant effort to advance the cause of international justice and global human rights. Previous recipients include Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern for their work on the peace process in Northern Ireland, South African Justice Richard Goldstone and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louis Arbour. [In photo: Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) presents the award to CJA Executive Director Pamela Merchant.]
CJA joins the groundbreaking prosecution of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for corruption and human rights violations, including massacres carried out by the Grupo Colina death squad. Fujimori’s extradition from Chile marks the first time that a former head of state has been extradited to stand trial for gross human rights abuses in his home country.
A Miami federal jury finds Dorélien liable for torture, extrajudicial killing, arbitrary detention and crimes against humanity and orders him to pay $4.3 million in damages.
Doe v. Constant: A Federal District Court judge finds Emmanuel "Toto" Constant liable for torture, crimes against humanity and the systematic use of violence against women, including rape. Our clients are awarded a total of $19 million in damages.
Guatemelan Genocide Case: CJA joins a prosecution initiated in Spain by Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum against eight high ranking Guatemalan military and government officials for torture, genocide, and state terrorism. The case represents the first time that the claims of the Mayan survivors of the genocide have been presented to a national court. In 2007, CJA, the National Security Archive, Impunity Watch, the Myrna Mack Foundation, and U.C. Hastings College of the Law launch the Guatemala Evidence Project - the first comprehensive attempt to map the chain of command within the Guatemalan police and military during the genocide.
CJA wins its case against Colonel Juan López Grijalba, a former Chief of Military Intelligence for Honduras who was responsible for the torture, disappearance, and killing of Honduran civilians during the early 1980s. Grijalba is ordered to pay $47 million in damages to our clients. [Photo: Juan Lopez Grijalba during his 2004 deportation from the U.S. for human rights abuses.]
CJA wins its 3rd El Salvador case. A Memphis Jury finds Colonel Nicolas Carranza, the former Vice-Minister of Defense of El Salvador, liable for torture and extrajudicial killings. CJA’s clients are awarded $6 million dollars. Colonel Carranza, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Memphis, exercised command and control over the three units of the Security Forces responsible for widespread attacks on civilians. During trial, Carranza admits that he had been receiving money from the U.S. government since 1965. [In photo: CJA client Cecilia Santos talks to the press outside the courthouse]
In February 2002, CJA filed a civil suit against Liu Qi, mayor of Beijing, for the torture and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the Beijing police. Liu Qi was served with the complaint at San Francisco International Airport. When he failed to respond, CJA filed a motion for default judgment. After considering statements of interest filed by the US and Chinese governments, Judge Claudia Wilken of the US District Court for the Northern District of California entered a default judgment against Liu Qi for overseeing the torture, arbitrary detention and sexual assault of our clients.
CJA filed suit in New York against Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, the founder and former leader of FRAPH (Revolutionary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti) – a notorious death squad that operated under Haiti’s 1991-1994 military regime.
Yousuf v. Samantar and Doe v. Ali: In the 1980s, the military regime of Siad Barré subjected its own citizens to a campaign of killing, sexual violence and torture that culminated in the 1988 aerial bombing of Hargeisa, where an estimated 40,000 people were killed. CJA’s cases against former Minister of Defense Mohamed Ali Samantar and Colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali mark the first efforts at accountability for human rights crimes in Somalia.
Doe v. Saravia: CJA wins a landmark case against one of the architects of the assassination of Archbishop Romero in El Salvador. This victory marks the first time that any individual has been held accountable for his murder. Archbishop Romero was a momentous figure in the struggle for human rights in El Salvador until his death on March 24, 1980. The judge determined that the assassination was a crime against humanity and ordered Saravia to pay $10 million to the plaintiff, a relative of the Archbishop. Until this ruling, no one had been held responsible for the assassination, one of the most heinous and shocking murders of the 20th century.
CJA brings a suit against Colonel Nicolas Carranza—the former Vice-Minister of Defense for El Salvador—liable for crimes against humanity, torture and extrajudicial killing. Carranza had retired to Tennessee.
Cabello v. Fernández Larios: CJA wins the first jury verdict in U.S. history for crimes against humanity in a contested case against a Chilean death squad operative who participated in the murder of Chilean economist Winston Cabello. Winston was one of the 75 or more civilians executed by the “Caravan of Death” - a military squad acting under orders from Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Command Responsibility for Salvadoran Civil War Atrocities: Romagoza Arce v. Garcia. A Florida jury returns a $54.6 million verdict against former Salvadoran Ministers of Defense García and Vides Casanova for torture and other abuses committed by troops under their command during the Salvadoran civil war. The $54.6 verdict is upheld in 2006 by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. CJA recovers $300,000 of Vides Casanova’s assets for our clients.
Mehinovic v. Vuckovic: Former Bosnian Serb soldier Nikola Vuckovic is found liable for torture; cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; arbitrary detention; war crimes; crimes against humanity; and genocide. The court awards the plaintiffs $140 million in damages.
Mehinovic v. Vuckovic: The defendant Vuckovic fails to appear in court. According to relatives he has fled the United States. The Judge proceeds with a bench trial on the merits. [In photo: CJA client Kemal Mehinovic testifies in The Hague.]
Doe v. Lumintang: CJA files a civil action against the ex-Vice Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army, Johny Lumintang. The suit seeks redress for six East Timorese activists who were targeted by the Indonesian military in a systematic campaign of violence following the September 1999 referendum on independence for East Timor.
Romagoza v. Garcia & Vides Casanova: In May 1999, CJA filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against two of the most notorious perpetrators on that list: Jose Garcia, the minister of defense of El Salvador from 1979 to 1983, and Eugenio Carlos Vides-Casanova, the director general of El Salvador’s National Guard during the same period. Both defendants “retired” to the United States in August 1989.
CJA files its first case, Mehinovic v. Vuckovic, against a Bosnian war criminal who committed torture and ethnic cleansing. Defendant Nikola Vuckovic flees the United States on the eve of the trial. In 2002, he is found liable and ordered to pay $140 million in damages.
CJA is incorporated. That same year, General Augusto Pinochet is arrested in London pursuant to a Spanish warrant for torture and related crimes in Chile. CJA collects testimony from Chilean exiles to assist in the case.