Monday, December 15, 2014

Center for Justice and Accuntability Seeks Truth, Justice, Redress for Victims of Torture, Human Rights Violations

"The administration of Salvador Sanchez Ceren has the obligation and opportunity to make a difference, to improve the lives of the people of El Salvador – the people th ey fought for – and ensure that they see justice."  Center for Justice and Accountability
Several thousand people participated in a candlelit procession through the campus of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), the scene, 25 years ago, of one of the most infamous episodes in El Salvador’s dozen-year civil war (1980-1992): the predawn murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and and the housekeeper's daughter.  This week's issue of NotiCen examines some of the issues surrounding the anniversary, including efforts to overturn a blanket amnesty approved in El Salvador in 1993, which allows the perpetrators to remain unpunished.
Photo: Center for Justice and Accountablity
Among those participating in the procession in San Salvador on Nov. 18 was Almudena Bernabeu, an attorney and rights advocate at the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) in San Francisco, California. The CJA has played a leading role in recent years in efforts to prosecute the authors of the UCA massacre

The CJA is an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world. The organization also advances the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress, which applies directly to its work in El Salvador. 

CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.
The case of the murdered Jesuits is just one of seven active cases in El Salvador.  The center is  involved in human-rights-related litigation in seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.  In addition to El Salvador, the CJA is involved in cases in Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Peru (as well as the United States).  The other five countries where the CJA is involved in human-rights-related cases are Bosnia, Cambodia, China, Somalia, and Timor-Leste.

The CJA was founded in 1998 with support from Amnesty International and the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture to represent torture survivors in their pursuit of justice. The center is part of the movement for global justice for those who have been tortured or have suffered other severe human rights abuses.

"CJA is one of the few international human rights NGOs with a base of clients who speak out publicly against mass atrocities from a survivor's perspective," said the organization.  "At the heart of CJA’s mission is the belief that survivors themselves are the most effective spokespeople against torture, genocide and other abuses. CJA devotes resources to supporting clients who, as a result of participating in our litigation, are galvanized to dedicate more time and energy to anti-impunity efforts within their communities."

-Carlos Navarro 

Also in LADB on Dec. 10-12 
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