Chambers | Guernica 37
Guernica 37 was co-founded by Toby Cadman and Almudena Bernabeu and is part of The Guernica Group. It operates from Chambers in Central London with associated offices in Madrid and San Francisco. Carl Buckley serves as Practice Director, Victoria Bernabeu as Head of Administration and Finance and Nenad Vucijak as Senior Clerk.
Accountability is the central value leading the work of the Guernica 37. The unprecedented scale and cruelty of episodes such as the bombardment of Guernica in 1937 and the failure of the Treaty of Versailles to provide stability after the First World War changed the notion of peace and post-conflict reconciliation in the central decades of the 20th century. With the Nuremberg trials, the international community inaugurated a new paradigm for transitions that linked the concepts of peace and stability with those of truth and justice.
The unparalleled inhumanity of warfare during the 20th Century and the constant, massive and systematic attacks against the civilian population marked a landmark in the history of International Law. Since the 1950s, victims are entitled to hear the truth about the abuses, to receive reparations for their suffering, to design guarantees of non-repetition and to bring perpetrators of international crimes and massive violations of human rights to justice. Lessons learnt in previous transitional experiences demonstrate that knowing the truth of what occurred during conflict and identifying those who bear the highest criminal responsibility for the abuses committed are essential for reconciliation.
Apart from a new concept of transitional justice, the aftermath of the Second World War brought additional changes and benefits to the corpus of International Law with the approval of international charters of human rights, which set the minimum standards of human dignity. These charters of rights and the institutional complex created around them transformed the traditional Westphalian spirit of International Law—focused on the concepts of sovereignty and states—and changed it for a cosmopolitan and humanitarian vision of International Law, focused on the rights of the individual and the duty to protect them.
Guernica 37, with its own name, acknowledges the suffering of the victims and supports them in their fight to tell their stories and achieve accountability through judicial proceedings. Moreover, our work in support for transitional justice is eminently transnational, as in numerous occasions, due to the absence of transitional institutions and political willingness, victims are unable to access transitional justice mechanisms in their own countries. Guernica 37 thus identifies connections with alternative jurisdictions and initiates legal proceedings in order to foment debate in the relevant country and encourage domestic accountability with transformative effects. Moreover, drawing from comparative experiences is essential in this kind of post-conflict situations, so building transnational networks of key stakeholders, victims and professionals is a main priority of our work.
Guernica 37 provides technical assistance and creates capacity building in post-conflict and post-dictatorship situations through strategic litigation, specialised training programmes, advisory services, and the investigation of emblematic cases for local communities. Guernica 37 provides legal representation and designs legal strategies for victims of violations of human rights before either international mechanisms of protection or regional and domestic Courts. In the area of Business and Human Rights, Guernica 37 provides bespoke advice and assistance on compliance with human rights standards and due diligence policies advancing the UN Guiding Principles. Guernica 37 further provides advice and assistance to Organisations and States in the areas of anti-corruption initiatives, rule of law development, training, institution building, legal reform and legislative drafting.