Our Work | Guernica 37
Longstanding human rights concerns in Argentina include police abuse, poor prison conditions, and endemic violence against women. Restrictions on abortion and difficulty accessing reproductive services remain serious concerns, as are impunity for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish centre in Buenos Aires and delays in appointing permanent judges. Argentina continues to make significant progress protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and prosecuting officials for abuses committed during the country’s last military dictatorship (1976 – 1983), although trials have been delayed. In October 2019, Alberto Fernandez was elected president of Argentina. He took office in December 2019.
Members of Guernica 37 collaborated on the second extradition of Guillermo Suárez Mason to Buenos Aires, where he was prosecuted for 635 crimes against humanity, namely crimes of torture, murder, enforced disappearance.
In the same jurisdiction, Guernica 37 prepared the trial against Adolfo Scilingo. The former Navy Pilot was convicted by the Spanish court in Madrid of crimes committed, during Argentina’s dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla (1976-1983) – the so-called “death flights”, by the Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada.
It was the first case in which crimes against humanity allegedly committed in another country were tried in Spain under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction.
Death flight pilot with 1084-year jail sentence spotted in streets of Madrid
Spanish Supreme Court Affirms Conviction of Argentine Former Naval Officer for Crimes Against Humanity
Trial of Carlos Guillermo Suarez Mason
Guernica 37 members advised and represented human rights activists and victims of the political uprising in Bahrain. Additionally, they contributed to the design of a long-term strategy for transitional justice in the country, by advising on judicial reform, legislative drafting and institutional building in Bahrain.
Bahrain: LRWC Seeks Information on Investigation of the Complaint of Toby Cadman Regarding Dr. Ali bin Fadhel Al-Buainain | Letter
Guernica 37 has been involved in many legal matters in Bangladesh.
Amongst others, by:
providing legal advice and representation to political leaders prosecuted by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh (ICTB).
drafting and submitting several communications to the United Nations Special Procedures Branch on enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, summary or extrajudicial killings and the independence of judges and lawyers.
filling communication to the International Criminal Court regarding international crimes committed in Bangladesh under the current government.
drafting book chapters, articles and legal reports on the theory and practice of the ICTB.
being part of the team instructed to represent Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, an opposition political party, members of which have been tried before the ICTB, for which Toby Cadman, co-founder of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, has acted as a defence counsel.
Why I’m Taking the Bangladesh Prime Minister to the International Criminal Court:
Toby Cadman Rejoinder to Government of Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s struggle against impunity and the ‘international standards of justice’ conundrum
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Members of Guernica 37 advised on judicial reform, legislative drafting and institution building in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At the Bosnia and Herzegovina War Crimes Chamber, Toby Cadman, co-founder of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, was appointed as the Head of the Prosecution Support Section for War Crime at the State Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Toby acted as legal counsel to the Chief Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina and coordinated the transfer of cases from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia as part of the UN Security Council's completion strategy.
Toby was involved in a number of significant matters including the case of Prosecutor v. Radovan Stankovic, the first case referred by the ICTY to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the defendant was convicted for crimes against humanity.
The Case of Prosecutor v. Zeljko Mejakic et al. was the first case tried before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina alleging a joint criminal enterprise for crimes committed in the context of a concentration camp.
Other cases include: Prosecutor v. Mitar Rasevic & Savo Todovic; Prosecutor v. Gojko Jankovic; Prosecutor v. Milan Lukic & Sredoje Lukic; Prosecutor v. Pasko Ljubicic, and Prosecutor v Zdravko Božić et al.
Mladic life sentence hailed as historic step
Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Zdravko Božić et al.
U.S. deports Bosnian Serb war suspects
In addition, whilst serving at the Human Rights Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a legal advisor, Toby Cadman, worked on the following guideline cases:
Syla v Bosnia and Herzegovina (2003) - first extradition case before the Bosnian State Court, which established violations of lawfulness of detention in extradition proceedings, the right of habeas corpus and the right of access to court.
Boudellaa et al. v. Bosnia and Herzegovina; Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2002) “The Algerian Group” - the first case before this human rights body concerning the unlawful removal of suspected terrorists and challenging detention at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina detained in the US Military Detention Camp “Delta” within the US Naval Military Base at Guantanamo Bay.
Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008) - the first habeas corpus challenge before the US civilian courts.
Basic & Cosic v. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2003) - a leading case on the presumption of innocence and adverse medial reporting of a criminal trial, which established the right to have a custody determined by a judge.
Guernica 37 advised and represented Rohingya people, who became the victims of the persecution by the Government of Myanmar, because they participated in the uprisings in the Arakan region. Members of Guernica 37 have provided advice on legal action to be taken against the Government of Myanmar.
Will Myanmar's genocide generals ever face justice?
Almudena Bernabeu, co-founder of Guernica 37, worked on the investigation of the assassination of Victor Jara, a famous Chilean singer, which was one of the innumerable atrocities that took place in the Chile Stadium, just days after the Pinochet’s coup d’état. As a consequence of these investigations, a U.S. court found Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez, the former lieutenant in the Tejas Verdes regiment of the Chilean Army at the time of the coup d’état, guilty of torture and murder of Victor Jara.
It was maintained that the former lieutenant had participated in the arbitrary detention and torture of Víctor Jara. Our complaint also alleged that Barrientos Núñez was responsible for cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment and extrajudicial killing, as well as crimes against humanity, because the death of Víctor Jara was part of a widespread and systematic attack against intellectuals, political leaders, and Allende supporters that took place in mid-September 1973.
After nine intense court sessions, on June 27, 2016, the jury found the defendant liable for both the torture and extrajudicial killing of Víctor Jara. Two days later, on June 29, 2016, the district judge ordered the defendant to pay $8 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages (plus court costs) to the Jara family.
Secrets and Lies. The case of Victor Jara:
A Tribute to Justice: Honoring Forty Years of Struggle to Advance Judicial Process for Crimes Against Humanity in Chile
After a 50-year-long civil war, the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP guerrillas have signed a Peace Agreement that inaugurates a transitional period in the country. This agreement led to the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms designed to clarify the truth about the conflict and satisfy the rights of the victims.
For Guernica 37, the work developed by the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and No Repetition (SIVJRNR) of Colombia is essential to carry out and consolidate the Peace Accord. Victims are the central pillar and the guarantee for the need to define the truth and ensure accountability for key episodes of violence committed during the armed conflict, as the basis of long-lasting reconciliation. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) has the potential to develop new legal precedents that could reshape the work of international criminal lawyers and generate a valuable legacy for the whole Latin American region.
Guernica 37 investigations seek to collect enough evidence and information and identify systematic patterns of violence and specific criminal responsibilities to build legal cases to be filed before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. In the Colombian context, where violence has been grave and constant during such a long period of time, the methodology of emblematic cases allows us to focus on those crimes whose prosecution is necessary to ensure reconciliation.
Alongside our partner in Colombia—the Institute of Intercultural Studies of the University Javeriana of Cali— our team has engaged in an intercultural dialogue with Afro-descendent and indigenous communities from these two regions to set legally relevant and community-based criteria for the identification of emblematic cases and make a legal analysis of their experiences of violence in order to help them build a victim-led narrative of the conflict.
Additionally to our assistance to the Peace and Justice process and advice to civil society organisations and institutions in Colombia on Point 5 of the Peace Agreement, concerning truth and justice for victims, Guernica 37 also filed a lawsuit against Carlos Mario Jiménez alias “Macaco”—the former paramilitary member extradited to the United States—for the assassination of attorney Alma Rosa Jaramillo and popular leader Eduardo Estrada.
Almudena Bernabeu, co-founder of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers was appointed as a judge of the People’s Tribunal for Sexual Violence in the framework of the Armed Conflict in Bogota, which concluded that systematic sexual violence had been used as a weapon of war in the Colombian conflict.
An Imperfect, Just and Necessary Peace
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Guernica 37 participated in the Ecuadorian Truth Commission—which published its final report ‘Sin Verdad no hay Justicia’ in 2010—and acted as a senior legal advisor in the Direction for the Truth Commission and Human Rights in the Ecuadorian Office of the Prosecutor. Guernica 37 also participated in a conference called ‘The Truth Commission in Ecuador’ in the Ministry of the Justice and the Andean University of Ecuador and met with the President of the Republic and members of the Ministry of Justice to discuss the transitional strategy in the country.
Transitional Justice in Ecuador, Truth Commission Report