: views from the Hill

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Center for Justice and Accountability

Had dinner with friends last night.

Asked one, "So how long have you been at the new job?"

"A year and a half, almost two years."

"So what is it again that your nonprofit does?"

She answered with an impassioned explanation of what they do and who they do it for and what they accomplish. Check out the Web site. Good cause: The Center for Justice and Accountability

The Center realized it could use the Alien Tort Statute (1789) to accomplish its goals. Who knew?

The Alien Tort Statute (ATS), adopted in 1789, gives survivors of egregious human rights abuses, wherever committed, the right to sue persons responsible for the abuses in U.S. federal court. Since 1980, the law has been used successfully in cases involving torture (including rape), extrajudicial killing, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and arbitrary detention. The Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), passed in 1991 and signed into law by President Bush in 1992, gives similar rights to U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike to bring claims for torture and extrajudicial killing committed in foreign countries. The perpetrator generally must be served with the lawsuit while they are present in the United States in order for the court to have jurisdiction.

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