The Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award
The Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award is given annually to an individual or organization who has made an outstanding contribution to the movement for global justice. The inspiration for this award was Judith Lee Stronach (1943 – 2002) a committed human rights activist who was instrumental in the founding of CJA. The award is presented during CJA's Annual Event.
Ambassador Robert White
Center for International Policy
Robert White served as the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador during the country's civil war, where he exposed widespread atrocities committed by the Salvadorian government and military against civilians. After retiring from the Foreign Service in 1981, White served as a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. White joined the Center for International Policy as its President in 1989.» Read More on Ambassador Robert White
Jose Pablo Baraybar
Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team
» Read More on Jose Pablo Baraybar and the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team
Helen Mack Chang
The Myrna Mack Foundation
The Myrna Mack Foundation is a major CJA partner in the Guatemala Genocide Case before the Spanish National Court and one of the main non-profit organizations fighting impunity within the Guatemalan legal system. The award was accepted by Helen Mack Chang who started the foundation in 1993 shortly after her sister, the Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, was assassinated by a death squad.» Read More on Helen Mack Chang and the Myrna Mack Foundation
Bureau Des Avocats Internationaux & The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Bureau Des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) has helped victims prosecute human rights cases, trained Haitian lawyers and spoken out on justice issues since 1995. BAI's Raboteau Massacre Case was one of the most significant human rights cases ever in the Western Hemisphere and was a springboard for CJA's U.S. case against Haitian human rights abuser Colonel Carl Dorélien. BAI director Mario Joseph and IJDH director Brian Concannon, Jr. accepted the award.
» Read More on BAI and IJDH
Harold Hongju Koh
Harold Hongju Koh, Dean of the Yale Law School and former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Dean Koh is a leading expert on international law and a prominent advocate of human and civil rights. His accomplishments, which are too numerous to list here, include leading a successful 1993 fight to the Supreme Court to free hundreds of Haitian refugees held in Guantánamo Bay. He has been an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration's policies on torture, the scope of the President's constitutional powers to authorize torture by U.S. officials, and the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to alleged combatants held in U.S. custody. Dean Koh has been invited to speak on human rights and the next Presidential Administration.
» Read More on Harold Koh
U.S. Human Rights and Civil Liberties Attorney
Mr. Hoffman is a leading human rights and civil liberties attorney of the firm Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman LLP. Mr. Hoffman is one of CJA’s founders and has served as lead counsel on numerous human rights cases in U.S. courts, including the landmark case against Philippine ex- President Ferdinand Marcos. Mr. Hoffman chairs the International Executive Committee of Amnesty International and is the former chair of the ACLU’s International Human Rights Committee.
» More on Paul Hoffman
About Judith Lee Stronach
Judith Lee Stronach (1943 – 2002) was a committed human rights activist who was instrumental in the founding of CJA. Judith was known for her love of poetry, love of teaching, and her spiritual practice.
CJA was originally conceived as a project of Amnesty International USA. The transition to an independent organization was made possible through a generous gift from the Judith Stronach Fund for Non-Violent Social Change of the Vanguard Foundation. Judith’s insights on the role of humanity and the therapeutic effect of seeking redress helped shape CJA’s original mission. Judith believed deeply in the transcendent value of the humanity of all persons.
Judith supported a wide variety of human rights causes and wrote often of her opposition to torture and other human rights abuses. When she first learned of CJA she was drawn to the aspect of our work that helps torture survivors and their families to seek redress. She also sought to understand the role of the torturer in society and the therapeutic effect of holding torturers to account. As she stated in an article published in the Summer 2000 issue of Turning Wheel, The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism:
[I see] the torturer not as someone different or other, but as a product of the whole society. I saw that bringing torturers to trial was not only a matter of justice, but of healing the society that had split off these unwanted parts of itself, of making it whole.
» Read the full article
Judith was prescient in recognizing the role that the arrest of General Pinochet in London would play in ending the culture of impunity in Chile and healing a society. At the time of the arrest, she wrote:
The General’s arrest ended decades of avoidance of the executions and disappearance of 3,000 people and the torture of tens of thousands of others. Before, the victims had felt abandoned, stigmatized and cheated. The publicity re-traumatized many by stirring old memories, but it also allowed a healing process to begin for others. Victims who had lived with shame, paranoia and embarrassment now could experience some measure of legitimacy.
Judith's appreciation of the need for justice combined with her empathy for survivors who had suffered torture or whose loved ones had been killed or disappeared, made her one of CJA's most outstanding and valued supporters. CJA's work continues to be animated by her spirit. We are also grateful to Judith’s husband, Raymond Lifchez, who remains a strong supporter of our organization.