CJA’s mission is to deter torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other severe human rights abuses around the world through innovative litigation, policy, and transitional justice strategies.
CJA was founded in 1998 on the principle, first used during the Nuremberg trials after World War II, that certain crimes are so egregious that they represent offenses against all humankind. These crimes include genocide, crimes against humanity, extrajudicial killing and torture.
CJA’s vision is a world in which justice thrives – where every nation has the capacity and willingness to prosecute human rights criminals and achieve justice for those most marginalized in society. We believe too that the world’s worst human rights criminals should be brought to justice wherever they are found, as we help build the rule of law in the nations where the original crimes occurred.
CJA partners with victims and survivors in pursuit of truth, justice, and redress.
For close to two decades, CJA has sought to bring these human rights abusers to justice. In our first case, filed in 1998, we successfully sued a war criminal from the Bosnian War who had found safe haven in the United States.
Since then, CJA has defended the Mayan Ixil community from Guatemala in cases in both Spain and Guatemala, seeking accountability for a genocide that killed thousands; and we have represented 45 Cambodian Americans before the international hybrid tribunal in cases against former leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, which led to the death of 1,700,000 to 3,000,000 Cambodians. Our cases have helped make laws that advance international human rights.
CJA integrates other innovative strategies to hold human rights abusers accountable. We pair our survivor-centered litigation with transitional justice projects, in which we work alongside in-country prosecutors to hold human rights abusers criminally accountable in national courts. We engage in policy advocacy to ensure that there are civil and criminal remedies to hold human rights criminals accountable around the globe.