U.S. jury awards families of four victims $24.25 million in damages after finding Roberto Guillermo Bravo civilly liable for torture and extrajudicial killing.
Miami, Florida, July 1, 2022—Today, a Miami jury found former Argentine naval officer Roberto Guillermo Bravo responsible for the extrajudicial killing of Eduardo Cappello, Rubén Bonet, and Ana María Villarreal de Santucho, and the torture and attempted extrajudicial killing of Alberto Camps in the 1972 Trelew Massacre. The jury awarded $24.25 million in damages, including $12 million in punitive damages, to the plaintiffs—family members of the four victims represented by the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), Keker, Van Nest & Peters, and Markus/Moss PLLC, in collaboration with the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS).
Raquel Camps, plaintiff and daughter of Alberto Camps, said: “I have dedicated much of my life to seeking justice against all those responsible for my father’s torture and attempted killing. Today’s verdict brings me, my brother Mariano, and the other families of those who were killed or tortured at Trelew one step closer to the full accountability we’ve been working for.”
Over the course of the five-day trial, the jury heard evidence that showed that in the early hours of August 22, 1972, Bravo and other military officers woke up 19 sleeping prisoners, lined them up, and opened fire. They ruthlessly killed 16 prisoners and injured 3, leaving them for dead. Family members of the victims, eyewitnesses, and experts testified to the persecution that the plaintiffs and their families endured in the decades following the Massacre, the military’s coverup, and the Massacre’s impact on Argentine society.
“The systemic persecution that followed the Trelew Massacre made it impossible for our clients to hold Bravo accountable for five decades,” said Franco Muzzio, an attorney at Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP. “I’m proud to have finally delivered our clients the justice they deserve.”
“We hope today’s verdict provides a measure of justice to our clients as well as to the activists, lawyers, and many others in Argentina who have fought so long and hard,” Claret Vargas, Senior Staff Attorney at CJA, said.
“We are very grateful for this verdict. This case was never about the money. It is about addressing a historic and heartbreaking injustice. We took a step in that direction today,” said Ajay Krishnan, Partner at Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP.
“Today’s verdict shows that the United States is not a safe haven for human rights violators,” said Ela Matthews, Senior Staff Attorney at CJA. “The U.S. must facilitate Bravo’s extradition to Argentina and continue its support of Argentina’s pursuit of criminal accountability.”
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About the Center for Justice and Accountability
The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) is a San Francisco-based international human rights organization dedicated to working with communities impacted by torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious human rights abuses to seek truth, justice, and redress using innovative litigation and transitional justice strategies. CJA has successfully brought cases against defendants such as the Minister of Defense of Somalia’s Siad Barre regime, the military officer responsible for the assassination of Chilean activist and singer Victor Jara, and Syria’s Assad regime for its targeted killing of war correspondent Marie Colvin.
About Keker, Van Nest & Peters
For more than 40 years, Keker, Van Nest & Peters has litigated complex, high-stakes civil and criminal cases throughout the nation. The firm takes the cases where companies, products, and careers are riding on the result. Its clients are high-profile individuals, as well as some of the world’s most successful companies, including Google, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Lyft, Genentech, Comcast, and Qualcomm. The firm has a rich history of pro bono representation and standing up to injustice that dates back to John Keker’s prosecution of Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra scandal.
About Markus/Moss PLLC
Markus/Moss is a nationally-recognized trial and appellate boutique law firm known for taking on and winning difficult criminal defense cases. The firm handles a wide variety of criminal defense matters in federal and state white-collar investigations, prosecutions and appeals around the country. Markus/Moss has successfully represented numerous high-profile clients, including athletes in all major sports, politicians, and movie directors, as well as CEOs in complex criminal antitrust cases and fraud cases, doctors in health care fraud cases, lawyers in mortgage fraud cases, politicians in election fraud investigations, and companies and executives in environmental matters.
About the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
The Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS, Center of Legal and Social Studies) is a leading Argentine human rights organization founded in 1979 during the last military dictatorship in Argentina. It promotes the protection of human rights and their effective exercise, justice, and social inclusion both nationally and internationally. In its early years, CELS fought for truth and justice for the gross human rights violations committed by State agents during dictatorship. Lawyers from CELS, in partnership with Chubut-based lawyer Eduardo Hualpa, represent families of the Trelew Massacre victims in the criminal proceedings brought against the perpetrators of the massacre in Argentine courts.