CJA filed the Jane W et al. v. Thomas (Lutheran Church Massacre) case under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act, two federal statutes that permit civil suits in U.S. courts to remedy a limited set of human rights violations. In relation to the Lutheran Church Massacre and the harm to the four victims, the complaint alleges that Thomas is liable for extrajudicial killing, torture, war crimes (including the war crime of targeting a building designated for religious and humanitarian purposes) and crimes against humanity for mass execution and persecution of civilians based on their tribal affiliation.
Cases Against Perpetrators Residing Outside of Liberia
The case against Moses Thomas follows the successful 2009 U.S. prosecution of Charles “Chucky” Taylor, Charles Taylor’s son, for torture, and the successful 2017 “Jungle Jabbah” case in Philadelphia. It is part of a larger movement of Liberian survivors pushing for access to justice on a global scale. Earlier this year former National Patriotic Front (NPFL) Defense Minister Tom Woewiyu was found guilty in the U.S. for immigration fraud related to human rights abuses in Liberia and will be sentenced early next year; NPFL Commander Martina Johnson was charged in Belgium for atrocity crimes; United Liberation Movement (ULIMO) Commander Alieu Kosiah faces charges in Switzerland for crimes against humanity and torture; and Agnes Reeves Taylor faces charges in the United Kingdom for her alleged role in NPFL abuses in Liberia. On September 7, 2018 Kunti K, former commander for the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy, was arrested in France for alleged involvement in crimes against humanity.
About the Center for Justice and Accountability
The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) is a San Francisco-based international human rights legal organization dedicated to deterring torture, crimes against humanity and other severe human rights abuses through innovative litigation, policy, and transitional justice strategies that strengthen the rule of law. CJA partners with survivors, legal institutions, civil society groups, and governments to establish a world where justice thrives.
About the Global Justice and Research Project
Established in 2012, the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) is a Liberia-based non-profit, non-governmental organization that documents war related crimes in Liberia and, where possible, seeks justice for victims of said crimes, with the full consent of the victims. The GJRP works in partnership with Civitas Maxima, a Geneva-based non-profit, non-governmental organization, which ensures the coordination of a network of international lawyers and investigators who work for the interests of those who have been victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
About Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. Debevoise delivers effective solutions to its clients’ most important legal challenges, applying clear commercial judgment and a distinctively collaborative approach. Debevoise’s globally recognized team of International Dispute Resolution lawyers has extensive experience advising and litigating in relation to all aspects of public international law.
About Blank Rome LLP
Blank Rome LLP is an Am Law 100 firm with 13 offices and more than 600 attorneys and principals who provide comprehensive legal and advocacy services to clients operating in the United States and around the world. Blank Rome’s professionals have built a reputation for their leading knowledge and experience across a spectrum of industries, and are recognized for their commitment to pro bono work in their communities.
For further information, or to request interviews please contact
Dietlind Lerner, CJA Communications and Outreach Director
Tel. +1 310 699 8775 / email@example.com
For more information about CJA’s work in Liberia visit cja.org/where-we-work/liberia