FIRST Freedom Act
In 2015, CJA wrote a letter supporting a bill that will help hold accountable perpetrators of religious persecution. The FIRST Freedom Act is an important tool to prosecute violators of religious freedom who are living here. Click here to read more.
Crimes Against Humanity Act of 2009
In 2009, CJA signed on to a letter expressing support for the Crimes Against Humanity Act—Senate bill S.1346. The bill allows the U.S. Government to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of crimes against humanity—which include extrajudicial killing, kidnapping, ethnic cleansing and sexual violence—as long as the individual is present in the U.S. or in a place where U.S. jurisdiction applies. Although all of the aforementioned acts are illegal under existing U.S. laws, the bill closes loopholes in these laws by allowing the U.S. Government to prosecute crimes against humanity even when the crimes themselves are committed outside of U.S. jurisdiction.
In signing on to the letter addressed to Senator Richard Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, CJA joins NGO partners such as Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights.
» Read the text of the Crimes Against Humanity Act
Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008
On October 3, 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law an act that would allow the U.S. Department of Justice to arrest and prosecute leaders. The law could potentially apply to military and paramilitary leaders that have recruited and used child soldiers in at least 20 armed conflicts around the world.
The legislation was introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D- IL) and adopted unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in September 2008. The new law makes it a federal crime to recruit knowingly or to use soldiers under the age of 15 and permits the United States to prosecute any individual found on U.S. soil for the offense, even if the children were recruited or served as soldiers outside the United States. The law also allows the United States to deport or deny entry to individuals who have knowingly recruited children as soldiers.
As part of our concerted strategy of developing criminal accountability for human rights abuses in the United States, CJA helped to support the passage of this important law.
Genocide Accountability Act of 2007
On December 21, 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law a measure written by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)—Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law—that empowers the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute perpetrators of genocide. Previously, genocide was only prosecutable if committed within the United States or by a U.S. national outside the United States. The Genocide Accountability Act closes this loophole by amending the Genocide Convention Implementation Act to allow prosecution of non-U.S. nationals found in the United States for genocide perpetrated outside the U.S.
CJA has long worked to educate the U.S. government on the presence on U.S. soil of individuals who participated in the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, among others. CJA supported the passage of this act and will continue to work closely with government agencies to ensure that perpetrators of genocide are brought to justice.
» Read the text of the Genocide Accountability Act