Take action for extradition, as the family members of those killed in the 2003 massacres wish most for Goni and Berzain to be tried in Bolivia.
On September 19th, a complaint was filed under the Alien Tort Statute against Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain by 10 family members of those killed in the massacres September and October of 2003 with the help of a group of human rights lawyers from Harvard University and the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as a pro bono lawyers from a private firm. The notification was delivered in person to the defendent yesterday. Up to this point, the suit had been maintained entirely secret, for fear that Sanchez de Lozada and Berzain would flee the country.
The Alien Tort Statute was implemented in 1789, to allow the United States to try pirates and protect diplomats. More recently, it has been a tool for human rights lawyers and victims to hold human rights violators accountable, including ex President Marcos of the Philippines in the 1980´s and Unocal petroleum (for abusing its workers) and of Pinochet (attempted extradition) in the 1990´s. The charges against Goni and Berzain include extrajudicial execution and crimes against humanity. As a civil suit, the men cannot be incarcerated, but will be sued for their assets as recompense to their victims. This case is entirely independent of the extradition order. The extradition is carried out between governments, while this civil suit is a direct charge against Goni and Berzain by the families of their victims. The extradition can and will move forward. Now, the men have nowhere to hide from justice. Be it in Bolivia or in the United States, they will be forced to stand trial. The civil suit will take years. In the mean time, we will still be fighting for extradition, as the family members of those killed in the 2003 massacres wish most for Goni and Berzain to be tried in Bolivia. Please send postcards to their homes, letting them know that they must face justice:
Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada
5509 Center Street
Chevy Chase, MD20815
Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain
280 Glenridge Rd.
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
Also, if your organization is willing to write a letter in favor of the extradition, please let us know. We will keep you updated on any further advances on that front.
Thank you for your support!
The Comite Impulsor and Julia McDowell
For more information and suggested actions, visit: http://www.juiciogoniya.org.bo/
Photo from bolivia.indymedia.org