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The Center for Justice & Accountability to Donate Historic Archives to Duke University's Human Rights Archive

The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) will donate its historical records to the Human Rights Archive at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University. Founded in 1998, CJA is an international human rights organization dedicated to fighting genocide, crimes against humanity, extrajudicial killing and torture. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse. The powerful history of this important work is well documented in CJA’s archives which will include historic print publications, paper case files, advocacy work records, governance files, electronic records, as well as CJA’s web presence. The Rubenstein Library will process and catalog the collection and make it available to researchers, students and the general public.

CJA is the leading U.S- based organization pursuing international human rights abusers through litigation. Fifteen years ago, they started by bringing civil Alien Tort Statute lawsuits against human rights abusers in U.S. courts. Today they are leaders in two of the most exciting human rights prosecutions in the world: the Guatemala Genocide Case in Spain and the Second Khmer Rouge Trial in Cambodia. CJA has an internationally-recognized and sought-after expertise in developing, investigating, and proving human rights cases.

CJA attorneys Nushin Sarkarati (Staff Attorney) and Kathy Roberts (Legal Director) meeting with members of the Somaliland War Crimes Investigation Commission in Somaliland.CJA has a proven track record of pursuing winning litigation strategies, from their 9-0 victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in their case against the former Defense Minister of Somalia, to their successful navigation of the changing universal jurisdiction landscape in Spain as they pursue the Jesuits Massacre Case. CJA currently represents over 200 survivors of torture and other human rights abuses from twenty different countries. They are working in six different legal systems: Cambodia, Guatemala, Haiti Peru, Spain and the U.S.

"It is a great honor to partner with Duke University to ensure that all of the important work being done to bring human rights abusers to justice is available to the public," said Pamela Merchant, Executive Director of CJA. "The Human Rights Archive is an extensive collection and we are proud that our courageous clients who have stepped forward and fought hard to hold their perpetrators accountable will forever be remembered for their fight for justice."

The CJA records will become part of the Duke Human Rights Archive. The collection is an invaluable resource to scholars interested in primary sources that document human rights abuses, human rights strategies, and the on-going historical elaboration of human rights thought and action. Through its collecting, instruction and research support, and public programming and outreach the Archive works to ensure that historical collections connect to and inform contemporary human rights scholarship, education, and activism. Other collections in the archive include the records of such noted human rights organizations as the Washington Office on Latin America, the International Center for Transitional Justice, Americans for Immigrant Justice and the Women’s Refugee Commission. With the addition of the CJA records, Duke’s Human Rights Archive continues to develop into an internationally important center for human rights history.

According to Robin Kirk, Faculty Co-Director of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, “CJA is one of those scrappy, creative and dogged groups that get things done for human rights, despite all of the obstacles. For future scholars and activists, this archive will be a goldmine of information on what it takes to devise and win important campaigns that protect and further rights.”

For further information contact Patrick Stawski, Duke University 919-660-5823.