San Francisco, California, October 20, 2020 – The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), Keker, Van Nest & Peters, and Markus/Moss PLLP, in collaboration with the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS-Center of Legal and Social Studies), today brought suit against former Argentine naval officer Roberto Guillermo Bravo for his alleged role in the 1972 mass shooting of political prisoners at a military base in Trelew, Argentina.
The civil complaint was filed in the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of four of the victims’ families. Bravo left Argentina in 1973 as a military attaché to the Argentine Embassy in the United States. He remained in the U.S. after retiring from the Argentine military and currently resides in North Miami, Florida. He is a naturalized United States citizen and a successful businessman.
In the aftermath of the Trelew Massacre, the military regime attempted to cover up the atrocity and intimidate anyone who sought accountability for the events of that night, including the family members of the victims and their lawyers. The three survivors of the Massacre were subsequently either killed or forcibly disappeared. Family members of victims were terrorized by death squads. Some eventually fled Argentina, including two of the plaintiffs.
“My father survived the Trelew Massacre and wanted to dedicate his life to expose the truth of what happened, but he was murdered before he could see justice,” said plaintiff Raquel Camps. “I hope that the U.S. justice system can help us achieve his goal, get accountability, and finally close this painful chapter in Argentine history by ending 50 years of impunity for Bravo.”
It was not until 2012 – almost three decades after the country’s return to democracy – that there was finally a criminal trial for several of the perpetrators of the Trelew Massacre. While three of Bravo’s fellow officers have been convicted for their crimes, Bravo remains out of reach of Argentine authorities, who are currently seeking Bravo’s extradition to stand trial for his role in the Trelew Massacre after an unsuccessful attempt in 2010.
“The Trelew Massacre was a precursor to the horrors that would follow in the so-called Dirty War,” said CJA Senior Staff Attorney Claret Vargas. “Impunity emboldened the military and paved the way for the years of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances that continued until 1983. This suit provides the first opportunity in almost half a century to hold Bravo accountable.”
“We are proud to be part of an effort to give a voice to families whose loved ones have been silenced by Bravo and the Argentine military regime,” said Keker, Van Nest & Peters partner Ajay Krishnan. “We will continue to push forward until Bravo is held accountable before the law.”
“Those who would act as judge, jury and executioner of political prisoners should face accountability, and we welcome the opportunity to assist in this long overdue effort to hold Bravo accountable.” said Margot Moss of Markus/Moss PLLC.
For more information on the case, including a link to the complaint, visit https://cja.org/what-we-do/litigation/camps-v-bravo/.
About the Center for Justice and Accountability
The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) is a San Francisco-based human rights legal organization dedicated to deterring torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious human rights abuses around the world through innovative litigation and transitional justice strategies. CJA partners with impacted communities seekingtruth, justice, and redress, and 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. Visitwww.cja.org.
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. At the end of the 1980s, it expanded its agenda to include human rights violations committed under democracy, their structural causes and their relationship to social inequality. Lawyers from CELS, in partnership with Chubut-based lawyer Eduardo Hualpa, represent families of the victims of the Trelew Massacre in criminal proceedings before Argentine courts, brought against the perpetrators of the massacre. Visitwww.cels.com.ar.
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. Visit www.keker.com.
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. Visit www.markuslaw.com.