St. Mary's Parishioner Helps Convict Salvadorian War Criminal
In case you missed the discussion with Almudena and David Crosson, please CLICK HERE
St. Mary’s parishioner Almudena Bernabeu is an honored international civil rights attorney and founder of the Guernica Group, which prosecutes international crimes and civil rights abuses around the world. This past September, Almudena and her team secured a landmark conviction in a Spanish court related to an infamous execution that occurred in El Salvador 31 years ago.
Asserting the authority of “universal jurisdiction,” on September 4, 2020, judges in Spain’s highest criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional, convicted Inocente Orlando Montano, 77, of the 1989 “terrorist murders” of five Spanish Jesuits, along with a Salvadoran priest and two women housekeepers. After being found guilty of one of the most infamous atrocities in El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, Col. Montano, who served as Salvadoran vice-security minister, was sentenced to 133 years in prison.
Who is Almudena Bernabeu? What was her role in bringing justice to this criminal three decades after the crime? Why was this case of murder in El Salvador tried in a court in Spain? What is “universal jurisdiction?” How did she find her way to St. Mary’s?
Almudena Bernabeu is an honored international lawyer with a long career in the fields of transitional justice and international criminal and human rights law. During her years as Transitional Justice Director at the U.S.- based Center for Justice & Accountability, Ms. Bernabeu successfully litigated more than a dozen civil cases brought under the Alien Tort Statute and criminal cases in Europe under the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction to assist victims in achieving truth and accountability for international crimes. She is co-founder of the Guernica Group, Director of the Guernica Center for International Justice and Co-lead of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers.
Almudena’s work continues around the world. She engaged in the peace and reconciliation processes created by Colombia’s 2015 Peace accord. She investigated and provided essential evidence to secure a civil judgement against a former lieutenant in the Chilean military responsible for the torture and murder of popular singer Victor Jara. She has led investigation and prosecution (again in a Spanish court) of those responsible for the genocide committed against the Mayan people in Guatemala. Almudena currently is working in projects in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Gambia, the Middle East.
Almudena holds an LLM degree in International Law from the University of Valencia. She is a member of the Valencia and Madrid Bar Associations and of the American Bar Association.
For more information on the Guernica Group, read here: https://www.guernicagroup.org/guernica37