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2007 Gruber Justice Prize Press Release

Three Latin American Champions of Justice Share $500K
Gruber Foundation International Justice Prize

Recipients’ Commitment to Justice Prevailed Against Oppression and Intimidation by Dictatorial Regimes in their Respective Countries

Argentina’s Justice Carmen Argibay, Chile’s Judge Carlos Cerda and Peru’s Mónica Feria to be Honored

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Mónica Feria will be available for telephone and onsite interviews June 22-26, 2007, while in Washington, DC for the United Nations-sponsored International Day in Support of Torture Victims and Survivors. To schedule interviews with any prize winners, call (914)-241-0086 ext 13, or email aomahoney@robinleedyassociates.com.

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Carmen Argibay
Argentina
Carlos Cerda
Chile
Mónica Feria
Peru

New York, NY June 14 -The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation today announced that it will award its 2007 Justice Prize to three active voices for democracy in the Latin American judicial system:

Carmen Argibay of Argentina – Supreme Court Justice, pioneering women’s advocate, corruption foe, and jurist on the Tokyo Tribunal which adjudicated charges of sexual slavery.

Carlos Cerda of Chile – lifelong judicial educator, Harvard scholar, and courageous member of Chile’s judiciary who challenged Pinochet abuse while the dictator was in power.

Mónica Feria of Peru – defender of children’s rights and tireless champion of victims of the Fujimori prison massacre of 1992.

"Each prize recipient has shown great resolve in fighting for democratic principles in the face of tyrannical regimes, often at great risk to personal security. Collectively, they are a model for individual action aimed at achieving human equality and the resistance of tyranny around the world," said Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, one of the members of the selection panel choosing Gruber Justice Prize recipients.

"In every age and in every country, heroes appear. Often they are reluctant heroes who choose to take a principled stand in difficult times. I’m confident that the efforts of this year’s Justice Prize recipients – three courageous persons working within the justice systems of Latin America – will inspire people from all parts of the world to do the right thing at the right time," said human rights advocate Martin Lee, Esq., a member of the Gruber Justice selection committee.

The Justice Prize will be awarded in a ceremony to be held October 10, 2007, at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, where world justice leaders will gather for an event to celebrate the achievements of the recipients, who will share the $500,000 prize.

Justice Carmen Argibay was imprisoned for nine months, without trial or charges, by the military dictatorship in Argentina in 1974. After democracy was restored, she resumed her duties as a Sentencing Judge and was subsequently appointed to the National Court of Criminal Appeals and the first woman nominated to the Supreme Court of Argentina. Justice Argibay was founder and first president of the Argentine Association of Women Judges and was president of both the International Association of Women Judges and the Foundation of Women Judges. In December 2000, she served on the Tokyo Tribunal to adjudicate charges of sexual slavery and other war crimes allegedly committed by the Japanese military against women from Korea, the Philippines, and Japan. Justice Argibay was also appointed in November 2002 to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as an ad litem Judge and served through 2005. Justice Argibay¹s career demonstrates a lifelong commitment to promoting gender equality and eliminating corruption within the justice system. A complete biography is available at www.gruberprizes.org/GruberPrizes/Justice_LaureateProfile.php?id=14&awar...

Judge Carlos Cerda is widely admired as an outstanding leading legal scholar. Judge Cerda is reputed to be the only judge in Chile to pursue cases of human rights abuse by the Pinochet regime while the general was still in power. He issued indictments against members of the Chilean military and police, as well as civilian collaborators engaged in kidnapping and murder. An editorial at the time declared that "one judge demonstrated that it can be done,"and "that it’s worth the effort." He continues to this day to bring members of the Pinochet regime to justice for corruption and tax evasion. Cerda has been dedicated to teaching young lawyers and judges-in-training, based on his philosophy that "judges are guardians of the human condition when threatened by power, who pursue justice, inner peace, with  prudence, without pride or concern over reward or personal security, and most importantly, with independence." While a visiting scholar at Harvard, the International and New York bar associations issued a statement calling Cerda "one of the most brilliant jurists in Chile today;" saying, "his rectitude, courage and honesty is unquestioned by even his opponents." A complete biography is available at www.gruberprizes.org/GruberPrizes/Justice_LaureateProfile.php?id=13&awar...

Mónica Feria is an international lawyer who champions the fight against torture around the world.  She argued the first international case concerning the rights of children in times of war before the highest international human rights tribunal in the Americas, where she helped establish a major precedent protecting children’s rights.   Feria also secured 6 million dollars in reparations for victims of crimes against humanity at the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.  The case represented 600 people, including Ms. Feria and 132 other women, who had been victims of torture at the time of the 1992 massacre at the Castro Castro prison in Lima, Peru.  This was the first time that a victim had sought justice by directly pleading a case of crimes against humanity involving thousands of people, and directed against the top State agents in a country, before the Inter-American Court, the highest tribunal in the Americas. This is the first international human rights case in the American region where violence against women, including rape, was considered to constitute a crime against humanity.   It also became the basis for the most serious case brought against then-president Alberto Fujimori, who had ordered the massacre and the torture of the survivors. Fujimori awaits extradition to Peru from Chile, as prosecutors have just this week made the appeal.  A complete biography is available at www.gruberprizes.org/GruberPrizes/Justice_LaureateProfile.php?id=12&awar...

The Gruber Foundation Justice Prize is presented to individuals or organizations for contributions that have advanced the cause of justice as delivered through the legal system. The award is intended to acknowledge individual efforts, as well as to encourage further advancements in the field and progress toward bringing about a fundamentally just world.

In addition to the cash award, winners receive a medal of honor and citation, which says, "The 2007 Justice Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation is hereby proudly presented to Carmen Maria Argibay, Carlos José Cerda Fernández and Mónica Feria Tinta who overcame personal experiences of profound injustice to become outspoken champions of justice. Through their enormous personal courage and tenacious commitment to a just rule of law, they challenged the absence of rights in their respective worlds and, in so doing, brought justice to their own countries and inspirition to human rights advocates around the globe."

PRIZE RECIPIENTS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS

To schedule a one-on-one interview with any of the 2007 Gruber Foundation Justice Prize recipients -- including on-site interviews with Peru’s Mónica Feria who will be in Washington, DC June 22-26, 2007 for the 10th anniversary of the U.N. International Day in Support of Torture Victims and Survivors -- contact Alyson O’Mahoney at (914) 241-0086, ext 13, or email aomahoney@robinleedyassociates.com

Members of the committee that selected the 2007 Justice Prize Recipients:

  • The Honorable Rosalie Silberman Abella, Justice, Supreme Court of Canada
  • Dennis Archer, Esq., Former President, American Bar Association, Former Mayor of Detroit, Former Member of the Supreme Court of Michigan
  • Giuseppe Bisconti, Esq., Chair, International Foundation for the Rule of Law and the Independence of Lawyers and Judges and Dormer President of the International Bar Association
  • The Honorable Arthur Chaskalson, Chief Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa, retired
  • Martin Lee, Esq., Founding chair of the Democratic Party, Hong Kong, human rights activist
  • The Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor, Justice, Supreme Court of the United States of America, retired

Past honorees of the Gruber Foundation Justice Prize include:

  • 2006: Aharon Barak, retired President of the Supreme Court of Israel, renowned for championing an activist judiciary and the rule of law and democracy.
  • 2005: Malaysian attorney Dató Param Cumaraswamy who, at considerable risk to himself, stood up for the independence of the judiciary.
  • 2004: Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, the first president of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, and Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa, an advocate and judge who helped establish South Africa’s Constitution as a model for modern democratic societies.
  • 2003: Canadian Supreme Court Justices Madame Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella and Madame Justice Bertha Wilson for their contributions to jurisprudence in Canada and beyond. Abella, who served on the Ontario Court of Appeal for 20 years before her appointment to the Supreme Court, is one of Canada’s leading advocate for women’s and human rights; Wilson, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, has forged a reputation as a champion of the underdog and a dedicated proponent of fair play.
  • 2002: Fali Sam Nariman, Member of the Parliament of India, Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and President of the Bar Association of India. Nariman has played an important role in both establishing and enforcing the rule of law in India. He’s played an important role in establishing universal principles of human rights as a standard for India and other emerging democracies.
  • 2001: The Honorable Justice Anthony Roy Gubbay, former Chief Justice of Zimbabwe, and the Law Society of Zimbabwe were the joint recipients of the inaugural Justice Prize in 2001, honored for upholding the independence of the judiciary and protecting the rights of the people of Zimbabwe.


The Gruber international Prize Program honors contemporary individuals in the fields of Cosmology, Genetics, Neuroscience, Justice and Women’s Rights, whose groundbreaking work provides new models that inspire and enable fundamental shifts in knowledge and culture. The Selection Advisory Boards choose individuals whose contributions in their respective fields advance our knowledge, potentially have a profound impact on our lives, and, in the case of the Justice and Women’s Rights Prizes, demonstrate courage and commitment in the face of significant obstacles.

The nomination form and additional information about nomination requirements and selection criteria may be found on the Foundation web site at www.gruberprizes.org/Nominations/Nominations.php

The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation honors and encourages educational excellence, social justice and scientific achievements that better the human condition. For more information about Foundation guidelines and priorities, please go to: www.gruberprizes.org.

For more information on the Gruber Prizes email media@gruberprizes.org or contact Bernetia Akin of the Gruber Foundation at 340-775-8035 or by mail 140 W 57th St Suite 10C New York, NY 10019. Media materials and additional background information on the Gruber Prizes can be found at our online newsroom: www.gruberprizes.org/news-media