The recipients are two judges and an international lawyer – all from Latin America – who, in the face of great personal and professional risks, successfully defended justice and democratic principles against oppression and intimidation by dictatorial regimes in their respective countries.
2007 Justice Prize Recipients
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. In December 2000, she participated in 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. In 2002, Judge Argibay was appointed ad litem judge to the International Criminal Tribune for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). In July 2004, Argibay was the first woman nominated to the Supreme Court of Argentina. Justice Argibay's career demonstrates a lifelong commitment to promoting gender equality and eliminating corruption within the justice system.
Judge Carlos Cerda has been editorialized as the only judge in Chile to pursue cases of human rights abuse by the Pinochet regime while General Pinochet was in power. He issued indictments against members of the Chilean military and police, as well as civilian collaborators who engaged in kidnapping and murder. In standing up to the Pinochet regime, Cerda risked his career, the respect of his peers and was temporarily removed from the bench. Judge Cerda continues to this day to bring members of the Pinochet family to justice for corruption and tax evasion. He is widely admired as Chile’s leading legal scholar.
Ms. Mónica Feria is an international lawyer from Peru who helped win a major precedent protecting children’s rights in times of war. She also secured $6 million in reparations for victims of crimes against humanity. This case – the first international case in the Americas concerning violence against women – grew out of the experience of the 133 women (including Ms. Feria) who had been victims of torture at the time of the prison massacre of 1992. 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.
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 inspiration to human rights advocates around the globe.