The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA)


San Francisco Headquarters

February 2002

The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), a non-profit human rights legal advocacy organization, seeks to hire a Staff Attorney to be based in our San Francisco office. The Attorney will work closely with the Director of Civil Litigation to coordinate CJA's civil caseload.

CJA brings civil suits on behalf of survivors of grave human rights abuses against perpetrators who live in or visit the U.S., under the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 and the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991.  CJA also refers cases to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for criminal prosecution, extradition, deportation or visa revocation, and provides witnesses and evidence to internatio nal tribunals, foreign courts, and other non-U.S.
entities responsible for holding perpetrators accountable. CJA works to improve U.S. laws so as to enhance the capacity of the U.S. Government to bring perpetrators to justice, pursuant to procedures that comport with the demands of international human rights and refugee law.  CJA also undertakes public education and training. CJA was launched in 1998 with support from Amnesty International USA and the United Nations
Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.

CJA currently represents plaintiffs in two lawsuits that are scheduled to go to trial in 2002 against (a) a Chilean secret service agent and member of the "Caravan of Death', for the murder of an Allende economist in September 1973, and (b) two Salvadoran generals, for command responsibility for torture committed by their subordinates in the headquarters and local offices of the National Police and National Guard during the period 1979-83. The legal team for each case consists of several pro bono lawyers.

CJA's Director of Civil Litigation (DCL) is responsible for enlisting the best litigation team possible for each case, ensuring that all necessary litigation-related tasks are well-handled, undertaking research and drafting pleadings as needed, serving as the primary point of contact with our clients, and promoting appropriate media coverage.
The Staff Attorney will assist the DCL and, over time, is expected to take on primary responsibility for some of the cases. CJA expects to undertake two new cases within the next year.

Job Description

The Staff Attorney will report directly to the Executive Director and will work closely with the Director of Civil Litigation.

At least 50% of the Staff Attorney's time will be devoted to civil litigation. This will include the following activities:

Investigating potential new cases, e.g., meeting with potential plaintiffs, communicating with people who have information about the presence of suspected perpetrators in the US, gathering facts, communicating with experts.  Locating pro bono attorneys to serve as co-counsel on cases.

Conducting legal research relevant to the cases.

Communicating with investigators to help track down potential defendants and witnesses, find evidence and undertake asset searches.
Assisting with the presentation of cases at trial.

Serving as liaison with related organizations and key constituent groups (law schools, bar associations, law firms, human rights organizations, and immigrant and refugee organizations).

Initially, the Staff Attorney will work on these tasks under the guidance of the Director of Civil Litigation. Depending on the successful candidate's level of experience, the Staff Attorney may be given primary responsibility for certain cases.

Approximately 10% of the Staff Attorney's time will be devoted to working on law reform and encouraging the INS and/or DOJ to initiate criminal prosecution, extradition or deportation of suspected perpetrators, or other immigration remedies, as appropriate.  This work will include drafting memos on relevant points of law such as diplomatic
immunity, and developing position papers proposing and critiquing legislative reforms relevant to CJA's work, possibly including proposals in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The Staff Attorney will also be involved in the following activities, to a greater or lesser extent depending on her/his time and interest:

Writing articles and op-eds for newspapers and human rights publications.
Drafting brochures and other outreach materials.
Writing grant proposals and reports to funders.
Assisting with outreach to donors.
Assisting with financial management and record-keeping.

The Staff Attorney will receive assistance from CJA's Information Officer and Office Manager, and may also call upon CJA's extensive network of pro bono lawyers, legal experts, student interns and private investigators.

Salary will depend on experience. CJA provides excellent medical, dental and vacation benefits, and is an equal opportunity employer. CJA will consider applications from lawyers who wish to work less than full-time.

Qualifications - Required


International human rights law experience, or else strong academic background in  human rights law.

Demonstrated commitment to human rights advocacy.

Excellent written and oral communication skills

Qualifications - Desirable

At least three years' legal experience, including substantial civil litigation practice.

Familiarity with immigration law.

Familiarity with DOJ offices that work on prosecuting perpetrators of crimes committed abroad.

Legislative drafting and campaigning experience. Work on international accountability mechanisms and procedures.

Fluency in Spanish.

Published writings on human rights or civil rights issues.

To Apply

Please send resume or curriculum vitae, cover letter, plus the names of
at least three references, preferably by e-mail, or else by post or fax, to:
Sandra Coliver,  CJA Executive Director
870 Market St., Suite 684
San Francisco, CA 94102
Fax: (415) 544-0456   e-mail:

Applications will be considered as received. CJA hopes to fill the
position as soon as possible.