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Victory Against Human Rights Violators

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CCR won a $66 million victory in its civil suit against Indonesia's former Vice Chief of Staff, accusing him of crimes against humanity and other human rights violations.

CCR scored a major victory this month when a judge awarded the six plaintiffs in Doe v. Lumintang $66 million dollars in compensation. The civil suit had been filed against Johnny Lumintang, the former vice Chief of Staff for Indonesia, for crimes against humanity and human rights violations during a crackdown against East Timorese activists.

Judge Kessler awarded $10 million dollars each in punitive damages to the plaintiffs, as well as $750,000 to $1 million each in compensatory damages, for a total judgment of $66 million. The six plaintiffs are activists in the East Timorese independence movement, a movement that had been subjected to systematic human rights violations ordered by Lumintang. Lumintang is believed to be involved in the torture of activists as well as the execution of their relatives.

"We're very pleased with this victory," says CCR's Columbia Fellow, Attorney Irene Baghoomians. "Like our $4.5 billion victory against Radovan Karadzic, it is another blow against the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity. It will make it that much harder for them to evade responsibility for their actions."

East Timor was illegally annexed by Indonesia in July of 1976. Since that time, the East Timorese people have been subject to repression by the Indonesian military. In September of 1999, the East Timorese people voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia. The Indonesian occupation of East Timor has now ended but much work remains, both in the United States and around the world, to ensure that the East Timorese become truly independent.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.