GHRC selected the Human Rights Law Firm for its unparalleled defense and promotion of human rights through its work accompanying victims and challenging injustice. The mission of the firm, founded by Edgar Pérez in 2009, is to provide professional and dignified legal representation and to promote human rights.
The legal team works almost exclusively with Guatemala’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities; most of the cases are done pro bono, using funds from the international community to support human rights cases for victims who would never be able to pay their own legal fees. They have worked, first and foremost, to prosecute those responsible for egregious human rights violations during Guatemala´s internal armed conflict. The Firm has also represented victims of sexual violence, labor violations, forced evictions and others who have suffered persecution. They have also begun to provide legal defense for individuals facing trumped up charges due to their human rights work.
In a country where justice often seems unattainable, Edgar and the Firm have proven time and again that it is possible. In 2009, they achieved the first sentence issued by a national court for the crime of forced disappearance during the internal armed conflict. In August 2011, they won a historic verdict in the Dos Erres case, in which four former Special Forces agents (kaibiles) were sentenced to 6,060 years – 30 years for each victim assassinated. And, in March 2013, after a decade of work on Guatemala’s Ixil Genocide case representing the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR), they helped bring Generals Ríos Montt and Rodriguez Sánchez to trial for genocide and war crimes.
When justice has been denied in Guatemala, the Firm has brought a number of cases to the Inter-American legal system. They also use public education and international advocacy to raise awareness and complement their strategic litigation.
Along with their legal support for victims of injustice, the Firm also seeks to promote the rule of law in Guatemala through a strengthening of the justice system, judicial independence, and ethical legal practices. As his firm grows, Edgar has mentored a new generation of lawyers that, in turn, become defenders of the rule of law. Their legal work continues to be a key contribution to the human rights movement.
GHRC invites you to join us to celebrate the work of the Human Rights Law Firm on October 28, 2014.