Association of Humanitarian Lawyers


This successful action was a landmark decision in human rights law for a number of reasons: (1) it was the first case against the United States in any human rights forum to be declared "admissible;" (2) it was the first case in the Organization of American States (OAS) where the victims filed against a "third party" government; (3) it was the first case in the OAS to incorporate humanitarian law in a human rights action; (4) it resulted in the United States building a state of the art replacement facility, provide technical assistance, commodities and compensation costing more than $4 million.

This case also played a key role in AHL's success the following year in having the UN human rights Sub-Commission appoint a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Disabled Persons (Leandro Despouy, Argentina) -- a process leading to a major UN study (UN Sales No. E.92.XIV.4 (1993) and to the appointment of a permanent Special Rapporteur under the Economic and Social Council. This case is extremely important as AHL goes forward with our current petition at the OAS regarding hospitals, clinics, and ambulances in Iraq, also attacked or bombed by United States military personnel.