Juan Garcés

Spanish Human Rights Activist
1999 Right Livelihood Award Winner

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Juan Garcés is a Spanish lawyer who worked for many years to bring Chilean dictator, General Pinochet to justice for his crimes against humanity. Juan Garcés was advisor to Salvador Allende, the president of Chile from 1970-73, when General Pinochet led a coup to take over the country. Pinochet bombed the presidential palace and Juan Garcés was the only political advisor that survived the coup. Garcés fled back to Spain and then to France where he worked as an adviser to the UNESCO Director General. During this time he wrote books and articles about his experience. His book, "Allende and the Chilean Experience," published in 1976 was translated into five languages and brought worldwide attention to the atrocities committed by General Pinochet. When a Spanish law was passed in 1985 that allowed victims of injustice to seek justice in Spanish courts even if they didn't take place in Spain, Juan Garcés filed two suits against Pinochet. One was for 'crimes against humanity' and the other was a civil suit on behalf of the families of the victims who were killed during the dictator's regime. Juan Garcés' efforts were significant because they helped convince the general public that heads of state can and should be held accountable for crimes against humanity. In 1999, Juan Garcés received the Right Livelihood Award (often referred to as the Alternative Nobel Prize) "...for his long-standing efforts to end the impunity of dictators.”

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