Saturday, August 16, 2008
For international law professors who will be teaching the Filartiga case this fall, you may be interested to know that Paraguay recently elected a new President, Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic Bishop. Lugo's swearing in last Friday ends the 61-year rule of the Colorado party. For 35 of those 61 years, the Colorado party was dominated by Alfredo Stroessner, who was in power at the time of the torture and death of Joelito Filartiga. Joelito's sister, Dolly Filartiga, filed a successful action against Joelito's torturer, a Paraguayan policeman named Pena-Irala, under the Alien Tort Statute. Her $10 million judgment against Pena-Irala remains unsatisfied. The events that led to the Filartiga lawsuit are portrayed in a movie called "One Man's War" starring Anthony Hopkins.