In November 2018, the IACHR determined that the United States had violated the human rights of civilians during its invasion of Panama between December 1989 and January 1990.
The US Armed Forces conducted the military operation in order to overthrow governing General Manuel Antonio Noriega, who was accused by Washington of drug trafficking. According to the ruling, the United States should provide physical and psychological assistance to the victims, as well as provide them with material compensation.
According to Panamanian NGOs, about 5,000 people were killed. There have also been reports of disappearances and people buried in mass graves, in addition to the damage to property and forced displacement of families.
Gilma Camargo is a lawyer who represents the survivors and relatives of those who died during the US invasion of Panama.
"The IACHR has explained that the American Declaration of Human Rights is a fundamental document. The advantages we have in this matter imply an extraterritorial responsibility of the US", Camargo said.
Prior to this international instance, the survivors have for years been appealing for justice for their country, albeit without success.
"Panama was occupied, and now thanks to declassification we know that because of 'Operation Just Cause' the country was under US occupation until 1994. There was no functioning judicial system", the lawyer explained.
The "Frente Salas" was created in order to implement the recommendations and make the consequences of the invasion visible.
"We are working together with the survivors. They have accumulated some evidence; and now we are going to present it in the Frente Salas, which is supervised by the IACHR", Camargo said.
"One of the most Machiavellian invasion plans was to displace the victims. There are 16 displaced communities in two parts of the country. But it seems that there are no victims here; the relatives of those missing don't have any channels to present charges. The commission formed under the Varela government [Juan Carlos, the outgoing president] turned out to be a failure", the lawyer concluded.
Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Gilma Camargo and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.