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News > Bolivia

Bolivia: Ex-President Sanchez de Lozada Is Guilty of Massacre

  • A sign with Sanchez de Lozada's image reads,

    A sign with Sanchez de Lozada's image reads, "What have you done so that this man's crimes do not go unpunished?", Sucre, Bolivia, 2009. | Photo: EFE

Published 7 April 2021

A case was filed in the United States by relatives of eight people killed during the social protests of October 2003.

A U.S. Federal Court upheld a ruling that forces ex-Bolivia's President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (1993-1997 & 2002-2003) and ex-Defense Minister Carlos Sanchez to pay compensation for "extrajudicial killings" in 2003.


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Previously, the defendants asked U.S. Federal Judge James Cohn to vacate the civil process approved against them in 2018. They must now pay US$10 million compensation.

The case was filed in 2007 under the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA) by relatives of eight people killed during social protests in October 2003.  

The complaint stated that former top officials ordered the murders of civilians during a political crisis that led to Sanchez de Lozada's resignation and his flight to the U.S.

The appeal trial began on March 5 in a civil court in Fort Lauderdale. The sentence held that soldiers deliberately fired deadly shots at civilians who posed no risk of danger. 

Representing the defendants, Lawyers Firm Williams & Connolly announced another appeal to obtain a new trial. The Center for Constitutional Rights that took the plaintiffs' defense said the decision comes after years of hard work for justice.

Despite several extradition requests by Bolivian authorities, both ex-officers enjoy political asylum in the U.S.

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