- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida federal judge has refused to dismiss a human rights lawsuit seeking to hold Bolivia’s former president and defense minister liable for military killings of civilians in 2003.

U.S. District Judge James Cohn said in Tuesday’s ruling that the Bolivian plaintiffs could pursue claims under the Torture Victim Protection Act. The nine plaintiffs are family members of people killed in the violence over a decade ago.

Former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and ex-Defense Minister Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain are defendants in the case. They had sought dismissal on several grounds, including lack of connection to the U.S. But both men now live in the U.S.

The decision means the Bolivians can try to seek money damages against the two former politicians.