Former Salvadoran Colonel Nicolas Carranza took the stand to testify on his own behalf in the trial that accuses him of torture and human rights violations during the Salvadoran Civil War. A Memphis paper reports on his testimony:
"I tried to do my best," Carranza told jurors. He said he visited all Treasury Police installations to make sure prisoners were being treated humanely, that they had proper bedding and food.
He said he organized lawyers and priests to give human rights seminars to his officers.
Carranza blamed murderous rampages that killed thousands of civilians on right-wing and left-wing extremists.
"It was something we could not stop ... even if we wanted to," he said.
No one under his command was ever punished for torturing prisoners or killing innocent civilians. Then-Vice President George Bush visited El Salvador in 1983 in an attempt to stop the abuses.
Under cross-examination, Carranza admitted he never investigated the numerous claims of torture and murder....
Carranza blamed the bad publicity he and his police got on "Communist propaganda ... which tried to make me look worse than I was."
Next week the jury will decide whether Carranza has liability for the actions of Salvadoran armed forces under his command and control.