Thursday, November 13, 2008

More information on Jesuits massacre case

The Center for Justice and Accountability, one of the human rights groups pursuing the action in Spain has now posted detailed information about the case, the defendants and the legal issues on its website. The CJA has successfully brought three other cases in the US courts against Salvadoran military officials for participation in the murder of archbishop Oscar Romero and other atrocities from the Salvadoran civil war.

News of the legal action in Spain was carried today by Reuters, CNN, New York Times, and the LA Times.

From the LA Times article:

Carlos Martin-Baro, brother of slain priest Ignacio Martin-Baro, said he hoped the pursuit of justice could help El Salvador emerge from its current "tragic and violent reality," which many people believe is a legacy of the war and its unresolved divisions. The tiny country remains badly polarized and awash in slayings, kidnappings and drugs.

"Amnesty laws in a given moment might be used to normalize civilian life, but they don't allow the wounds to close," Martin-Baro, a 67-year-old English teacher, said by telephone from Madrid.

In El Salvador, repeal of the amnesty law has become a burning topic in the campaign running up to presidential elections in March.

Ponce, the retired general, led thousands of army veterans on a protest march through San Salvador two months ago to demand the law remain in force. Repealing it would smack of "vengeance," he said, and "far from contributing to reconciliation, will only deepen the political polarization we are living in our country."

The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, the onetime guerrilla movement that is now a political party, has suggested in its electoral platform that the amnesty might be ended.

But the party's presidential candidate, Mauricio Funes, recently told an interviewer that he would not touch the law because to do so would "open wounds" and "create a climate of ungovernability." Funes is leading in polls, besting the candidate from Arena, the right-wing party that has ruled since the last years of the war.

An Arena official, Francisco Antonio Prudencio, sharply condemned the lawsuit Wednesday, saying it would dredge up painful memories of "very difficult moments."

"Do they want our country to return to another armed conflict?" Prudencio, who heads the party's human rights committee in the legislature, said in an interview.

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