The prosecution in Spanish courts for the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter took another step forward today. In May of this year, the Spanish court indicted 20 former Salvadoran military officers for participation in the planning, execution and coverup of the murders. That indictment resulted in an arrest warrant going out through Interpol. Today, nine high-ranking retired military officers, surrendered themselves at a military barracks. The BBC describes:
Among those in custody is Gen Rafael Humberto Larios, the minister of defense at the time of the massacre. Somehow, however, I have my doubts that these retired officers would voluntarily turn themselves in without some prior assurance that the Salvadoran justice system will not extradite them to Spain. Of the remaining 11 defendants, General Emilio Ponce has died, and the other ten are not yet in custody.
Nine former Salvadoran soldiers have turned themselves in to face charges that they shot dead six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter during El Salvador's civil war.
They had been indicted in Spain under its universal jurisdiction law, which holds that some crimes are so grave that they can be tried anywhere.
The killing became one of the most infamous of El Salvador's civil war.
El Salvador will have to decide whether to extradite the nine to Spain.
The men handed themselves in at a military base after reportedly hearing that Salvadoran police were going to detain them under an international arrest order issued by Interpol.
A total of 20 former soldiers, including two former defence ministers, were indicted by the Spanish court.