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News > El Salvador

El Salvador: 1981 El Mozote Massacre Survivors Pursue Justice

  • The commemorative act of the 39th anniversary of the massacre of El Mozote and neighboring sites. December 12, 2020.

    The commemorative act of the 39th anniversary of the massacre of El Mozote and neighboring sites. December 12, 2020. | Photo: Twitter / Norma Ramírez via @arpassv

Published 12 December 2020

Survivors hope that in 2021 the criminal process will go to trial and those linked will be convicted.

The survivors of the El Mozote massacre, carried out by the US-backed Salvadoran Army in 1981, commemorated the 39th anniversary this Saturday. They hope to see the criminal process go to trial in 2021, and to finally see a conviction against those linked to the horrific crime.                                   


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The criminal case against more than a dozen military commanders, including some members of the military leadership of the time, is the one that has advanced the most since the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CJS) annulled an amnesty law in 2016 and, would be a historic feat for the victim’s of El Salvador’s war, if it goes to trial.
In response to human rights groups, the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, received survivors of El Mozote and promised them justice and truth, but then endorsed the decision of the Armed Forces to block a judicial investigation intended to clarify the crime of the military dictatorship.

At the meeting, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) lawmaker, Nidia Díaz, pointed out that 39 years after the Mozote Massacre, "we continue to fight for truth, justice, reparation and a mechanism of non-repetition to be achieved." The FMLN government of Salvador Sanchez Ceren was significantly more open to the search for truth and justice than Bukele, given the history of Sanchez Ceren himself, a signatory of the 1992 Peace Accord.
The United Nations Truth Commission identified Colonels Domingo Monterrosa and Armando Azmitia in 1993 as directly responsible for the El Mozote massacre, but both were killed in a guerrilla attack in 1984.

With the repeal in 2016 of the Amnesty Law, the case was reopened against senior commanders of the Armed Forces for the crime against humanity, which is still in the evidentiary phase.    


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