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  • Judge Jorge Guzman (C), head of San Francisco Gotera Investigating Court, arrives at the General Staff of the Armed Forces premises in San Salvador, El Salvador,  September 21, 2020.

    Judge Jorge Guzman (C), head of San Francisco Gotera Investigating Court, arrives at the General Staff of the Armed Forces premises in San Salvador, El Salvador, September 21, 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA/Rodrigo Sura

Published 21 September 2020
Opinion

According to a United Nations’ report, an elite group from El Salvador’s Army executed 998 people in El Mozote, leaving only 48 survivors.

Salvadoran soldiers on Monday prevented Judge Jorge Guzman from examining documents filed in the records of the General State of the Armed Forces, in regards to the massacre of about 1000 farmers from El Mozote in 1981.

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Justice Jorge Guzman leads the inquiries on the massacre of El Mozote in 1981, which left 998 casualties, attributed to elite commandos of the Salvadoran Army.  When he arrived at the army general headquarters, a military prohibited him from the entering the building.

"We are going to leave and at least we have tried to comply with the law,” Guzman said to local news media.

Other soldiers also prevented the entrance to prosecutors, victim’s attorneys, and Ombudsman Office representatives. The claimants say the military was following an order form a high-level superior.

"The judicial authority came and has been blocked, and it can only be by orders from the highest level. It is regrettable", said victims’ attorney David Morales.

The investigators added that Justice Guzman would draw a formal report on the events and send it to Public Prosecutors Office to open an inquiry for obstruction to justice. So far, it remains unclear if Defense Minister Rene Merino or President Nayib Bukele emitted the order.

According to a United Nations’ report, an elite command of El Salvador’s Army executed 998 people in El Mozote, leaving only 48 survivors. After the events of December 13 of 1981, 29 people were displaced from their homes and 1,370 are considered victims. In early 2019, Bukele pledged to disclose top-secret documents to determine accountability for crimes against humanity. 

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