Anatomy of a human rights trial

The trial of former Salvadoran Colonel Nicolas Carranza is drawing to a close as Carranza takes the stand today. For a day by day summary of the trial by an in-court observer, go to this blog of Will O'Loughlen, a film-maker in Memphis who is making a documentary about the trial.

Set out below is a summary of the trial from the Center for Justice and Accountability which is prosecuting the case:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005:

Opening Arguments: The attorney for defendant Nicolas Carranza announced during opening statement that his client "worked for the US government"” during the period of time at issue in this case.

PlaintiffsÂ’ Case in Chief:

Robert White, former US ambassador in El Salvador in 1980, confirmed Carranza was on the CIA payroll. He described the decisive role Carranza played as the Ministry of Defense as operational commander of the Salvadoran Security Forces.

Luis Ramirez. Law Professor, lawyer and Human rights activist from San Salvador. Ramirez works with Socorro Juridico, an association founded by the Jesuits to provide legal assistance to the poor and to the relatives of the victims of the repression.

Wednesday November 2, 2005:

Erlinda Franco, Plaintiff and widow of Manuel Franco, one of the six FDR leaders assassinated by Salvadoran Security forces on November 27, 1980. She has a claim for extrajudicial killing and crimes against humanity.

Cecilia Santos, Plaintiff. Ms. Santos was detained and tortured by members of the National Police (one of the security forces) in San Salvador late August 1980. She has a claim for torture.

Jose Luis Garcia, retired Colonel of the Argentine Armed Forces and expert witness in military command structure. Founder of Military for Democracy. He has testified as an expert in the JesuitsÂ’ case in El Salvador and in Romagoza v. Garcia.

Thursday November 3, 2005:

Conclude Jose Luis Garcia Testimony

Irma Calderon. Ms. Calderon was originally a plaintiff and is the daughter of Paco Calderon, a teacher from the teachers union ANDES 21 DE JUNIO. A National Police death squad assassinated him at his house in San Salvador on September 11, 1980.

Paco Calderon, Plaintiff and brother of Irma Calderon. Mr. Calderon witnessed the assassination of his father. He brings a claim for torture and extrajudicial killing.

Friday November 4, 2005:

Ana Patricia Chavez, Plaintiff. Members of the National Guard in civilian clothes assassinated her parents. They were shot to death in their house in Ahuachapan, El Salvador on July 26, 1980. She brings a claim for torture and for extrajudicial killing.

Daniel Alvarado; Plaintiff. Mr. Alvarado was detained, tortured and falsely accused of the assassination in 1983 of American attache, commander lieutenant, Albert Shaufelberger in San Salvador. The defendant was the director of the police headquarters where Alvarado was tortured. Alvarado saw the defendant on three separate occasions after being tortured.

Alvarado was cleared of all charges.

Carranza'’s deposition. Excerpts from CarranzaÂ’s deposition were presented where he made important admissions regarding: duties of a member of the high command; duty to observe the law; responsibility of the security forces in the human rights abuses and factual statements regarding Daniel Alvarado'’s torture.

Monday November 7, 2005

Terry Karl. Expert witness. Professor Karl testified about the political context in El Salvador from 1979-1984, her knowledge of the military and those in power, and the pattern of attacks and abuses against civilians in El Salvador in those.

Tuesday November 8, 2005

Defendant'’s Case in Chief:

Leonel Mejia; Businessman from El Salvador. Carranza, as a director of the Treasury Police, requested Mejia to buy and donate mattresses and beds for the prisons. His testimony was limited to CarranzaÂ’s effort to improve the conditions of prisoners.

Alejandro Dagoberto Marroquin. Economist from El Salvador and member of Congress for the PCN (partido de conciliacion nacional) a party traditionally allied to the military. He testified about helping Carranza obtain paint and mattresses to improve the condition of the prisons.

Jose Antonio Araujo, Expert Witness from El Salvador and former law professor at the now defunct Military University of El Salvador. He is expected to testify as an expert witness in chain of command and military structure in El Salvador.

Wednesday, November 9:

Nicolas Carranza. To testify on his own behalf.


Anonymous said…
I believe Carranza should be aquitted of all charges. He's just a scapegoat, and if anything should be prosecuted should be those behind the US Foreign Policy during the Carter-Reagan period and people like D'Aubuisson (who are currently in power of the government).
Anonymous said…
I akso believe he should be aquitted. These defendants should accuse the people who committed the acts, not the innocent bystanders. God Bless.
Anonymous said…
he should be aquitted. These defendants should accuse the people who committed the acts, not the innocent bystanders
Anonymous said…
Carranza is a dangerous criminal. If we were to apply the statutes used during the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi criminals, all the individuals in charge of government security posts before and during the war will be found guilty of crimes against humanity.