Extra-judicial executions prevalent according to Tutela Legal

Thursday, Diario Colatino reported on the press conference given by Ovidio Mauricio González, the new director of Tutela Legal, the Human Rights Office of the archdiocese of San Salvador. The trends in homicides from 2006 are very disturbing:

Tutela Legal presented its annual report for 2006 where an increase in violence fitting the profile of extra-judicial executions stood out. Mauricio pointed out that during the past year Tutela Legal investigated 233 cases of killings which were classified as homicides: attributed to gang violence (used as hit men in order to execute other persons), the illegal use of police force, prison killings, among other cases. "Violent homicides, the past year, generated 3928 deaths, an average of 10 persons per day; those patterns of systematic crimes evidence the participation of organized groups that repeatedly perpetrate this type of act," he said.

At the same time, he stressed that the investigations undertaken showed that 139 cases (59.66%) were extra-judicial executions. Categorized as extra-judicial executions were homicides attributed to members of the PNC, those politically motivated, those for "social cleaning," and those to generate collective terror for unknown motives.

"Eight cases were attributed by Tutela Legal to members of the PNC because there exist factual elements sufficient to arrive at a conviction about the participation of the police. The executions with political goals, for social cleaning, or collective terror represent 22.5% of the total homicides investigated and happened to persons who had been in confrontation with authorities, for their union participation, for their religion," he reported.


Anonymous said…
The extra-judicial killings are also products of a corrupt and inefficient judicial system. For example, in the community where I work there was a young man, 19-years-old, who was a delinquent, causes lots of minor problems such as thefts and harassment. One day, he raped a 14-year-old girl. He was convicted of the crime, put in jail, but two years later he was out, causing the same kinds of problems, including harassing young women. One day, he showed up dead by a gunshot wound. It's general knowledge that one of the men in the community killed him as a form of vigilante justice, and I haven't met anyone who thinks killing him was wrong. This is the kind of thing that happens in the absence of a strong, trustworthy local and national government. People return to an older, possibly more brutal, type of community justice.