El Salvador court directs war crimes case to proceed
The Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Judicial Court today ruled that legal proceedings should go forward regarding the 1982 massacre at El Calabozo. Many of the facts have long been documented. From the UN Truth Commission Report:
There is sufficient evidence that on 22 August 1982, troops of the Atlacatl Battalion deliberately killed over 200 civilians - men, women and children - who had been taken prisoner without offering any resistance. The incident occurred at the place known as El Calabozo, near the canton of Amatitán Abajo, Department of San Vicente.
Although the massacre was reported publicly, the Salvadorian authorities denied it. Despite their claim to have made an investigation, there is absolutely no evidence that such an investigation took place.Relatives of the victims have been trying to get justice ever since, but have been stymied by the Salvadoran courts and the 1993 Amnesty Law. The Constitutional Chamber, which earlier this year nullified the Amnesty Law, ruled today that the judge where the case was filed must allow it to proceed. Failure to do so would violate the victims rights to access to the legal system and to truth.
The Constitutional Chamber has made it clear that prosecutions of crimes against humanity which occurred during the civil war can move forward. As yet, there is no real indication that the attorney general intends to do so.