Trial date set in Spain for Jesuit massacre case
News has come from Spain that a trial will finally commence for the 1989 massacre in El Salvador of six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her daughter at the University of Central America. The Guernica Center issued this statement:
The murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s daughter on 16 November 1989 by the Atlacatl Battalion of the Salvadoran Military ultimately led to the end of the civil war in El Salvador and catalyzed the victims’ quest for truth, justice, and accountability. After 30 years of seeking justice and 10 years of active litigation, the Spanish National Court will try former Colonel and Vice-Minister of Public Security, Inocente Orlando Montano, starting on 8 June 2020. Montano is charged with murder and terrorism for his alleged involvement as one of the key decision-makers behind the Jesuit killing. The Guernica Centre for International Justice—part of The Guernica Group—and Spanish co-counsel Ollé & Sesé Abogados will lead the prosecution on behalf of the victims. This trial represents a key moment for universal jurisdiction, accountability as a crucial element of transitional justice for El Salvador and international criminal law.Montano is the only defendant in Spain because the Supreme Judicial Court of El Salvador has continuously protected the remaining military officers involved from being extradited to Spain. Five of the six Jesuits who were slaughtered that day were originally from Spain. Although there will only be a single defendant, this trial should offer another chance for El Salvador and the world to hear and reflect on the events of November 1989 and to consider what justice requires more than thirty years later.