Thursday, December 7

El Salvador reopens the ‘Ellacura case’

  • Justice Slaughter of Ellacura and the Spanish Jesuits; the horror of the only surviving case of universal justice

Historic resolution in El Salvador, after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice decided this Wednesday to reopen the case of the massacre that occurred on November 16, 1989 in that country of six Jesuits, five of them SpanishAmong them, Ignacio Ellacura, ideologist of the Liberation Theology. In this way, the Central American country will be able to do justice, after declaring the appeal for amparo filed on November 16 by the Attorney General of El Salvador, Rodolfo Delgado, on the 32nd anniversary of the massacre. As requested by the Prosecutor, the Supreme Court of Justice has “invalidated” the resolution of September 8, 2020, by means of which the Criminal Chamber of this Court shelved the ‘Ellacura case’ by confirming the definitive dismissals in favor of those involved in the crime after considering that the crimes had prescribed.

Therefore, according to the new resolution of the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice appointed on May 1, 2021, “things return to the state in which they were before the issuance of said order”, so that the dismissals are annulled by estimating that the previous Criminal Chamber “violates the rights of the relatives of the victims and of the society to the jurisdictional protection and to know the truth “.

In this sense, the brief indicates that the previous Criminal Chamber “violated fundamental rights of the victims and of society by closing the trial,” which meant “obstacles to the victims’ relatives and society in general from accessing the to the jurisdictional body so that it could rule on their claim and, therefore, justice and subsequent comprehensive reparation have not been possible. “

From now on, there may be justice in El Salvador, after the resolution of September 8, 2020 of the Criminal Chamber confirming the definitive dismissal of the ex-military Juan Orlando Zepeda, Francisco Elena Fuentes, has been annulled. and Rafael Humberto Larios, accused of being the masterminds of the crime. As a consequence of this, the criminal proceedings brought against them, as well as against Ren Castillo Ponce, Juan Rafael Bustillo, Inocente Orlando Montano and former Salvadoran president Alfredo Flix Cristiani had been declared completely null.

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Thus, the Constitutional Chamber considers that the Criminal Chamber that issued the dismissal “failed to take into consideration that the facts denounced and that are intended to be investigated in the criminal process could be considered, at least provisionally, as crimes against humanity or crimes against humanity. war constituting serious violations of International Humanitarian Law “.

In other words, he adds, these are events of “extreme gravity, since the patterns, behaviors, or practices of violence in which they occurred are absolutely reprehensible, given the impact they have produced on the victims, the offended, society and the community. international community”. For this reason, it points out that the cassation appeals filed in its day by the defendants who supposed their dismissal were admitted “improperly and were unconstitutionally resolved, so that things return to the state in which they were before the issuance of said order” .


The last person to be convicted of these events was the former colonel and former Deputy Prime Minister of Public Security of El Salvador. Innocent Orlando Montano. The National Court of Spain condemned him on September 11, 2020 to 133 years as one of the masterminds of the massacre ordered by the Salvadoran Army in 1989. That day, Ignacio Ellacura and the also nationalized Spanish Jesuits from El Salvador, Ignacio Martín, were shot dead. Segundo Montes, Armando Lpez and Juan Ramn Moreno, as well as Joaqun Lpez, born in the Central American country, the employee Elba Julia Ramos and her 16-year-old daughter Celina Ramos.

Montano could be tried in Spain after a US judge, Kimberly Swank, approved his extradition, while, on the contrary, the Contentious Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador rejected the arrest warrant issued by Spain. against 17 soldiers accused of the crime of the six priests and the two women. All of them had been arrested after on February 5, 2016, the National Civil Police of El Salvador and Interpol agents began an operation to arrest them a month after the judge of the National Court Eloy Velasco reiterated on January 5, that year the validity of a red alert in Interpol for the capture of these soldiers accused of terrorist murder and against humanity.

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The murder of the six Jesuits and the two women occurred when a group of soldiers from the Salvadoran Army entered the Jos Simn Caas Central American University (UCA). In January 1992, a jury in El Salvador sentenced Colonel and former director of the Military School Guillermo Alfredo Benavides and Lieutenant Yussi Mendoza to 30 years in prison. However, in April 1993 they were released, after the General Amnesty Law was approved that year, to protect those involved in crimes during the civil war that ravaged the Central American country between 1980 and 1992. However, in July 2016 the The Supreme Court of Justice declared the Amnesty Law unconstitutional, which led Benavides back to jail, who is still in prison.

The President of El Salvador himself, Nayib Bukele, referred last night to the new resolution of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and stressed that “from now on, no crime will be tolerated” no matter how high it is. be the position of the person who commits it. He also remarked that the resolution of the Constitutional Chamber sends a message that “not only will the criminal be sought down there, that he will also be persecuted and we are not saying that it is worth stealing chickens, but for a greater crime now. The greater the charge, the greater the penalty and the repercussion that he must pay for having committed it. “

For Bukele, a “great message is being sent, both nationally and internationally that El Salvador is going to fight to achieve justice in this and other cases, but it is important to highlight this because it is a case that spent 30 years in impunity with the protection of the former Constitutional Chamber and of the former magistrates of the same and other chambers “. For this reason, he hopes that the judges “are up to the task to ensure that justice is done, because it is important since the message is sent that not only the criminal from below will be persecuted, but also the one from above. If really we want to fight against impunity, we must demonstrate it from the top down, just as the stairs are swept “, he concluded.

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Among the people pointed out by the Attorney General is the former president of El Salvador Alfredo Cristiani (1989-1994) against whom the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Espaa (APDHE) and the Center For Justice and Accountability (CJA) filed a complaint at the National High Court on November 13, 2008 for crimes against humanity, terrorism of State, murder and torture. In this complaint, former Defense Minister Humberto Larios and several military personnel were also included. For this reason, the Prosecutor said in his day that if the door is opened to start the case again, all those involved in this case will be prosecuted, including former President Cristiani. ” Instead, Rodolfo Delgado stressed that the case would be reopened, so “we are going to pursue those responsible to achieve justice for these vile murders.”

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