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El Salvador: FMLN-Sánchez Cerén would seek repeal of amnesty law

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  • Cort Greene
    This post is from Tim s El Salvador Blog which has information and links to current events and history. He does have a perspective that I don t always agree
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 17, 2013
      This post is from Tim's El Salvador Blog which has information and links to
      current events and history. He does have a perspective that I don't always
      agree with but he has done very good work around the issues in and about
      El Salvador.

      I do think he has been harsh towards Sanchez Ceren and the FMLN in general
      for some things and I'm sure he realizes the Fumes candidacy was a
      compromise of different groupings and I for one support the turn to the
      left within it but just wish it would involve and listen to the grassroots
      more and other tendencies within the FMLN.

      Also as a long time supporter and solidarity organizer, who helped found
      CISPES in Madison,Wi. back in the day( before some sectarian strife) and
      with members of the Iranian students against the Shah(two leftists
      parties), a Turkish woman organizer and leftist, a student from MECHA and
      myself organized the first large demo in solidarity with the FMLN of over
      5000 people in a snowstorm,*I think the repeal of the amnesty law is
      necessary and important.*



      Wednesday, January 16, 2013
      S�nchez Cer�n would seek repeal of amnesty

      Salvador S�nchez Cer�n, the FMLN's candidate for president of El Salvador
      in 2014 is stating that he will seek repeal of the 1993 amnesty law which
      has, so far, protected war criminals from the country's bloody civil war.
      S�nchez Cer�n is the current vice president, and an ex-guerrilla
      commander from the time of the civil war. In remarks published in the
      online periodical
      the left wing candidate stated that, if elected, he would act to repeal the
      law which has prevented the prosecution of those who committed crimes and
      atrocities during the 70's and 80's.

      The vice president stated:

      "I think the population should assume it is necessary to repeal the amnesty
      law for there to be justice. ... It is necessary because our population is
      divided. The wounds are open and doing this act of justice in order to end
      impunity would give new boost to democracy."

      This position of S�nchez Cer�n represents yet another
      this issue by the FMLN. In 2007 the FMLN introduced legislation to repeal
      the law in the National Assembly. Then in 2008, the party of the left and
      its presidential candidate Mauricio Funes announced that they would not
      push to nullify the amnesty law.

      The 1993 Amnesty Law was passed immediately after the UN Truth Commission
      issued a lengthy report detailing many of the human rights violations
      during the war years and finding the 90% of the civilian deaths in the war
      had been at the hands of governmental forces. As Bethany Loberg has

      Nevertheless, when the Truth Commission report came out, the Salvadoran
      legislative assembly waited only five days to pass the General Amnesty Law
      for the Consolidation of Peace, which provided �broad, absolute, and
      unconditional� amnesty to everyone who participated in political and common
      crimes in any form during the war, including those previously exempted
      under the reconciliation law. The amnesty law went so far as to explicitly
      preclude any further investigation into these cases. The amnesty law was a
      clear attempt to keep anyone involved in the murder of Archbishop Romero,
      the El Mozote Massacre, the murder of the Jesuits, and other crimes against
      humanity from facing investigations, charges or further publicity.

      Statements like that of S�nchez Cer�n are easy to make during a
      presidential campaign. It will be much more difficult to get the votes in
      the National Assembly, even if the FMLN maintains the presidency.

      The Inter-American Court for Human Rights recently ordered El Salvador to
      annul the amnesty
      part of the court's judgment condemning El Salvador's response to the El
      Mozote massacre..

      The El Mozote Massacre: The Truth Commission for El Salvador and the
      Subsequent Salvadoran General Amnesty Law and Dismissal of Criminal
      The El Mozote Massacre: Recent Salvadoran Efforts To Redress the

      The El Mozote Massacre: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

      On December 11, 1981, the Salvadoran military detained and systematically
      executed virtually all of the 200 men, women and children in the small
      village of El Mozote in the northern part of the

      [image: IACHRlogo]<http://dwkcommentaries.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-el-mozote-massacre-the-inter-american-commission-on-human-rights/iachrlogo-3/>

      Now we look at a case regarding this Massacre before the Inter-American
      Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or

      *The Petition to the Commission*

      In October 1990 (nearly nine years after the Massacre) the Oficina de
      Tutela Legal of the San Salvador Archbishop�s Office filed
      the IACHR alleging various human rights violations by the State of El
      Salvador in connection with the massacres in El Mazote and five other
      nearby villages.

      The Salvadoran government did not seriously challenge the allegations as to
      what happened in the villages. Instead, it asserted that (a) the case was
      not admissible to the IACHR because the petitioners had not exhausted their
      remedies in the country; (b) there was a criminal investigation
      precipitated by a complaint that was not made until 1990; (c ) the
      investigation proceeded properly despite great external difficulties caused
      by the war; (d) the case properly was dismissed in accordance with the
      General Amnesty Law; and (e) and the petitioners had failed to appeal that

      *IACHR�s Determination of Admissibility of the Petition*

      In March 2006 (16 years after the filing of the petition and 25 years
      after the Massacre), the IACHR
      the petition was admissible, *i.e*., eligible for further proceedings. The
      parties (petitioners and the government) were proper parties under the
      American Convention on Human Rights. The petition alleged violations of the
      Convention occurring within the territory of a party to the Convention
      after it had become such a party.

      Most importantly for admissibility, the exception to the requirement for
      exhaustion of domestic remedies was satisfied: the systematic violations of
      human rights in the country made it impossible to file a complaint prior to
      1990, appeals of dismissals based on the General Amnesty Law were not
      necessary, and the state had the responsibility to initiate criminal
      proceedings based on the Supreme Court�s recognition or creation in 2000 of
      possible exceptions to that Law and had not exercised that option. In
      reaching these conclusions, the IACHR relied, in part, on the report of the
      Truth Commission for El Salvador.

      *IACHR�s Determination of State Violations*

      On November 3, 2010 (20 years after the filing of the Petition and 29
      years after the Massacre), the Commission issued its 79-page merits
      decision <http://www.cidh.oas.org/demandas/10.720Eng.pdf> that the
      �massacres at El Mozote and neighboring locales constituted an
      unconscionable breach of the most fundamental principles of the American
      Convention [on Human Rights]. The shocking number of men, women, children
      and older people who dies at the hands of the Atlacatl Battalion must
      remain etched in the memory of Salvadoran society so that events such as
      [these] . . . will never be repeated. The State of El Salvador has an
      urgent duty to pay its historic debt to the memory of the victims, their
      surviving relatives, and the people of the country . . . .� (� 339)

      More specifically, the IACHR concluded (� 340) that the State of El
      Salvador had violated:

      - (a) the rights to life, humane treatment and personal liberty of the
      victims who were executed extrajudically;
      - (b) the special rights of children who were executed extrajudically;
      - (c ) the rights to humane treatment and privacy of the women who were
      - (d) the right to property of the murdered victims and the survivors
      whose homes were destroyed and whose means of livelihood were stolen or
      - (e) the right to humane treatment of the survivors and relatives of
      the murdered victims;
      - (f) the right of freedom of movements and residence of those who were
      forcibly displaced; and
      - (g) the rights to a fair trial and judicial protection of the
      survivors and relatives of the murdered victims.

      The Commission directly addressed the Salvadoran General Amnesty Law. That
      Law �and its application [for dismissal of the El Mozote criminal case] . .
      . are incompatible with the international obligations of the State of El
      Salvador under the American Convention [on Human Rights] . . . . [The]
      amnesty law can have no legal effect and cannot continue to be an obstacle
      to the investigation of the massacres in El Mozote and neighboring locales,
      nor to the identification and punishment of those responsible.� (� 330).
      This conclusion was supported by citations to numerous decisions to that
      effect by the Commission itself and the Inter-American Court of Human
      Rights and to resolutions by the U.N. General Assembly (�� 314-329).

      As a result, the Commission recommended that within two months the State
      of El Salvador : (�� 341-342):

      1. �Make adequate reparations for [these] violations of human rights . .
      . , both in their material and their moral aspect, including the
      establishment and dissemination of the historic truth of the events,
      suitable commemoration of the victims who died, and implementation of an
      appropriate program of psychosocial care for the surviving relatives.�
      2. �Establish a mechanism to ensure that the victims killed in the
      massacres at El Mozote and neighboring vicinities are identified as fully
      as possible and take the necessary steps to pursue the exhumation,
      identification and return of the remains of those victims in accordance
      with the desires of their families. This mechanism must also facilitate the
      complete identification of the relatives of the murdered victims, so that
      they can be eligible for the reparations . . . .�
      3. �Render ineffective the General Amnesty Law . . . as it prevents the
      investigation, trial and sanction of those responsible for human rights
      violations and the rights of victims to truth, justice, and reparation.
      Also, any other *de jure *or *de facto*obstacles, such as judicial or
      investigative practices, must be eliminated.�
      4. � {T]he State should proceed immediately to investigate in an
      impartial, effective manner and within a reasonable time with the purpose
      to establishing the facts in a completely, identify the intellectual and
      material authors and impose the sanctions that correspond. In the immediate
      fulfillment of this obligation, the Salvadoran authorities cannot invoke
      the validity of the General Amnesty Law . . . .�
      5. �Annul the General Amnesty Law . . . and ensure that no similar
      legal mechanisms are activated to obstruct the clarification and punishment
      of crimes against humanity such as those that occurred in this case.�
      6. �Take the measures necessary to prevent similar events in the future,
      in observance of the duty to respect and guarantee human rights recognized
      in the American Convention [of Human Rights].In particular, implement
      permanent programs on human rights and international humanitarian law in
      the armed forces training schools.�


      prior post<http://dwkcommentaries.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-el-mozote-massacre-the-truth-commission-for-el-salvador-and-the-subsequent-salvadoran-general-amnesty-law-and-dismissal-of-criminal-case/>
      forth a brief summary of the facts of the Massacre, the investigation of
      same by the Truth Commission for El Salvador and the subsequent adoption of
      the Salvadoran General Amnesty Law and the dismissal of a criminal case on
      the basis of that Law.

      about the IACHR is set forth in a prior

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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