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Security & Strategic Review - November 2020

EL SALVADOR: Steps forward and back in addressing civil war impunity

Back in August a Spanish court handed down a 133-year sentence to Inocente Orlando Montano, a Salvadorean army colonel and former deputy security minister. The sentence was in relation to one of the worst human rights abuses committed during El Salvador’s 1980-1992 civil war - the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests (five of whom were Spanish), a woman and her child at the Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA) Jesuit university by an elite army unit. Montano’s sentence - the first for a former Salvadorean military officer in relation to the case - was widely hailed by local and international human rights groups which are also calling for other officials accused (who the Salvadorean courts are refusing to extradite) to be brought to justice. The ruling comes as President Nayib Bukele’s commitment to addressing impunity from the civil war era is increasingly under question.

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