The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of El Salvador announced this Wednesday that it had admitted a lawsuit by the Prosecutor’s Office asking to annul a dismissal of the military implicated in the murder in 1989 of six Jesuit priests and two collaborators.
“The Constitutional Chamber admitted the demand presented by the Attorney General of the Republic (Rodolfo Delgado),” said that Chamber of the Supreme Court in a statement.
The Constitutional Chamber explained that it decided to admit the claim after considering that a resolution issued on September 8, 2020 by the Criminal Chamber of the same court “violated the rights to legal security, to know the truth and to judicial protection.”
On that occasion, the Criminal Chamber declared “the absolute nullity of the criminal process” that was followed by several soldiers arguing reasons of “prescription of the criminal action.”
The murder of the priests and two collaborators was a crime committed within the framework of the civil war (1980-1992).
According to the Constitutional Chamber, the Criminal Chamber declared the prescription of the criminal process “despite being crimes against humanity, which according to national and international constitutional doctrine and jurisprudence” are “imprescriptible.”
The Constitutional Chamber considered that “the holder of the right to know the truth” in the case “is the Salvadoran people.”
At dawn on November 16, 1989, in the midst of a guerrilla offensive on San Salvador, members of the now outlawed Atlacatl battalion committed the murder on the campus of the Jesuit Central American University (UCA).
The victims were the Spanish-Salvadoran Ignacio Ellacuría (rector of the UCA), the Spaniards Ignacio Martín Baró (vice-rector), Segundo Montes, Amando López and Juan Ramón Moreno, the Salvadoran Joaquín López, the cook Elba Ramos and their daughter Celina.
In September 1991, a court in San Salvador tried nine soldiers who appeared as material authors without taking into account the intellectual authors, according to humanitarian organizations. It would be high-ranking military personnel of the time.
Given the lack of justice in El Salvador, relatives of the priests launched a trial in Spain in 2009.
Based on the principle of universal justice, in September 2020 the Spanish National Court sentenced Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano to 133 years and four months in prison for the murder of five Spanish Jesuits, although he may not be held for more than 30 years, according to the law of that country.
ob / lm