CISPES Press Release � November 21, 2008�
Spanish Human Rights Organization Files Suit Against Salvadoran ex-presidentCristiani and 14 others for involvement in Jesuit massacre of 1989
Case comes as thousands prepareto protest the military school in Georgia where perpetrators of crimewere trained by US officials
As people in the United States prepare a to protest on the19th anniversary of one of the most horrific massacres of the Salvadoran CivilWar, two human rights organizations have filed a criminal complaint with theSpanish High Court against former president of El Salvador Alfredo Cristianiand 14 former members of El Salvador�s armed forces for carrying out andcovering up the atrocity. The massacre took place on November 16 of 1989 whenthe US-trainedand equipped Atlacatl Battalion murdered six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper,and her daughter.� Members of thebattalion were trained at the notorious �School of the Americas� (SOA/ WHINSEC) in Ft. Benning, Georgia, where an annual protestwill take place this weekend.
Rosa Lozano, a Salvadoran-American who is attending theprotest, said, �It�s about time that Cristiani be singled out for his role inthe massacre of the Jesuits.� Theimpunity of government officials and military leaders who ordered theassassinations is one of the great injustices following our civil war.�� An Amnesty Law passed in 1993 has allowed forimpunity in the case of the Jesuit massacre and countless other murders.
The complaint, filedby The Association for Human Rights in Spain (APDHE) with the support of theSan Francisco-based organizationCenter for Justice andAccountability (CJA), will now go before the Spanish High Court who will decidewhether to press charges against and seek the extradition of Cristiani and the14 former military officials and soldiers for trial.� The APDHE and CJA confirm that there issufficient proof including eyewitness accounts and government documents toprove the guilt of those charged.
Cristiani, who was president from 1989-1994 as part of theright-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party is being charged withcrimes against humanity and the cover-up of the massacre.� The 14 military officials and soldiers arebeing charged with crimes against humanity, state-sponsored terrorism, andmurder.�
Regarding the charges against Cristiani, current presidentof El Salvador Tony Saca of the ARENA party said, �Definitively, presidentCristiani had absolutely nothing to do with this,� and added, �we are with himand support him, and we will support him until the last moment because he is anhistoric man for our country.�
According to Burke Stansbury, Executive Director of theCommittee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, �The reaction of Sacaand the ARENA party is part of a long, sordid history of attempting to cover upthe atrocities committed during the war.�The brutal history of the ARENA party�which was founded by RobertoD�Aubuisson, the leader of the death squads during the war�has continuedthrough its repressive tactics today.� Thathistory must be exposed.�
The charges come just as campaigning begins for El Salvador�s2009 municipal, legislative, and presidential elections.� The Farabundo Mart� National Liberation Front(FMLN), a former guerrilla force turned political party, is currently ahead ofARENA by over 10 points in the latest presidential polls.� FMLN victories in the legislative electionswould give the party a greater presence in the Legislative Assembly and couldpotentially lead to an end to the current Amnesty Law, allowing the case to betried in El Salvador.
The connection with the U.S.is also significant because the Bush Administration remains a close ally of theARENA government in ElSalvador.�In 2004, US officials intervened in El Salvador�s presidentialelections on behalf of ARENA; four months before the 2009 presidentialelections, a new dirty campaign has emerged with the aim of preventing an FMLNvictory.
�We are also protestingthis weekend in Georgia againstother forms of U.S.-sponsored violence and intervention in CentralAmerica.� In addition tomeddling in El Salvador�selections, the U.S.Congress-funded InternationalLawEnforcementAcademy,� said Lozano.continues to train repressive Salvadoran police at the
The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador(CISPES) will be sending two delegations of election observers to El Salvador�forthe municipal and legislative elections in January and for the presidentialelections in March.� For more informationon the Spanish case for crimes against humanity and its electoral implications,or to learn about how to participate as an international observer in the Marchdelegation, contact CISPES at 202-521-2510 or on the web at www.cispes.org.