Reposted with permission of the author – Jan Morrill, Coordinator of the International Allies Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador coalition
On April 25th the civil society organizations and communities that make up the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining (the Mesa in Spanish) held a protest in front of the Attorney General of the Republic Office rejecting the recent sentences issued by the Specialized Sentencing Tribunal of El Salvador in the cases of environmentalists from the town of Trinidad who were murdered in 2009. The Mesa criticized the Attorney General’s Office’s lack of investigation into the intellectual authors of the crimes, who they claim may or may not be tied to Canadian mining company, Pacific Rim.
As a sign of support, 35 organizations from across the US and Canada signed on to a statement of solidarity with the Mesa’s calls for investigations and justice (Spanish version), which was read at the press conference and given to the Attorney General’s Office.
A commission of representatives from the Mesa and community radio station Radio Victoria was received by the secretary in charge of communications from the Attorney General’s Office, who claimed they were not being negligent in guaranteeing the access to justice, but that the process of investigating intellectual authors is slow. When the representative from Radio Victoria pressured him as to why there had not been results in their case, is almost over three years old, he said they are still investigating. He also said that the Mesa should pressure the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman for Human Rights Office instead of the Attorney General’s Office.
The protest was held on the heels of the announcement of the new Attorney General of the Republic. On the 24th the Legislative Assembly named Astor Escalante Attorney General. Escalante was interim Attorney General in El Salvador for a number of months in 2009, including during time between Marcelo Rivera’s murder and cases of violence in Trinidad. In their paid ad the Mesa stated: “As the National Roundtable we, also, expresses our complete rejection for the return of Astor Escalante as head of the Attorney General’s Office, and would like to point out that during his period as Attorney General in 2009, the current situation of impunity and ineffective judicial systems, in general continued. “