Newspaper article International New York Times

El Salvador Overturns Amnesty for Crimes during Its Civil War

Newspaper article International New York Times

El Salvador Overturns Amnesty for Crimes during Its Civil War

Article excerpt

The Supreme Court struck down a law that had protected members of the military, rebel groups and death squads for more than two decades.

In a ruling that clears the way for El Salvador to prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes committed during its brutal civil war, the country's highest court has struck down an amnesty law that has protected soldiers, rebel fighters and death squads for more than two decades.

The Supreme Court announced its decision late Wednesday, citing international human rights law to declare the amnesty unconstitutional.

The amnesty is "contrary to the access to justice" and the "protection of fundamental rights," the court said, because it impedes the state from fulfilling its obligation to investigate, try and punish grave violations of those rights.

The ruling is a startling reversal after successive governments refused to confront the legacy of the crimes that characterized the civil war, from 1980 to 1992, between leftist guerrillas and a military-backed government supported by the United States. …

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