The Center for Justice and Accountability, a human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and seeking justice for victims, recently led a delegation to El Salvador to commemorate the 25thanniversary of the Jesuit Massacre, and called on the new government to cooperate with the Spanish National Court’s investigation of the massacre.

The 20-member delegation — which included COA alum and Trustee Jay McNally ’84 — met with Salvadoran Vice President Oscar Ortiz and other senior government officials to discuss human rights, immigration and the Jesuit Massacre Case, which was filed before the Spanish National Court in 2008.

Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano, a member of the death squad and a defendant in the case, is currently pending U.S. extradition. Should the U.S. agree to his extradition to face trial in Spain, it will mark the first time that justice will be sought for the 1989 killing of six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper, and her 16-year-old daughter. Salvadoran government officials indicated that they would not object to the extradition of Montano from the U.S to Spain to face trial. With both El Salvador and Spain signaling their support for the extradition, CJA is hopeful the U.S. will follow suit.

Hundreds of Salvadorans, from students to villagers, gathered to march in a candlelight procession to mark the anniversary of the tragic 1989 massacre.

“It is clear that this horrible event— which happened 25 years ago — remains vividly in the forefront of this country’s consciousness and will likely remain so until the truth is brought to light,” said Lokelani Devone, a CJA board member and delegation participant.

With the establishment of a new FMLN government in San Salvador, the CJA had the opportunity to address important human rights issues.

The delegation encouraged the government to address the amnesty law passed in 1993, which protects all military and guerilla forces from prosecutions for human rights abuses committed during El Salvador’s civil war. If the amnesty law is repealed, it would open opportunities for justice for victims, meaningful reparations, and transition.

“We were clear and they heard our demands,” said Almudena Bernabeu, CJA International Attorney. “The administration of Salvador Sanchez Ceren has the obligation and opportunity to make a difference, to improve the lives of the people of El Salvador – the people they fought for – and ensure that they see justice. Montano’s extradition and repealing the amnesty law are the key first steps.”

The delegation included Camilo Artiga-Purcell, Principal at Cotchett, Pitre, & McCarthy; Daniel Barton, Managing Partner of Nolan, Armstrong & Barton, LLP; Nancy Clark, San Francisco educator; Neris González, torture survivor and plaintiff in CJA’s landmark case Romagoza Arce v. Garcia, James K. Green, Attorney; Carlos Mauricio, activist and plaintiff in Romagoza Arce v. Garcia; Jay McNally, Former CEO of Ibis Consulting and current trustee for College of the Atlantic and advisory board member of International Partners in Mission; Joey Neugart, General Counsel of Singularity University and CJA Board Member; Dr. Juan Romagoza Arce, co-founder of Central American Refugee Committee and plaintiff in Romagoza v. Garcia; Peter Sanders, Director of Major Gifts and Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of Vermont; Peter Stern, Policy Manager at Facebook; Nico W. van Aelstyn, Principal with Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.; and Rev. Dr. William Wipfler, former Director of the National Council of Churches’ Latin American Department.

In 2008, CJA filed a criminal case in Madrid against former Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani Burkard and 14 former military officers and soldiers for their role in the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her 16 year-old daughter in 1989.


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