Update: Nine Former Salvadoran Soldiers Arrested In Connection with 1989 Massacre of Elba and Celina Ramos and Six Jesuit Priests; Orlando Montano Arrested in US Print
Written by David Nash   
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 20:40

On Monday, August 8th, 9 former soldiers turned themselves in after learning about a recent indictment issued in a Spanish court for their roles in the 1989 massacre of 6 Jesuit priests as well as Elba Ramos and her 14-year-old daughter, Celina. They are currently awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court of El Salvador on whether to extradite them. The indictment was issued under Spain's universal jurisdiction law, which holds that the gravest of crimes can be tried anywhere.

Update: On Tuesday, August 23, Inocente Orlando Montano, a former colonel in the Salvadoran Army, was arrested in Massachussetts.  Montano was named in a 1993 UN Commission as participating in the planning of the murders at the University of Central America. He is a graduate of the School of the Americas, and has been residing in the United States since leaving El Salvador.

Apart from the gruesome and cruel nature of the massacre, it is notable for the large number of SOA graduates who were involved in its planning, execution, and cover-up. A total of 20 soldiers and government officials were targetted by the indictment, and as of now nine are still at large (one of the participants died after the indictment was issued).

This is a landmark moment in the search for justice for the victims of this massacre. Although more than 20 years have passed since the tragic murder of these 8 innocents, the indictment and arrest show that there are still people who will fight for the memory and dignity of the victims of SOA graduate violence and militarization in Latin America.

Although Spain and El Salvador do have an extradition treaty, Salvadoran officials have expressed doubt that the soldiers will be extradited. This is a chilling reminder that, although there are many people fighting for transparency, accountability, and justice throughout the world, powerful forces still make impunity for unspeakable crimes an unfortunate fact in much of the world, particularly for those trained and supported by the United States.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:36