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Trial Date Set for the Jesuits Massacre Case

Image: Robert Lassalle-Klein, "'Blood &Ink'-UCA Martyrs Photo Archive," personal files, January 16, 2020.

The murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s daughter on 16 November 1989 by the Atlacatl Battalion of the Salvadoran Military ultimately led to the end of the civil war in El Salvador and catalyzed the victims’ quest for truth, justice, and accountability. After 30 years of seeking justice and 10 years of active litigation, the Spanish National Court will try former Colonel and Vice-Minister of Public Security, Inocente Orlando Montano, starting on 8 June 2020. Montano is charged with murder and terrorism for his alleged involvement as one of the key decision-makers behind the Jesuit killing. The Guernica Centre for International Justice—part of The Guernica Group—and Spanish co-counsel Ollé & Sesé Abogados will lead the prosecution on behalf of the victims. This trial represents a key moment for universal jurisdiction, accountability as a crucial element of transitional justice for El Salvador and international criminal law.

As the trial date approaches, The Guernica Centre wants to acknowledge and express our gratitude to the family of Ignacio Martín-Baró and to all of the Jesuits who have helped us on this journey for justice. We also wish to thank all those who—over the course of so many years and through so much support and resilience to see some justice granted—have made this trial possible. We hope that you will all continue to support our efforts.

There were many dark moments over the years when we thought that we would never see any real justice for this horrific crime – a crime that epitomized the hubris of the Salvadoran High Command, which always believed they were immune from prosecution. Now that a trial of a senior Salvadoran commander awaits this summer, we want to share this moment specially with the Salvadoran people, who had shared faith with the murdered priests and deposited trust in us to vindicate this crime. We count on all of you to continue walking with us on this journey for justice.

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