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HomeCentral AmericaEl SalvadorCalls for the Arrest of El Salvador General for El Mozote Massacre

Calls for the Arrest of El Salvador General for El Mozote Massacre

Advocates for the relatives of the victims of two massacres committed by El Salvador’s army during the civil war (1980-1992), including the El Mozote massacre, called for the arrest of the defense minister at the time on Thursday.

Lawyer David Morales announced on Twitter that they have recently requested the arrest of Jose Guillermo Garcia for his alleged links to the El Mozote massacre (1981), in which the Army killed about 1,000 people, and that of El Calabozo (1982), with more than 200 dead. Garcia, an 89-year-old retired general, was Minister of Defense between 1979 and 1981 and, according to Morales, “was the most powerful military officer of the Armed Forces at that time” in the framework of the armed conflict.

Morales explained that under his administration, the Armed Forces carried out a strategy of mass extermination of the civilian population: the so-called massacres. Since last October, Garcia has been serving “provisional detention” in a hospital for the case of four Dutch journalists murdered by the army on March 17, 1982.

On Thursday, 16 bodies of the victims of the El Mozote massacre were buried in the community of La Joya and in the cemeteries of Meanguera and Arambala, in the department of Morazán, some 200 km northeast of San Salvador. Leonel Tobar, president of the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights of El Mozote (APDHEM), said that before the bones were buried, a tribute was paid to them with a cry for justice because 41 years later the massacre of El Mozote is still unpunished.

The skeletal remains buried this Thursday correspond to the exhumations that were carried out in 2016 in the communities Cerro Pando, La Joya and Toriles, the three adjacent to El Mozote.

According to an official census, soldiers from the Army’s now outlawed Atlacatl Battalion executed 986 people, including 558 children, in El Mozote and adjacent communities on suspicion of collaborating with the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front between December 9 and 13, 1981. The civil war ended on January 16, 1992 and left more than 75,000 dead and disappeared.

In 2012, after a long process, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica, condemned the Salvadoran State for the El Mozote massacre, the most serious of the Salvadoran civil war, and ordered reparations measures.

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