Important Developments in CJA’s Jesuit Massacre Case in El Salvador

Posted by Michael Withey

On behalf of The Domingo and Viernes Story, we salute the pioneering work performed by the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) in this important case and are happy to support their efforts.  We have fought for justice in the murders of our slain brothers Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo for 35 years and are not about to stop now.  Recent FOIA requests to the FBI and Naval Investigative Service about the role of US intelligence in the murders and the subsequent cover-up hold some promise for our efforts to hold accountable all who were responsible for these murders and their cover-up.  We look forward to the publication of “Summary Execution:  The Political Assassinations of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes” to tell the full story.

From Dixon Osburn, Executive Director, The Center for Justice and Accountability:

“On Friday, February 5, 2016, in an extraordinary step for justice, a federal magistrate judge granted the extradition to Spain of Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano, former Vice Minister of Public Security of El Salvador, to stand trial for his role in the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter at the University of Central America in El Salvador.  The court’s decision is a major step forward in CJA’s seven-year effort to hold the commanders who ordered the murders responsible for this crime.

Carlos Martín Baró, plaintiff in CJA’s Jesuits Massacre Case in Spain and brother of Father Ignacio Martín Baró, one of the murdered priests, said, “The fact that the Colonel Montano may face trial in Spain…is a victory for all people who seek justice.”

In 2008, CJA and the Spanish Association for Human Rights filed the Jesuits Massacre Case in Madrid against the former senior military officials who ordered the murders as well as other participants in the crime.  For decades, Salvadorans have waited to see these military officials held accountable, most of whom have been protected from extradition and prosecution because of El Salvador’s blanket amnesty law. To read more about the history of this case and the discovery of Montano in the United States, read our press release.

U.S. extradition law requires the Secretary of State, John Kerry, to give final approval of all extradition orders. Once Montano is extradited, he will face a criminal trial before the Spanish National Court. This extradition decision is the culmination of tireless work led by CJA and our partners in El Salvador and Spain. CJA is proud of our long-standing commitment to ending impunity for the crimes committed against the Salvadoran people.  We look forward to helping present before a court of law the full truth of what happened to the Jesuit priests and finally hold to account those responsible for the massacre.

Should this case proceed to trial in Spain, it will be the biggest undertaking in CJA’s history, and the second trial in a universal jurisdiction case ever to take place in Spain (and the first since universal jurisdiction law was severely curtailed).  We have been preparing for this opportunity for years, but now we need your help.  We need to conduct investigative trips to El Salvador to secure new testimony and evidence and to prepare our witnesses.  We will need to fly up to 20-30 witnesses from El Salvador, the U.S. and other countries to Spain to testify in the trial.  And we will need to build the organizational capacity to support these efforts.

Please help us continue the fight to end impunity and uncover the truth that Salvadorans have demanded for so long, by making a gift to CJA today.”

Below are links to other articles on this groundbreaking development:

 

 

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