AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - The law on reconciliation approved, for the opposition it is only "a disguised amnesty"

Friday, 28 February 2020 justice   reconciliation   local churches   war crimes  


San Salvador (Agenzia Fides) – On Wednesday February 26, El Salvador's Congress approved a law to investigate and punish crimes committed during the country's civil war, rejected by human rights defenders and by the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, who stated that he will veto it, as the law does not conform to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Justice. In fact, two days before the expiry of the term, the Special Law on Transitional Justice Reparation and National Reconciliation was narrowly approved with the votes of 44 of the 84 deputies, 11 against and one abstention.
The reason for the disapproval is that much of the final content of this legislation was discussed without involving public opinion. "A law that has been drawn up behind the victims back. In practice, it will only be a leap towards impunity, a disguised amnesty law", said Congressman Juan José Martell of the Democratic Change Party to the local press. "The legislation will be applicable to any person who committed crimes against humanity and war crimes constituting serious violations of international humanitarian law during the armed conflict from 1980 to 1992", he added.
In order for the law to take effect, it must be approved by President Bukele, who has already ruled on the veto. "The Presidency of the Republic will not sanction any law that does not contain three fundamental elements for being fair and constitutional: truth, reparation, justice", the president published in his official Twitter account.
On Sunday, February 23, the Archbishop of San Salvador, Mgr. José Luis Escobar, said to the Salvadoran community: "The ruling of the Constitutional Court are definitive and must be respected. This was not done. Indeed, we see that they are not working on the issue. We are very worried" (see Fides, 24/2/2020). The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (ACNUDH) also said that the law imposes sanctions that are not proportional to the seriousness of the acts committed and that reducing the sentence would mean a "de facto amnesty". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 28/2/2020)