Saturday, September 22, 2012

Measure of justice in Salvador massacre case

(credit for photo of march in memory of the slain Jesuits)
I am pleased to share the recent news about the quest for accountability for human rights atrocities committed against the Salvadoran people – a quest long pursued by the Center for Justice and Accountability, for which I serve as Executive Director.
Earlier this month, on September 11, Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to six counts of criminal immigration fraud and perjury. He is one of four high commanders of the Salvadoran military who has been indicted by the Spanish National Court for the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter. As a result of his guilty plea, he will likely be serving a sentence in U.S. federal prison while he awaits extradition to Spain on the murder charges. Montano's sentencing is currently set for December 18 of this year.
The brutality of the former military regime in El Salvador, and the broad amnesty the military enjoyed, are counterpoints to the bravery of CJA's many friends and colleagues who fled to the United States as refugees or remained in their own country as courageous opponents.
We have brought three successful civil cases in the United States against high-level Salvadoran human rights abusers, in addition to our groundbreaking criminal case in Spain, which resulted in the indictment and extradition requests for those who ordered and carried out the murder of the Jesuits and the two women. The Spanish National Court has filed formal notice of its request for extradition, which is now pending before the U.S. Department of Justice.
Our investigative efforts on behalf of the families of the Jesuits led to our discovery that Colonel Montano was living in Boston, and we alerted U.S. authorities. The fact that Montano has pleaded guilty helps bolster Spain's pending request to have Montano extradited to Spain. As CJA Senior Legal Adviser Carolyn Patty Blum, another IntLawGrrls contributor, explained to the Boston Globe, the plea creates "fertile ground" for the United States to move forward on the extradition. Needless to say, we will do everything within our capabilities to ensure that happens.

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