By Alberto Barrera
The refusal for a judge to have access to the archives of the armed forces of El Salvador and to determine the responsibility of officers and troops in the massacre of some 1,000 people in El Mozote and surrounding places in December 1981, at the beginning of the brutal civil war, provoked international convictions and complaints.
The examining magistrate of San Francisco Gotera, Jorge Guzman, the Army High Command arrived at the headquarters on Monday in an effort to review the military record, but the head of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Defense, Colonel Carlos Vanegas, denied passage to the facilities arguing an article of the Constitution that prohibits "the disclosure of secret plans".
After chatting with the officer, the judge withdrew and later asked President Bukele to explain the refusal to inspect and search the military archives. He set a period of five days for his response and then announced that the 5 October of this year would begin the six-week process reviewing files in the High Command and other army units involved in the horrific massacre of civilians..
After the contempt of the Armed Forces, various national organizations, International and influential US congressmen questioned President Nayib Bukele.
Democratic congressman Jim McGovern alluded to the massacre on Twitter and stressed that an inspection of the files would be carried out, but that the judge and other inspectors could not enter. In the same network he asked President Nayib Bukele: "Will you protect the military from a criminal investigation? Or will he order them to comply with a judge's order and open the files to investigate the El Mozote massacre? The choice is yours. The families of the victims deserve truth and justice ".
Meanwhile, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (whence) and the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (BAD) They condemned the blockade and said that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ordered El Salvador to “adopt measures to guarantee access to files useful for the investigation of human rights violations during the armed conflict., in order to ensure access to justice and the right to the truth ".
Both institutions, that are attached to the Organization of American States (OAS), They urged El Salvador to comply with the decisions of justice and guarantee "systematized access to the files relevant to judicial investigations.".
The massacre - half children- was executed by at least 1,000 Soldiers from the Atlacatl Immediate Reaction Infantry Battalion with support from the Air Force between the 10 and the 13 from December to 1981, as part of an extensive military operation in the department of Morazán, northeast of the country, where the leftist guerrilla was mobilizing.
Members of the Atlacatl Battalion, trained by the United States in counterinsurgent techniques, They were looking for rebel training camps at the beginning of the war that 1980 Y 1992 charged some 75,000 lives. “The soldiers entered the villages, they burned houses and animals, they separated the women and children from the men and executed them ", says a report from the Center for Justice and International Law (Cejil).
The Prosecutor's Office published a message on Twitter in which he assured that "a resolution is being issued to request a report to express not only who gave the order and the reasons for preventing it".
El Diario de Hoy summoned the coordinator of the Justice Processes team of the Human Rights Institute of the UCA (Idhuca), Arnau Baulenas, who assured that the refusal constitutes a "serious democratic setback", since it shows “a military man refusing to comply with an order of a judge (what) should not happen in 2020. The Bukele government shows that it acts the same as previous governments ".
Baulenas recalled that in November of last year, Bukele promised to open the files. "If the judge asks us to open (the files) from A to F, we go to Z without the need for a court order. We have been to vindicate the rights of the victims ", He said.
President Bukele has been silent on the matter.
Defense minister, Francis Merino Monroy, assured that "the president is complying with what he promised. We have not denied the information each time we are required to refer to that case ... ", but he did not respond to the blockade for the judge to enter, although later hesitantly he maintained that "we remain respectful of the constitution".