Here’s another satirical cartoon that I saw in the paper and decided to cut out:
In May 2011 Spain indicted 20 Salvadoran soldiers for the murder of the 6 Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter in 1989 during El Salvador’s Civil War. The court in Spain was acting under a doctrine of universal jurisdiction which holds that some crimes against humanity are so serious that they can be prosecuted anywhere. Judge Velasco issued international warrants to Spanish police and Interpol, ordering that the accused appear before the Spanish courts within 10 days.
However, trials under the universal jurisdiction law have been rare and are largely symbolic. It might be the same in this case because the officers and soldiers who committed crimes during the war were granted amnesty under the Peace Accords signed at the end of the war. What the verdict does is restrict the possibility of these military officers fleeing to other countries, because if they try to escape, other countries that have judicial cooperation with Spain can arrest and send them to a tribunal in Spain.
In early August of this year, according to the BBC, nine former Salvadoran soldiers turned themselves in to face charges that they killed the six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter during the Civil War. The men handed themselves in at a military base after reportedly hearing that Salvadoran police were going to detain them under an international arrest order issued by Interpol. El Salvador will have to decide whether to extradite the nine to Spain.
This satirical cartoon was in the newspaper (El Diario de Hoy) today along with an article entitled, “Church: for peace, amnesty must prevail.” Below that it read, “Archbishop asks not to reopen the wounds of war in the Jesuit case.” Here are some excerpts from the article:
The Archbishop of San Salvador and president of the Episcopal Conference, Monsignor José Luis Escobar, said yesterday they are in favor of establishing truth and justice of the 1989 killing of six Jesuits and the two women that have opened in a court in Spain, but first have to think about peace in the country and that it can possibly be guaranteed by the Amnesty Law.
“Possibly the Amnesty Law is the most appropriate mechanism to maintain peace and not to return to those cases; it’s an agreement to close the page so to speak,” said the archbishop yesterday, after the homily at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Having to lay down their arms and begin a process of democratization is a consequence of this law, which is also what they did in Kosovo, Mozambique, and Rwanda, where they have also lived through civil war, he said, so amnesty “is the best way to achieve reconciliation in a country that has been in civil war.”
Monsignor Escobar also used the reflections of the late Pope John Paul II, who in his letter wrote “truth and justice, the price of forgiveness,” and valued the amnesty in countries in conflict for those who had publicly acknowledged the crimes committed during that period. But, says the Archbishop, forgiveness “demands to know the truth.”
He also said that the Catholic Church will support any decision of the Full Court.