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Another appeal paralyzes the trial against soldiers in the Dos Erres massacre

CDHG Weekly Report

June 1, 2009 - A new appeal was filed in May by the defense lawyers of the 16 soldiers accused of the Dos Erres massacre, in which 250 men, women, and children were killed, paralyzing the judicial process once again. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has reported that the authorities have exceeded the time limits put on appeals. The Constitutional Court has about a month to rule on an appeal, but the resolutions have taken an average of six months. The Minister of Defense failed to provide the names of the highest military officials in 1982 and the payrolls of soldiers, alleging that they were incinerated or don’t exist. The lack of collaboration in this case also extends to the National Civilian Police, who in 1999 failed to implement the arrest warrants for the accused, which were issued by the courts.

The appeals used by the defense began in 2005 when the Constitutional Court annulled the trial against the 16 accused soldiers because of the National Reconciliation Law, approved in 1996. This law granted amnesty to soldiers and guerrillas accused of crimes during the 36 year conflict. Even so, human rights groups and the IACHR agree that the law excludes massacres and crimes against humanity.


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