A message from our Director, Angelina Godoy
For the first time in history, eleven survivors of the El Mozote massacre have been summoned to give testimony in a Salvadoran courtroom in the reopened case against former members of the military high command. The stakes couldn’t be higher: these are elderly men and women who lost everything during those fateful days in December 1981 and have struggled ever since for justice. They’re up against their country’s most powerful men, a group of colonels and generals, who show up in government vehicles to court proceedings and are defended by a legal team of dozens of the country’s most expensive attorneys.
I was in El Salvador last week, and met with attorney David Morales and other members of his team, who are gearing up for the fight of their lives. Considered the largest massacre in the modern history of the Americas, El Mozote offers an incontrovertible example of the worst violence mankind can imagine. Hundreds of children were slaughtered there, hundreds of women raped; entire villages were annihilated, their livestock killed and homes burned. And after it ended, the most powerful government on the face of the earth – the US government – systematically denied it had even taken place.
The victims have taken a courageous step forward in the face of powerful opposition. Several survivors testified last Friday, with proceedings ongoing today and this week. According to reports, they faced cruel and disrespectful questioning by defense attorneys about topics unrelated to their personal testimony. The world should be following these developments closely to ensure that due process is respected and victims’ security assured.
Through our Unfinished Sentences project, we at the Center for Human Rights have the honor and responsibility of providing research and documentation in support of the Salvadoran struggle for justice in this and other cases of crimes against humanity. Many members of our broader community have asked me how they can help, and today, I’m asking you to join this effort by taking part in an online action in support of the victims of this massacre. It will only take a few minutes of your time, and will help send the message to the Salvadoran justice system that the world is watching and expects justice to be done.