The Court of First Instance of San Sebastián has ordered the arrest of two high-ranking military officers accused of involvement in the El Calabozo massacre, a brutal event that took place in 1982. The arrest warrant includes former Minister of Defense José Guillermo García and former commander of the Salvadoran Air Force, Juan Rafael Bustillo. Additionally, arrest warrants for other deceased individuals involved in the massacre have been issued.
The El Calabozo massacre was a tragic event in which around 200 people, including children, adults, and the elderly, were murdered by the Salvadoran Armed Forces. The victims had sought refuge by the Amatitán River after fleeing an anti-guerrilla military operation. The surviving victims and relatives of the massacre have fought for justice and reparation for over four decades.
This progress in the pursuit of justice has been described as a result of the tireless efforts of the victims and their families. The arrest warrants come as a welcome development and a significant step forward in seeking truth and accountability for the atrocities committed. Furthermore, the reopening of the judicial case in 2016 after the Amnesty Law was declared unconstitutional has paved the way for further legal actions in pursuit of justice.
Cristosal, which represents the victims, has faced resistance from government and military authorities who have been reluctant to provide information on historical military archives. Despite such challenges, the court case has seen significant advancements, with the hope that all those accused will be brought to justice, including those for whom arrest warrants are still pending.
The denial of the massacre by the state, which led to a cover-up of the events, has been revealed through brave testimonies from survivors and the Truth Commission report. Justice is now being sought for the innocent lives that were lost in this tragic event, and the surviving victims continue to speak out in their pursuit of truth, justice, and reparation.