TITLE:U.N. CONDEMNS BOTH SIDES IN SALVADORAN CIVIL WAR (03/17/93)
U.N. CONDEMNS BOTH SIDES IN SALVADORAN CIVIL WAR
(Decries brutality of human rights abuses) eg (530)
(With Lsi308 and Lsf308 of 03/17/93)
By Eric Green
USIA Staff Writer
WASHINGTON -- The U.N. Truth Commission for El Salvador says the human
rights abusers it identified in the country's 12-year civil war should be
prohibited from holding any public position for at least 10 years.
Testifying before a congressional panel March 16, the commission's three
members also said military officials cited in its report, released the day
before, should be immediately "removed and prohibited from ever holding any
military and security responsibility."
As did the report, the commission members told the House subcommittee on
Western Hemisphere Affairs that those individuals included former Defense
Minister Gen. Rene Emilio Ponce and Vice Defense Minister Gen. Orlando
Zepeda, for their roles in ordering the murder of six Jesuit priests, their
cook, and her daughter at the University of Central America in November
1989. Ponce resigned as defense minister March 12.
The commission also cited commanders of the rebel Farabundo Marti National
Liberation Front (FMLN) -- Joaquin Villalobos, Ana Guadalupe Martinez, and
Jorge Melendez -- among others, for their role in the killing of at least
11 civilian mayors.
The commission said that in examining the "staggering breadth" of the
violence in El Salvador, it was moved by the senselessness of the killings
and the brutality with which they were committed -- "in other words the
madness, or 'locura,' of the war."
At the same time, the commission said it was "especially cognizant of the
spirit of hope, or 'la esperanza,'" that brought El Salvador's civil war to
an end and the signing of a peace accord.
"It is the hope in a peaceful future that has led the parties to put down
their weapons and to construct a new society based on principles of
democracy, respect for basic human rights, and reconciliation," the
Among its recommendations for maintaining El Salvador's fragile national
peace, the commission said steps should be taken to ensure civilian control
of military promotions, the military budget, and all intelligence services,
as well as steps to cut all ties between the military and private armed
groups or other paramilitary groups.
The commission also said there should be a public listing of all detention
centers and all those who are detained in them, and full support for a new
civilian national police force.
The three members of the Truth Commission were former Colombian President
Belisario Betancur, Reinaldo Figueredo, a former foreign minister of
Venezuela, and Thomas Buergenthal, a law professor at George Washington
In his prepared statement before the subcommittee, Schafik Jorge Handal of
the FMLN said it would "fully support" the recommendations of the U.N.
Truth Commission. The FMLN, he said "will contribute to generate a
positive and mature reaction by the entire nation to this difficult but
absolutely necessary test for the nascent Salvadoran democracy."
Handal said any U.S. military aid to El Salvador "should continue to be
contingent upon compliance" with El Salvador's recent signing of peace
accords "and the full subordination of the military to civilian authority."
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