On November 29, 2017, Salvadoran Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano was extradited from the US to Spain, so that he could be tried for his participation in the 1989 massacre of six Spanish Jesuits and two Salvadoran women, committed by the Salvadoran armed forces.
His transfer to Spain marked the beginning of a promising path to justice, after nearly three decades of impunity for this heinous crime. The brutal slaying had a deep impact within the Jesuit community and a chilling effect on all of those demanding social justice in El Salvador at the time of the war in that country. Ever since the case was included in the 1992-1993 UN-sponsored truth commission report, the family members of the victims and many sectors of Salvadoran society have demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
Alongside Spanish criminal lawyer Manuel Ollé Sesé, The Guernica Centre will support the representation of some of the victims and intervene as a formal party in the case before the Spanish National Court. With Montano in detention in Spain the case has entered the final stages; trial is likely to commence in late 2019.
The Guernica Centre strives to ensure that justice is served in relation to this particular defendant, but also wants to contribute so that the case can serve as a catalyst in El Salvador to overcome some of the ongoing obstacles to accountability in that country. The Guernica Centre acts pursuant to the conviction that the Montano case will provide an opportunity to reaffirm basic principles related to the quest for justice globally, and to refine legal standards related to the duties of the Spanish state and other European states in bringing those responsible for international crimes to justice.