Date: Thursday, March 29th | 3:30 pm ET – 5:00 pm ET
Description: Learn about the criminal case filed by the Center for Justice and Accountability in a Spanish Court against 21 former Salvadoran military officers for crimes against humanity and state terrorism related to the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter in El Salvador. Details will be shared about how and why the case is being filed in a Spanish Court, the status of the case, and how a U.S. immigration-fraud trial is related. Time for Q & A is included.
Presenter: Almudena Bernabeu and Carolyn Patty Blum of the Center for Justice & Accountability (see bios below)
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Overview of the Case:
On May 30, 2011, a Spanish judge issued a 77-page indictment and arrest warrants for 20 Salvadoran ex-officers who have been charged with crimes against humanity and state terrorism for their role in the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her sixteen year old daughter in 1989.
The defendants were all members of the Salvadoran military, including several who were in the High Command. The highest ranking defendant, Rafael Humberto Larios, was the Minister of Defense at the time of the massacre. Also indicted is General Rafael Bustillo, Colonel Orlando Zepeda who was also Vice Minister of Defense and Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano who was Vice Minister of Public Safety.
In 2008, CJA first filed this criminal case in Madrid against former Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani Burkard and 14 former military officers for their role in the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her 16 year-old daughter in 1989.
On January 13, 2009, the Spanish National Court charged 14 Salvadoran ex-officers with crimes against humanity and state terrorism. After CJA presented evidence in Madrid in 2009 and 2010, the Court added six additional defendants and issued international arrest warrants in May 2011. CJA is working with the national authorities of several governments to ensure that the defendants are extradited to stand trial.
Almudena Bernabeu – International Attorney & Director of Transitional Justice Program
Almudena is licensed to practice law in Spain and joined CJA full time in 2003. Ms. Bernabeu works on US-based civil Alien Tort Statute litigation against human rights abusers and universal jurisdiction criminal human rights prosecutions before the Spanish National Court. Ms. Bernabeu is also Director of CJA’s Transitional Justice Program. She has worked on asylum and human rights cases for Amnesty International-Spain and researched and investigated cases before the European Court of Human Rights. She also serves as a board member at Equatorial Guinea Justice, a US based Human Rights organization. She is Vice-President of the Spanish Association for Human Rights (APDHE), and a member of the advisory board of the Peruvian Institute of Forensic Anthropology (EPAF), a forensic group providing evidence on human rights violations investigations and prosecutions. Ms. Bernabeu holds a Law degree from the University of Valencia School of Law, where she specialized in Public International Law.
Carolyn Patty Blum – Senior Legal Advisor
Carloyn was a key member of the legal team in CJA’s El Salvador and Chile cases and is now working as a consultant for CJA. She is a Clinical Professor of Law Emeritus at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. She founded the law school’s International Human Rights Law Clinic which she directed from 1998-2002. She has been involved in a range of human rights policy and legal issues, including trafficking in women, the rights of migrant workers, and the protection of women and gay refugees. She is a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford, Masters of International Law Program and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University Law School. Ms. Blum also consults with a range of other NGOs, including the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Center for Constitutional Rights on their Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative.