BY ISN STAFF | April 8, 2015
Today the U.S. government filed a request by Spain for the extradition of Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano, the former Vice Minister of Public Safety in El Salvador, for his role in the 1989 Jesuits Massacre, in which in which Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., Segundo Montes, S.J., Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J., Joaquín López y López, S.J., Amando López, S.J. and their housekeeper Elba Ramos, and her 15 year-old daughter Celina Ramos, were murdered at the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador. The filing, which included a warrant for his arrest, seeks to have Montano extradited to stand trial in Spain for the murders. Montano has been serving a 21-month sentence in a federal prison in North Carolina for lying to gain immigration benefits in the United States. He will continue in U.S. custody awaiting his extradition hearing in a North Carolina federal court.
Carolyn Patty Blum, Senior Legal Advisor at the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), said: “This is an extraordinary step towards justice and individual criminal accountability. We are confident that, after a hearing before a federal judge, Montano will be expeditiously extradited and will be tried before the Spanish National Court for the Jesuit murders.”
In 1989, in the midst of El Salvador’s brutal civil war, Montano conspired with other members of El Salvador’s military high command to carry out these killings. Montano never faced justice for his crime until CJA filed the Jesuits Massacre Case before the Spanish National Court and secured an indictment. As a result of CJA’s investigation and case in Spain, U.S. authorities discovered Montano living in Boston and arrested him in 2011.
Montano’s extradition will set the stage for the progression of the Jesuits Massacre Case before the Spanish National Court. “The Jesuits Massacre Case is one of the most important cases internationally in the struggle against impunity,” said Bernabeu, noting that the relatives of the victims have sought justice for these heinous murders for the past 25 years. “Now, the indictments in Spain, the extradition request for Colonel Montano, and the trial to follow will be the final effort to consolidate all that has been investigated and reported over the last 25 years – to unfold and reconstruct the murders and the story of the murders in a way that tells the complete truth and guarantees criminal accountability.”
In a statement, the CJA applauded the Spanish National Court and Spanish government for their commitment to and diligence on the Jesuits Massacre Case and the U.S. government, especially the U.S. Attorney Offices in the Eastern District of North Carolina and Boston, for pursuing Montano, both for his crimes in the United States and his international crimes.