Salvadoran General will testify for the massacre of 1,000 peasants in civil war



Retired General Rafael Bustillo, a former commander of the El Salvador Air Force, will testify before a judge on Friday for charges of crimes against humanity he faces for the massacre of 1,000 peasants in El Mozote, perpetrated in 1981, a source told Efe close to the process.

Bustillo will be the first former member of the military leadership that led part of the Salvadoran civil war (1980-1992) to testify in criminal proceedings for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The annulment of an amnesty law of 1993, through a ruling of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) of 2016, allowed the reopening of this process currently faced by 16 soldiers.

The humanitarian organization Cristosal said that the Court of Instruction of San Francisco Gotera (northeast), near the site of the massacre, will hold a hearing on Friday to listen to Bustillo, without knowing the contents of his statement.

Bustillo is also said to be one of the intellectual authors of the massacre of six Jesuit parents, five of them Spanish, and two women, executed in 1989 on the campus of the Central American University (UCA).

During a hearing last July, the general said the process is "partial" and a "circus."

Bustillo, required by the Spanish Justice for the massacre of the Jesuits, entered the Salvadoran Military School in 1954 and in 1984 rose to the rank of general, according to the website of the Salvadoran Air Force.

He was awarded the "Legion of Merit in the Degree of Great Commander" by the United States Department of Defense.

The process, which began in 2017, is in the training stage and more than 40 witnesses have appeared.

According to the Report of the Truth Commission of the United Nations of 1993, between 10 and 13 December 1981 elite units of the Atlacatl Battalion tortured and "deliberately and systematically executed" children, men and women of the El Mozote canton and surrounding sites.

A state registry estimates the number of victims of El Mozote at least 1,730, of which 988 were executed, 48 survived the massacre, 665 are relatives of the people killed and 29 suffered forced displacement.

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