Today, the Salvadoran General Assembly approved a reconciliation law that looks more like amnesty to those who committed serious crimes during the Salvadoran armed conflict. The Salvadoran congress barely got the 44 votes needed to pass the law.
This law is supposed to open the door to take those who committed serious crimes such as massacres to trial. Additionally, the law is supposed to help to find out what actually happened during the conflict. Lastly, the law is supposed to find a way to compensate those who suffered the most during the civil war.
What victims and family of victims want.
What victims and family of victims want is for the truth to come out, and also to find out where the remains of the victims or relatives are.
My friend’s grandmother passed away last year at the age of 92, she used to say the following, “I have lived a full life with people that loved me and am okay with dying, the only regret that haunts me is not knowing where the body of Carlos is.”
Carlos was my friend’s uncle, who disappeared in 1983. He was taken by either the army or the FMLN; for years, the grandmother searched for his body, but never found it. Her story is similar to many others.
Who is making the law?
This is the part that in a way is sickening, how can individuals who were involved during the armed conflict and could easily be charged with some of these crimes, are the ones making the reconciliation law.
Both FMLN and ARENA, the two political party’s with the most congressmen, have members that could be charged with crimes. So, only in El Salvador, you can have the victimizers influence how the law is written.
The punishment for those who are found guilty.
This is the other part that it doesn’t make sense; the general attorney will have 12 months to decide if any of these crimes are considered to be war crimes against humanity.
Twelve months is not enough time for this, imagine how many victims and their relatives are going to file a complaint. In my opinion, 12 months is not enough time.
Now get this, if any of the victimizers get prosecuted and found guilty, the following will apply.
- If they apologize and help to find out what happened, 75% of the sentence will be reduced.So, think about the following, if you commit a crime and get sentenced to 12 months in jail. To reduce your sentence by 75% to 3 months, all you have to do is to say that you are sorry and help with details of the crime, that is all.
- Also, your sentence can be reduced even more depending on age, but the law doesn’t give any details on what age.
- Lastly, the law says that the sentence can be reduced even more if sick; once again it doesn’t specify what sickness you must have; would having a cold is enough.
Yes, these congressmen or Diputados have had more than two years to enact a law that makes sense; but they are doing this at the last minute.
President Bukele promises to veto the law.
President Bukele called the new reconciliation law “an amnesty law that protects war criminals” and said he would veto it.
I hope he does veto this law and forces the Salvadoran congress to write a better law.
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