The Catholic Church of El Salvador will open its archives related to the El Mozote massacre of 1981. On Wednesday, the archbishop of San Salvador, Jose Luis Escobar Alas, announced that it would collaborate with the judicial inspection.
Three days earlier, in a televised press conference, the archbishop stated the church’s unwillingness to permit the inspection.
“We cannot open the doors for anyone who wants to go and inspect and who wants to take the information they want; there are victims of both sides.” Archbishop Escobar Alas.
Archbishop Escobar Alas changed his position and affirmed that, after speaking with the judge in the El Mozote case, he would allow the judge access to the church’s files.
“We have no objection; on the contrary, we wait for you to carry out the inspection you want to do; we will support you with the certified copy of the documents that you require to administer justice.” Archbishop Escobar Alas.
The judge in the case, Jorge Guzman, ordered the inspection of the church files related to the El Mozote massacre. Judge Gusman is searching for information related to the military personnel who participated in the El Mozote massacre.
The judge has announced that he will carry out the inspection on January 25; he will search for documents that may be useful for the case.
The Salvadoran Catholic Church documented over 50,000 cases of human rights violations that occurred during the civil war. These documented cases served as the basis for a report presented by the Truth Commission, created by the United Nations. The commission investigated the atrocities committed during the armed conflict.
Since mid-2020, Judge Guzman, in charge of the case, tried unsuccessfully to access the files in six military barracks to search for information about the incident. President Nayib Bukele has stated on many occasions that previous administrations destroyed any records of the massacre.
The El Mozote massacre took place between December 10 and 13, 1981, in the village of El Mozote in Morazan. According to official figures, soldiers from the Atlacatl Army Battalion executed 1000 people, including 558 children.