SURVIVORS of the notorious El Mozote massacre in El Salvador nearly 40 years ago promised justice for their loved ones at a ceremony to commemorate the victims on Saturday.
Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) parliamentarian Nidia Diaz said: “We continue to fight for truth, justice, reparations” – and a system to ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.
Around 800 civilians were killed in the village of El Mozoteby by the US-backed Salvadorian Army on December 11, 1981 during a civil war during which at least 75,000 people were killed, according to UN statistics.
It was one of the bloodiest massacres of the conflict which saw death squads armed by Washington massacre tens of thousands during a 12-year war against the leftist FMLN.
The El Salvadorian government apologised for the incident in 2011. In 2016 an Amnesty Law which prevented prosecutions against those responsible was repealed and cases against senior commanders of the armed forces were reopened.
But progress has been stymied by President Nayib Bukele who promised truth and justice to survivors under pressure from human rights groups, but then backed the blocking of a judicial investigation into the crimes of the military dictatorship.
Campaigners hope to see the criminal proceedings go to trial in 2021 and see convictions 40 years after the massacre.