Former Salvadoran Military Officer Extradited from U.S. to Spain for Trial in Jesuits Murder Case 

On November 29 Inocente Orlando Montano Morales, a former Salvadoran military officer, was extradited from the U.S. to Spain to face trial in the 1989 murders of five Jesuit priests in El Salvador.[1]

On November 30 Montano appeared before Judge Manuel Garcia Castellón of Spain’s National Court, who sent the Salvadoran to prison for pre-trial detention because the Spanish probe showed Montano had taken an “active part in the decision and design of the assassinations” and because there was a risk he would flee the jurisdiction. (Montano arrived at the court by ambulance and entered the court in a wheelchair.) [2]

Montano is to return to the court next week for testimony in the case.


[1] Reuters, U.S. Deports Ex-Salvadoran Officer to Face Trial on Massacre of Priests, N.Y. Times (Nov. 29, 2017); Faus, The United States extradites to Spain the Salvadoran colonel implicated in the murder of Ellacuría, El Pais (Nov. 30, 2017). Many previous posts in this blog have discussed the murders of the Jesuits and legal proceedings regarding this horrendous crime, including Spain’s case under the principle of universal jurisdiction and the U.S. proceedings for extradition of Montano; they may be found in “The Jesuit Priests” section of List of Posts to dwkcommentaries—Topical: EL SALVADOR.

[2] Reuters, Spanish Court Orders Prison for Ex-Salvadoran Officer Over Priests’ Massacre, N.Y. Times (Nov. 30, 2017); Assoc. Press, Salvadoran Official Jailed Pending Trial for Jesuits’ Death, N.Y. Times (Nov. 30, 2017); Pérez, Prison for a Salvadoran ex-military for the murder of the Jesuits in 1989, El Pais (Nov. 30, 2017).

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

4 thoughts on “Former Salvadoran Military Officer Extradited from U.S. to Spain for Trial in Jesuits Murder Case ”

  1. More Details on Spanish Court Proceedings Regarding Former Colonel Montano

    The initial Spanish court hearing regarding former Salvadoran Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano was held on November 30, when the judge stated that “Montano belonged” to a “closed group of soldiers who occupied all the key positions of the Salvadoran army and government” and who “actively participated in the decision and design of the assassination” of the Jesuits. at the Central American University José Simeón Cañas.”

    Montano’s “declaration” in the case was scheduled for November 30, but was postponted to December 4 at the request of the defense attorney so that he could be prepared.

    The defense attorney also requested that Montano “to be transferred to a medical center or nursing home for his poor health,” but the judge denied this request and instead ordered that Montano be sent to a prison for pretriall detention.

    The lead attorney for Guernica37, which is acting as the public prosecutor in the case, said she hopes that this case will bring justice to an unresolved crime against humanity, but also help fight impunity in El Salvador. “For a country, it’s hard to accept when its criminals are being judged in other courts…. No one wants their criminals to be judged elsewhere,” she says. “International pressure for investigations, prosecutions and extraditions, in this case coming from Spain and the United States, shakes the institutions of a country, including when impunity is rampant,” she explains. “We hope that things will get better in El Salvador.”

    These additional details were provided on the website of Guernica37, which describes itself as an International Justice Center operating from Chambers in London with offices in Madrid and Washington DC. It further describes itself as promoting “transnational accountability through litigation in national courts and other strategies to enforce human rights protection and international criminal norms in an effort to address human rights violations and prevent their recurrence. We provide highly technical advice and representation to assist individuals, civil society groups and governmental institutions in designing and implementing strategies to ensure accountability and redress for international crimes.”

    Lucas-Torres, El Espańol: The Salvadoran colonel who ordered the killing of five Spanish Jesuits, to prison, Guernica37 (Nov. 30, 2017),

    Vida, America Magazine: “Trial of former Salvadoran colonel could bring new details of 1989 Jesuit massacre,” Guerica37 (Nov. 14, 2017),

  2. Montano Denies Involvement in Murders of Jesuit Priests

    On December 4 Inocente Orlando Montano returned to Spain’s National Court for a closed hearing in the criminal case over the 1989 murders in El Salvador of five Jesuit priests of Spanish nationality. At the hearing Montano is reported to have denied involvement in that crime.

    Assoc Press, Ex-Colonel Denies Role in Priests’ Slayings in El Salvador, N.Y. Times (Dec. 4, 2017),

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