The December 1980 Murders of the Four American Churchwomen in El Salvador

In 1980 four U.S. women were engaged in Christian mission work in El Salvador: Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan.[1]

U.S. Ambassador Robert White

On November 20, 1980, Kazel and Donovan happened to meet U.S. Ambassador Robert White and his wife at a Roman Catholic religious service in San Salvador, and the Whites invited them to come to the Embassy on December 1st for dinner and to stay the night. Over dinner that night they discussed their differing views on U.S. policy regarding El Salvador. Kazel and Donovan told the Whites that the next night they would be picking up their friends, Maryknollers Clarke and Ford, at the airport.[2]

The next morning (December 2, 1980), Kazel and Donovan had breakfast upstairs at the Embassy with Mrs. White while the Ambassador had one of his frequent breakfasts elsewhere at the Embassy with the Salvadoran Minister of Defense, General Jose Guillermo Garcia.[3]

Later that same day, Kazel and Donovan went to the airport in their white van as planned. Clarke and Ford were returning to the country on a flight from Nicaragua, which then was under the control of the leftist Sandanistas and where they had attended a regional assembly of their order. Around 7:00 p.m. the four women got in the white van to drive to the capital city of San Salvador.[4]

Soon after leaving the airport, their van was stopped by several men in plain clothes. The men took over the van and drove the women to an isolated area about 15 miles east of the airport near the town of Santiago Nonualco in the Department of La Paz.[5]

That night peasants in the area saw the white van drive to an isolated spot. Then they heard machine-gun fire and single shots followed by five men leaving in the van. (Later that night the van was found on fire at the side of the airport road.)[6]

The next morning (December 3rd) the peasants went to the road where they had seen the van and heard the shots. There they found four female bodies. Local authorities told the peasants to bury the women in a common grave in a nearby field. The peasants did as they were instructed, but they also told their priest about what had happened, and the priest relayed the news to his local bishop.[7]

That same morning (December 3rd), a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy called a local police official to report three nuns and a lay worker were missing, and the official asked whether the nuns were in habits and was told they were not. Later that same day General Jose Guillermo Garcia asked Ambassador White the same question. (In the Salvadoran military lexicon, “good” nuns wore habits; “bad” nuns did not.) The four women did not wear habits, and they worked with the poor, also marking them as troublemakers to Salvadoran officials. Later that same day the office of San Salvador’s acting Archbishop, Rivera y Damas, told Ambassador White that the women’s bodies had been found in an unmarked grave.[8]

On December 4th, Ambassador White drove to where the four bodies had been found, and at his insistence the bodies were exhumed from the shallow common grave, identified and taken to San Salvador. There a group of forensic doctors refused to perform autopsies on the ground that they did not have surgical gloves.[9]

In accordance with Maryknoll custom, the bodies of Clarke and Ford were taken for burial to the city of Chalatenango, where they had served. Fourteen priests celebrated their requiem mass at the city’s main church as soldiers with automatic rifles patrolled outside.[10]

These murders immediately became big news leading to various investigations and prosecutions as well as tension between the U.S. and El Salvador over this crime and continuation of U.S. military aid. Later the crime was investigated by the Truth Commission for El Salvador and was the subject of a civil lawsuit in a U.S. federal court under the Torture Victims Protection Act by relatives of the women. These topics will be explored in subsequent posts.

[1] See Post: The Four American Churchwomen of El Salvador (Dec. 12, 2011).

[2] Steinfels, Death & Lies in El Salvador–The Ambassador’s Tale, Commonweal (Oct. 26, 2001).

[3] Id.

[4]  See nn. 1, 2 supra; Commission for the Truth for El Salvador, Report: From Madness to Hope: The 12-year war in El Salvador  at 62-63 (March 15, 1993),

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8]  Id.; Sancton & Willwerth, El Salvador: Aftermath of Four Brutal Murders, Time Mag. (Dec. 22, 1980).

[9] Id.

[10]  Id.; 2 Murdered American Nuns Buried in Salvadoran Town, N.Y. Times (Dec. 7, 1980). The bodies of Kazel and Donovan were returned to the U.S. for burial.

The Four American Churchwomen of El Salvador


In 1980 there were at least two U.S. Roman Catholic missionary centers in El Salvador. One in Chalatenango. The other in La Libertad. 


Chalatenango, the largest city in the northern Department of the same name, was a stronghold of the FMLN guerrillas at the time and scene of many battles. There the Maryknoll Sisters lived in the Parish House of the 18th-century colonial church. They worked with the Emergency Refugee Committee to provide food, shelter, transportation and burials for the poor and people trying to escape the early days of the civil war. Two of the Sisters who were so involved were Maura Clarke and Ita Ford.[1]

The other missionary center was the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the western coastal port of La Libertad in the Department of the same name. There the Ursulines of the Roman Union trained catechists, conducted sacramental preparation programs and oversaw the distribution of Catholic Relief Services aid and food supplies. They also helped civil war refugees with food, shelter and medical supplies and transportation to medical facilities. Sister Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan worked there. [2]

Maura Clarke

Clarke, age 49 from New York City, had worked for the Order for 20 years in Nicaragua before coming to El Salvador. She said, “My fear of death is being challenged constantly as children, lovely young girls, old people are being shot and some cut up with machetes and bodies thrown by the road and people prohibited from burying them. A loving Father must have a new life of unimaginable joy and peace prepared for these precious unknown, uncelebrated martyrs.”

Ita Ford

Ita Ford, age 40 and also from New York City, had joined the Maryknoll Order in 1971 and had served in Bolivia and Chile before arriving In El Salvador on March 24, 1980, the day of Archbishop Romero’s assassination. In a worship service on December 1, 1980, she read a passage from one of Romero’s homilies, “Christ invites us not to fear persecution because . . . the one who is committed to the poor must run the same fate as the poor, and in El Salvador we know what the fate of the poor signifies: to disappear, be tortured, to be held captive–and to be found dead.”


Dorothy Kazel


Sister Dorothy Kazel was in charge of the Ursuline mission. She was 42 years old from Ohio and had been a member of the Order for 20 years. The last six of those years she had worked in El Salvador and frequently went by motorbike and jeep to visit country parishes.

Jean Donovan


Sister Dorothy was assisted by Jean Donovan, a Maryknoll lay missionary, also from Ohio, age 27. Donovan had been doing this work for three years and had told a friend in the U.S., “The danger is extreme . . . . [I wanted to leave], except for the children, the poor, the bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.”

[1] Wikipedia, Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic,; Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic,;Wikipedia, Maura Clarke,; Wikipedia, Ita Ford,

[2] Wikipedia, Ursulines,; Wikipedia, Dorothy Kazel,; Wikipedia, Jean Donovan,; Dear, The Life and Example of Jean Donovan (Dec. 2, 2005),; Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, Sister Dorothy Kazel, modern-day martyr,

The Torture Victims Protection Act

In March 1992, the U.S. adopted the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA) that provides a civil action for money damages by an “individual” who has been subjected to “torture” against an “individual, who, under actual or apparent authority, or color of law, of any foreign nation” committed the torture. (Emphasis added.) The Act also provides a similar civil action for money damages by an “individual’s legal representative” for “extrajudicial killing” against an “individual, who, under actual or apparent authority, or color of law, of any foreign nation” committed the extrajudicial killing. (Emphasis added.)[1]

The TVPA provides definitions for this purpose of “torture” and “extrajudicial killing.”[2]

The House of Representatives committee report on the TVPA states that it provides a federal cause of action and that torture and summary execution are now banned by customary international law. With respect to torture, the report cited the Filartiga case that allowed a suit against a torturer under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and that had met with general approval.[3] But still torture occurs, the report continued. “Judicial protection against flagrant human rights violations are often least effective in those countries where such abuses are most prevalent.“ The TVPA establishes an “unambiguous and modern basis for cause of action that has been maintained under the . . . [ATS]. [The ATS] has other important uses and should not be replaced.” For torture there should be “a clear and specific remedy, not limited to aliens.” Torture and summary executions are not only abuses covered by ATS. “That statute should remain intact to permit suits based on other norms that already exist or may ripen in the future into rules of customary international law.” [4]

Another reason for the TVPA, the House committee report notes, was the U.S. obligation under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to provide measures to hold torturers legally accountable.[5]

The TVPA was signed by President George H. W. Bush on March 12, 1992, and in a signing statement, he said that the U.S. has a strong commitment to advancing respect for and protection of human rights throughout the world. He, however, was concerned that U.S. courts might become embroiled in difficult and sensitive disputes in other countries and possibly ill-founded or politically-motivated suits. Such potential abuse of this statute undoubtedly would give rise to serious friction in international relations and would also be a waste of our limited and already overburdened judicial resources.” The President hoped that U.S. courts will be able to avoid these dangers by sound construction of the statute and the wise application of relevant legal procedures and principles. The President said that he understands that the TVPA “does not permit suits for alleged human rights violations in the context of United States military operations or law enforcement actions.” The Act, the President added, talks of “actual or apparent authority, or color of law, of any foreign nation.”  (Emphasis added.)[6]

The TVPA provides two potential affirmative defenses.

One is the plaintiff’s failure to exhaust “adequate and available remedies” where the conduct occurred. For this defense the courts have concluded that the defendant bears the burden of proof and persuasion with the plaintiff potentially rebutting any such proof by showing that the local remedies were ineffective, unavailable, unduly prolonged, inadequate or obviously futile.[7]

The other affirmative defense expressed in the TVPA is a 10-year statute of limitations. This limitation, however, can be suspended by the courts under an equitable doctrine.[8]

Under that statute, U.S. federal courts have held that actions ranging from prolonged arbitrary arrest to extrajudicial killings constitute “torture.”  For example, gratuitous, punitive or coercive electric shocking of a pretrial detainee is “torture” as is electric shocking of soles of feet, hanging a person upside down during interrogation and anally assaulting a person with a coke bottle.[9]

Cases under the TVPA in the lower federal courts have held that (a) the requirement for a defendant’s acting under “actual or apparent authority, or color of law” should be interpreted using the existing body of law under federal civil rights litigation (42 U.S.C. § 1983); (b) the TVPA could be applied to people acting under the authority of de facto states; (c) the TVPA could be applied retroactively; and (d) U.S. officials are not subject to TVPA claims because of the statute’s requirement that a defendant act under color of foreign law.[10] There is a split of authority on whether the TVPA replaces the ATS for claims for torture or extrajudicial killing.[11]

Another issue confronted by the lower courts and now before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether a corporation can be sued under the TVPA as an “individual, who, under actual or apparent authority, or color of law, of any foreign nation” committed torture or extrajudicial killing.[12]

Although as a human rights advocate I hope that the Court will decide that a corporation is an “individual” within the meaning of the statute, I think that is an unlikely result. The word “individual” in ordinary and legal language usually means a human being whereas the word “person” usually means a human being or a legal entity like a corporation. Moreover, the statute uses the word “individual” twice in the same section to refer to the victim of the torture (obviously a human being) and to the defendant who committed the torture; it would be unreasonable, in my opinion, to have different meanings of the same word in such close proximity unless the statute expressly so provided. Moreover, the House Committee Report on the TVPA said, “Only ‘individuals,’ not foreign states, can be sued under the bill.”[13]

[1] Pub. L. 102-256, §2, 106 Stat. 73, §2 (a) (102nd Cong., 2d Sess., Mar. 12, 1992) (28 U.S.C. § 1350 footnote).

[2] 28 U.S.C. § 1350 footnote, §3.

[3]  Post: U.S. Circuit Court’s 1980 Decision Validates Use of Alien Tort Statute To Hold Foreign Human Rights Violators Accountable (Oct. 23, 2011).

[4] U.S. House Rep. No. 102-367 (4 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News 84 (1992)).

[5] Id.; Post: The Multilateral Treaty Against Torture (Nov. 29, 2011).

[6] Statement by President George H. W. Bush on Signing H.R. 2092 (March 12, 1992), 4 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News 91 (1992).

[7] 28 U.S.C. § 1350 footnote, §2 (b). In Lizarbe v. Rondon, 642 F. Supp.2d 473 (D. Md. 2009), a civil remedy in Peru was inadequate because it was contingent on conclusion of criminal charges that can take years and because civil damages are ineffective. In Doe v. Saravia, 348 F. Supp.2d 1112 (E.D. Cal. 2004), remedies in El Salvador were inadequate, thus negating the exhaustion requirement. (See also Post: Litigation Against Conspirators in the Assassination of Oscar Romero (Oct. 11, 2011).) In Mamani v. Sanchez, 636 F. Supp. 2d 1326 (S.D. Fla. 2009), on the other hand, TVPA claims were dismissed without prejudice for the plaintiff’s failure to exhaust adequate and available remedies in Bolivia.

[8] 28 U.S.C. § 1350 footnote, §2(c). See also Doe v. Saravia, supra (TVPA statute of limitations was suspendedbecause plaintiff could not have obtained justice in El Salvador) Post: Litigation Against Conspirators in the Assassination of Oscar Romero (Oct. 11, 2011); accord Arce v. Garcia, 434 F.3d 1254, 1263-65 (11th Cir. 2005); Post: Former Salvadoran Generals Held Liable by U.S. Courts for $54.6 Million for Failure To Stop Torture (Nov. 11, 2011); Chavez v. Carranza, 559 F.3d 486, 491-94(6th Cir. 2009); Post: Former Salvadoran Vice-minister of Defense Held Liable by U.S. Courts for $6 Milliion for Torture and Extrajudicial Killing (Nov. 13, 2011)

[9] Chowdhury v. WorldTel Bangladesh Holding Ltd., 588 F. Supp.2d 375 (E.D.N.Y. 2008); Nikbin v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 517 F. Supp.2d 416 (D.D.C. 2007).

[10]  David Weissbrodt, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Joan Fitzpatrick, and Frank Newman, International Human Rights: Law, Policy and Process, at 984-90 (4th ed. 2009)[“Weissbrodt”]; Krohnke, Supplement to Chapter 14 (ATS Litigation) of Weissbrodt, Ni Aolain, Fitzpatrick & Newman, International Human Rights: Law, Policy and Process (4th ed.) (Oct. 26, 2010); Arar v. Ashcroft, 585 F.3d 559 (2d Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 3409 (2010).

[11] Aldana v. Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., 416 F.3d 1242 (11th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 127 S. Ct. 596 (2006)(no replacement of ATS); Enahoro v. Abubakar, 408 F.3d 877 (7th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 1175 (2006)(ATS is replaced).

[12] Weissbrodt  at 986-87; Post: U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Cases Challenging Whether Corporations Can Be Held Liable for Aiding and Abetting Foreign Human Rights Violations (Oct. 17, 2011).

[13] See n.4 supra.

U.S. Second Report to U.N. Committee Against Torture

As previously noted, States Parties to the multilateral treaty against torture (Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) are obligated to submit periodical reports to the Committee Against Torture  (CAT) “on the measures they have taken” to implement the treaty. We also have examined the U.S. initial report to CAT (First Report).[1]

In CAT’s comments on the First Report, it requested the U.S. to submit its second report on or before November 19, 2001. The U.S. did not do so. Instead, the U.S. belatedly submitted its second report (the Second Report) on May 6, 2005.[2]

It is important to remember that the Second Report came after 9/11 and during the U.S.’ so called “war on terror.” It was also after there was world-wide publicity and criticism of the U.S. about horrible abuses of prisoners by U.S. personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, U.S. transfer of detainees to other countries (so called “rendition”) where torture was known to occur and the U.S. use of its base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for detention of men arrested in the “war on terrorism.” As we will see below, this led to an intensive examination and criticism of the U.S. by CAT.

We will examine the Second Report (85-pages plus annexes, including two sworn statements about transfers of detainees from Guantanamo Bay), CAT’s hearings regarding that report, CAT’s responsive comments and the U.S. reaction to those comments.

1. U.S. Second Report to CAT

The report started with positive general statements. The U.S. “is unequivocally opposed to the use and practice of torture. No circumstance whatsoever, including war, the threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, or an order from a superior officer or public authority, may be invoked as a justification for or defense to committing torture. This is a longstanding commitment of the [U.S.].”[3]

Moreover, “All components of the [U.S.] Government are obligated to act in compliance with the law, including all [U.S.] constitutional, statutory, and treaty obligations relating to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.The U.S. . . . does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture, or other unlawful practices, by its personnel or employees under any circumstances. U.S. laws prohibiting such practices apply both when the employees are operating in the United States and in other parts of the world.”

The report also said the U.S. “is aware of allegations that detainees held in U.S. custody pursuant to the global war on terrorism have been subject to torture or other mistreatment. The President of the United States [George W. Bush, however,] . . . has clearly stated that torture is prohibited. When allegations of torture or other unlawful treatment arise, they are investigated and, if substantiated, prosecuted.”

The report further stated that the U.S. recognizes “its obligation not to expel, return (refouler) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture. . . . [A]llegations that it has transferred individuals to third countries where they have been tortured [are contrary to U.S. policies and procedures].”

After the submission of the Second Report and before the hearings, CAT in February 2006 provided the U.S. with a document containing 59 very detailed questions or issues that it wanted addressed before or at the hearings. The document demonstrated the Committee’s awareness of what was happening in the U.S. “war on terrorism” and of internal U.S. documents that had entered the public domain.[4] On April 28th the U.S. submitted its written responses to these issues.[5]

2. Committee’s Hearings Regarding  the U.S. Second Report

There were two parts to the Committee’s hearing regarding the U.S. in Geneva, Switzerland. The initial hearing took place on May 5, 2006.[6] The second, on May 8th.[7]

These hearings were the first time since 9/11 that the U.S. had answered questions from an international body about alleged U.S. abuses in the so-called war on terrorism. The seriousness of the occasion was underscored by the U.S.’ sending a delegation of 26 officials from the Departments of State, Defense, Justice and Homeland Security. It was headed by Barry Lowenkron (Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor) and John Bellinger (Legal Advisor to the State Department) with high-level support from Thomas Monheim, (Associate Deputy Attorney General) and Charles Stimson (Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs).

a. May 5, 2006 Hearing

The initial hearing was opened by Mr. Lowenkron. He emphasized the U.S. commitment to uphold its obligations to eradicate torture and prevent cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Abuses, like those at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, sickened American people and were inexcusable and indefensible. The U.S. is taking steps to hold accountable those who were involved. The U.S. values transparency and openness. For example, the International Committee of the Red Cross, a European governmental group and over 1,000 journalists have visited the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, and some have made positive statements about the facility.

These comments were reiterated by Mr. Bellinger, who emphasized U.S. efforts to help torture victims recover. The Torture Convention, he argued, was not intended to apply to armed conflicts which are governed by humanitarian law. There were many allegations about U.S. mistreatment of detainees, but he urged the Committee to remember they were only allegations, not proof, and to keep a sense of perspective and proportion regarding these claims. Bellinger then summarized the U.S.’ written responses to the Committee’s list of issues.

Mr. Monheim discussed the role of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in enforcing federal civil rights statutes and U.S. legal protections for victims of torture. Mr. Stimson spoke about the U.S. treatment of detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

After these presentations, several Committee members appeared skeptical about aspects of the U.S. presentation. Fernando Marino Menendez of Spain, the Committee’s Rapporteur for the U.S., raised several concerns. He said the International Court of Justice and the Committee believed that the Convention was applicable in times of armed conflict contrary to the U.S. position; that the U.S. failure to disclose information about intelligence services could be a violation of victims’ rights; that the U.S. had failed to adopt the Convention’s definition of “torture” and instead improperly had adopted a different definition; and international tribunals and opinion had concluded that forced disappearances constituted torture contrary to the U.S. position. Menendez also expressed skepticism of the U.S. assertions that its interrogation practices complied with the treaty, that the abuses were not systematic and that the U.S. complied with the treaty with respect to transfer of detainees to other countries.

The Committee’s Alternate Rapporteur for the U.S., Guibril Camara of Senegal, emphasized that the Committee’s interpretation of the treaty trumped that of the U.S., and he questioned the legitimacy of the U.S. reservations to its ratification of the treaty.

Other members of the Committee reiterated some of these concerns and added others as well.

b. May 8, 2006 Hearing

The U.S. delegation returned on May 8th to respond to the oral questions raised at the initial hearing. These responses focused on legal issues regarding U.S. implementation of the treaty; U.S. treatment of detainees and accountability for abuses; and monitoring and oversight of U.S. intelligence activities.

Immediately after the conclusion of the hearings, the U.S. delegation released a written “Departure Statement.” It emphasized that (1) all U.S. officials are prohibited from engaging in torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment at all times and in all places; (2) the U.S. deplores its personnel’s occasional violations of these bans and will investigate and hold perpetrators accountable; (3) the U.S. does not transfer people to countries where it is more likely than not that they would be tortured; and (4) the U.S. is able to recognize its failures and make things better and comply with the torture treaty. The statement also mentioned that while in Geneva, members of the delegation also met with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross and several human rights NGOs.[8]

3.   Committee’s Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the U.S. Second Report

On July 25, 2006, the Committee issued its conclusions and recommendations regarding the U.S. Second Report. CAT complimented the U.S. for its exhaustive written responses to the Committee’s list of issues and to the questions raised at the hearing and for the presence of the large and high-level U.S. delegation at the hearing. CAT also welcomed the U.S. commitment to prohibition of torture and improper transfer of detainees to other countries. Finally CAT was pleased with new U.S. legislation on treatment of prisoners and detainees.[9]

The U.S.’ major effort to persuade the Committee that the U.S. was in full compliance with the Convention Against Torture, however, was unsuccessful. The Committee’s report recorded a lengthy list of concerns and recommendations. Although polite, diplomatic language was used, it was a stinging rebuke of the U.S. According to the Committee, the U.S. should:

  • (a) enact a federal crime of torture consistent with Article 1 of the treaty;
  • (b) ensure that acts of psychological torture, prohibited by CAT, are not limited to “prolonged mental harm” as set out in U.S. “understandings, ” but constitute a wider category of acts, which cause severe mental suffering, irrespective of their prolongation or its duration and withdraw its reservation to article. 16 (prevention of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment);
  • (c) investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators under the U.S. extraterritorial torture statute;
  • (d) recognize and ensure that CAT applies at all times, whether in peace, war or armed conflict, in any territory under its jurisdiction and that CAT’s provisions are without prejudice to provisions of any other international instrument;
  • (e) recognize and ensure that CAT’s provisions apply to, and are fully enjoyed  by, all persons under the de facto effective control of its authorities, of whichever type, wherever located in the world as opposed to the regrettable U.S. view that they applied only to its de jure territory;
  • (f) register all persons it detains in any territory under its jurisdiction;
  • (g) ensure that no one is detained in any secret detention facility under its de facto effective control because doing so is a per se violation of the treaty; the U.S. “no comment” policy regarding such facilities is regrettable;
  • (h) adopt all necessary measures to prohibit and prevent enforced disappearance in any territory under its jurisdiction, and prosecute and punish perpetrators because such practices are per se violations of the treaty; the U.S. view that such practices do not constitute torture is regrettable;
  • (i) adopt clear legal provisions to implement the principle of absolute prohibition of torture in its domestic law without any possible derogation, ensure that perpetrators of acts of torture are prosecuted and punished appropriately, ensure that any interrogation rules, instructions oR methods do not derogate from the principle of absolute prohibition of torture and that no doctrine under domestic law impedes the full criminal responsibility of perpetrators of acts of   torture, and promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate any responsibility of senior military and civilian officials authorizing, acquiescing or consenting, in any way, to                    acts of torture committed by their subordinates;
  • (j) apply the non-refoulement guarantee to all detainees in its custody, cease the rendition of suspects, in particular by its intelligence agencies, to States where they face a real risk of torture, and ensure that suspects have the possibility to challenge decisions of refoulement; the Committee is concerned that the U.S. does not consider its non-refoulement obligation to extend to its detainees outside its territory;
  • (k) with respect to refoulement only rely on “diplomatic assurances” from States which do not systematically violate the Convention’s provisions, and after a thorough examination of the merits of each individual case, establish and implement clear procedures for obtaining such assurances, with adequate judicial mechanisms for review, and effective post-return monitoring arrangements, and provide detailed information to the Committee on all cases since 9/11/01 where assurances have been provided;
  • (l) cease to detain any person at Guantánamo Bay and close this detention facility, permit access by the detainees to judicial process or release them as soon as possible, ensuring that they are not returned to any State where they could face a real risk of being tortured because detaining people indefinitely without charges constitutes a per se violation of the treaty;
  • (m) ensure that education and training of all law-enforcement or military personnel, are conducted on a regular basis, in particular for personnel involved in the interrogation of suspects;  training to include interrogation rules, instructions and methods, and specific training on how to identify signs of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; such personnel should also be instructed to report such incidents; regularly evaluate such training and education and ensure regular and independent monitoring of their conduct;
  • (n) rescind any interrogation technique, including methods involving sexual humiliation, “waterboarding”, “short shackling” and using dogs to induce fear, that constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in all places of detention under its de facto effective control;
  • (o) promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigate all allegations of acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by law-enforcement personnel and bring perpetrators to       justice, and provide the Committee with information on the ongoing investigations and prosecution relating to Chicago Police Department;
  • (p) eradicate all forms of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by its military or civilian personnel, in any territory under its jurisdiction, and promptly and thoroughly investigate such acts, prosecute all those responsible for such acts, and ensure they are appropriately punished, in accordance with the seriousness of the crime;
  • (q) ensure that independent, prompt and thorough procedures to review the circumstances of detention and the status of detainees are available to all detainees;
  • (r) ensure that mechanisms to obtain full redress, compensation and rehabilitation are accessible to all victims of acts of torture or abuse, including sexual violence, perpetrated by its officials;
  • (s) amend the U.S. Prison Litigation Reform Act to eliminate the requirement that there can be no lawsuit for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury;
  • (t) ensure that the ban on use of statements induced by torture are fulfilled in all circumstances, including in the context of military commissions, and establish  an independent mechanism to guarantee the rights of all detainees in its custody;
  • (u) review and revise its execution methods, in particular lethal injection, in order to prevent severe pain and suffering;
  • (v) design and implement appropriate measures to prevent all sexual violence in all it detention centers, and ensure that all allegations of violence in detention centers are investigated promptly and independently, perpetrators are prosecuted and appropriately sentenced and victims can seek redress, including appropriate compensation;
  • (w) ensure that detained children are kept in facilities separate from those for adults in conformity with international standards, and address the question of sentences of life imprisonment of children, as these could constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • (x) review the use of electroshock devices, strictly regulate their use, restricting it to substitution for lethal weapons, and eliminate the use of these devices to restrain persons in custody;
  • (y) review the regime imposed on detainees in “supermaximum prisons,” in particular the practice of prolonged isolation;
  • (z) ensure that reports of brutality and ill-treatment of members of vulnerable groups by its law-enforcement personnel are independently, promptly and thoroughly investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and appropriately punished;
  • (aa) invite the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in full conformity with the terms of reference for fact-finding missions by U.N. special procedures, to visit Guantánamo Bay and any other detention facility under its de facto control;
  • (bb) reconsider its intent not to join the International Criminal Court;
  • (cc) withdraw all U.S. reservations, declarations and understandings lodged at the time of ratification of CAT;
  • (dd) make declaration under article 22, thereby recognizing the competence of the Committee to receive and consider individual communications, and ratify Optional Protocol to CAT;
  • (ee) provide detailed statistical data, disaggregated by sex, ethnicity and conduct, on complaints related to torture and ill-treatment allegedly committed by law-enforcement officials, investigations, prosecutions, penalties and disciplinary action relating to such complaints, etc.

Indeed, journalists saw the Committee’s report as “a rebuke of Bush administration counter-terrorism policies.” Human Rights Watch said it was a “strong and thorough critique” and “a complete repudiation of virtually every legal theory that the Bush administration has offered for its controversial detention and interrogation policies.” [10]                   

4. U.S. Reaction to the Committee’s Conclusions and Recommendations

Immediately after the release of the Committee’s report, U.S. officials were very critical of the Committee and its report. Mr. Bellinger was reported as saying that the report was “skewed and reaches well beyond the scope and mandate of the Committee,” and he reiterated the U.S. argument that in any war, a belligerent nation holds captured combatants without charges indefinitely until the war is over. Bellinger even said the Committee had not provided a fair hearing.[11]

Pursuant to CAT’s request, within one year after the issuance of its conclusions and recommendation, the U.S. on July 25, 2007, submitted its follow-up report to the Committee regarding some of its conclusions and recommendations.[12] Here is what the U.S. said:

  • The treaty has no provision regarding the registration of prisoners and, therefore, the recommendation to do so was not required; U.S. personnel, however, “generally maintain appropriate records” on detainees;
  • The U.S. determines whether it is more likely than not that a person would be tortured in another country before transferring him, not whether there is a “real risk” of that occurring, and the treaty does not give such individuals a right to challenge the transfer;
  • There is no basis in the treaty to recommend that the Guantanamo Bay facility be closed or that every detainee there have a right to judicial review of their detention;
  • The law of war, not CAT, applies to detention of enemy combatants in the war on terrorism; and
  • Juveniles are not regularly and generally held in federal and state prisons with adult prisoners. The U.S. is not a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and is not subject to any of its provisions.


CAT also requested the U.S. to submit its next periodical report on or before November 19, 2011.[13] The U.S., however, did not do so. Once again we see that CAT does not have power to order the U.S. or any other State Party to do anything or to impose sanctions on the party when it does not do what CAT politely had requested.

[1] Convention Against Torture, Art. 19(1); Post: The Multilateral Treaty Against Torture (Nov. 29, 2011); Post: U.S. Ratification of the Multilateral Treaty Against Torture (Dec. 1, 2011); Post: U.S. First Report to the Committee Against Torture (Dec. 5, 2011).

[2] Post: U.S. First Report to the Committee Against Torture (Oct. 15, 1999); U.S. Dep’t of State, Second Periodic Report of the United States of America to the Committee Against Torture (May 6, 2005),

[3]  Id. The second report also contained responses to CAT’s concerns and recommendations to the first U.S. report. In connection with the second report, the U.S. in October 2005 also provided CAT with supplemental responses that are contained in a U.S. Department of State website,

[4] CAT, List of issues to be considered during the examination of the second periodic report of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Feb. 8, 2006),

[5] U.S. Dep’t of State, Response of the U.S.A. to List of issues to be considered during the examination of the second periodic report of the U.S.A. (April 28, 2006),

[6]  U.S. Dep’t of State, U.S. Treaty Reports, http://www.state.gove/g/drl/hr/treaties/index.htm: has posted the following documents at U.S. Dep’t of State, Opening Statement for U.S. Hearing at Committee Against Torture (May 5, 2006); U.S. Dep’t of State, Opening Remarks by John Bellinger (May 5, 2006); U.S. Dep’t of State, U.S. Delegation Oral Responses to CAT Committee Questions (May 5, 2006). See also U.N. Committee Against Torture, Summary Record of 703rd Meeting–Consideration of Second Periodic Report of the U.S.A. (May 5, 2006); Wright, U.S. Defends Rights Record Before U.N. Panel in Geneva, N.Y. Times (May 6, 2006).

[7] U.N. Committee Against Torture, Summary Record of 706th Meeting–Consideration of Second Periodic Report of the U.S.A. (May 8, 2006) (original in French);U.S. Dep’t of State, The United States’ Oral Responses to the Questions Asked by the Committee Against Torture (May 8, 2006); Wright, U.S. Defends Itself on Inmate Abuse, N.Y. Times (May 9, 2006).

[8] U.S. Dep’t of State, U.S. Delegation Departure Statement (May 9, 2006) (available on State Department website).

[9] Committee Against Torture, Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding U.S.A. (7/25/06),

[10] Human Rights Watch, U.N. Torture Committee Critical of U.S. (May 19, 2006); Lynch & Brubaker, U.N. Urges Closure of Guantanamo Detention Facility, Wash. Post (May 19, 2006); Lynch, Military Prison’s Closure Is Urged, Wash. Post (May 20, 2006); Golden, U.S. Should Close Prison in Cuba, U.N. Panel Says, N.Y. Times (May 20, 2006); Human Rights Watch, United States: Committee Against Torture Denounces U.S. Practices (June 1, 2006).

[11]  Id.

[12] Id.; U.S. Dep’t of State, U.S. Response to Specific Recommendations Identified by CAT, (7/25/07),

[13]  See n.9 supra.


Universal Jurisdiction for the Most Serious Crimes

Under customary international law, a nation state’s courts have jurisdiction over crimes where there is some link, usually territorial, between that state and the crime. In addition, under customary international law and certain treaties, a state has universal jurisdiction over certain crimes of international concern regardless of where the crime was committed or the nationality of the victim or perpetrator. These crimes of international concern are (a) piracy; (b) slavery; (c) war crimes; (d) crimes against peace; (e) crimes against humanity; (f) genocide; and (g) torture.[1]

Amnesty International recently released a comprehensive review of domestic statutes regarding criminal jurisdiction in the 193 members of the United Nations. It found that 75% of the members provided for universal  jurisdiction over one or more of the above crimes.  Yet there are many obstacles to effective use of these jurisdictional statutes. States often incorporate incomplete or incorrect definitions of such crimes into their domestic codes. Another obstacle is incorporation of defenses that are inconsistent with the international law for these crimes: following superior orders; statutes of limitation; amnesty laws; pardons; and immunities.[2]

On the other hand, this study found only 19 states have actually invoked universal jurisdiction since World War II. They are Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S.[3]

As we have seen, one of these 19 states–Spain–currently is invoking its domestic statute that implements the principle of universal jurisdiction for its criminal prosecution of former Salvadoran military officers for the November 1989 murders of the six Jesuit priests and their cook and her daughter at the Universidad de Centro America in San Salvador.[4] Spain’s statute provides that its National Court (La Audiencia Nacional) has universal jurisdiction for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and torture.[5]

In 2009 Spain adopted an amendment that added the following conditions or limitations on such jurisdiction: (1) the alleged perpetrators are in Spain; or (2) the victims are of Spanish nationality; or (3) there is another connecting link to Spain. In addition, the amendment specified that for such Spanish jurisdiction to exist another country or international tribunal had not started a process involving an investigation and successful prosecution of such offenses; if there is such another process, then the Spanish court should suspend or stay its case until the other investigation and prosecution has been concluded. The latter provision is referred to as the subsidiary principle.[6]

This amendment has been seen by some as a significant and regrettable limitation on universal jurisdiction in Spain.[7] In my opinion, however, the amendment is a reaffirmation of Spain’s implementation of such jurisdiction, and the limitations are reasonable to make efficient use of Spanish judicial resources. Moreover, the subsidiary principle is similar to the International Criminal Court’s notion of complementarity whereby the ICC does not take a criminal case if there is a good faith criminal investigation or prosecution in a national court system or a good faith decision by a state not to prosecute.[8] The same considerations find expression in the U.S. notions of comity or forum non conveniens whereby a civil case in an U.S. court is stayed or dismissed if it makes more sense for the case to be litigated in another country.

[1] David Weissbrodt, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Joan Fitzpatrick, and Frank Newman, International Human Rights: Law, Policy and Process, at 572-86 (4th ed. 2009); Princeton Project on Universal Jurisdiction, Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction (2001). Especially noteworthy is a blog exclusively devoted to universal jurisdiction:

[2] Amnesty Int’l, Universal Jurisdiction: A Preliminary Survey of Legislation Around the World (Oct. 2001 [“AI Study”]; van Schaack, Amnesty International Universal Jurisdiction Study, IntLawGrlls (Nov. 30, 2011).

[3] Id.

[4] Post: International Criminal Justice: Spanish Court’s Case Regarding the Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests (Aug. 26, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: Spanish Court Issues Criminal Arrest Warrants for Salvadoran Murders of Jesuit Priests (May 31, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: Developments in Spanish Court’s Case Regarding the Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests (Aug. 26, 2001); Post: Spain Requests Extradition of Suspects in Jesuits Case (Dec. 3, 2011).

[5] AI Study at 105; Human Rights Watch, Universal Jurisdiction in Europe, ch. XII (June 27, 2006). The Criminal Division of the Spanish National Court in Madrid has six chambers. An instructing (or investigative) judge presides over each chamber. Once an instructing judge accepts a criminal case, that judge initiates an investigation. After the completion of the investigation, the instructing judge closes the case and transfers it within the court to a panel usually of three judges who will preside over the trial or “oral phase” of the case. Such criminal cases are commenced by ordinary citizens filing a criminal complaint. If a victim files the complaint directly with an instructing judge, then the victim becomes a party to the case for further proceedings. This is known as a private prosecution (acusacion particular). (Center for Justice & Accountability, The Spanish National Court: An Overview of La Audiencia Nacional,

[6] Spain, Government Gazette No. 266, Law I/2009, First Article (Nov. 4, 2009) (amendment to Article 23.4 of Organic Law 6/1985) (Google English translation); Burnett & Simons, Push in Spain to Limit Reach of the Court, N.Y. Times (May 20, 2009); Burnett, Spain Votes on Changes to Inquiry Law, N.Y. Times, (June 26, 2009); Assoc. Press, Spain Shortens Long Arm of Justice, N.Y. Times (Oct. 15, 2009).

[7] Center for Justice & Accountability, Bill Restricting Spain’s Universal Jurisdiction Law Passes First Round of Voting, (circa June 25, 2009); Human Rights Watch, The world needs Spain’s universal jurisdiction law (June 27, 2009).

[8]  Post: International Criminal Court: Introduction (April 28, 2011).

U.S. First Report to Committee Against Torture

As previously noted, States Parties to the multilateral treaty against torture (Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) are obligated to submit periodical reports to the Committee Against Torture  (CAT) “on the measures they have taken” to implement the treaty. The first such report is due within one year after the treaty went into force for that State Party, and supplemental reports on new measures every four years thereafter.[1]

The treaty went into force for the U.S. on November 20, 1994.[2] Therefore, its first such report was due on or before November 20, 1995. As is too often true for such reporting to the CAT or to other treaty bodies by all states, the U.S. did not meet this deadline.  Instead, the U.S. submitted its first report (the First Report) on October 15, 1999. It is important to remember that this was before 9/11 and the U.S.’ so-called “war on terror.”[3]

We will examine the First Report (73 pages plus annexes), the CAT hearing regarding the First Report, CAT’s responsive comments and the U.S. reaction to those comments.

1. The U.S. First Report

The First Report states the U.S. “has long been a vigorous supporter of the international fight against torture. . . .  Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States.  It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority.  Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offence under the law of the United States.  No official of the Government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture.  Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form.”

In addition, the First Report asserted, “No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture.  United States law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a ‘state of public emergency’) or on orders from a superior officer or public authority, and the protective mechanisms of an independent judiciary are not subject to suspension.  The United States is committed to the full and effective implementation of its obligations under the Convention throughout its territory . . . .”

According to the First Report, torture “does not occur in the United States except in aberrational situations and never as a matter of policy.  When it does, it constitutes a serious criminal offence, subjecting the perpetrators to prosecution and entitling the victims to various remedies, including rehabilitation and compensation.”

The First Report discussed the U.S.’ domestic law background for its ratification’s declaration that the treaty was not self-executing and asserted that nevertheless the treaty remained binding on the U.S. as a matter of international law.

In addition, the U.S. said in the First Report that the U.S. had enacted a new federal law to implement the requirements of the Convention against Torture relating to acts of torture committed outside U.S. territory.[4] On the other hand, the U.S. considered its existing federal and state laws to be adequate to its obligations under the Convention to prosecute and punish acts of torture committed in the U.S. and, therefore, determined that it would not be appropriate to establish a new federal cause of action, or to “federalize” existing state protections, through adoption of omnibus implementing legislation.

2. Committee’s Hearing Regarding  the U.S. First Report

In May 2000 CAT held a hearing on the First Report.[5]

3.CAT’s Comments on the U.S. First Report

On May 15, 2000, CAT issued its Conclusions and Recommendations on the First Report (CAT Comments).[6]

After noting that the First Report was overdue, CAT complimented the U.S. on its extensive legal protection against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and its efforts to achieve transparency of its institutions and practices. CAT also appreciated
the U.S.’ broad legal rights to compensation for victims of torture, whether or not such torture occurred in the country, and its implementation of the principle of universal jurisdiction by adopting a criminal statute that applies whenever an alleged torturer is found within its territory. Another positive development was the U.S. regulations preventing refoulement of potential torture victims.

The Committee expressed its concern about the following aspects of U.S. compliance with the treaty:

  • (a) the U.S. failure to adopt a federal crime of torture consistent with Article 1 of the Convention.
  • (b) the U.S. reservation to Article 16 regarding “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” in violation of the Convention.
  • (c) the number of U.S. cases of police mistreatment of civilians and prisoners, many based on discrimination.
  • (d) U.S. use of electro-shock and restraint chairs as means of constraint and the harsh regime of  its”supermaximum” prisons and public chain gangs, all of which might violate Article 16 of the Convention.
  • (e) U.S. holding of minors (juveniles) with adults in the regular prison population.

As a result, CAT recommended that the U.S. (1) enact a federal crime of torture in terms consistent with Article 1 of the Convention;  (2)withdraw its reservations, interpretations and understandings relating to the Convention; (3) ensure that those who violate the Convention are investigated, prosecuted and punished, especially those who are motivated by discriminatory purposes or sexual gratification; (4) abolish electro-shock stun belts and restraint chairs as methods of restraining those in custody; (5) consider declaring in favor of article 22 of the Convention (allowing individual complaints against the U.S. to CAT over alleged violations of the treaty); and (6) ensure that minors (juveniles) are not held in prison with the regular prison population.

CAT then asked the U.S. to submit its second periodic report by November 19, 2001.

4. U.S. Response to CAT’s Comments on First Report

The U.S. responded to these CAT conclusions and recommendations in the U.S.’ second report to the Committee in May 2005, not the November 2001 date specified by CAT.[7] In this subsequent report the U.S. stated the following:

  • Federal Crime of Torture. Every act of torture within the meaning of the Convention, as ratified by the U.S., is illegal under existing federal and/or state law, and any individual who commits such an act is subject to penal sanctions as specified in criminal statutes at either the state or federal level. While the specific legal nomenclature and definitions vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, it is clear that any act of torture falling within the Convention would in fact be criminally prosecutable in every jurisdiction within the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. has decided to retain its current statutory regime on this point.
  • U.S. Reservation to Article 16. The Torture Convention does not prohibit the making of a reservation, and the U.S. reservation in question is not incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention. In short, there is nothing in the U.S. reservation that would be unlawful or otherwise constitute a violation of the Convention. Therefore, the U.S. does not agree that its reservation to Article 16 violates the Convention. Moreover, the U.S. had valid reasons for the reservation and will not withdraw it.
  • Other U.S. reservations, understandings and declarations.The U.S. reached its conclusion that it would be necessary to condition U.S. ratification of the Convention on certain reservations, understandings and declarations as a result of a serious and careful review of U.S. law. The First Report sets forth the rationale for each of those conditions. There have been no developments in the interim that have caused the U.S. to revise its view of the continuing validity and necessity of the conditions set forth in its instrument of ratification.
  • Article 22. In light of CAT’s recommendation regarding Article 22, the U.S. has further considered whether to make a declaration recognizing the competence of the Committee to consider communications made by or on behalf of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation of the Convention by the U.S. Because the U.S. legal system legal system affords numerous opportunities for individuals to complain of abuse and seek remedies for such alleged violations, the U.S. will continue to direct its resources to addressing and dealing with violations of the Convention pursuant to the operation of its own domestic legal system. Therefore, the U.S. continues to decline to make such a declaration.


 Moreover, to this date the U.S. has not enacted a general federal crime of torture. Nor has the U.S. withdrawn its reservations, understandings and declarations to its ratification of the treaty or declared in favor of Article 22 of the Convention.  Thus, there are still unresolved disputes between the U.S. and CAT over these important issues.

This brief review illustrates several significant features of the phenomenon of post-World War II human rights treaties. The world is still organized on the basis of nation-state sovereignty. Those nation states, however, have banded together to create various international institutions and laws with limited powers when an international consensus emerges that the world would be better off with such institutions and laws. Treaty bodies like CAT have very little power. CAT cannot order the U.S. to withdraw its conditions to ratification of the Convention Against Torture or to enact a federal law to criminalize torture in the U.S. Nor can CAT impose sanctions on the U.S. when it fails to do these things or submit its reports on time. On the other hand, being criticized by a treaty body like CAT can affect the international reputation of a nation state with other states, especially if the criticism is not just one treaty body and not a one-time occurrence on relatively minor issues. Most states would prefer to avoid these adverse reputational consequences.

[1] Convention Against Torture, Art. 19(1); Post: The Multilateral Treaty Against Torture (Nov. 29, 2011).

[2] Post: U.S. Ratification of the Multilateral Treaty Against Torture (Dec. 1, 2011).

[3] U.S. Dep’t of State, Initial Report to Committee Against Torture (Oct. 15, 1999),;

[4]  See n.2 supra.

[5] Committee Against Torture, Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding U.S.A. (May 15, 2000),,paras.175-180.En?OpenDocument.

[6] Id.

[7] U.S. Dep’t of State, Second Periodic Report of the United States of America to the Committee Against Torture (May 6, 2005),;

Spain Requests Extradition of Suspects in Jesuits Case

The National Court of Spain is processing a criminal case against 20 former Salvador military officers for the November 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests and their cook and her daughter.[1]

On December 2nd the Spanish Government approved the request of Spanish Judge Eloy Velasco to issue requests for extradition of 15 of the men charged in this case.[2]

The government of El Salvador will receive 13 of the requests. Whether or not to grant the request will be a matter for the country’s Supreme Court. A Salvadoran defense attorney says that there will be no extradition because El Salvador already tried a criminal case involving this crime.[3]

The government of the U.S. will receive the other two requests. One will be for extradition of Inocente Orlando Montano, who  is living in Massachusetts, has denied the Spanish charges. In the federal court in Boston he is now facing criminal charges of perjury and making false statements on U.S. immigration forms. The other will be for Hector Ulises Cuenca Ocampo, who is believed to be living in California.[4]

Five other former Salvadoran military officers are facing criminal charges in the Spanish case. One is reported to be cooperating with the Spanish court; another is said to be willing to do so; two have not been located; and the last is deceased (General Rene Emilio Ponce).[5]

[1] Post: International Criminal Justice: Spanish Court’s Case Regarding the Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests (June 15, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: Spanish Court Issues Criminal Arrest Warrants for Salvadoran Murders of Jesuit Priests (May 31, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: Developments in Spanish Court’s Case Regarding the Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests (Aug. 26, 2011).

[2]  Assoc. Press, Spain Asks U.S. and El Salvador to Extradite Murder Suspects, N.Y. Times (Dec. 3, 2011).

[3] Guzman, Court awaiting extradition request, (Dec. 2, 2011(Google English translation);Guzman, The extradition of former soldiers to Spain will never give, according to defense, (Dec. 2, 2011(Google English translation).

[4] EUA also asked to send, (Dec. 3, 2011)( Google English translation); Immigration fraud, a former soldier Montano faces 5 years in prison, (Nov. 30, 2011)( Google English translation); Salvadoran ex-officer faces Mass. Perjury charge, (Nov. 29, 2011); Criminal Complaint, U.S. v. Montano, Case No. 11m-5193-I6D (D. Mass. Aug. 22, 2011).

[5] Lemus, Spain calls on El Salvador extradition of military slaughter processed by Jesuit, (Dec. 2, 2011)( Google English translation);The judge asked the government to claim 13 soldiers for the killing of Jesuit, (Nov. 8, 2011) (Google English translation).