Friday’s official filing of criminal charges by a human rights group against 25 Salvadoran soldiers, and an officer, for the murders of four Dutch journalists in the civil war that tore central America in the 1980s.
The case was brought to the Dulce Nombre de Maria Court, which is located about 75 kilometers north from the capital San Salvador. Marc Bessems (NOS correspondent) said that the issue is whether or not the judiciary will deal with the charges. The human rights organization in question, Fundación Comunicándonos, has brought the case before the Public Prosecution Service.
Hans ter Laag and Jan Kuiper made a report to the IKON in 1982 about El Salvador’s civil war. They were stopped by the government army as they attempted to enter FMLN guerrilla territory.
Colonel Mario Adalberto Reyes Mena (commander of the Fourth Infantry Brigade) is accused of leading an ambush that resulted the death of the Dutch. Indictment describes 25 soldiers from the Atonal battalion as suspected perpetrators.
The recent repeal of a 1993 amnesty statute that barred military personnel from being prosecuted made it possible to file the lawsuit. Reyes Mena, the Salvadoran army commander, and Reyes Mena, who are no longer in the country, were unable to be reached for comment.
Hans ter Laag’s sister, camerawoman Sonja ter Laag, also reported on Twitter on Thursday that the charges would be filed on Friday, citing a press release from Fundación Comunicándonos.