Press release

El Salvador: Court Invalidates Amnesty for Crimes Against Humanity

El Salvador's Constitutional Court latest landmark decision overturned the 1993 amnesty law pardoning war crimes committed during the country's civil war. 


In response to El Salvador’s Constitutional Court overturning a 1993 amnesty law that pardoned war crimes committed during the country's civil conflict, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“We applaud the ruling of the court, which now gives victims of the crimes against humanity committed during El Salvador’s civil war the right to compensation and full recognition of past wrongs,” said Carlos Ponce, director for Latin America programs. “This court decision means the high command of both sides can be held responsible, not just the men who carried out orders.”

The now invalidated amnesty law was passed by a right-wing Congress in 1993, five days after a United Nations Truth Commission released a report concluding that security forces were accused in 85 percent of 22,000 documented complaints. The law had contradicted a 1992 accord between the government and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) which agreed that grave crimes committed by both sides should be tried.

El Salvador is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2016 report and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2015.