McGovern Statement on Beginning of Jesuit Case Trial
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman James P. McGovern, Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and a longtime proponent of peace in El Salvador, released the following statement after Spain’s National Court began the trial of two former Salvadoran military men for their alleged involvement in the massacre of six Jesuit priests and two lay women, mother and daughter, on November 16, 1989:
“Even though three decades have passed, time does not diminish or dull the need for justice in this case. There can be no peace in El Salvador without justice – real justice that ends impunity for those who perpetrated and planned the heinous murder of six Jesuit priests and two women, mother and daughter, on November 16, 1989. I counted these priests as friends, and I will never forget their wisdom and strength – their lives were about more than just faith, their lives were a call to action. I’m glad to finally see action taken, even though it is all these years later.
“While this is a step in the right direction, frankly, there are many people in the Jesuit case who need to be held accountable, just as we need to hold responsible those who ordered and carried out the El Mozote massacre where more than a thousand innocent men, women, and children were killed. We must look at this trial not as an end, but as a milestone on the road to justice and peace in El Salvador.”
As an aide to former Rep. Joe Moakley (D-Boston), McGovern led the congressional investigation into the 1989 murders of the Jesuits. He has been a longtime advocate for human rights in El Salvador, visiting the country several times with human rights organization and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year in an effort to encourage peace after years of disastrous U.S. military intervention helped to fuel the flames of a brutal civil war that left thousands of Salvadorans dead.
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