El Mozote

Today’s human rights crisis in Central America is a legacy of historic impunity in the region. A fair trial in the emblematic 1981 El Mozote massacre case can help restore credibility in the justice system of a country where hundreds of thousands of people flee violence every year, often across international borders.

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Take Action

Members of the United States Congress can call for the declassification of U.S. government documents related to the 1981 El Mozote massacre, and for a valuable expression of support from the U.S. government for transitional justice processes in El Salvador.

Email your Congressional representatives.

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Call someone on the Intelligence, Foreign Relations, or Armed Services committees. 

If you've never called someone in Congress before, no worries—we've got you covered! Find contact information here. Then, just dial the number and stick to the script: 

Hello, I’m [name] from [state/district]. I’m calling about the 1981 El Mozote [el muh-ZOH-tay] massacre in El Salvador, where 1,000 innocent civilians were killed by troops armed and trained by the United States. This war crime is being prosecuted in El Salvador today, and I’m asking you to call for:

1) The declassification of Department of Defense and CIA documents related to the 1981 Operation Rescate [REHS-kayt] during which the Salvadoran military carried out the massacre at El Mozote.

2) Statements from the United States government expressing support for the Salvadoran judicial system in prosecuting the El Mozote case, and support for the cooperation of the Salvadoran Defense Minister and Attorney General’s Office in the case.

Thank you!

 

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Latest News

 

What happened in the village of El Mozote in 1981, and why does it matter today?

On December 11, 1981, an elite Salvadoran military unit trained and armed by the United States massacred 1,000 civilians—mostly children—in and around the village of El Mozote. A post-war amnesty law protected perpetrators of the massacre for over 20 years, making El Mozote one of the major unprosecuted war time crimes in the world. In 2016, the Salvadoran Supreme Court overturned that amnesty law. Today, 17 ex-officers of El Salvador’s military high command are being prosecuted for allegedly planning and ordering the massacre.

"Settling this historical debt with the victims of the war, we help El Salvador transform structures of oppression and impunity and strengthen access to justice for families affected by violence and human rights violations today," says David Morales, prosecuting attorney in the El Mozote case and Cristosal Strategic Litigation Director.

Congressional Committee Contact Information

Richard Burr (R-NC), Chairman

217 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-3154

Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman

703 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-2023

Devin Nunes (R-CA-22), Chairman

1013 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 225-2523

Adam Schiff (D-CA-28), Ranking Member

2372 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 225-4176


Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman

425 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510  

(202) 224-3344

Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member

528 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-4744

Ed Royce (R-CA-39), Chairman

2310 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4111

Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Ranking Member

2462 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-2464


John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman

218 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-2235

Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member

728 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-4642

Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13), Chairman

2208 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 225-3706

Adam Smith (D-WA), Ranking Member

2264 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 225-8901

Copy-and-Paste Message

Subject: Transitional Justice in El Salvador

I am writing to request your support for justice for the 1981 massacre of over 1,000 in the village of El Mozote in El Salvador. 

On December 11, 1981, an elite Salvadoran military unit trained and armed by the United States massacred 1,000 civilians—mostly children—in and around the village of El Mozote. One witness, six years old at the time, saw soldiers kill his mother and newborn sister. “I was playing with my brother when a soldier came in and started firing. He was dressed in olive green… he shot me first,” the witness said, displaying the bullet scar on his arm.

A post-war amnesty law protected perpetrators of the massacre for over 20 years, making El Mozote one of the major unprosecuted war time crimes in the world. In 2016, the Salvadoran Supreme Court overturned that amnesty law. Today, 17 ex-officers of El Salvador’s military high command are being prosecuted for allegedly planning and ordering the massacre.

Innocent civilians in El Mozote were killed by troops armed, trained, and advised by the United States. This awful chapter of history belongs to the United States as well as El Salvador—and you can do something to help bring justice to victims’ families.

Specifically, I request that you call for:

1) The declassification of Department of Defense and CIA documents related to the 1981 Operation Rescate, during which the Salvadoran military carried out the massacre at El Mozote.

2) Statements from the United States government expressing support for the Salvadoran judicial system in prosecuting the El Mozote case, and support for the cooperation of the Salvadoran Defense Minister and Attorney General’s Office in the case.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. I hope you will join me in seeking justice for this egregious massacre and, in doing so, contributing to a lasting peace and a source of hope for a nation that continues to seek security and respect for fundamental human rights.