Charges Brought Against General Bustillo in El Mozote Case

General Juan Rafael Bustillo was summoned by the Second Court of First Instance of San Francisco Gotera in Morazán for crimes of murder, aggravated rape, deprivation of liberty, breaking and entering, theft, aggravated damages, acts of terrorism, and preparatory acts of terrorism, crimes addressed in the Penal Code of 1973, now repealed.

This process began with a complaint filed on October 26, 1990, by Pedro Chicas Romero, where he exposed a series of crimes committed in the village of El Mozote and nearby places.

Investigations were carried out for the massacre at El Mozote, perpetrated between December 10-11, 1981, from 1990 to September 1993. In 1993, the Second Court of First Instance ended investigations and dismissed the case after the Legislative Assembly approved the Amnesty Law.

On November 26, 2006, the plaintiffs filed a formal indictment requesting the annulment of the 1993 dismissal and the reopening of the case.

Despite the identification of Bustillo and six other officers, the court did not agree to reopen the case, because the Amnesty Law was still in effect; after the repeal of that law on September 30, 2016, by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, the court reopened the process and summoned the accused to appear before the court.

Bustillo, who commanded the Air Force between October 1979 and December 1989, is charged as an author of the events—that is to say, part of an organized power structure in the Armed Forces which gave the orders.

The defendant, when questioned by the judge, said he would submit his statement today, but his defense lawyer advised him to wait. In the end, it was decided that Bustillo’s statement will be scheduled for another date, a decision that was questioned by prosecuting lawyer David Morales, who argued that the proper conditions were met for him to testify that day.


Translated from Vásquez, J. C. (October 19, 2017). Juzgado intima a general Bustillo en audiencia de caso El Mozote. El Mundo. Retrieved from