El Salvador court orders arrest of former president for cover-up of massacre

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – A local court in El Salvador has ordered the arrest of former President Alfredo Cristiani for the alleged cover-up of the 1981 El Mozote massacre during the Central American country’s civil war that lasted twelve years.

In the document, issued by a court in San Francisco Gotera on Friday, Cristiani, 76, is named as one of 10 people who promoted a general amnesty law that was approved in 1993 and exonerates those accused of war crimes.

Calling the El Mozote massacre a “crime against humanity,” the document orders the capture of the former president and four other defendants who later were part of the country’s congress.

During the El Mozote massacre, some 1,000 peasants died in a four-day counterinsurgency military operation.

When Cristiani was president, he signed the peace accords in 1992 in Mexico City that ended a conflict that left an estimated 75,000 dead.

(Reporting by Gerardo Arbaiza; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Chris Reese)