Investigators Start Exhuming El Salvador Massacre Victims

Salvadoran forensic experts on Monday started exhuming the remains of at least 16 victims of a massacre committed by soldiers who accused the village of aiding leftist guerrillas in and around El Mozote, northeast of El Salvador 41 years ago.

The victims, mostly children, were buried in two mass graves, were among nearly 1,000 people slain in El Salvador’s bloody civil war from 1980 to 1992.

Silvana Turner of Argentina’s EAAF forensic anthropology unit conducting the operation with Salvadoran colleagues said DNA technology would be used to identify the victims.

The El Mozote massacre, which took place over five days, was the worst episode of El Salvador’s internal conflict and the deadliest massacre in Latin American history, leaving more than 75,000 dead and more than 7,000 people missing.

According to official figures, 986 people, 558 of them children, died in El Mozote and adjacent communities.

In 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights blamed the Salvadoran government for the massacre and ordered reparations.

Four years later, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that a blanket amnesty for war crimes during the conflict was unconstitutional and charged soldiers accused of involvement.

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