The Truth Hurts

A U.N. commission calls for sanctions against El Salvador's war criminals

LONG BEFORE THE 12-YEAR CIVIL WAR ENDED IN 1992, Salvadorans knew who had fired the bullets that left 75,000 dead. About 2,000 people gave testimony -- often anonymously -- to the U.N.-sponsored Truth Commission set up last year to investigate the war's mass executions and other atrocities. With its 800-page final report, the commission confirmed that 85% of the war crimes were committed by government-directed anticommunist forces, including the Salvadoran army and free-lance death squads, backed in some cases by wealthy, conservative citizens. The report accuses General Rene Emilio Ponce, the current Defense Minister, of plotting the 1989 murder of six...

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