*LEF312   03/17/93


(Decries brutality of human rights abuses) eg (530)

(With Lsi308 and Lsf308 of 03/17/93)

By Eric Green

USIA Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The U.N. Truth Commission for El Salvador says the human

rights abusers it identified in the country's 12-year civil war should be

prohibited from holding any public position for at least 10 years.

Testifying before a congressional panel March 16, the commission's three

members also said military officials cited in its report, released the day

before, should be immediately "removed and prohibited from ever holding any

military and security responsibility."

As did the report, the commission members told the House subcommittee on

Western Hemisphere Affairs that those individuals included former Defense

Minister Gen. Rene Emilio Ponce and Vice Defense Minister Gen. Orlando

Zepeda, for their roles in ordering the murder of six Jesuit priests, their

cook, and her daughter at the University of Central America in November

1989.  Ponce resigned as defense minister March 12.

The commission also cited commanders of the rebel Farabundo Marti National

Liberation Front (FMLN) -- Joaquin Villalobos, Ana Guadalupe Martinez, and

Jorge Melendez -- among others, for their role in the killing of at least

11 civilian mayors.

The commission said that in examining the "staggering breadth" of the

violence in El Salvador, it was moved by the senselessness of the killings

and the brutality with which they were committed -- "in other words the

madness, or 'locura,' of the war."

At the same time, the commission said it was "especially cognizant of the

spirit of hope, or 'la esperanza,'" that brought El Salvador's civil war to

an end and the signing of a peace accord.

"It is the hope in a peaceful future that has led the parties to put down

their weapons and to construct a new society based on principles of

democracy, respect for basic human rights, and reconciliation," the

commission said.

Among its recommendations for maintaining El Salvador's fragile national

peace, the commission said steps should be taken to ensure civilian control

of military promotions, the military budget, and all intelligence services,

as well as steps to cut all ties between the military and private armed

groups or other paramilitary groups.

The commission also said there should be a public listing of all detention

centers and all those who are detained in them, and full support for a new

civilian national police force.

The three members of the Truth Commission were former Colombian President

Belisario Betancur, Reinaldo Figueredo, a former foreign minister of

Venezuela, and Thomas Buergenthal, a law professor at George Washington


In his prepared statement before the subcommittee, Schafik Jorge Handal of

the FMLN said it would "fully support" the recommendations of the U.N.

Truth Commission.  The FMLN, he said "will contribute to generate a

positive and mature reaction by the entire nation to this difficult but

absolutely necessary test for the nascent Salvadoran democracy."


Handal said any U.S. military aid to El Salvador "should continue to be

contingent upon compliance" with El Salvador's recent signing of peace

accords "and the full subordination of the military to civilian authority."