One of the key areas in our fight against impunity included pursuing cases that sought to limit the application of amnesties for crimes against humanity and serious violations of human rights. Thanks to the work of CEJIL, important steps were made towards justice, not only to eliminate amnesty laws but also to identify, judge and punish those responsible for those crimes.
The case of Barrios Altos resulted in a landmark decision that led to the extradition, trial and conviction of Alberto Fujimori. Moreover, the ruling established an important precedent in international law which states that amnesties cannot pardon serious human rights violations to the detriment of the rights of the victims and society, in their pursuit for the right to the truth, justice, and reparation.
#ElMozoteResiste Las masacres de El Mozote son el asesinato masivo más grande registrado en América Latina. A casi 6 años de la sentencia de la Corte IDH, los y las protagonistas de una lucha incansable cuentan qué representa el caso de El Mozote y lugares aledaños para alcanzar justicia en #ElSalvador.Gepostet von Center for Justice and International Law-CEJIL am Dienstag, 23. Oktober 2018
This case, as well as La Cantuta, are among the most cited cases in international and comparative law. Furthermore, their impact in neighboring countries is also evident. CEJIL, for example, accompanied the victims of the El Mozote Massacre and neighboring communities in the litigation before the Inter-American System, getting the Inter American Court to establish that the 1993 amnesty law in El Salvador could not be an obstacle to the investigation of these crimes. Recently, in 2016, the Constitutional Court of this country resolved to declare the Amnesty Law unconstitutional based on the ruling by the Inter-American Court, among other resolutions.
The case of Gelman v. Uruguay further underscored the incompatibility of amnesty laws with a States’ international obligation to duly investigate and punish those responsible for serious human rights violations, as they violated a victim’s right to truth. The Inter-American Court found these laws were illegal regardless of their form, or whether they had been adopted through a democratic process supported by the votes of citizens. In particular, the Court clearly established that “the protection of human rights constitutes an insurmountable limit to the rule of the majority, in other words, to the sphere of the susceptible to be decided by the majority”.