The Americas

El Salvador scraps amnesty law, opens door for prosecutions

FILE - In this March 24, 2011 file photo, protesters carry portraits of slain Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero on the 31st anniversary of his death in San Salvador, El Salvador. Perpetrators of human rights violations during El Salvador’s civil war such as Romero’s 1980 assassination could be prosecuted now that the country’s Supreme Court struck down an amnesty law protecting them, in a July 13, 2016 decision. Romero was fatally shot on orders by an official in El Salvador's U.S.-backed army as he celebrated Mass. (AP Photo/Luis Romero, File)

FILE - In this March 24, 2011 file photo, protesters carry portraits of slain Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero on the 31st anniversary of his death in San Salvador, El Salvador. Perpetrators of human rights violations during El Salvador’s civil war such as Romero’s 1980 assassination could be prosecuted now that the country’s Supreme Court struck down an amnesty law protecting them, in a July 13, 2016 decision. Romero was fatally shot on orders by an official in El Salvador's U.S.-backed army as he celebrated Mass. (AP Photo/Luis Romero, File)  (The Associated Press)

Perpetrators of human rights violations during El Salvador's civil war can be prosecuted now that the country's Supreme Court has struck down an amnesty law. Those include crimes such as the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Wednesday's decision declared the amnesty unconstitutional and said it denied Salvadorans the right to justice and compensation for war crimes.

Members of the military, guerrilla fighters and paramilitary death squads had been protected from prosecution for crimes committed during government's the 12-year conflict with rebels. Peace accords were signed in 1992.

The country's legislative assembly in 1993 passed the law banning prosecution of crimes committed by the military and leftist rebels during the conflict that claimed 75,000 lives.

Some Salvadorans welcome the ruling while others fear it could open old wounds.