High court strikes down El Salvador's civil war amnesty law

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El Salvador's Supreme Court has declared as unconstitutional a 1993 amnesty law that helped bring an end to the country's civil war but also prevented authorities from seeking justice for human rights violations committed during the brutal conflict.

The judges in the high court's Constitutional Chamber ruled that articles in the amnesty law violate the constitutional right of access to justice and block the state from fulfilling its obligation to prevent, investigate, try, punish and offer compensation for serious human rights violations.

The Salvadoran government fought a 12-year civil war with rebel groups before signing peace accords in 1992. In 1993, the country's legislative assembly enacted the law prohibiting the prosecution of crimes committed by the military and leftist rebels during the conflict that claimed 75,000 lives.