Salvadoran court turns over massacre remains to families

El Salvador's Supreme Court has authorized handing over six sets of skeletal remains from the 1981 El Mozote massacre to a group representing victims' relatives after forensic experts said they were too decomposed to be individually identified by DNA testing.

The nonprofit group Tutela Legal says the fact that most victims were children disproves the army's original assertion there was a confrontation with rebels in the village of El Mozote.

The government has now confirmed that of the 978 residents killed by the army, 477 were younger than 12.

Soldiers entered the area looking for guerrillas but killed civilians instead, producing one of the bloodiest massacres of the country's 1980-1992 civil war.

The case was re-opened after the Supreme Court overturned a 1993 amnesty for civil war crimes.