Published: Sat, July 29, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

HRDAG | Deportation Possible for El Salvador's Gen. García - Supported by HRDAG Analysis

HRDAG | Deportation Possible for El Salvador's Gen. García - Supported by HRDAG Analysis

Deportation Possible for El Salvador's Gen. García - Supported by HRDAG Analysis

Memorial at El Mozote / EFROJAS, 2003

José Guillermo García, El Salvador's defense minister from 1979 to 1983, may be deported from Florida to El Salvador because of his involvement in war crimes that occurred under his command. The recommendation comes from a Miami immigration judge, whose decision was supported with expert testimony from Stanford political science professor Terry Karl, who presented extensive statistical analysis of killings, disappearances, kidnappings, torture and other crimes under Gen. García's watch. The statistical analysis was a joint effort between Professor Karl and Amelia Hoover Green and Patrick Ball of Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG).

The case against Gen. García, who has been living in Florida under political amnesty Since 1990, was brought by the Human Rights Violators section of the Department of Homeland Security / Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Professor Karl served as Homeland Security's expert witness. Other witnesses included Robert White, a former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, and Juan Romagoza, a Salvadoran who testified regarding his torture. The overall effort was supported by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), the George Washington University-based National Security Archives, and of course, many human rights and immigration lawyers.

One of the reasons we got such a beautiful decision, "said Karl," is that we marshaled evidence through narrative, through witnesses, and through statistics, all together. The evidence was overwhelming. "

"Through Juan [Romagoza], Ambassador White, the narrative, and the statistics, we gave a voice to all the people who can not give voice in U.S. court. The statistical analysis added volume to the meaning, "said Karl. "We were able to show very graphically that Gen. Garcia's deliberate actions and inactions gave the green light for murder and repression. In addition, because the work of HRDAG could put names on so many victims through the statistical work, the injustice of their suffering or deaths was at least acknowledged in a court of law, something that El Salvador has yet to do. "

In court, Professor Karl showed the deliberate military policy to kill civilians, especially in rural areas, and altogether documented 59 massacres carried out by Salvadoran armed forces, using 11 "illustrative cases. Found that Garcia knew-or should have known-of these 11 violent episodes, including the following massacres, which are in addition to El Mozote: Rio Sumpul (1980), San Francisco Guajyoyo (1980), Soyapango (1981), El Calabozo 1982), and Las Hojas (1983). In all these cases, I have found, the General should have taken measures to stop the massacres and failed to conduct adequate investigations of the crimes.

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Amelia, one of the HRDAG scientists who assisted Karl in the analysis, said , "This is a case in which the fact of missing data is particularly poignant: the data presented in General Garcia's case are overwhelming, but they represent just subset of the atrocities committed under his command."

The Was made on February 26, and made public only recently, after the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the New York Times. Although the deportation of Gen. García, age 81, will not happen quickly and certainly will be appealed, the ruling is a significant recognition of Gen. García's role in war crimes.

In January 2013, Professor Karl, using statistical analysis created with Amelia and Patrick, served as an expert witness in a case brought by the Department of Justice against El Salvador's former Deputy Minister of Public Security, Col. Innocent Orlando Montano. Col. Montano held command responsibility for the 1989 Jesuit massacre, also in El Salvador. More recently, he was discovered to be living illegally in the U.S., having lied about both the date of his entry and his service in the Salvadoran armed forces. Sentencing has been postponed, but Col. Montano could do jail time. "My work in human rights began with the non-governmental Human Rights Commission of El Salvador in 1991. When I started building databases for them, my human Rights colleagues had already been collecting evidence on Gen. García, Gen. Vides Casanova, and Col. Montano. They were at the top of our databases, and decades later, a small measure of justice is finally brought for their crimes, "Patrick said.

Garcia, Vides Casanova, and Montano held military positions during El Salvador's 12-year civil war between the right-wing military and leftist guerilla groups. The Civil War lasted from 1980 until 1992, when a peace accord was signed.

This CJA press releases more about the case against Gen. García.

[CC BY-NC-SA, including Image] [ Photo: wikicommons, Efrojas, 2003

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