Confidential Salvadoran military 'hit list' from civil war made public online
A reminder of the horrific 12-year civil war waged by the the Salvadoran military against its own civilians is being released to the public for the first time today, International Right to Know day.
El Libro Amarillo — the Yellow Book — dated July 1987, was put together by the intelligence department of the Salvadoran Armed Forces, and consists of the list of nearly 2,000 targeted individuals and their connection to unions, opposition political parties and alleged ties to the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front. Some of the individuals listed in it were killed or disappeared; others were captured, tortured, and later released, according to the site Unfinished Sentences, where the book as been posted online through a collaboration of the National Security Archive, the University of Washington Center for Human Rights and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG).
"Under the direction of HRDAG Executive Director Patrick Ball, researchers cross referenced names listed in the Yellow Book with four historical databases of reports of human rights violations collected from 1980-1992," reports Unfinished Sentences. "This process found 273 names in the Yellow Book, or 15 percent, that matched reports of killings or extrajudicial executions; 233 or 13 percent matching reports of forced disappearance; 274 or 15 percent matching reports of torture; and 538 or 29 percent matching reports of detention or arrest. In total, approximately 43 percent of names listed in the Yellow Book correspond with these historical human rights databases."
In January 2010, then-President Mauricio Funes apologized to the citizens of El Salvador, in name of the state, for the massacres, extrajudicial executions, disappearances and torture effected between 1980 and 1992, which left about 75,000 Salvadorans dead. "I publicly acknowledge the responsibility of state in these actions, both in commission and by omission, since it was and is the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens and to guarantee their human rights," Funes said.
But the organizers of the online release of the Yellow Book say subsequent Salvadoran administrations have refused to release official records to the U.N. Truth Commission. The release of the Yellow Book online, they say, "may serve as evidence in further claims for justice," especially if the Supreme Court finds unconstitutional or nullifies the guarantees of impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations put in place as part of the peace accord of 1993.