In Ecuador’s landmark trial for crimes against humanity, five former military officials stand accused for rights violations allegedly committed in the 1980s, TeleSUR English reported Monday. Prosecutors are seeking justice for three victims who were members of the revolutionary guerrilla group Alfaro Vive Carajo when they were arrested without warrant and tortured.
The trial, beginning Monday in Ecuador's National Court of Justice, will examine allegations for crimes committed between 1985 and 1988 under the presidency of Leon Febres Cordero and will hear evidence collected from 69 witnesses, 11 experts and dozens of documents on illegal detention, sexual violence, torture and enforced disappearance.
“We hope that Ecuadorean justice avails the evidence presented by the prosecution against five former military officials allegedly responsible for the crime against humanity,” Attorney General Galo Chiriboga Zambrano told media before the trial, adding that the case is about administering justice to the individuals accused rather than exacting “revenge” against the armed forces.
The trial is part of Ecuador’s ongoing efforts to achieve justice and reconciliation for victims of political persecution and other rights violations committed under Cordero’s government, which enforced an authoritarian response to political dissidence by practicing arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings and torture. Current President Rafael Correa launched a Truth Commission in 2007 to investigate allegations of rights abuses under Cordero’s government and put an end to impunity for perpetrators.
Ecuador’s fiscal general of state confirmed in a statement that the three Alfaro Vive Carajo victims “forcibly disappeared” in 1985 and “after weeks of torture and sexual violence, Susana Cajas and Javier Jarrin were left in a field with their hands tied,” while Luis Vaca was illegally held for another three years.
But retired military officials have criticized the trial, including an ex-general who decried the Alfaro Vive Carajo members for being “delinquents, criminals and terrorists,” according to WW4 Report.