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Report of the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador

UN Commission on the Truth for El Salvador, From Madness to Hope: The 12-Year War in El Salvador, Report, 15 March 1993, in UN Secretary General, Letter to the President of the Security Council (S/25500), Annex. (PDF link)


F. Phenomenology of Violence

H. The Risk of Delays


As this Commission submits its report, El Salvador is embarked on a positive and irreversible process of consolidation of internal peace and modification of conduct for the maintenance of a genuine, lasting climate of national coexistence. The process of reconciliation is restoring the nation’s faith in itself and in its leaders and institutions. This does not mean that all the obstacles and difficulties in implementing the commitments made in the negotiations have been overcome: the particular sensitivity of some of these commitments, such as the commitment to purify the armed forces, is creating resistance to the administrative action which must be taken by President Alfredo Cristiani, who on many counts deserves widespread recognition as the driving force behind the peace agreements.

One fundamental element of the agreements, and one which is critical for El Salvador’s democratic future, is the unreserved, unconditional subordination of the military authorities to civilian authority, not only on paper but in reality: in a democratic system based on respect for the constitutional order and governed by the rule of law, there is room neither for conditions, personal compromises or the possibility of subverting order for personal reasons, nor for acts of intimidation against the President of the Republic who, by virtue of his office, is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.