INTERNATIONAL FUNDFOR LEGAL DEFENSE
Translation from the original in Spanish
ASOFEBE - September 2022
ELIZABETH VELÁSQUEZ ASSOCIATIONTHE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
The Febe Elizabeth Velásquez Association (ASOFEBE) establishes the International Fund for Legal Defense, to support the representation of the victims of the bombing that destroyed the headquarters of the union federation, FENASTRAS, on October 31, 1989. This special fund will be maintained in the Association's bank account with quarterly income and expense reports. A Special Commission of the Association's Board of Directors is established to administer the fund, to approve the quarterly reports of the fund and activities, and to distribute those reports to contributors. The Special Commission will be made up of the President and the Vice President of the association plus two donor representatives.
WHO ARE WE? Our association obtained its legal status in 2014, after several years of working as the Committee for the Commemoration of October 31, 1989. Our work is supported by the financial contributions and collaboration of its members. We are committed to ensuring a worthy commemoration of the martyrs who died in the bomb attack on the premises of the National Federation of Salvadoran Workers Unions, on October 31, 1989, a date that today is the National Day of Trade Unionists, the day on which marches and gatherings are held, with the image of our FEBE at the forefront.
The members of our board of directors, and many of the other members, are veterans of the FENASTRAS federation of the 1980s. Several were present at the time of the attack and are victims of it. Details of the current members of our Board of Directors are available on our website – www.cendoc.net . After the Peace Accords, the organization that was the Fenastras federation took another course and does not support this effort to bring to light the historic struggle to end the repression of workers and achieve peace.
We are pursuing a legal process in which we seek justice and reparation for the victims of the bombing – a process that began 10 years ago. Being able to pursue it to its conclusion is the purpose of this project.
We work to recover the Historical Memory of the trade union movement in the years of the armed conflict that ended with the Peace Accords in January 1992. The results of this work are available on the website – www.cendoc.net.
- This criminal proceeding began on October 31, 1989 with the testimony given by a witness who claims to have seen a man place a gunny sack with the smell of gunpowder;
- The file was closed on June 20, 2011 when the judge in charge declared the statute of limitations for the criminal action, based on the General Amnesty decreed in 1993, and the possible perpetrators were definitively exonerated without being identified;
- With the collaboration of the Human Rights Institute of the Central American University (IDHUCA), and under the original amnesty, we were able to present demands from seven victims based on denouncing the state for not having carried out an adequate investigation at the time of the bombing;
- The general amnesty was declared unconstitutional in 2016, paving the way for the resumption of the legal process. In June 2017, with the legal support of IDHUCA, we reiterated the complaints and collectivized them into one;
- Consequently, due to this initiative and other pressures, the Attorney General's Office (FGR) opened a file on the case in 2018. After conducting a preliminary investigation, the FGR presented its preliminary results to the Second Court of Investigations in 2018, which declared the annulment of the order of June 2011, reopened the process, in addition to ordering the prosecutor to continue several lines of investigation;
- During this period, Asofebe actively participated in the Roundtable against Impunity and thus, with other organizations for victims and human rights defenders, were able to present our own bill [for Transitional Justice and Reparations] and thus block the version proposed by an ad hoc commission of the Legislative Assembly (2019). The ad hoc commission's version constituted a new amnesty in disguise. Part of this process consisted of maintaining constant pressure on the government and the prosecutor to open an investigation and process for the case of the bombing of the headquarters of the historic Fenastras;
- In the same period, IDHUCA informed us that it did not have the capacity to continue supporting the legal processes presented by several organizations that depended on them until that moment;
- (April 2022) the FGR still has not reported the results of the second chapter of its investigations to the Investigating Courts, which should have been done within a period of three months; the delay is attributed to changes in personnel and responsibilities in the FGR itself;
- In more recent days, the FGR requested our collaboration in locating more witnesses/victims to join the investigation and provided us with a list of people in whom they are interested;
- We sincronized this list of the FGR with data that appear in the report of Tutela Legal [legal defense office of the Archibishop] that was prepared at the time of the bombing. We responded to the FGR's request with various suggestions and information from various people – either witnesses or victims.
In 1993, the Legislative Assembly declared a general amnesty for all those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Until 2016, when the amnesty was declared unconstitutional. The Legislative Assembly has spent almost six years without responding to the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) for presenting a new decree of Transitional Justice and Reparation. The last attempt was vetoed by the President of the Republic as unconstitutional. In this context, several legal cases, including that of ASOFEBE, are still underway but without adequate resources dedicated to investigation and without an adequate legal framework. The current Assembly is reviewing several proposals.
THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
This project has three elements: legal, organizational and administrative.
We can identify a variety of needs in terms of technical-legal advice.
Review the IDHUCA file
- Review the proceedings of the Second Investigating Court
- Review the conduct of the FGR and PNC
- Report/consult the amounts and forms of compensation and the categories of victims who should receive them
- Monitor the process, attend court and report to the Special Commission of our Board of Directors quarterly - for a period of two years.
We intend to launch a new organizational effort to establish communications with all the victims of the bombing and their families. This effort would be carried out by our vice president, Ricardo Jovel, widower of Febe Velásquez, and an intern hired by the Journalism Department of the University of El Salvador (UES).
In addition, it is proposed to develop a process of periodic reports and consultations with the victims and their families, supported by transportation expenses and a lunch. With all this we anticipate a total need for the organizational part of $3,800 (USD).
This project would depend on the administrative infrastructure of ASOFEBE. To support a portion of our expenses, we project a budget of $1,290 – 15 percent of the other portions - $4,800 + $3,800 = $8,600.
ASOFEBE administrative infrastructure – 15% of $8,600 = $1,290 (USD)
TOTAL FINANCING GOAL
+ $4,800 + $3,800 + $1,290 = $9,890 (USD)
We are willing to provide detailed information on the projected expenses of the project and the administrative costs of our Association to interested parties. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org,