Index Of Accountability

The El Rescate Human Rights Department had staff on the ground in El Salvador from 1985-1995. During the two years leading up to the 1992 Peace Agreement, El Rescate staff in Los Angeles and El Salvador developed and collected data for a precedent-setting study of the Salvadoran military and of violations of human rights from 1980-1992. The violations database was compiled from testimonies and information documented by Tutela Legal, the legal aid office of the Archdiocese of San Salvador. Based on principles of contemporary international human rights law, the study’s innovative and digitized results provided the ability to cross-reference military command responsibility – using the military database – with specific violations of human rights. This allowed users to create individual dossiers of abuses committed by each high-ranking officer. In 1992, copies of the Index were presented to the United Nations-backed Truth Commission as well as the Ad Hoc Commission, also supported by the UN, to purge the military of the most egregious violators of human rights. Three decades later, the Index continues to be a valuable tool for human rights organizations, war crimes investigators, lawyers, academics and historians.

For detailed information on the development of the Index to Accountability, see then-lead attorney Todd Howland’s description: How El Rescate, a Small Non-governmental organization, Contributed to the Transformation of the Human Rights Situation in El Salvador.

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For queries regarding the database, contact El Rescate Executive Director Salvador Sanabria: