SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- (AP) -- Human rights groups are protesting
appointment of a general they say oversaw the slaying of a French nurse and four
others during El Salvador's civil war.
The National Center for the Promotion of Human Rights has continually
that on April 15, 1989, Gustavo Adolfo Perdomo ordered his men to execute
Madeleine Lagadec and four other people at a rural hospital in El Salvador's
Tortugal region of the central San Vicente province.
Perdomo, a lifelong military bureaucrat, directed a special governmental
during the 12-year civil war, during which government forces battled leftist
President Francisco Flores, who recently promoted Perdomo to general,
responded to the charges Thursday, saying that the French government has
cleared the general of any wrongdoing and has not objected to his appointment.
In 1994, a French judge requested that Salvadoran authorities
look into Perdomo's
involvement and that of another general in Lagadec's death, but the request was
denied because the officers were protected by an amnesty that was part of the
peace agreement signed in January 1992.
Flores did admit, however, that an unidentified French judge recently
contacted the Salvadoran Supreme Court in hopes of having the court review the
case. But such a request violates international convention and can't be honored,
In France, officials in the office of French Judge Renaud Van
Ruymbecke said this
week that the judge was ready to deploy a team of French investigators to El
Salvador to aid the Supreme Court in its review of the case.
Flores defended Perdomo's record as a military leader, saying
there ``was never
any credible evidence that he was responsible for the crime.''
But a 1989 report produced by the Salvadoran Truth Commission
Perdomo in the killings. It details a military offensive known as ``Operation
Lightning,'' in which Salvadoran soldiers followed up the bombing of the Tortugal
region by deploying specialized groups of troops, including the one led by
Perdomo, with orders to kill any wounded people they encountered.
Copyright 2000 Miami Herald