Military and police officers to face trial for 1985 ‘crimes against humanity;’ accused of torture, sexual violence

Mar 22, 2014

Prosecutors are preparing their case against eight former police and military officials on charges of kidnap, torture and sexual violence against three Ecuadorians considered “enemies of the government” of former President León Febres-Cordero. Ecuador’s National Court of Justice ruled Friday that the trial can procede but did not set a date.
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The government charges that the police and military officers kidnapped Susana Cajas, Luis Vaca and Javier Jarrín  in Esmeraldas in 1985 during a military patrol. The three were taken back to Quito where the torture and sexual abuse allegedly occurred.

Among the eight charged is former police general commander Edgar Vega, who served during the Febres-Cordero presidential administration and afterward.

In a pre-triral hearing, Judge Lucy Blacio said that the defendants exercised leadership positions under the right-wing Febres-Cordero, who maintained a policy of systematic persecution of opposition groups it considered subversive. The judge said the actions of police and military qualify as “crimes against humanity” as described by the International Criminal Court.

According to Ecuador Attorney General Galo Chiriboga, police and military officials in the Febres-Cordero administration maintained a policy to destroy groups considered “enemies,” which involved torture and false imprisonment. “It was a dark time in Ecuador’s history,” he said.

Photo caption: Ecuador Attorney General Galo Chiriboga