Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 124 | Noviembre 1991


El Salvador

Salvadoran Peace Accords

Envío team

On September 25, the government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) signed a major agreement in New York that could result in a negotiated peace in El Salvador. What is being called the "New York Accord" has finally outlined concrete steps to demilitarize the country. The accord also concretely details the formation of a Peace Commission (COPAZ) that, fundamentally, will incorporate civil society, through political parties, into the negotiations that could culminate in the end of armed confrontation.

A veritable "revolution" of Salvadoran society has now been agreed to, at least on paper. But to go from paper to deeds and daily life is not a simple challenge, particularly with regard to purifying, transforming and putting an end to the impunity of the Salvadoran armed forces.

The most recent public viewing of the Jesuit case demonstrates how arduous it will be to demilitarize the country, submit the armed forces to civilian control and, in the final analysis, build toward a peace based on justice and truth. The final decision on the nine military men accused of murdering the Jesuits was to absolve seven of them, even though they were proven material authors of the crime, and to find two officers guilty, neither of whom appear to have been the intellectual authors.

The New York Accord is neither the first step nor the last, but it is unquestionably a major one. It is an implicit expression of the unchanging military stalemate that reigns after 10 years of war. It is also an expression of the objectives the FMLN has always upheld in its just struggle.

The Government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (hereafter "the Parties") are convinced of the need to give the negotiation process currently underway with the active participation of the United Nations Secretary General a final thrust so that, in the near future, the whole of the political accords required to definitively terminate the armed conflict our country is suffering can be reached.

Conscious that the creation of a series of conditions and guarantees to assure full compliance with these political accords by both parties is indispensable to achieving the above objective, they have reached the following political accord:

I. National Commission for the Consolidation of Peace

1. Compliance with all the political accords reached by the Parties shall come under the supervision of the National Commission for the Consolidation of Peace (COPAZ). COPAZ is a mechanism of control and participation by civil society in the process of change resulting from the negotiations, with regard to both the Armed Forces in particular and the other agenda items.

2. Composition

a) COPAZ shall be made up of two representatives from the government, including one member of the Armed Forces, two from the FMLN and one from each of the parties or coalitions represented in the Legislative Assembly.

b) The Archbishop of San Salvador and a delegate of ONUSAL [the United Nations commission in El Salvador] shall have access to its workings and deliberations as observers.

3. Decisions

COPAZ shall adopt its decisions by majority.

4. Attributions

a) COPAZ shall not have executive faculties in the implementation of the peace accords, since that corresponds to the Parties, by way of their internal mechanisms.

b) The Parties shall be required to consult with COPAZ before adopting decisions or measures regarding relevant aspects of the peace accords. COPAZ may also consult with the two Parties, at the highest level, at any time it deems advisable. In case of discrepancy over whether certain material should be submitted to COPAZ, the latter shall decide.

c) Any time at least three of its members so request, COPAZ shall be immediately convened and its opinion heard.

d) COPAZ shall have direct access to the President of the Republic and shall meet with him at any time the Commission or the President deems advisable.

e) COPAZ shall have access to and may inspect any activity or locale linked to the implementation of the peace accords.

f) COPAZ shall have the faculty to emit any kind of conclusions and resolutions relative to the implementation of the peace accords and to make them public; and the Parties shall commit themselves to comply with them.

g) COPAZ shall have the faculty to prepare the legislative bills necessary to develop the accords reached, regarding both the issue of the Armed Forces and any other agenda items.

h) COPAZ shall have the faculty to supervise the implementation of the accords reached by the Parties, both regarding the Armed Forces issue and other agenda items.

i) COPAZ shall be responsible for preparing the legislative bills necessary for procuring the aid corresponding to all war wounded and families of fallen combatants, of both Parties, their incorporation into the social security system of the State or adequate economic compensation, in accord with the law.

j) With regard to fulfillment of its functions, COPAZ shall have the faculty to recur to pertinent United Nations bodies through the Secretary General.

k) COPAZ shall have the full faculty to organize its work as it deems most suitable and to name groups or sub-commissions that it considers useful for the fulfillment of its mission. For this purpose, it shall have its own budget.

5. Form

In addition to being the product of this political accord, COPAZ shall have legal sanction.

6. Duration

a) Between the time of this accord and the accord for the cessation of armed confrontation, two representatives from the Government, including one member of the Armed Forces, two from the FMLN and one from each of the parties or coalitions represented in the Legislative Assembly shall work according to a special temporary operating system defined by them. The preparation of the bill that formalizes COPAZ shall be included within this work.

b) The bill to formalize COPAZ shall be presented to the Legislative Assembly within eight days of the signing of the cessation of armed confrontation. The formal installation of COPAZ shall take place within eight days following the promulgation of said law.

c) COPAZ shall be dissolved once the execution of the peace accords is completed, which it shall determine through an accord that receives the favorable vote of at least two-thirds of its members.

7. International Guarantees

a) The creation of COPAZ shall be expressly supported in the resolution adopted by the Security Council on the peace accords.

b) The Secretary General shall keep the Security Council informed about the peace accords.

c) COPAZ shall be backed by governments that effectively support the guarantee required by the accords as well as its tasks. In particular, the cooperation of these governments shall be conceived and presented in such a way that it contributes to the aims of the peace accords and to their full compliance.

II. Purification

A process of purifying the Armed Forces is agreed to, based on the evaluation of all its members by an ad hoc Commission.

a) Participation of the Armed Forces shall be through two of its members, who shall only have access to its deliberations.

b) A reduction plan (method, timetable, budget, etc.) shall be prepared.

III. Reduction of the armed forces

1. The criteria for the reduction of the Armed Forces shall be agreed to between the Parties.

2. The criteria must, among other things, determine the guidelines that provide the basis on which:

a) To determine the size to which the Armed Forces shall be reduced in peacetime.

b) To prepare the reduction plan (method, calendar, budget, etc.).

IV. Doctrine of the armed forces

An accord shall be reached for the redefinition of the Armed Forces based on the conception resulting from the accords on this subject and on the constitutional reform. This is with the understanding that the Armed Forces have as their mission the defense of state sovereignty and territorial integrity and that this doctrine must start from the principle according to which the actions and regulations of the Armed Forces are framed within the principles that emanate from the Rule of Law, the primacy of human dignity and respect for human rights, defense of and respect for the sovereignty of the Salvadoran people, the conception of the Armed Forces as an institution at the service of the Nation, outside of any political or ideological consideration, social position or any other discrimination, and of subordination of the armed institution to constitutional authorities.

V. Education system for the armed forces

The accord reached in Mexico on April 27, 1991, in which the professional preparation of the members of the Armed Forces shall emphasize the preeminence of human dignity and democratic values, respect for human rights and the submission of said corps to constitutional authorities, shall be put into effect to its full extent.

The accords reached on this topic shall encompass the norms that guarantee the previous aspects as well as the systems of admission and education.

VI. National Civil Police

The agenda for negotiations regarding the National Civil Police (PNC), approved in the Mexico accords and envisaged in the constitutional reform, shall include the following topics:

a) Creation of the PNC (doctrines; legal regulations).

b) Dissolution of the National Guard and the Treasury Police as well as CUSEP.

c) Personnel of the PNC.

1) Evaluation of National Police personnel.

2) Incorporation of new personnel. Pluralistic and nondiscriminatory selection system and preparation.

3) Profiles and training.

4) International advising and support, coordinated by the United Nations. The organization of the PNC, the National Academy of Public Security and the selection of its personnel shall be the object of close international cooperation and supervision.

5) Transitional system.

VII. Economic and social issues

1. Lands that exceed the constitutional limit of 245 hectares, as well as those that are state property and not currently forest reserves in accord with the law, shall be destined to satisfy the need for land of peasants and small farmers who lack it. To this end, the government shall also endeavor to acquire the lands offered for sale to the state.

2. The current state of land tenure shall be respected within the conflictive zones, while a satisfactory legal solution shall be given to the definitive tenure structure. The forms and timetables for executing this accord shall be agreed upon within the compressed negotiation.

3. The policies for the provision of credits to the agricultural sector shall be reviewed.

4. As part of economic and social issues, the Parties shall forward to the compressed negotiation their considerations on the following subjects:

a) Measures necessary to alleviate the social cost of the structural adjustment programs.

b) Suitable methods for direct foreign cooperation aimed at promoting community assistance and development projects.

c) Creation of a forum for economic and social concertation, with the participation of the government, labor and business sectors, the aim of which shall be to continue resolving economic and social problems. The forum shall be open to participation by other social and political sectors as observers under the conditions that the forum itself shall determine.

VIII. Remainder of the agenda

1. Other aspects still pending on the subject of "Armed Forces" relate to the guarantee of compliance with the accords. No direct mention of them is made because they are subject to agreement in the compressed negotiation. In any case, compliance with and implementation of them shall be submitted to the National Commission for the Consolidation of Peace.

2. On this same date, the Parties have agreed to an agenda for the compressed negotiation of pending items that must be considered as part of this accord. Those agenda items that have, in turn, been topics of accords of principle in the current accord shall be subject to consideration and negotiation in conformity with the criteria and principles defined in it.

New York, September 25, 1991.

Representing the Government of El Salvador:
Dr. Oscar Santamaría
Colonel Mauricio Ernesto Vargas
Dr. David Escobar Galindo

Representing the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front:
Comandante Schafik Handal
Comandante Francisco Jovel
Comandante Salvador Sánchez Cerén
Comandante Eduardo Sancho
Comandante Joaquín Villalobos

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