In the Salvadoran case, the commission reported to ONUSAL and was not supplemented by any international or domestic court that could translate its results into punitive measures.5 Given the Salvadoran government's later implication in upwards of 95 percent of extra-judicial killings, a specific requirement to address commission findings in the nation's own judicial system would likely have doomed the peace accords.6 Nevertheless, the commission's mandate stipulated that all major human rights violations be investigated. Any real impact the truth commission report could have had was superseded only days after its release when the legislature approved a sweeping amnesty law.8 That legislature was controlled by the Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA), a right-wing party in power since 1989 whose founder, Roberto D'Aubisson, had been credibly linked to death squads.9 According to ONUSAL, the amnesty effectively preempted any practical attempt to identify and prosecute individuals associated with extra-judicial killings during the war.\n In El Salvador, ONUSAL was mandated only to oversee, not enforce, reforms-it was basically an impotent spectator whose recommendations were opposed by entrenched parties.
WHEN THE BRUTAL 12-year civil war between the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the El Salvador Armed Forces (ESAF) finally ended in 1992, it had claimed more than 75,000 mostly innocent civilian lives and left another 8,000 missing.1 In its later years, the fighting had bogged down. Neither the FMLN nor the ESAF could muster enough offensive strength to win decisively, so battles increasingly involved irregulars who demonstrated little regard for civilians. Eventually, a UNsponsored negotiated peace process paved the way for amnesty, reintegration, and reconciliation (AR2).At times the AR2 approach worked well and showed progress, but at other times it fell far short of potential-in part due to a poorly applied amnesty program. Ultimately, however, even though the process failed to mend the rift completely between the warring factions, an effective reintegration plan did achieve a measure of reconciliation between the two sides. This article examines the implementation of AR2 in El Salvador as a study of conflict resolution.Interdependent societal dimensions discussed in previous Military Review articles about AR2 can serve as analytical reference points to ...