ONUSAL begins work, First enlargement of mandate, ONUSAL structure, Adjustments to the timetable

End of the armed conflict, Second enlargement of mandate, Commission on the Truth, Discovery of FMLN arms caches, Completion of a process

Electoral Division, Secretary-General’s concerns, Human rights, Investigation of illegal groups, Run-up to the elections, Election day, First round results, Continuing concerns, Second round, Final results

New timetable for unresolved issues, Final months, Drawing down of ONUSAL, MINUSAL



The establishment of ONUSAL came about as a result of a complex negotiating process, initiated by the Government of El Salvador and the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) in September 1989 and conducted by the parties under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General. The objective of the negotiations was to achieve a series of political agreements aimed at resolving the prolonged armed conflict in El Salvador by political means as speedily as possible, promoting democratization in the country, guaranteeing unrestricted respect for human rights and reunifying Salvadorian society. It was envisaged that implementation of all agreements that might be signed between the two parties would be subject to verification by the United Nations.

The first substantive agreement was achieved on 26 July 1990, when the Government of El Salvador and
FMLN signed, at San Jos‚ Costa Rica, the Agreement on Human Rights. This Agreement provided for the establishment of a United Nations verification mission to monitor nationwide respect for and the guarantee of human rights and fundamental freedoms in El Salvador. According to the Agreement, ONUSAL was to take up its duties as of the cessation of the armed conflict. Shortly after signing the Agreement, however, the two parties independently requested that the Mission be set up even before a ceasefire, leading the Secretary-General to send a preliminary mission in March 1991 to help him determine the feasibility of acceding to this request.

On 20 May 1991, following the Secretary-General's recommendation, the Security Council, by its resolution 693 (1991), decided to establish ONUSAL, as an integrated peacekeeping operation, to monitor all agreements concluded between the Government of El Salvador and FMLN. The Mission's initial mandate was to verify the compliance by the parties with the San JosJ Agreement on Human Rights.

At that stage, the tasks of the Mission included actively monitoring the human rights situation in El Salvador; investigating specific cases of alleged human rights violations; promoting human rights in the country; making recommendations for the elimination of violations; and reporting on these matters to the Secretary-General and, through him, to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

ONUSAL begins work

ONUSAL was launched on 26 July 1991, at which time it absorbed a small preparatory office established in San Salvador in January of that year. In assuming its initial tasks, ONUSAL adopted a two-phase approach. During the preparatory phase, from July through September, ONUSAL set up its regional offices and laid the operational and conceptual bases for its future work. On 1 October 1991, the Mission entered its second phase of operations, in which it began to investigate cases and situations involving allegations of human rights violations and to follow them up systematically with the competent State organs and with FMLN. The purpose of these activities was to establish the veracity of such allegations and, where required, to follow the actions taken to identify and punish those responsible and to deter such violations in future. During this phase, ONUSAL significantly expanded its contacts with the parties, establishing flexible, stable coordination mechanisms with them. In addition, the Mission initiated both a human rights education programme and an information campaign on human rights.

First enlargement of mandate

Meanwhile, steady progress was made in the negotiations on other political agreements aimed at ending the armed conflict in El Salvador. On 31 December 1991, following more than two weeks of protracted negotiations at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the parties signed the Act of New York which, combined with the agreements previously signed at San Jose (26 July 1990), Mexico City (27 April 1991) and New York (25 September 1991), completed the negotiations on all substantive issues of the peace process. The parties also agreed that the final Peace Agreement would be signed at Mexico City on 16 January 1992.

The Peace Agreement included two sections in particular that required a substantial enlargement of ONUSAL's mandate, namely, those on the cessation of the armed conflict, according to which ONUSAL was to verify all aspects of the ceasefire and the separation of forces, and on the National Civil Police, which envisaged that ONUSAL should monitor the maintenance of public order during the transition period while the new National Civil Police was being set up.

On 14 January 1992, following the Secretary-General's recommendation, the Security Council, by its resolution 729 (1992), unanimously decided to enlarge ONUSAL's mandate and to increase its strength in order to fulfil verification requirements of the agreements. After signature of the "Peace Agreement" in Mexico City on 16 January 1992, the Secretary-General took immediate steps to enable the Mission to implement its expanded mandate.

ONUSAL structure

The Human Rights Division was established in ONUSAL's first phase of operation to verify the implementation of the Agreement on Human Rights. Following the enlargement of ONUSAL's mandate on 14 January 1992, two new Divisions - Military and Police - were established.

All ONUSAL Divisions were under the overall direction of the Chief of Mission, whose office, composed of a team of political affairs officers, was directly responsible for monitoring and promoting the implementation of all political aspects of the Peace Agreement.

Human Rights Division

The Human Rights Division, which was responsible for verifying the implementation of the Human Rights Agreement, comprised approximately 30 human rights observers and legal advisers. The Mission's Regional Coordinators also dealt with all the human rights aspects of the Mission's mandate, and reported directly to the Director of the Division in this respect. The active verification carried out by the Division was directed not only at an objective recording of facts, but also at the exercise of good offices aimed at assisting efforts by Salvadorians to find a remedy to violations. The Division also cooperated with Salvadorian institutions to strengthen their ability to work in promoting human rights. Of particular importance in this regard was the Division's cooperation with the National Counsel for the Defence of Human Rights and the Division's activities with human rights non-governmental organizations, with a view to contributing to the training of their personnel and enhancing their leadership capacity.

Military Division

When ONUSAL was established in July 1991, 15 military officers from Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain and Venezuela maintained liaison with the military chiefs of the two parties to the conflict. They also carried out, jointly with the United Nations Observer Mission in Central America (ONUCA), operations through which FMLN commanders in the field were escorted from their respective conflict zones to and from the negotiations in Mexico and New York.

ONUSAL’s Military Division was established on 20 January 1992, once the Peace Agreement was signed, with an authorized strength of 380 military observers. The Division was responsible for verifying the cessation of the armed conflict, dealing with the redeployment of the Armed Forces of El Salvador to the positions they would maintain in normal peace time, and the concentration of the FMLN forces in agreed "designated locations" in the areas of conflict. It monitored the troops of both parties in these locations, verified the inventories of weapons and personnel, authorized and accompanied the movements of both forces, and received and investigated complaints of violations. The Division coordinated the Plan for the Prevention of Accidents from Mines and helped control and coordinate the clearing of 425 minefields. The Division was reduced in number following the culmination, on 15 December 1992, of the ceasefire process. It was further reduced after 31 May 1993 and again in December 1994, given the advances in the peace process. In the final phase of ONUSAL, the number of military observers dropped to 3

Police Division

From ONUSAL’s inception, 16 police officials from Spain, France and Italy participate in the Mission’s work. One of the fundamental components of the Peace Agreements was the creation of a new Salvadorian police force, the National Civil Police (PNC), to replace the old public security structures. The Police Division of ONUSAL, composed mostly of specialists in the organization and operation of civilian police forces, monitored National Police activities during the transition from armed conflict to national reconciliation, thereby providing the Salvadorian people with a sense of security. The authorized strength of the Police Division was 631 although this number was never reached. The deployment of police observers throughout the territory of El Salvador began on 7 February 1992.

ONUSAL police observers also supervised and provided instruction to the Auxiliary Transitory Police (PAT), which operated between October 1992 and July 1993. PAT was responsible for maintaining public order and security in the former zones of conflict until their substitution by the new National Civil Police. It was made up of recruits from the National Public Security Academy, which began its activities on 1 September 1992. ONUSAL monitored the admission examinations to the Academy and recommended improvements where necessary. ONUSAL also provided support to the Academy to strengthen its training courses on human rights.

The Police Division assumed additional functions as territorial deployment of the National Civil Police began in March 1993. In response to a request submitted by the Government and in close coordination with the international technical team that provides advice to the Director-General of PNC, the Division carried out, between 1 April and 30 September 1993, an evaluation of the performance of the new police force in the field and provided it with technical advice and logistical support. On 27 July 1994, the National Civil Police and ONUSAL signed a framework agreement. The PNC also signed memorandums of understanding on technical cooperation with the Police Division and Human Rights Division of ONUSAL, respectively.

The Division assisted in efforts to locate illegal arms caches and supported the Human Rights Division. Police observers conducted special inquiries when required and ensured that appropriate security measures were provided for FMLN leaders, as established by the Accords. Support was also provided to the Electoral Division (see below).

Adjustments to the timetable

Under the timetable for the implementation of the Peace Agreements, the process of ending the armed conflict was to have been completed by 31 October 1992. By that time, the Government of El Salvador was to have completed several major commitments of a political and institutional nature and FMLN was to have demobilized all its combatants, destroyed their armament and reintegrated them into civilian life under programmes provided by the Government.

However, the tightness of the timetable, together with the complexity of the issues involved, led to major delays in completing certain commitments crucial for the overall implementation of the peace process. Consequently, adjustments had to be made, on 17 June and again on 19 August 1992, to those parts of the timetable that had been affected. In both these adjustments, the fulfilment of certain key commitments had to be postponed beyond 31 October 1992. Among them were the provision of agricultural land in the former zones of conflict, which was originally to have been completed by the end of July 1992, and the establishment of the National Public Security Academy, which was due on 1 May 1992.

On 30 September 1992, FMLN informed the United Nations that, in order to maintain the link in the original timetable between the key undertakings of the two parties, it would suspend demobilization of its forces until new dates had been set for the start of the transfer of land and other aspects of the Agreement that had fallen behind schedule. On 13 October, the Secretary-General presented a proposal regarding the solution of the land issue, which was accepted by FMLN and the Government on 15 and 16 October, respectively.

While an agreement on the land issue was reached, it became evident that the complete dismantling of the FMLN military structure by 31 October 1992 would be difficult to achieve. On 23 October, the Secretary-General proposed to the parties a new target date of 15 December 1992. FMLN accepted the proposal contingent upon its acceptance by the Government. The Government, however, reserved its position on some aspects of the proposal and suspended the restructuring, reduction and demobilization of its Armed Forces.

In these circumstances, the Secretary-General sent Mr. Marrack Goulding, then Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Mr. Alvaro de Soto, Senior Political Adviser to the Secretary-General, to San Salvador in late October 1992 to assist in overcoming difficulties. He was informed subsequently that these consultations with the parties led to arrangements for the formal ending of the armed conflict on 15 December. The arrangements also included agreement by President Alfredo Cristiani of El Salvador to complete implementation of the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Commission on Purification of the Armed Forces. The Commission, the establishment of which was provided for by the Peace Agreements, was set up on 19 May 1992, and submitted its report to President Cristiani and to the Secretary-General on 22 September. However, difficulties emerged, inter alia, regarding the timetable for the implementation of those recommendations.

ONUSAL closely followed all issues related to the creation of the new National Civil Police, the political participation of FMLN, the restoration of public administration in former zones of conflict, and reforms of the judicial and electoral systems. In addition, the Mission participated as an observer in the National Commission for the Consolidation of Peace (COPAZ), mandated to oversee the implementation of all political agreements reached by the parties.


End of the armed conflict

On 23 December 1992, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that the armed conflict between the Government of El Salvador and FMLN had been brought formally to an end on 15 December
in accordance with the agreed adjustments in the timetable for implementing the Peace Agreements. This event, which had been preceded the previous evening by the legalization of FMLN as a political party, was marked by a ceremony presided over by President Cristiani and attended by the Secretary-General and a number of international statesmen.

The Secretary-General described the event as "a defining moment in the history of El Salvador, whose long-suffering people can now look forward to a future in which political, economic and social arguments will be settled through the processes of democracy and not by war." At the same time, he stressed that it did not mark the end of the peace process in El Salvador. It was important, he stated, that both parties, and the international community, should persevere in their efforts to ensure implementation of the remaining provisions of the Peace Agreements.

Second enlargement of mandate

ONUSAL's mandate was enlarged a second time after the Government of El Salvador, on 8 January 1993, formally requested United Nations observation of the elections for the presidency, the Legislative Assembly, mayors and municipal councils, all set for March 1994. The Secretary-General informed the Security Council of the request and stated that, given the importance of these elections, it was his intention to recommend that the Council accept it.

A technical mission visited El Salvador from 18 to 28 April 1993 to define the terms of reference, concept of operations and financial implications of expanding the ONUSAL mandate. The Secretary-General summarized the main findings of the mission in his 21 May 1993 report to the Security Council and stated that the elections were likely to be the culminating point of the entire peace process. The Salvadorian Supreme Electoral Tribunal would receive full cooperation from ONUSAL should the Security Council approve his recommendation that the Mission be authorized to observe the electoral process.

The Security Council approved the Secretary-General's report by its resolution 832 (1993) of 27 May 1993 and decided to enlarge ONUSAL's mandate to include observation of the electoral process. It also requested the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to this effect. By the same resolution, the Council welcomed the continuing adaptation by the Secretary-General of the activities and strength of ONUSAL, taking into account progress made in implementing the peace process.

Commission on the Truth

In his report of 21 May 1993, the Secretary-General stated that the peace process in El Salvador had been successfully advanced to a stage where the priority assigned to military aspects could be shifted to other provisions of the agreements. Implementation of several key commitments had continued to progress. However, the deployment of PNC was behind schedule and difficulties continued to plague the transfer of land and other programmes essential to the reintegration of former combatants on both sides. The Military Division continued its verification of the destruction of FMLN weapons and the reduction of the Armed Forces of El Salvador. In the area of human rights, the National Counsel for the Defence of Human Rights had opened regional offices.

The Secretary-General also reported that he had received the report of the Commission on the Truth on 15 March 1993. The Commission - established in accordance with the Mexico Agreements of 27 April 1991 to investigate serious acts of violence that had occurred since 1980 and whose impact on society was deemed to require an urgent public knowledge of the truth - was composed of three international personalities appointed by the Secretary-General after consultation with the parties: Belisario Betancur, former President of Colombia; Reinaldo Figueredo Planchart, former Foreign Minister of Venezuela; and Thomas Buergenthal, former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and of the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights. The Commission was to transmit a final report with its conclusions and recommendations to the parties and to the Secretary-General, who would make it public and would take the decisions and initiatives that he deemed appropriate. The parties undertook to carry out the Commission's recommendations.

The Commission received over 22,000 complaints of Aserious acts of violence that had occurred between January 1980 and July 1991. These were classified as violence by agents of the State; massacres of peasants by the Armed Forces; assassinations by death squads; violence by FMLN; and assassinations of judges. The report of the Commission, entitled AFrom Madness to Hope: The 12-year war in El Salvador, was presented to the Secretary-General on 15 March 1993. Its recommendations were in four categories: (1) those arising from the results of its own investigations; (2) eradication of structural causes directly connected with the incidents investigated; (3) institutional reforms to prevent the repetition of such events; and (4) measures for national reconciliation. The Security Council welcomed the report and called on the parties to comply with its recommendations.

The Secretary-General reported, however, that the question of implementing those recommendations had given rise to controversy and remained outstanding. He instructed that a detailed analysis be made of the Commission's recommendations, examining whether any of them were outside the Commission's mandate or incompatible with the Constitution. The analysis should also identify what action was required by whom and in what time-frame. The Secretary-General conveyed the analysis to the Government, FMLN and COPAZ on 20 May 1993. He requested each to inform him by 20 June 1993 of the action it had taken or planned to take to implement the recommendations for which it was designated as an addressee and to promote the implementation of the other recommendations. The Secretary-General later reported that the Commission's recommendations had been the subject of active exchanges of views and communications between the United Nations Secretariat and the Government, FMLN and COPAZ. Although some action had been taken on a large number of the recommendations, no implementation had been reported with regard to others. At a high-level meeting on 8 September 1993, in which ONUSAL participated, the Government and FMLN agreed on the need to step up the implementation process with a view to Asweeping the table clear before the electoral campaign began.

Discovery of FMLN arms caches

The discovery in Nicaragua on 23 May 1993 of an illegal arms cache belonging to FMLN and the latter's subsequent admission that it had maintained large quantities of weapons both within and outside El Salvador marked a serious violation of the Peace Accords. The Secretary-General reported to the Council on 29 June that he had made continuous efforts directly and through ONUSAL to establish the facts, to ensure that all remaining clandestine caches were declared to it and their contents destroyed and to limit the repercussions on the peace process. He also reported that the right of FMLN to maintain its status as a political party in these circumstances had been questioned in some quarters.

On 12 July, the Security Council took note of the Secretary-General's report and noted FMLN's promise to disclose all its holdings of arms and munitions and subsequently to destroy them by 4 August 1993. The members of the Council stressed that the complete disarmament of FMLN, and the reintegration of its members into the civil, political and institutional life of the country, formed an essential part of the peace process. They shared the Secretary-General's assessment that it was an indication of the strength and irreversibility of the peace process that a serious incident of this nature had not been allowed to derail the implementation of the Peace Agreements. They agreed with his view that the cancellation or suspension of FMLN's status as a political party could deal a severe blow to the peace process.

On 13 July, the Council welcomed confirmation by the Secretary-General on 7 July that the Government had complied with the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Commission on the Purification of the Armed Forces.

Completion of a process

The Secretary-General submitted a further report to the Security Council on 30 August 1993, stating that the overall process of verification and destruction of FMLN weapons and equipment mandated by the Peace Agreements had been completed on 18 August 1993. The process had included two distinct phases. The first covered the period until the accidental explosion of the illegal arms cache in Managua, Nicaragua, on 23 May 1993. The second phase covered ONUSAL's operations with respect to arms discovered in the immediate aftermath of the Managua incident and those declared by FMLN in compliance with its renewed commitment to disclose all its remaining weapons. The Secretary-General also confirmed to the Council that the military structure of FMLN had been effectively dismantled and that its former combatants had been demobilized and reintegrated into the civil, institutional and political life of the country.

Following the report to the Council that the residual arms deposits declared by FMLN had been verified and destroyed by ONUSAL, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, in accordance with its request, had been duly informed. This had enabled FMLN to continue as a legally recognized political party. On 5 September 1993, FMLN held its national convention at which it decided to participate in the elections and chose its candidates.


Electoral Division

The Electoral Division of ONUSAL was established in September 1993 with a mandate to observe the electoral process before, during and after the elections under the following terms of reference: (a) to observe that measures and decisions made by all electoral authorities were impartial and consistent with the holding of free and fair elections; (b) to observe that appropriate steps were taken to ensure that eligible voters were included in the electoral rolls, thus enabling them to exercise their right to vote; (c) to observe that mechanisms were in place effectively to prevent multiple voting, given that a complete screening of the electoral rolls prior to the elections was not feasible; (d) to observe that freedom of expression, organization, movement and assembly were respected without restrictions; (e) to observe that potential voters had sufficient knowledge of the mechanisms for participating in the election; (f) to examine, analyse and assess criticisms made, objections raised and attempts undertaken to delegitimize the electoral process and, if required, to convey such information to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal; (g) to inform the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of complaints received regarding irregularities in electoral advertising or possible interference with the electoral process; when appropriate, to request information on corrective measures taken by the Tribunal; (h) to place observers at all polling sites on election day to verify that the right to vote was fully respected.

The Division functioned with 36 Professional staff deployed throughout the Mission's 6 regional offices. Despite the rather small number of staff, the component performed its observation duties on the basis of coordination with and close collaboration of the other components of ONUSAL.

Reporting to the Council on 20 October 1993, the Secretary-General stated that in the initial phase, the Division's main task had been to verify the registration of citizens on the electoral rolls and to observe the political activities of the period preceding the electoral campaign.

The Secretary-General then explained that the institutional framework of the electoral process had been established. On 20 March 1994, four elections would be held simultaneously, namely, elections for the President, with a second round within the ensuing 30 days if no candidate had obtained an absolute majority; parliamentary elections for the 84 seats in the National Assembly on the basis of proportional representation; municipal elections in 262 mayoral districts on the basis of a simple majority; and for the Central American Parliament, treated as a single national district, for which 20 deputies would be elected on the basis of proportional representation. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal had already set up offices in all departments and municipalities of the country. The electoral law called for a Board of Vigilance consisting of representatives of all the political parties with authority to supervise the work of all Supreme Electoral Tribunal offices. Twelve political parties would take part in the elections.

Secretary-General’s concerns

On 23 November 1993, the Secretary-General reported to the Council that, while on the whole the implementation of the Peace Accords had progressed well, it was a matter of serious concern that the electoral campaign should have begun when important elements in the Accords remained only partially implemented and when there were signs of the reappearance of some disturbing features of El Salvador's past.

Several key aspects of the Peace Accords continued to suffer serious delays, including the programme for the transfer of lands and the reintegration programmes for ex-combatants and war disabled. One year after the agreement on the land programme, and in spite of commitments by the two parties to accelerate the process, land titles had been issued to less than 10 per cent of the potential beneficiaries. The main problem still related to determining who should be entitled to land. The difficulties encountered and the slow rate of progress were also discouraging potential donors from making new commitments to the programme. The Secretary-General appealed to the two parties to exercise flexibility in the belief that the remaining technical, financial and legal difficulties could be solved if the political will to do so existed.

Serious difficulties affected the operation of the National Public Security Academy and the deployment of PNC. There were also problems over the lack of a plan for the phasing out the National Police and the establishment of functional divisions of PNC. While the Secretary-General acknowledged the complexity of establishing a completely new police force and transferring responsibility for public order to it in the aftermath of a long civil war, ONUSAL's reports created the impression that at some levels in the Government there might be a lack of commitment to the objectives enshrined in the Peace Accords. This was reflected in the denial to the PNC of the necessary logistical and technical resources, the introduction into that force of military personnel, the prolongation of the existence of the National Police and the denial to ONUSAL of the information it required for verification purposes. Concerns also persisted that the military intelligence establishment might still be involving itself with internal security matters.

As for the collection of weapons issued for the exclusive use of the personnel of the Armed Forces of El Salvador, implementation of that provision of the Peace Agreement was incomplete.

Human rights

With regard to human rights, the Secretary-General reported that important legal reforms were in progress, although many of them were only in the proposal stage and deficiencies in judicial practice persisted. The ONUSAL Human Rights Division continued its active verification and its programmes in support of the institutions responsible for the administration of justice and protection of human rights. Of special relevance were activities being carried out with the Supreme Court of Justice for the training of judges and magistrates and support to the Armed Forces of El Salvador in the development of a new democratic doctrine and the revision of curricula in the military academies relating to human rights and constitutional law. The Division cooperated with the Office of the National Counsel for the Defence of Human Rights, with which it signed an agreement aimed at the transfer to the Council's Office of experience and investigative technology upon ONUSAL's withdrawal from El Salvador. A permanent consultative mechanism existed at the highest level between the Division and the Counsel's office with a view to conducting joint verification activities in the near future.

The human rights situation had shown in some areas signs of improvement and in others an increase in serious violations. Problems relating to the right to life, individual liberty, personal integrity and due process had intensified. A number of murders and assaults in preceding weeks had raised fears about the possible resurgence of illegal armed groups with political objectives, including the "death squads". The emergence of criminal organizations of this type seriously affected the stability of the peace process by eroding confidence and security. The Human Rights Division of ONUSAL had alerted the Government to this danger and stressed the usefulness of establishing an autonomous mechanism for the investigation of these incidents. The subsequent killings of two senior FMLN leaders, a member of the governing party (ARENA) and two former municipal officers belonging to that party brought this issue into sharper focus.

In view of these killings and the ONUSAL position, the Government had created an Interinstitutional Commission to investigate this type of crime. With the agreement of FMLN, foreign experts were invited to participate in the work of a subgroup of the Commission to investigate the cases of the two senior FMLN leaders. Although this subgroup did not meet United Nations criteria for the investigation of summary executions, ONUSAL closely followed its work.

The Secretary-General recalled that his concerns had been the subject of an exchange of letters with the President of the Council on 3 and 5 November, respectively. It was particularly important that, as endorsed by the Council in its statement of 5 November, arrangements should be agreed for the Human Rights Division to work with the National Counsel for the Defence of Human Rights to help the Government carry out the recommendation of the Commission on the Truth that a thorough investigation of illegal armed groups be undertaken immediately.

With regard to the implementation of other recommendations of the Commission on the Truth and, at the same time, of those of the ONUSAL Human Rights Division, which had been fully endorsed by the Commission, a positive step had been taken when the Ministry of Justice had submitted to the Legislative Assembly a number of draft laws aimed at perfecting the guarantees for due process. Also included was the proposed repeal of a law which violated some of the fundamental rights enshrined in international instruments.

Other matters

The Secretary-General had asked his Special Representative to obtain the agreement of the Government and FMLN to a new timetable that would set the firmest possible dates for completing the implementation of the most important outstanding points. It was also important that, following the elections, the new Government should maintain its predecessor's commitment to implement the Accords in their entirety. In this regard, responding to an initiative by the Special Representative, six of the seven presidential candidates signed a statement in which they solemnly committed themselves to maintain the constructive evolution of the peace process and to implement all the commitments contained in the Peace Accords. The seventh candidate later explained that, although he agreed with its objectives, he had not signed the statement because he believed that it should contain more detailed commitments to specific measures.

The Secretary-General concluded his report with the recommendation to the Council that ONUSAL continue its activities for a further mandate period through 31 May 1994. After that time, it would probably be necessary to keep the Mission in existence at a reduced strength for a few months to verify the implementation of major points in the Peace Accords.

On 30 November, the Council extended the mandate of ONUSAL through 31 May 1994. It condemned recent acts of violence and urged the Government and FMLN to make determined efforts to prevent political violence and accelerate compliance with their commitments under the Peace Accords. It also requested the Secretary-General to report by 1 May so that it might review ONUSAL's size and scope for the period after 31 May.

Investigation of illegal groups

In a letter to the President of the Council on 11 December 1993, the Secretary-General recalled the Council's approval on 5 November of his ideas on how the United Nations should help in an investigation of illegal groups. From 8 to 15 November, the Secretary-General had dispatched a mission to El Salvador led by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Marrack Goulding. Extensive consultations had resulted in the establishment on 8 December of a Joint Group for the investigation of politically motivated illegal armed groups. The members of the Joint Group were two independent representatives of the Government of El Salvador nominated by the President, the National Counsel for the Defence of Human Rights and the Director of the ONUSAL Human Rights Division. The Council informed the Secretary-General that it supported the "Principles" as well as the Secretary-General's role in ensuring the effectiveness and credibility of the investigation.

The Joint Group presented its report on 28 July 1994. The report contained the Group's findings regarding politically-motivated violence in El Salvador and its recommendations for the strengthening of the investigative structure of PNC and for appropriate reforms within the judicial system.

Run-up to the elections

The electoral campaign opened officially on 20 November 1993 for the election of the President and on 20 January 1994 for the election of the Legislative Assembly. The campaign for the municipal elections was set to begin officially on 20 February 1994. During the period from November 1993 to January 1994, ONUSAL's Electoral Division focused on observing voter registration, monitoring the election campaign and providing assistance in the drawing up of an electoral roll.

The Division held joint meetings on a regular basis with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the Board of Vigilance, made up of representatives of all political parties, and the party campaign managers with a view to solving any possible problem arising during the electoral process. In addition, a system had been set up to receive and process allegations of violations of the Electoral Code. These allegations were then transmitted in writing to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which was asked to report on the follow-up action taken.

During the campaign period, ONUSAL teams made an average of 9 observation visits to each of the country's 262 towns, or more than 2,350 visits, and dispatched a total of 3,700 patrols. ONUSAL promoted discussions with a view to obtaining the signing of codes of conduct by political parties. Pacts of this kind were signed by all contending parties in each of the 14 departments of El Salvador as well as in a number of municipalities. On 10 March, at ONUSAL headquarters, all presidential candidates signed a declaration in which they declared their rejection of violence and their commitment to respect the results of the elections and to comply with the Peace Accords. The Electoral Division held periodic meetings with political parties at the central and local levels in order to discuss ongoing problems and viable solutions. At these meetings, technical proposals to improve the registration process were discussed and evaluated.

ONUSAL teams attended more than 800 events, mainly political meetings and demonstrations, and monitored political advertising through the mass media. Complaints of irregularities in electoral publicity and other aspects of the electoral process were transmitted in a timely manner by ONUSAL to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in accordance with the terms of reference of the Electoral Division.

Communication with the Tribunal included not only complaints presented to ONUSAL by claimants from different sources, mostly political parties, but also reports on problems identified in the field by ONUSAL observers. In some cases, problems were solved through action by the Tribunal. In this connection, ONUSAL made recommendations to the Tribunal as appropriate. Some 300 complaints were presented to ONUSAL during the campaign period dealing with arbitrary or illegitimate action by public authorities (23 per cent), acts of intimidation (21 per cent), destruction of propaganda materials (18 per cent), aggression (9 per cent), murder (7 per cent) and miscellaneous complaints (22 per cent).

Election day

Election day was 20 March 1994, with the participation of an estimated 1.5 million voters, or 55 per cent of persons on the electoral rolls. ONUSAL monitored proceedings from the time the polling stations were set up until the completion of the count by deploying nearly 900 observers of 56 nationalities who covered all polling centres with teams of between 2 and 30 observers. This massive presence of ONUSAL made it possible throughout election day to resolve countless practical problems of organization of the voting. The observers collected information on the events of election day on more than 7,000 forms (one for each of the 6,984 polling stations and the 355 polling centres) which were subsequently compiled by the Electoral Division and which constituted the basic documentary source for evaluating the conduct of the elections.

ONUSAL made a quick count based on a random sample of 291 polling stations, making it possible to have a reliable projection of the outcome of the presidential election two hours after the polls closed. The information was transmitted by the ONUSAL Chief of Mission to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. The difference between the quick count and the provisional results provided by the Tribunal was 0.5 per cent.

On 21 March, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General stated that, in the light of the information gathered by the observers on election day, and in view of the systematic observation of the electoral process over the preceding six months, ONUSAL believed that in general the elections had taken place under appropriate conditions in terms of freedom, competitiveness and security. Despite serious flaws regarding organization and transparency, the elections could be considered acceptable.

In his general assessment of election day, the Secretary-General noted that participation, while substantially higher than in earlier elections, had been lower than many had hoped. He attributed this, at least in part, to some structural problems of the system, including the complexities of Salvadorian registration and the limited number of polling centres. Pending announcement of the official results, the provisional count indicated that no candidate had obtained the required absolute majority in the presidential race. A second round would therefore be necessary, probably on 24 April. It would be some time before the results of the elections for the Legislative Assembly and the municipalities were known, although available data seemed to indicate that one political party, ARENA, would have a relative majority in the Assembly and that it had won most of the mayoral districts.

The Secretary-General stated that the general conduct of the electoral process and the campaign had many positive aspects: massive expansion of the electoral rolls; participation by the political parties throughout the process and at all levels of the electoral authorities; peaceful exercise of the right to organize, of the right to freedom of expression and of the right of assembly; publicity by the parties in all the media; conduct of campaign activities without violent incidents; and proper functioning on the part of the security forces and armed forces.

He also pointed out that no party had rejected the results of the presidential election, and ONUSAL observers had not recorded any fraudulent acts that could have had a significant impact on the outcome. In general, the Assembly and municipal elections had been conducted under the same conditions as the presidential election. However, the smaller size of constituencies at this electoral level, which meant that problems affecting a small number of votes could have a significant impact on the outcome, had given rise to a number of challenges. Such challenges were being dealt with in the manner laid down by the legislation, and ONUSAL would continue to observe how cases evolved until definitive solutions were found.

First round results

The official results of the first round of the presidential election, based on a count by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, were as follows: ARENA: 49.03 per cent; Coalition Convergencia Demócratica (CD)-FMLN-Movimiento Nacional Revolucionaria (MNR): 24.9 per cent; Partido Demócrata Cristiano (PDC): 17.87 per cent; Partido Conciliación Nacional (PCN): 5.39 per cent; Partido Movimiento de Unidad (PMU): 2.41 per cent; Movimiento de Solidaridad Nacional (MSN): 1.06 per cent; and Movimiento Auténtico Cristiano (MAC): 0.83 per cent. The 84 seats of the Legislative Assembly went to: ARENA: 39; FMLN: 21; PDC: 18; PCN: 4; CD: 1; PMU: 1. The 262 mayoralties went to: ARENA: 206; PDC: 29; FMLN: 16; PCN: 10; MAC: 1. ONUSAL had assigned a team of 40 specialized observers to monitor the official count of the votes in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

Continuing concerns

Meanwhile, on 28 March 1994, the Secretary-General addressed a letter to the President of the Security Council in which he raised continuing concerns regarding the implementation of certain aspects of the original Peace Accords. It was essential to have an updated agreement between the parties on a timetable for the implementation of pending matters so that the process should suffer no further delays during the transition to the new Government.

According to the Secretary-General, little progress had been achieved in certain aspects related to public security. PNC was still being denied resources, there was no clear accounting of the transfer to PNC of military personnel, and there seemed to be a desire to de-link the deployment of PNC from the phasing out of the National Police. ONUSAL was being hindered from properly carrying out its verification responsibilities in this regard.

Notwithstanding progress in the reintegration of FMLN into the political life of El Salvador, much remained to be done in other critical areas. The transfer of land, through which most former combatants and supporters of FMLN were to be reintegrated was the most important of these; the process was well short of the agreed goal. Also delayed was the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on the Truth that required constitutional amendments, particularly with regard to the decentralization of the powers and competence of the Supreme Court. The Secretary-General stated that urgent action to implement those amendments was needed.

On 7 April, responding to the Secretary-General's report of 31 March and his letter of 28 March in a presidential statement, the Council congratulated the people of El Salvador on the historic elections and called for the correction of shortcomings reported in the first round of voting. It also called for the full implementation of the Peace Accords and shared the concerns expressed by the Secretary-General in his letter.

Second round

Since no candidate in the presidential election obtained the required absolute majority, a second round of voting was scheduled for 24 April 1994 between the two candidates with the highest number of votes, namely, Mr. Armando Calderón Sol of ARENA and Mr. Rubén Zamora of the CD-FMLN-MNR coalition. Stating that the anomalies recorded in the first round should be eliminated in the second, the Secretary-General reported that ONUSAL had expressed its views to the Tribunal regarding measures to deal with the shortcomings. Recommendations related to discrepancies in the electoral rolls; reform of the Electoral Code; the number of polling centres; the training of electoral personnel; sufficient public transport; illegal electoral publicity; and a public information campaign. In monitoring the implementation of these measures, the Electoral Division posted observers in five areas of work: registration, computation, printing, electoral project unit and training. In addition, ONUSAL observers were present at campaign activities during the two-week campaign preceding the election. Up to 18 April, the campaign was conducted in a tense atmosphere. After that date, however, the tone of the campaign improved, following signature by the two presidential candidates of a joint statement expressing their commitment to the future governance of El Salvador, their determination to conduct a decent campaign and their pledge to make every effort during the following two years to overhaul the electoral system.

On voting day, 24 April, ONUSAL deployed 900 observers in all the voting centres in the country, from the opening of the polling stations until completion of the first count of the votes from the ballot boxes. On 25 April, ONUSAL issued a statement in which it reported that in general, the election had proceeded without serious incidents affecting public order or ballot-tampering. There were also signs of a clear improvement in the conditions in which the election was held, such as the management of the voting centres, the deployment of guides to direct voters to their voting places, identification on the electoral register, free public transport and early information on the night of 24 April concerning the election results. All those factors, the statement went on, made it possible to have a better-organized election day thanks to the joint efforts of the two presidential candidates, the political institutions which nominated them, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the donor countries.

At the same time, ONUSAL registered a number of irregularities. Some polling stations were not opened or closed on time and both parties complained of illegal campaigning inside the voting centres. It was also reported that a considerable number of citizens had been unable to cast their ballots despite having voting cards.

The preliminary vote count on 24 April showed Mr. Calderón Sol as apparent President-elect. His opponent, Mr. Rubén Zamora, acknowledged the victory of his adversary. In his public statement on the night of 24 April, the President-elect reaffirmed his commitment to the process of peace and reconciliation in El Salvador.

Final results

The results of the second round of the presidential elections, according to the final count by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, were announced on 27 April 1994. They were as follows: ARENA C 818,264 votes (68.35 per cent); Coalition C 378,980 votes (31.65 per cent); making a total of 1,197,244 valid votes. The total number of votes cast was 1,246,220, of which 3,467 were challenged, 40,048 were invalid and 5,461 were abstentions. ONUSAL's quick count, available two hours after the polls had closed on 24 April, was based on a sample of 294 polling stations. It had indicated 67.88 per cent for ARENA and 32.12 per cent for the Coalition.


New timetable for unresolved issues

According to the agreed timetable, almost all aspects of the Peace Accords were to have been implemented before the new Government assumed office on 1 June 1994. The main exceptions were the deployment of PNC and the demobilization of the National Police, which were to be completed on 28 July and 31 October 1994 respectively. As for the land transfer programme, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council on 11 May 1994 that it would have to be extended into 1995.

While a vestigial presence of ONUSAL had been expected for the period after 1 June 1994, serious shortcomings in the implementation of the Accords meant that on 1 June 1994 much would remain to be done, in spite of all the efforts to make up for lost time. The Secretary-General, believing that the United Nations had a continuing responsibility to honour its undertaking to verify compliance with the Peace Accords, held the view that the mandate of ONUSAL should be extended for a further six months, that is, until 30 November 1994. During this time, the Secretary-General would continue to reduce the size of ONUSAL as rapidly as implementation of the outstanding agreements permitted. He appealed to the Government of El Salvador, both the outgoing and incoming administrations, and to all others concerned, to make the effort necessary to ensure that their remaining commitments were implemented with the least possible delay.

On 24 May, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council that on 19 May the two Salvadorian parties had reached agreement on a new ATimetable for the implementation of the most important outstanding agreements. He also informed the Council that the President-elect of El Salvador, Mr. Calderón Sol, had reiterated to the Secretary-General his personal commitment to the terms of the Peace Accords and his desire to see those Accords implemented without delay.

Final months

The Security Council extended the mandate of ONUSAL on two further occasions. Under the terms recommended by the Secretary-General in his report of 11 May 1994,55 the Council, by its resolution 920 (1994) of 26 May, extended the mandate until 30 November. Then, under the terms of the Secretary-General's report of 31 October 1994, the Council extended the mandate for one final period until 30 April 1995 by its resolution 961 (1994) of 23 November 1994.

During the last phases of its activity, ONUSAL emphasized institution-building and strengthening, and the Secretary-General used maximum suasion, both directly and through his Special Representative, to remind the parties of the international community's expectation that each would honour its commitments in full and promptly. In the period following the inauguration of President Calderón Sol on 1 June 1994, progress achieved in implementing the 19 May timetable, in particular those areas most relevant to the strengthening and modernization of democratic institutions, reflected the new Government's decision to establish firmly the rule of law in El Salvador, the Secretary-General reported on 26 August. The high-level governmental team responsible for follow-up activities at the political level had been maintained, the fortnightly tripartite meetings envisaged by the 19 May 1994 agreement were held regularly, and joint working groups on various outstanding issues continued to function. The Government had expressed its determination to take decisive action against all those involved in criminal activities within the public security apparatus. COPAZ and several of its subcommissions continued to function, and the election by consensus of the new Supreme Court of Justice was a laudable decision. The new Vice-Minister for Public Security and the new Director-General of PNC were appointed.

The Secretary-General also reported that, beginning on 1 May 1994, the Salvadorian Legislative Assembly had functioned with the participation of FMLN as the country's second political force, as well as with that of other political parties. In addition, the Government and FMLN signed a joint declaration on 4 October 1994 reconfirming their commitment to complete implementation of the Peace Accords.

By the time of his report of 24 March 1995, the Secretary-General was able to inform the Security Council that, following the demobilization of the National Police in December 1994, PNC had taken over practically all security functions from the former security forces. PNC then had a strength of slightly more than 7,000 agents and approximately 220 middle- and high-level officers, all of whom were graduates of the National Public Security Academy. Although a new Supreme Court made up of eminent professionals had been set up in 1994, reforms to ensure that its decisions were effectively implemented remained pending, included the adoption of a new criminal code and criminal procedures code, the decentralization of functions then carried out by the Supreme Court, the elimination of extrajudicial confessions, and the facilitation of habeas corpus proceedings. The National Counsel for the Defence of Human Rights had established offices in all departments but required further strengthening. Helped by political stability, the Salvadorian economy also continued to recover.

Although the conditions necessary to ensure the full and final implementation of the Peace Accords seemed to be in place, there continued to be a number of outstanding problems. There were indications of intelligence activity carried out by certain members of the armed forces contrary to their Constitutional mandate, and there were delays in the programme to transfer land to former combatants of the Armed Forces and of FMLN and to landholders. By the end of August 1994, the total number of beneficiaries had not yet been determined, and the number of persons who had received title to the land was still below the target for the end of 1993 which both parties had accepted as feasible. The virtual paralysis of the programme had given rise to tension. Although there was marked progress at the end of 1994, the programme again came to a halt in January 1995 only to be followed by a slow improvement. By March 1995, only 45 per cent of the potential beneficiaries had received title.

With regard to the transition to PNC, the process had taken longer and been more difficult that originally conceived. Resistance and lack of cooperation from certain sectors had been evident, and there had been reluctance to dismantle the old military command structure and the National Police. The decision in March 1994 to use military patrols to deter crime in rural areas was not in compliance with the constitutional procedures. A law was necessary to specify the exceptional circumstances under which the Armed Forces could be used for public security. Furthermore, legal voids still affected the functioning of PNC, and the machinery to regulate it required strengthening.

Most officials still felt free to ignore the non-binding recommendations of the National Counsel for the Defence of Human Rights, which had not yet taken real advantage of its power to seek judicial remedies. In regard to military weapons in the hands of civilians or State institutions, ONUSAL closely monitored the adoption and implementation of legislative and administrative measures taken to collect those weapons. Nevertheless, while a limited number of registered arms still needed to be collected, the major problem lay with the unknown but large number of weapons of which there was no record. Voluntary surrender had been negligible.

Thus, at the close of the Mission, various important obligations were pending. The strengthening of PNC, and particularly of its investigative capacity and internal disciplinary mechanisms, was essential to provide protection from crime and to punish it in an effective manner, while at the same time ensuring that public security fell within civilian competence, as provided in the agreements. The continued purification and modernization of the judiciary was crucial to the protection of the rule of law and the eradication of impunity. The still pending adoption and ratification of international human rights instruments, as recommended by the Commission on the Truth, would extend the benefits of protection mechanisms in the event of possible future abuses. Efforts to ensure that the pending reforms of electoral legislation were approved would be needed if they were to be in place before new elections. The land programme continued to be a source of serious concern, as well as agreement on modalities for the transfer of human settlements. In light of those aspects of the Peace Agreements still pending, the Secretary-General recommended that COPAZ, as the national institution for verifying implementation of the Accords, should remain in existence.

Drawing down of ONUSAL

In his report of 26 August 1994, the Secretary-General stated that he had already reduced the military component of the Mission to 12 military observers and 7 medical personnel from a total of 30 on 1 May 1994. By 1 October, he expected further reductions. The Secretary-General intended to reduce the size of the Police Division to 145 by 1 October, excluding 15 police instructors posted to the National Police Academy. He also intended to begin the progressive phasing out of the substantive civilian staff of ONUSAL. By 30 November 1994, ONUSAL had a strength of 3 military observers and 31 police observers.

Reporting to the Security Council on 24 March 1995, the Secretary-General said that preparations to dismantle ONUSAL were well under way. The transfer of vehicles, equipment, furniture and supplies to other Missions and United Nations organizations had commenced in June 1994. By February 1995, nearly all assets not directly required at that time had been disposed of by transfer or commercial sale. After the official closure of ONUSAL at the end of April 1995, a small team of civilian personnel would remain to deal with outstanding claims and to handle the final disposal of property and equipment.


In his report to the Security Council of 31 October 1994, the Secretary-General had noted the widely held view that the termination of ONUSAL in April 1995 should not mark the end of United Nations efforts to consolidate peace in El Salvador. He was then invited by the Council to prepare, in consultation with competent specialized agencies, regional organizations and Members States, modalities for further assistance to El Salvador for the period after 30 April 1995.

When he reported on 24 March 1995, the Secretary-General recalled that a number of commitments under the Peace Accords remained unfulfilled. Those commitments pertained to aspects of such importance that they Awill call into question the irreversibility of the peace process as a whole as long as they are unfulfilled. Some of the issues were Apotentially explosive and need to be defused urgently.

On the basis of these problems, he said, a strong case could have been made for maintaining ONUSAL after 30 April 1995 and the Secretary-General had given serious consideration to that possibility. He had refrained from recommending it Ain the light of clear indications from members of the Council that the time had come to bring ONUSAL to a close. It was against that background that he had informed62 the Security Council on 6 February 1995 that Afollowing the withdrawal of ONUSAL he proposed to leave behind a small team that would conduct the remaining verification and good offices responsibilities of the United Nations. The Council welcomed63 the Secretary-General's proposal.

The United Nations Mission in El Salvador (MINUSAL) began its work on 1 May 1995, led by the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Mr. Enrique ter Horst. In order to support the Mission's activities, the Secretary-General established the Trust Fund for MINUSAL.


The Secretary-General appraised the United Nations undertaking in El Salvador as innovative in a variety of ways. The Organization had played a central role in the negotiation of the Peace Accords from start to finish and had overseen a multidimensional peacekeeping and peace-building operation in whose design it had played a key part. Although he reported that a number of commitments remained unfulfilled before the Salvadorian peace process could be pronounced a success, there was, nevertheless, Amuch reason for satisfaction at what has been accomplished by the Salvadorians during this time. ONUSAL can take credit for having helped the Salvadorians to take giant strides away from a violent and closed society towards a democratic order where institutions for the protection of human rights and free discourse are being consolidated. At the end of its mandate, the United Nations would be closing down Aa paradigmatic, multifunctional peacekeeping operation 45 months after the opening of the pioneering human rights-monitoring mission that was its initial stage and 39 months after the formal ceasefire that accompanied full deployment.

In its resolution 991 (1995) of 28 April 1995, the Security Council paid tribute to the accomplishments of ONUSAL, under the authority of the Secretary-General and his Special Representatives, and recognized with satisfaction that El Salvador had evolved from a country riven by conflict into a democratic and peaceful nation.


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