A human rights group on Friday officially filed criminal charges against 25 Salvadoran soldiers and an officer for the murder of four Dutch journalists during the civil war that tore the central American country in the 1980s.

The case was brought before the court of Dulce Nombre de Maria, about 75 kilometers north of the capital San Salvador.

According to


correspondent Marc Bessems, the question is whether the judiciary will handle the charges.

The human rights organization in question, Fundación Comunicándonos, has brought the case before the Public Prosecution Service.

In 1982, Koos Koster, Jan Kuiper, Joop Willemsen and Hans ter Laag made a report for the IKON about the violent civil war in El Salvador.

When they tried to get into guerrilla territory controlled by the left-wing insurgent movement FMLN, they were ambushed by the government army and shot dead.

Colonel Mario Adalberto Reyes Mena, commander of the Fourth Infantry Brigade, is accused of leading the ambush that led to the death of the Dutch.

The 25 soldiers of the Atonal battalion are described in the indictment as the suspected perpetrators of the crime.

The lawsuit was made possible by the recent repeal of a 1993 amnesty law that prevented prosecution of military personnel.

The Salvadoran army command and Reyes Mena, who no longer lives in the country, could not be reached for comment.

Hans ter Laag's sister, camerawoman Sonja ter Laag, also reported on Twitter on Thursday that the charges would be filed on Friday, citing a press release from Fundación Comunicándonos.

See also: Former broadcaster happy with prosecution in case of murder of IKON journalists