A Spanish judge has charged 20 Salvadoran soldiers with the killing of six Jesuit priests and two women during El Salvador’s civil war.

The priests, five of whom were Spanish, their housekeeper and her daughter were shot dead by soldiers in 1989.

The case was filed using Spain’s universal jurisdiction law, which holds that some crimes are so grave that they can be tried anywhere.

Among those indicted are two former defence ministers.

Col Rene Emilio Ponce was the head of the Salvadoran Armed Forces’ joint chiefs of staff at the time of the killings. He was later promoted to general and became the country’s defence minister.

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