Romero was assassinated by a death squad while saying mass in San Salvador. An outspoken critic of the military junta, his death is viewed as one of the catalysts of the war, which left more than 70,000 people dead. In 2004, a federal court in the US held Alvaro Saravia liable [CJA case backgrounder] for Romero's murder and ordered him to pay $10 million in damages to the archbishop's family. While other suits have been brought [JURIST report] against former Salvadoran state agents in US courts, human rights groups contend that the amnesty laws [ISP report] have undermined the rule of law and led to impunity in El Salvador. Other Latin American countries have recently overturned similar amnesty laws including Uruguay and Argentina [JURIST reports].
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