IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Publishes Reports No. 105/19 (Case 12,961 A—Bolívar Salgado Welban and Others); 101/19 (Case 12,961 C—Marcial Coello Medina and Others); and 104/19 (Case 12,961 D—Jorge Enrique Valladares Argueñal and Others), Honduras

August 14, 2019

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María Isabel Rivero
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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve and publish three friendly settlement agreements, concerning Case 12,961 A—Bolívar Salgado Welban and Others; Case 12,961 C—Marcial Coello Medina and Others; and Case 12,961 D—Jorge Enrique Valladares Argueñal and Others—all of Honduras. These three cases were respectively approved through friendly settlement reports 101, 105, and 104 of 2019. The IACHR congratulates petitioners and the Honduran State for their efforts to achieve these results.

These three cases refer to the Honduran State’s international responsibility for violations of the rights to judicial guarantees and to judicial protection, stemming from mass, unfair staff dismissals from the National Police—at various levels—though Decree 58–2001, which was published on issue 29,504 of the official journal La Gaceta on June 16, 2001. In March 2003, Honduras’ Supreme Court of Justice declared said decree unconstitutional and void, but the retroactive effects of that decision were allegedly not applied to the victims.

In November 2014, the parties started negotiating a friendly and held a working meetings facilitated by Commissioner James Cavallaro on September 5, 2017, during the IACHR’s 164th Period of Sessions. On December 5, 2018, the parties held another working meeting, facilitated by Commissioner Joel Hernández, during the IACHR’s 170th Period of Sessions. These negotiations led to the signing of five friendly settlement agreements, on December 20, 2018; on January 21, 2019; on April 3, 2019; and on June 12 and 28, 2019, respectively. The first three of these friendly settlement agreements have reached full compliance. The Commission continues to assist the parties to verify implementation of the two agreements that were signed in June 2019, in cases 12,961 E—Jorge Alberto Cerrato Rivera and Others—and 12,961 F—Miguel Angel Chinchilla Erazo and Others. In Case 12,961 G—Rufino Ferrufino Carcamo and Others—the Honduran State will continue to litigate with individuals who refused to adhere to signed friendly settlement agreements.

In the friendly settlement agreements signed by petitioners and the Honduran State in Cases 12,961 A, C, and D, the parties agreed a main one single measure—to provide financial reparation for each of the beneficiaries included in those agreements, in the form of payment of a specific sum based on the salary structure for police officers, administrative staff, and various ranks and hierarchical positions. In that sense, the State financially compensated 147 police officers who had been dismissed, and did so the following way:

· In Case 12,961 A—Bolívar Salgado Welban and Others—108 beneficiaries adhered to the friendly settlement agreement signed on December 20, 2018. The State submitted payment slips that proved that 320,000L (three hundred and twenty thousand Honduran lempiras) were paid out in favor of 89 beneficiaries, and 400,000L (four hundred thousand lempiras) were paid out in favor of 19 beneficiaries. According to the information submitted by the State, a total sum of 36,080,000L (thirty-six million and eighty thousand lempiras), equivalent to approximately 1,457,866 USD (one million four hundred and fifty-seven thousand eight hundred and sixty-six US dollars), was paid out as financial compensation in favor of 108 beneficiaries of this friendly settlement agreement.
· In Case 12,961 C—Marcial Coello Medina and Others—19 beneficiaries adhered to the friendly settlement agreement signed on January 21, 2019. The Commission verified that all compensation payments had been made, based on the payment slips that were provided, for a total of 5,840,000L (five million eight hundred and forty thousand lempiras), equivalent to approximately 239,253 USD (two hundred and thirty-nine thousand two hundred and fifty-three US dollars).
· In Case 12,961 D—Jorge Enrique Valladares Argueñal and Others—20 beneficiaries adhered to the friendly settlement agreement signed on April 3, 2019. The Commission verified that all compensation payments had been made, based on the payment slips that were provided, for a total of 10,660,000L (ten million six hundred and sixty thousand lempiras), equivalent to approximately 436,718 USD (four hundred and thirty-six thousand seven hundred and eighteen US dollars).

The Inter-American Commission closely monitored the implementation of the friendly settlements agreed in Cases 12,961 A, C, and D, and highly commends both parties for their efforts while negotiating these friendly settlements, which turned out to be compatible with the Convention’s aims and purposes. Further, the Commission congratulates both parties for their disposition and willingness to work toward solving Cases 12,961 A, C, and D without litigation. The Commission highlights payments made in full for all compensation packages, as well as the fact that full compliance was attained in all three agreements.

Finally, the Commission commends the Honduran State for its efforts to build a public policy concerning friendly settlements and alternative conflict-resolution. The Commission further invites the Honduran State to continue to use the friendly settlement mechanism, both in other cases linked to Decree 58–2001 and in other matters concerning Honduras that are being dealt with in the individual petition and case system.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 200/19