IACHR Takes Part in Event Where the State of Colombia Acknowledges Its Responsibility for Case 13,171—Luis Argemiro Gómez Atehortua

February 26, 2021

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) took part in an event where the National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State of Colombia acknowledged its responsibility for the death of Luis Argemiro Gómez Atehortua, in the context of reparation measures included in the friendly settlement agreement signed on December 2, 2020 by the parties in Case 13,171.

On February 25, 2021, this event was broadcast on the YouTube channel of the National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State of Colombia. The State apologized for the death of Luis Argemiro Gómez Atehortua while he was in State custody, in events that took place on February 4–5, 1999 in Medellín, and for failing to investigate these events and punish the people responsible for them.

The event was attended by several members of the victim's family, including his wife, Luz Estela Posada Bagna, and his children, Cindy Johanna Gómez Posada and Dany Alexander Gómez Posada. His representative, Roberto Fernando Paz Salas (a member of the organization Indemnizaciones Paz), and the head of International Defense at the National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State of Colombia, Ana Maria Ordoñez, were also in attendance. Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, IACHR Rapporteur for Colombia, and Marisol Blanchard, Assistant Executive Secretary for the IACHR's Petition and Case Section, also attended this crucial event to support the parties.

A video in the memory of Luis Argemiro Gómez Atehortua was played during the event, showing photos and major family events from his youth to his days as an adult and a father. "There is no doubt that this type of event must provide redress, since we cannot make progress to attain reconciliation without the voices of victims and of the people who fight precisely to be heard by the State," said Commissioner Antonia Urrejola.

The Commission commends the Colombian State for its good disposition to implement this friendly settlement agreement. The IACHR urges the State to keep implementing measures linked to disseminating this friendly settlement agreement, assessing the feasibility of reviewing legal proceedings to establish the events that gave rise to this case, and providing financial compensation to the victim's relatives.

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

No. 042/21