IACHR Welcomes Full Compliance with 10 Friendly Settlement Agreements in 2020

March 9, 2021

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Washington, DC—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is pleased to report that full compliance was achieved on 10 friendly settlement agreements in 2020.

In the course of 2020, the IACHR approved 25 friendly settlement agreements. The agreed measures had been fully implemented in four of these, namely cases 12.961F, Miguel Ángel Chinchilla Erazo and Others12.972, Marcelo Ramón Aguilera Aguilar de HondurasPetition 1275-04-A, Juan Luis Rivera Matus de Chile; and 11.824, Sabino Díaz Osorio and Rodrigo Gómez Zamorano de México.

With regard to the reports that have been homologated, in the cases concerning Miguel Ángel Chinchilla Erazo and others and Marcelo Ramón Aguilera Aguilar, the Honduran State acknowledged its international responsibility for the unjustified mass dismissal of National Police Force officers through Decree 58-2001, which violated due process. In response, the State compensated 25 beneficiaries for a total of more than 2,560,000 lempiras (more than US$100,000). The IACHR assessed these compensation payments and ascertained that they had been duly received, and thus verified that the friendly settlement agreement had been fully complied with.

The Chilean State achieved full compliance with the friendly settlement agreement for the petition concerning Juan Luis Rivera Matus, which was related to the arbitrary detention, torture, and forced disappearance of a trade union leader in 1975 and the lack of reparation paid to his family. The IACHR verified that the state had paid each of the seven beneficiaries in the victim's family 70 million Chilean pesos (for a total of around 490 million Chilean pesos, the equivalent of US$696,000).

The IACHR also deemed that full compliance has been achieved on the Sabino Díaz Osorio and Rodrigo Gómez Zamorano case, concerning Mexico. In this instance, the State was alleged to be internationally responsible for the lack of diligence in the investigation into two murders that occurred in 1992. The adoption of a series of measures that had been agreed upon was verified, including assigning an exclusive, specialist agent to the case, sending official letters to coordinate with the relevant national agencies, seeking international cooperation with the United States of America regarding the investigation, reactivating the immigration alert, conducting investigations in the field and home visits, and building a centralized national search and location strategy. The IACHR also verified that financial reparation had been dispersed to three of the beneficiaries and that the state had complied with its obligation to grant a scholarship and employment to a further two.

As part of the monitoring work implemented for its 2020 Annual Report, the IACHR deemed that full compliance had been achieved on the friendly settlement agreements signed in the following cases: 11.141, Villatina Massacre, concerning Colombia; Petition 279-03, Fredy Rolando Hernández Rodríguez, concerning Guatemala; Case 12.986, José Antonio Bolaños Juárez, concerning México; and Petitions 711-01, Miguel Ángel Grimaldo Castañeda and Others; 33-03, Alejandro Espino Méndez and Others; and 1516-08, Juan Figueroa Acosta, concerning Peru.

As a result of the friendly settlement agreement signed in relation to the Villatina Massacre case, which concerned the extrajudicial execution of a group of residents, including children, in Villatina neighborhood in Medellín in which members of the National Police Force allegedly took part, a project was implemented to generate employment for young people from the community in cooperation with various national agencies and with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This project aimed to develop a garment manufacturing center and included relevant training for community members. The State also complied with measures relating to the erection of a monument that includes a plaque listing the names of the nine victims of the massacre and a commemorative event to unveil this in the city of Medellín.

Likewise, the State of Guatemala achieved full compliance with the friendly settlement agreement signed for the petition regarding Fredy Rolando Hernández Rodríguez, which concerned the State's failure to investigate the events that took place on March 21, 1982, in Parcelamiento de la Esperanza in the municipality of Santo Domingo Suchitepéquez. These events included the murder of social leaders, the arrest of women and children, and the displaying of victims' bodies by members of the Armed Forces. As part of the measures taken, the IACHR valued the public apology ceremony held on September 28, 2006, which was attended by the victims' relatives and the Vice President of Guatemala. This event was complemented by a special ceremony to unveil commemorative plaques in memory of three of the victims, and compensation was paid to 13 direct beneficiaries of the friendly settlement agreement.

The IACHR declared that the Mexican State had achieved full compliance with the agreement signed in the José Antonio Bolaños Juárez case, concerning Mexico, as a result of which the State was recognized as being internationally responsible for the arbitrary detention, torture and cruel and inhuman treatment and arbitrary criminal conviction of José Antonio Bolaños Juárez in 2001. In compliance with the agreement, the State guaranteed the provision of health services for the victim and three members of his family. The IACHR found that Antonio Bolaños was provided with surgical and psychological care and that arrangements had been made for his affiliation to the People's Health Insurance. As part of this agreement, a ceremony acknowledging responsibility was held, and a series of training courses were organized for officials at the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, with an emphasis on human rights.

Finally, the Peruvian State also achieved full compliance with the friendly settlement agreements for the petitions concerning Miguel Grimaldo Castañeda and Others; Alejandro Espino Méndez and Others; and Juan Figueroa Acosta. In the first two cases, the Peruvian State was identified as being internationally responsible for violations of due process and the right to a fair trial of 79 unconfirmed judges by the National Council of Judges. The Juan Figueroa Acosta case relates to the failure to ratify the petitioner's position as a Senior Member of the Judicial District of the Province of Amazonas and the subsequent denial of justice by the national courts that heard his case. As a result of these three friendly settlement agreements, orders were given for the judges in question to be reinstated and for their time in office to be recognized to calculate retirement, pensions, and other benefits.

The IACHR welcomes the progress that has been made on implementing these friendly settlement agreements and congratulates the States of Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru for fulfilling the international commitments that derived from these agreements. On this point, the Assistant Executive Secretary for Petitions and Cases, Marisol Blanchard, stated that "these advances demonstrate that the work carried out by the IACHR to expand the friendly settlement mechanism has played a fundamental part in promoting compliance with these agreements and is contributing to building confidence among parties and in the mechanism."

The IACHR will continue to implement actions to strengthen the mechanism and invites users of the petition and individual case systems, be they States or petitioners and victims, to make use of the friendly settlement procedure as an effective mechanism for providing comprehensive redress for victims' rights.

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. 054/21