IACHR Publishes Report No. 114/21, Concerning Case 12.737 - Carlos Morales Catalán, Guatemala

July 9, 2021

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve and publish friendly settlement report 114/21, concerning Case 12,737—Carlos Morales Catalán, Guatemala. The Guatemalan State and Carlos Morales Catalán—acting in his own name and on behalf of his children José Raúl and Javier Ernesto Morales Vera—signed the agreement on December 21, 2010.

This case concerns the international responsibility of the State of Guatemala for denying Carlos Morales Catalán judicial safeguards and the right to effective judicial redress in criminal proceedings and civil procedures to seek compensation for the injuries suffered by his sons José Raúl and Javier Ernesto Morales Vera as a result of a traffic accident.

In this friendly settlement agreement, the Guatemalan State acknowledged its international responsibility for the human rights violations that were perpetrated against Carlos Raúl Morales Catalán and his family and committed to implementing the following reparation measures: 1) providing financial compensation to the petitioner and his family for the material damage they suffered; 2) holding a private event to acknowledge the State's international responsibility and apologizing to Carlos Raúl Morales Catalán and his family; 3) granting José Raúl and Javier Ernesto Morales Vera a grant to pursue a single undergraduate degree each at a private university in Guatemala, through the National Trust for Grants and Educational Loans (FINABECE); 4) providing constant medical, physical, and psychological care to beneficiaries of this friendly settlement agreement; 5) naming a road safety program after José Raúl and Javier Ernesto Morales Vera; and 6) pursuing before judicial institutions all actions necessary to ensure effective compliance with the damages ruling issued by the criminal trial court in charge of drug trafficking and environmental crimes against Santiago Quidiello Valenzuela and Laura Patricia Torón Torres De Luna.

On November 23, 2020, the petitioning party asked the Commission to approve and publish the friendly settlement agreement in this case, implementing Resolution 3/20 on differential action to address procedural backlog in friendly settlement proceedings. In Friendly Settlement Report 114/21, the Commission highlighted that full compliance had been attained with articles 2, 3(b), and 3(d) of the agreement, concerning financial compensation, the university grant for José Raúl Morales Vera, and the naming of a road safety program. The IACHR further noted that compliance with articles 3(a), 3(c), and 3(e) remained pending. These sections concern the private event to acknowledge international responsibility; the provision of medical, physical, and psychological assistance; and the enforcement of the court decision that demands civil reparations from Santiago Quidiello Valenzuela. The IACHR will therefore continue to supervise compliance with articles 3(a), 3(c), and 3(e) of this friendly settlement agreement until full compliance is attained. The Commission further declared void articles 3(b) and 3(e) concerning Javier Ernesto Morales Vera's university grant. The IACHR also declined efforts to enforce the court decision to demand civil reparations from Laura Patricia Torón Torres de Luna, because the parties had reached a domestic agreement.

The Commission commends the Guatemalan State for its efforts to build a public policy concerning friendly settlements and alternative conflict-resolution. The IACHR further invites the State to continue to use the friendly settlement mechanism to resolve other matters concerning Guatemala that are being dealt with in the individual petition and case system. The Commission congratulates the petitioning party for all its efforts to take part in negotiations and to seek implementation of this agreement.

Friendly settlement report no. 114/21, concerning Case 12,737, is available here.

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. 170/21

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