IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve the friendly settlement concerning Petition 514-11—Luis Hernando Morera Garzón, Colombia—and to publish approval report 60/22. This petition concerns the international responsibility of the Colombian State for the failure to investigate the homicide of Luis Hernando Morera Garzón on May 19, 1997—allegedly perpetrated by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—and to punish the people responsible for it.
On March 3, 2021, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding in search of a friendly settlement, which led to the signing of this friendly settlement agreement on August 25, 2021. In this agreement, the State acknowledged its international responsibility, by omission, for violations of rights held in Articles 8 (right to a fair trial) and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, to the detriment of the family of Luis Hernando Morera Garzón, for lack of diligence to investigate these events.
Similarly, the State committed to adopting redress measures involving a private event to apologize and ensure reparation, which was held remotely on November 5, 2021, with the participation of relatives, close friends, and representatives of Luis Hernando Morera Garzón and of officials of the National Legal Defense Agency (representing the State) and the IACHR's then-President and Rapporteur for Colombia, Commissioner Antonia Urrejola.
The State committed to: 1) publishing the friendly settlement report on the website of the National Legal Defense Agency; 2) granting financial assistance to Diana Patricia Morera Sánchez, to fund a suitable academic program; 3) conducting three sessions involving beneficiaries of this agreement and officials of the Ministry of Housing, Cities, and Territory, to identify institutional offers concerning housing; and 4) granting financial compensation in application of Act 288 of 1996.
In friendly settlement report 60/22, the IACHR highlighted that full compliance had been attained with measures concerning the event to provide redress and issue an apology and the sessions involving the Ministry of Housing, Cities, and Territory. The Commission considered that other commitments remained pending and will therefore continue to monitor this agreement until full implementation has been verified.
The Commission commends both parties on their efforts to negotiate a friendly settlement agreement that is compatible with the Convention's goals and purposes. The IACHR further commends the Colombian State on its efforts to develop a public policy concerning friendly settlements and alternative conflict-resolution. The IACHR invites the State to continue to use the friendly settlement mechanism to resolve other cases that are currently being addressed in the individual petition and case system. Finally, the Commission acknowledges the efforts made by the petitioning party to engage in negotiations and promote this agreement, and it stresses its willingness monitor the measures that have been agreed until full implementation has been attained.
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.