IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement for Case 14.306 Over the Failure to Investigate a Homicide in Colombia

July 1, 2022

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced its decision to approve and publish the friendly settlement agreement for Case 14.306, José Ramón Ochoa Salazar and family, concerning Costa Rica and to publish Approval Report 65/22. The case relates to the State's international responsibility for the failure to investigate and punish those responsible for the murder of José Ramón Ochoa Salazar in 1997, which was allegedly perpetrated by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the municipality of Puerto Rico, Meta department.

On May 27, 2021, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding toward a friendly settlement, which they reached and signed on December 21, 2021, in Bogotá. In this, the Colombian State acknowledged its international responsibility for the failure to comply with its duty to guarantee the rights enshrined in articles 8 (the right to a fair trial) and 25 (the right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights in relation to Article 1.1. of this instrument, to the detriment of the family of Mr. José Ramón Ochoa Salazar, due to the lack of diligence in the investigation into the events that occurred.

The State undertook to implement the following reparation measures: 1) hold a private virtual ceremony to acknowledge responsibility; 2) grant financial assistance to Alba Graciela Ochoa Salazar to fund an academic program at the technical-professional, university, or postgraduate level at a higher education establishment in Colombia that is recognized by the Ministry of Education; 3) organize working groups with the Ministry of Housing, Urban Affairs, and Territorial Development to present a proposal for access to housing programs; 4) publish the friendly settlement agreement on the website of the National Legal Defense Authority; and 5) grant monetary reparation through the application of Law 288 of 1996.

In Friendly Settlement Report 65/22, the IACHR recognized that full compliance had been achieved with measures relating to the private ceremony to acknowledge responsibility and the implementation of working groups involving the Ministry of Housing, Urban Affairs, and Territorial Development. It deemed the other commitments included in the agreement to be pending and will therefore continue to monitor these until they have been fully implemented.

The IACHR acknowledged the efforts the parties made during the negotiations toward reaching an agreement that would be compatible with the objectives and ends of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. It also welcomed the efforts made by the State to make friendly settlements and alternative dispute resolution part of public policy and invites it to continue using this mechanism to settle other matters pending before the petition and case system. It also wishes to congratulate the petitioning party on the efforts it made to take part in the negotiation and move this friendly settlement process forward.

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. 149/22

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