IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement for Case 13.654 Over the Failure to Investigate and Prosecute Two Homicides in Colombia

August 16, 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 13.654, Juan Simón Cantillo Raigoza, Keyla Sandrith Cantillo Vides, and their family, concerning Costa Rica, through Approval Report 64/22. The case relates to the State's international responsibility for the failure to investigate and punish those responsible for the murder of Luis Gerardo Bermúdez and the child Keyla Sandrith Cantillo Vides in 2002, which was allegedly perpetrated by members of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).

On February 23, 2021, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding toward a friendly settlement, which they reached and signed on June 29, 2021, in Bogotá. In this, the Colombian State acknowledged its international responsibility for 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 Juan Simón Cantillo Raigoza and Keyla Sandrith Cantillo Vides, due to the lack of diligence in the investigation into the events that took place.

The State undertook to implement the following reparation measures: 1) hold a private online ceremony to acknowledge responsibility; 2) present the family with mementos as part of the acknowledgment ceremony; 3) publish the friendly settlement agreement on the website of the National Legal Defense Authority; 4) implement health-related rehabilitation measures comprising medical, psychological, and psychosocial care and assistance; 5) continue to pursue the investigation to identify and sanction those responsible; and 6) grant financial reparation through the application of Law 288 of 1996.

In Friendly Settlement Report 64/22, the IACHR deemed that total compliance had been achieved on the measure relating to the private ceremony to acknowledge responsibility. It also deemed the other commitments included in the agreement to remain 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. The IACHR also wishes to congratulate the petitioning party on its efforts to participate 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. 181/22

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