IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement Regarding Torture and Sexual Violence Suffered by Marcela Alejandra Porco in Bolivia

December 21, 2023

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Washington, DC—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced its decision to approve and publish the friendly settlement agreement for Case 11.426, Marcela Alejandra Porco, concerning Bolivia, through Approval Report no. 270/23.

The case concerns the international responsibility of the State for violations of the physical and mental integrity of Marcela Alejandra Porco, an Argentine citizen, and her subjection to sexual violence, torture, and inhuman and degrading treatment while in pretrial detention between June 1994 and June 1995.

The parties began the friendly settlement agreement process on May 1, 2009, culminating in their signing a friendly settlement agreement on May 30, 2022. In this agreement, the State acknowledged its international responsibility for violating the rights recognized in articles 5.1 (personal integrity), 7 (personal liberty), 8 (judicial guarantees), 11 (protection of honor and dignity), 25 (protection of the family), and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights in relation to article 1.1 (obligation to respect rights).

These violations were to the detriment of Marcela Alejandra Porco, who did not receive the medical attention that her physical and psychological condition required, and who was subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and sexual violence while in state custody.

The State undertook to implement the following reparation measures: 1) present a letter of acknowledgment of responsibility and redress to the victim's family; 2) submit a bill to the Chamber of Deputies to modify article 295 of the Criminal Code in accordance with the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture and other international instruments and make efforts for this bill to be passed; 3) issue a national circular on the special position of the State as guarantor of people deprived of their liberty and on its duty to provide protection, with specific reference to the facts of this case; and 4) grant financial compensation to Antonela Grisi, Marcela Alejandra Porco's daughter.

The IACHR approved the terms of the agreement and deemed that full compliance with the friendly settlement agreement had been achieved, since it was able to confirm that the State had held a ceremony in which it delivered a letter of apology to the victim's family, presented a bill to amend Article 295 of the Criminal Code to the Chamber of Deputies and promoted its debate, and paid the financial compensation established in the agreement.

The IACHR acknowledged the efforts made by both parties during negotiation to reach a friendly settlement agreement that was consistent with the object and purpose of the Inter-American Convention. It also welcomed the efforts made by the State to make friendly settlements and alternative dispute resolution a public policy, and encourages it to continue using this mechanism to resolve other matters pending before the petition and case system. Finally, it acknowledged the role of the petitioning party and valued its efforts to participate in the negotiations and to advance the friendly settlement process.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up 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. 309/23

3:17 PM