Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Full Compliance with the Friendly Settlement Agreement in Case 12,961 J—Faustino García Cárdenas, Honduras, Concerning Judicial Protection and Safeguards

October 6, 2021

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) plans to approve and publish the friendly settlement agreement in Case 12,961 J—Faustino García Cárdenas and One Other, Honduras. This agreement was signed on June 29, 2021 by the Honduran State and victim representatives Hugo Ramón Maldonado (of the organization CODEH) and Gladys Ondina Matamoros. This case is linked to the international responsibility of the Honduran State for violations of the rights to judicial safeguards and judicial protection stemming from mass, unfair staff dismissals from the National Police based on Decree 58 of 2001.

In March 2003, Honduras' Supreme Court of Justice declared that decree unconstitutional and void, but the retroactive effects of this court decision were allegedly not applied to the victims. In 2014, the parties launched talks to negotiate a friendly settlement that has so far led to the signing of eight agreements over the period 2018–2021. Of these agreements, the Commission has stated that five have attained full compliance, through reports 105/19 in Case 12,961 A—Bolívar Salgado Welban and Others101/19, in Case 12,961 C—Marcial Coello Medina and Others104/19 in Case 12,961 D—Jorge Enrique Valladares Argueñal and Others42/21 in Case 12,961 E—Ecar Fernando Zavala Valladares and Others, and 20/20 in Case 12,961 F—Miguel Angel Chinchilla Erazo and Others. These agreements and the one where full compliance has now been attained in Case 12,961 J—Faustino García Cárdenas and One Other have proved beneficial to ensure financial reparations for 229 victims.

In the friendly settlement agreement signed in Case 12,961 J (concerning Faustino García Cárdenas), as in prior cases, the parties agreed to implement one single measure—to provide financial reparations for each of the beneficiaries included in the agreement, in the form of payment of a specific sum based on the salary structure for police officers, including administrative staff and various ranks and hierarchical positions. The State provided financial compensation to the two beneficiaries of this friendly settlement agreement, worth a total of 1,020,000 lempiras (equivalent to approximately 42,961.19 dollars).

The IACHR will continue to facilitate negotiations in the two remaining cases that have been submitted to the friendly settlement mechanism concerning this structural theme (Cases 12,961 H—Juan González and Others and 12,961 I—Transito Edgardo Arriaga López), and in litigation concerning Case 12,961 G—Rufino Ferrufino Cárcamo and Others involving individuals who opted for litigation.

The Inter-American Commission has closely monitored the implementation of these friendly settlements in the structural context of Decree 58 of 2001 and highly commends both parties for their efforts during negotiations to reach friendly settlements that turned out to be compatible with the Convention's aims and purposes. The IACHR further commends the parties for their disposition and will to attain alternative resolutions in Cases 12,961 A, C, D, E, F, and J, and acknowledges the efforts made by the State of Honduras to fully comply with its obligations in the context of the friendly settlement agreements signed in these cases.

Friendly settlement report 205/21, concerning Case 12,961 E, 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. 266/21

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