IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve the friendly settlement agreement concerning Case 13,226—Dora Inés Meneses Gómez at al., Colombia—and to publish approval report 286/22. This case concerns the State's international responsibility for the failure to investigate the human rights violations allegedly committed by members of the Colombian Army in the context of the military raid "Normandía," and for the failure to punish the people responsible for these human rights violations. The raid, conducted on November 30, 2003, targeted rebels of Front 49 of the rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
During the raid, shots fired by Army soldiers allegedly killed Dora Inés Meneses, Luz Mélida Ocampo, and the boy Gonzalo Ocampo Meneses. They further injured the boy Héctor Fabián Ocampo Meneses, while two men—Faber Gil Buitrago and Floresmiro Guasaquillo—were allegedly tortured and subjected to extrajudicial killings and Duván Gil Vásquez was captured and later tried for rebellion.
On July 16, 2019, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding in search of a friendly settlement and pursued negotiations that led to the signing of a friendly settlement agreement on August 4, 2021. In this agreement, the Colombian State acknowledged its international responsibility, by omission, for violations of the rights held in Articles 8 (right to a fair trial) and 25 (right to judicial guarantees) in the domestic criminal investigation of these events; and, its international responsibility, in action, for violations of the rights held in Articles 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 7 (right to personal liberty), 11 (right to privacy), 19 (rights of the child), and 22 (freedom of movement and residence) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with Article 1.1 of the Convention.
The State committed to implementing the following redress measures: (1) posting the approval report on this friendly settlement agreement on the website of the National Legal Defense Agency; (2) granting financial assistance in the form of a study grant to the boy who survived these events; (3) providing adequate, timely priority healthcare and rehabilitation for anyone who needs and wants it, for as long as necessary; (4) in terms of justice, on the one hand, the parties decided to comply with the decisions made in the case known as Macro Case 003, that advocates the Special Jurisdiction for Peace to address extrajudicial killings and "deaths unlawfully presented as combat casualties by State agents;" and, on the other hand, the State committed to continuing to pursue, through the Public Prosecutor's Office, an investigation of these events; and (5) providing financial compensation through the mechanism that was set up by Act 288 of 1996.
In friendly settlement report 286/22, the Commission highlighted the State's acknowledgement of its responsibility and its partial compliance with the compensation that was agreed. Other aspects remained pending, so the Commission will continue to monitor this agreement until full implementation has been verified.
The Commission acknowledges the efforts made by both parties to negotiate a friendly settlement agreement that is compatible with the Convention's goals and purposes. The IACHR commends the State on its efforts to develop a public policy concerning friendly settlements and 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. The Commission congratulates the petitioners on their efforts and commends victims and their families on their willingness to take part in negotiations and to seek implementation of this agreement.
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.