Legal Framework of the Friendly Settlement Procedure

The friendly settlement procedure is a non-contentious mechanism that allows the two parties to negotiate an agreement for resolving an alleged situation brought to the attention of the IACHR and its consequences, in accordance with their needs and interests. The main provisions governing the mechanism are found in the American Convention on Human Rights and the Commission's Rules of Procedure. This procedure is governed by Article 48(1)(f) of the American Convention and Articles 37(4), 40, 48, and 64(1) of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure. According to those provisions, the friendly settlement of an issue must be based on the respect for the human rights set forth in the American Convention on Human Rights, the American Declaration, and other applicable instruments.

Consult the legal basis

ACHR, Article 48.1.f Procedure

1. When the Commission receives a petition or communication alleging violation of any of the rights protected by this Convention, it shall proceed as follows:
f) The Commission shall place itself at the disposal of the parties concerned with a view to reaching a friendly settlement of the matter on the basis of respect for the human rights recognized in this Convention.

ACHR, Article 49 Publication of the Report

If a friendly settlement has been reached in accordance with paragraph 1.f of Article 48, the Commission shall draw up a report, which shall be transmitted to the petitioner and to the States Parties to this Convention, and shall then be communicated to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States for publication. This report shall contain a brief statement of the facts and of the solution reached. If any party in the case so requests, the fullest possible information shall be provided to it.

IACHR Rules of Procedure, Article 40.1 Friendly Settlement

1. On its own initiative or at the request of any of the parties, the Commission shall place itself at the disposal of the parties concerned, at any stage of the examination of a petition or case, with a view to reaching a friendly settlement of the matter on the basis of respect for the human rights recognized in the American Convention on Human Rights, the American Declaration and other applicable instruments.

IACHR Rules of Procedure, Article 48. Follow-up

1. Once the Commission has published a report on a friendly settlement or on the merits in which it has made recommendations, it may adopt the follow-up measures it deems appropriate, such as requesting information from the parties and holding hearings in order to verify compliance with friendly settlement agreements and its recommendations.

2. The Commission shall report on progress in complying with those agreements and recommendations as it deems appropriate.

IACHR Rules of Procedure: Article 37.4. Procedure on the Merits

4. Prior to making its decision on the merits of the case, the Commission shall set a time period for the parties to express whether they have an interest in initiating the friendly settlement procedure provided for in Article 40 of these Rules of Procedure. In the cases provided for in Article 30. 7 and in the preceding subparagraph, the Commission shall request the parties to respond in a more expeditious manner. The Commission may also invite the parties to submit additional observations in writing.

IACHR Rules of Procedure, Article 64. Hearings on petitions or cases

1. Hearings on petitions or cases shall have as their purpose the receipt of oral or written presentations by the parties relative to new facts and information additional to that which has been produced during the proceeding. The information may refer to any of the following issues: admissibility; the initiation or development of the friendly settlement procedure; the verification of the facts; the merits of the matter; follow-up on recommendations; or any other matter pertinent to the processing of the petition or case.

2. Requests for hearings must be submitted in writing at least 50 days prior to the beginning of the respective session of the Commission. Requests for hearings shall indicate their purpose and the identity of the participants.

3. If the Commission accedes to the request or decides to hold a hearing on its own initiative, it shall convoke both parties. If one party, having been duly notified, does not appear, the Commission shall proceed with the hearing. The Commission shall adopt the necessary measures to maintain in confidence the identity of the experts and witnesses if it believes that they require such protection.

4. The Executive Secretariat shall inform the parties as to the date, place and time of the hearing at least one month in advance. However, in exceptional circumstances, that time period may be reduced.