IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement on Petition 1391-15, Concerning the Failure to Investigate a Forced Disappearance in Colombia

June 22, 2022

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve the friendly settlement agreement concerning Petition 1391-15—Mario Antonio Cardona Varela et al., Colombia—and to publish approval report 94/22. The case concerns the State's international responsibility for the forced disappearance of Mario Antonio Cardona Varela on October 31, 1988, in the municipality of Tierra Alta Córdoba (allegedly at the hands of officers of the State), as well as the subsequent failure to investigate these events and punish the individuals responsible for them.

On July 26, 2021, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding in search of a friendly settlement, which led to the signing of this friendly settlement agreement on September 23, 2021, in Bogotá. In this agreement, the Colombian State acknowledged its international responsibility for violations of the rights held in Articles 4 (life), 5 (humane treatment), 7 (personal liberty), 8 (fair trial), and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with Article 1.1 (obligation to respect rights) of the Convention, to the detriment of Mario Antonio Cardona and his family, for lack of due diligence to establish what happened. The State committed to implementing the following redress measures: holding a virtual private event to acknowledge its responsibility; posting this friendly settlement agreement on the National Police website; and providing financial compensation through the mechanism that was set up by Act 288 of 1996.

In Friendly Settlement Report 94/22, the IACHR highlighted compliance with measures concerning the private event to acknowledge responsibility and noted that other commitments remained pending. The Commission will therefore continue to monitor this agreement until full implementation has been verified.

The Commission values 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 alternative 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 petitioning party for all its efforts 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.

No. 142/22

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