IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement on Case 13,775, Concerning the Failure to Investigate a Homicide in Colombia

August 29, 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 Case 13,775—Gabriel Ángel Gómez Martínez and Family, Colombia—and to publish approval report 63/22. This case concerns the State's international responsibility for the failure to investigate the 1999 homicide (allegedly perpetrated by members of an illegal paramilitary group) of Gabriel Ángel Gómez Martínez in the village of Nutibara, in the municipality of Frontino, in the department of Antioquia, and to punish the people responsible for it.

On June 9, 2021, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding in search of a friendly settlement, which led to the signing of this agreement on September 7, 2021, in Bogotá. In this agreement, the State acknowledged its international responsibility for omitting to do its duty to protect the rights held in Articles 8 (right to a fair trial) and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with Article 1.1 of the Convention, to the detriment of the family of Gabriel Ángel Gómez Martínez, for lack of diligence to investigate these events.

Similarly, the State committed to adopting redress measures involving a private event to acknowledge its responsibility and apologize, which was held remotely on September 20, 2021, with the participation of the family of Gabriel Ángel Gómez Martínez and its representatives and of officials of the National Legal Defense Agency (representing the State). The State also committed to posting this friendly settlement agreement for a period of six months on the website of the National Agency for the State's Legal Defense and to providing financial compensation through the mechanism that was set up by Act 288 of 1996.

In friendly settlement report 63/22, the Commission highlighted compliance with 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. 190/22

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