Press Release

IACHR Announces Publication of Report No. 41/21 on the Case of Ecar Fernando Zavala Valladares and Others, Concerning Honduras, and Congratulates the State on Full Compliance with the Friendly Settlement Agreement

April 30, 2021

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Washington, DC—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced its decision to approve the friendly settlement of Case 12.961 E, Ecar Fernando Zavala Valladares and others, signed on June 12, 2019, between the state of Honduras and Hugo Ramón Maldonado, on behalf of CODEH; Leonel Casco Gutiérrez, on behalf of APRODEH; and Fredy Omar Madrid, all of whom are representing the victims.

The case concerns the international responsibility of the State of Honduras for violations of the rights to judicial guarantees and judicial protection as a result of the mass, unjustified dismissal of National Police Force personnel holding different ranks that was implemented through Decree 58-2001, published in Official Gazette No. 29,504 on June 16, 2001. Although the Supreme Court of Justice of Honduras ruled in March 2003 that the decree in question was unconstitutional and unenforceable, the retroactive effects of this ruling have not been applied in favor of the victims.

In November 2014, the parties began negotiations toward a friendly settlement. So far, these have resulted in the signing of seven friendly settlement agreements on December 20, 2018, and January 21, April 3, June 12 and 28, September 18, and December 20, 2019. Between 2019 and 2020, the IACHR deemed that full compliance had been reached on four of these agreements through reports No. 105/19, Case 12.961 A, Bolívar Salgado Welban and Others; No. 101/19, Case 12.961 C, Marcial Coello Medina and Others; No. 104/19, Case 12.961 D, Jorge Enrique Valladares Argueñal and Others; and No. 20/20, Case 12.961 F, Miguel Angel Chinchilla Erazo and Others concerning Honduras. Together with the agreement that has been approved in this instance on Case 12.961 E, Ecar Zavala Valladares, these have had a clear impact by providing economic reparation for 227 victims.

As in the previous cases, in the friendly settlement agreement signed for Case 12.961 E, the parties agreed on economic reparation for each of the beneficiaries included in the agreement as the sole measure of reparation, which would take the form of the payment of a specific amount established on the basis of the salary scales for different ranks of the police force, including administrative personnel, regular officers, and those with higher ranks. To this end, the State provided economic compensation for the 58 beneficiaries of the friendly settlement agreement for a total amount of 20,580,000 lempiras, which is equivalent to approximately US$854,495.59.

The IACHR will continue to facilitate negotiations in the two remaining cases relating to this structural issue that are being processed using the friendly settlement mechanism: cases 12.961 H, Juan González and Others, and 12.961 I, Transito Edgardo Arriaga López. It will continue with the contentious proceedings in case 12.961 G, Rufino Ferrufino Cárcamo and Others, in the case of those who opted for this route.

The IACHR has monitored these friendly settlement processes, which were a response to the structural circumstances that arose as a result of Decree 58/2001. It values the efforts made by both parties during the negotiations toward reaching friendly settlement agreements that would be compatible with the objectives and ends of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. It wishes to congratulate the parties on their willingness to move toward reaching alternative solutions in cases 12.961 A, C, D, E, and F and acknowledges the efforts made by the Honduran State to achieve full compliance with the obligations that form part of the friendly settlement agreements signed in these cases.

Friendly Settlement Report No. 42/21 on Case 12.961 is available here.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 109/21