IACHR to Publish Friendly Settlement Agreement in Case of Marcelino Gómez and One Other, Paraguay, Concerning Illegal Conscription and Disappearance While in the Custody of the Army

November 2, 2021

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) plans to approve the friendly settlement agreement in Case 12,330—Marcelino Gómez and One Other, Paraguay, and to publish the relevant report, report 206/21. This agreement was signed on November 4, 2009, by the State and representatives of the victims' families. The case concerns international responsibility for the disappearance of Marcelino Gómez Paredes and Cristian Ariel Núñez, two boys aged 14 at the time, who were illegally conscripted and went missing while they were in the custody of the Army.

In this friendly settlement agreement, the State of Paraguay acknowledged its international responsibility for violations of several rights held in the American Convention on Human Rights (the rights to freedom and personal integrity, to life, to special protection measures for children, and to judicial protection and guarantees) concerning the children Marcelino Gómez Paredes and Cristian Ariel Núñez. The State committed to implementing reparation measures including the following:

  1. holding an event to apologize and to publicly acknowledge its international responsibility:
  2. providing judicial guarantees to ensure an investigation into these events and to punish anyone responsible for them, including the creation of a truth commission;
  3. ensuring redress by laying a memorial plaque and naming streets after the two boys;
  4. providing primary and comprehensive healthcare;
  5. ensuring non-recurrence by changing Article 236 in Paraguay's Criminal Code, which defines forced disappearance, and showing the documentary Cuerpo a Tierra: los Niños Soldados del Paraguay (Hit the Dirt: Paraguay's Child Soldiers) at the Marshall Francisco Solano López Military Academy; and
  6. granting financial compensation.

On June 21, 2021, the petitioning party asked the Commission to approve the friendly settlement agreement in this case, implementing Resolution 3/20 on differential action to address procedural backlog in friendly settlement proceedings. In Friendly Settlement Report 206/21, the Commission highlighted that full compliance had been attained concerning articles 2(a), 2(b), 2(c), and 2(d) (a well-publicized event to apologize and acknowledge responsibility, as well as publication of the agreement); article 3(b), including parts b.1, b.2, b.3, b.4, and b.5 (truth commission); article 4 (plaque and street names); article 5 (primary and comprehensive healthcare); article 6 (security measures); article 7 (non-recurrence measures); and article 8 (financial reparation). The IACHR further noted that partial compliance had been attained in article 3(a) of this friendly settlement agreement. The Commission will therefore continue to supervise compliance with this item until full compliance is attained.

The Commission commends the Paraguayan State on its efforts to build 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. Finally, the Commission commends the petitioning party on all its efforts to ensure progress 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. 288/21

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