IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement for Case 13.436 Over Forced Disappearance in Colombia

August 17, 2022

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced its decision to approve and publish the friendly settlement agreement for Case 13.436, José Oleaguer Correa Castrillón, concerning Colombia, through Approval Report 67/22. The case concerns the State's international responsibility for the lack of diligence in the investigation into the disappearance of José Oleaguer Correa, which took place on May 6, 1987, in Puerto Berrío, Antioquía, and allegedly entailed his being kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by the Army.

On May 8, 2020, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding toward a friendly settlement, which they reached and signed on December 23, 2021, in Bogotá. In the memorandum, the Colombian State acknowledged its international responsibility for violating the rights enshrined in articles 8 (the right to a fair trial) and 25 (the right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights in relation to Article 1.1. of this instrument, to the detriment of the family of the José Oleaguer Correa Castrillón, due to the lack of diligence in the investigation into his disappearance.

The State undertook to implement the following reparation measures: 1) hold an online ceremony to acknowledge responsibility; 2) publish the friendly settlement agreement on the website of the National Legal Defense Authority; 3) grant one beneficiary financial assistance to finance the tuition fees for the fifth (5th) to tenth (10th) academic semester of a university program, through the National Ministry of Education and the Colombian Institute of Educational Credit and Technical Studies Abroad (ICETEX); 4) continue to comply with the obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish the people responsible for the forced disappearance of José Oleaguer Correa; and 5) grant financial reparation through the application of Law 288 of 1996.

In Friendly Settlement Report 67/22, the IACHR deemed that total compliance had been achieved on the measure relating to the ceremony to acknowledge responsibility. It also deemed the other commitments included in the agreement to remain pending and will therefore continue to monitor these until they have been fully implemented.

The IACHR acknowledged the efforts made by the parties during the negotiations toward reaching an agreement that would be compatible with the objectives and ends of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. It also welcomed the efforts made by the State to make friendly settlements and alternative dispute resolution part of its public policy and invited it to continue using this mechanism to settle other matters pending before the petition and case system. The IACHR also wishes to congratulate the petitioning party on the efforts it made to participate in the negotiation and move this friendly settlement process forward.

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. 182/22

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