IACHR Welcomes Full Compliance with the Friendly Settlement Agreement in Case 11,538—Herson Javier Caro, Colombia

July 5, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to declare full compliance with friendly settlement report 43/16, concerning Case 11,538—Herson Javier Caro, Colombia—and will stop monitoring it.

This case concerns the international responsibility of the Colombian State for the extrajudicial killing of Herson Javier Caro on November 15, 1992, in the municipality of El Castillo, in Medellín del Ariari. Herson Javier Caro was 15 at the time. He allegedly died after being shot by a military patrol belonging to Infantry Battalion 21 Vargas of Colombia's National Army.

On March 2, 2016, the parties signed a friendly settlement agreement that was approved by the IACHR on October 7, 2016. During the process to verify the implementation of this friendly settlement agreement, the Commission assessed the action taken by the Colombian State to ensure compliance with the commitments it had made in the agreement.

The IACHR found that the State had held an event, publicized on mass media and attended by State authorities and by the victim's family and their representatives, to acknowledge its responsibility for the killing and issue a public apology. The State has also provided education grants for the victim's siblings, included the beneficiaries of this agreement in the country's Single Record of Victims, provided them with health insurance, and given them psychosocial care. The State has also paid financial compensation to beneficiaries.

One of the most significant aspects of this agreement is the fact that the victim's brother William Alfonso Apache was exempted from mandatory military service and that he was given the required military clearance free of charge. A further aspect is a review of criminal proceedings where, on May 2, 2018, the Criminal Law Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice revoked two court decisions of May 29 and September 3, 2003, that had absolved the suspect in this killing.

The Inter-American Commission closely followed the implementation of this friendly settlement and commended both parties on their efforts in negotiations and during the monitoring stage of the agreement. Based on information provided by the parties, the IACHR declared that full compliance had been attained and ended its supervision of compliance with this friendly settlement agreement.

The Commission commends the Colombian State on its efforts to solve cases that are taken before the petition and case system through the friendly settlement mechanism and on its work to achieve full implementation of this agreement. The Commission further congratulates the petitioning party for all its efforts to take part in negotiations and to promote this friendly settlement.

Please click here to access the technical information sheet for this case.

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. 146/23

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