IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement on Case Concerning the Failure to Investigate and Punish the Homicide of Several Members of the Toro Family in Colombia

August 28, 2023

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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 13,710—Julián Alberto Toro Ortiz and Family, Colombia—and to publish approval report 109/23.

This case concerns the international responsibility of the Colombian State for the failure to investigate the violent deaths of Luis Gerardo Toro Jiménez, José Davison Toro Ortiz, Robinson de Jesús Agudelo Toro, and Luis Gonzaga Toro Arcila over the period 1982–2006, and for persistent threats and forced displacement targeting other members of their family.

On November 18, 2021, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding in search of a friendly settlement, and they signed a friendly settlement agreement on September 29, 2022. In this agreement, the State acknowledged its international responsibility, by omission, for violations of the rights held in Articles 5 (right to humane treatment), 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 (obligation to respect rights), to the detriment of the family of Luis Gerardo Toro Jiménez, José Davidson Toro Ortiz, Robinson de Jesús Agudelo Toro, and Luis Gonzaga Toro Arcila, for lack of diligence to investigate these events. This lack of diligence led to a failure to solve the case and to identify, prosecute, and punish the individuals who perpetrated these crimes.

The State committed to implementing the following redress measures: (1) holding an event to acknowledge its responsibility; (2) publishing this friendly settlement report on the website of the State's National Legal Defense Agency; (3) granting educational assistance to five members of the victims' family; (4) conducting sessions with officials of the Ministry of Housing, Cities, and Territory, to present to the beneficiaries institutional offers concerning access to housing; (5) taking judicial measures to pursue this investigation, with a view to solving this case and identifying the perpetrators of these crimes; and 6) granting financial compensation in application of Act 288 of 1996.

The IACHR approved the provisos held in this agreement and acknowledged full compliance with the event to acknowledge responsibility. The Commission also noted that, since the victims' family did not wish to continue to monitor the criminal investigation conducted by the public prosecutor's office, the redress measure concerning justice had attained partial compliance. The IACHR said that compliance with all other commitments held in the agreement remained pending, so it would continue to monitor the agreement until full implementation had been verified.

The IACHR commends both parties on their efforts while negotiating this friendly settlement agreement, which turned out to be compatible with the Convention's aims and purposes. The Commission 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. 197/23

3:40 PM