IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement Regarding Colombia on the Extrajudicial Execution of Jorge Freytter, University Professor

December 18, 2023

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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 12.908, Jorge Adolfo Freytter and others, through Approval Report No. 208/23.

The case concerns the international responsibility of the Colombian State for the illegal detention, disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial execution of Jorge Adolfo Romero Freytter in the city of Barranquilla, Antioquia, between August 28 and 29, 2001. It also concerns the lack of judicial clarification of the facts and the violation of the right to personal integrity and freedom of movement and residence to the detriment of his family.

Jorge Freytter was allegedly detained by a group of heavily armed men who forced him into a vehicle whose destination was unknown, taking him to "an airless cell" where he was handcuffed and tortured until he died of asphyxiation.

On August 28, 2020, the parties signed a friendly settlement agreement in which the State acknowledged its international responsibility for violating the rights recognized in articles 4 (life), 5 (personal integrity), 7 (personal liberty), 8 (judicial guarantees), 13 (freedom of conscience), and 16 (freedom of association ) of the American Convention on Human Rights in relation to article 1.1 (obligation to respect rights) and articles 1 and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, to the detriment of Jorge Adolfo Romero Freytter.

In the agreement, the State acknowledged its international responsibility for the violation of the rights recognized in Articles 5 (right to life), 5 (right to personal integrity), 8 (right to judicial guarantees), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights in relation to Article 1.1, to the detriment of the family of Jorge Freytter.

The State undertook to implement the following reparation measures: 1) hold a public ceremony to acknowledge responsibility; 2) grant educational scholarships to Jorge Freytter's children; 3) establish a scholarship in memory of Jorge Adolfo Freytter and his legacy; 4) run human rights workshops; 5) guarantee adequate, timely, and priority treatment in health and rehabilitation for those who require it, for as long as necessary; 6) continue to investigate of the events, as requested by the Attorney General's Office; 7) publish the approval report for the friendly settlement agreement; 8) grant financial reparations through the application of Law 288 of 1996; 9) implement an educational initiative on historical memory to be called the Jorge Freytter Competition; and 10) install a monument at the Historical Memory Center in Barranquilla.

The IACHR approved the terms of the agreement and deemed that full compliance had been achieved on the measures relating to the public ceremony to acknowledge responsibility, the human rights workshop, and the commemorative monument. The other points of the agreement are still pending, and the IACHR will therefore continue to monitor it and verify compliance until it has confirmed that all points have been fully implemented.

The IACHR acknowledged the efforts made by both parties during negotiation to reach a friendly settlement agreement that was consistent with the object and purpose of the Inter-American Convention. It also welcomed the efforts made by the Colombian State to resolve matters pending before the petition and case system. It also acknowledged the efforts of the petitioning party and appreciated its efforts to participate in the negotiations and to advance this friendly settlement process.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up 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. 295/23

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