IACHR Welcomes Full Compliance with the Friendly Settlement Agreement in Case 11,422—Mario Alioto López Sánchez, Guatemala

July 6, 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 1/12, concerning Case 11,422—Mario Alioto López Sánchez, Guatemala—and will stop monitoring it.

This case concerns the international responsibility of the Guatemalan State for the death of Mario Alioto López Sánchez, a law student at San Carlos de Guatemala University, on November 11, 1994. Mario Alioto López Sánchez was allegedly detained and beaten up by law enforcement officers in the context of a student protest. Although he was bleeding after being shot in the left thigh, he did not get immediate medical care. He was only taken to the National Hospital approximately two hours after being arrested and he died at that hospital the following day.

On October 19, 2011, the parties signed a friendly settlement agreement that was approved by the IACHR on January 26, 2012. During the process to verify the implementation of this friendly settlement agreement, the Commission assessed action taken by the Guatemalan State to ensure compliance with the commitments it had made in the agreement.

The IACHR found that the State had held a private event to acknowledge its responsibility and apologize to the family of Mario Alioto López Sánchez. The State also unveiled a plaque to honor the victim in a separate event and paid full financial compensation, as agreed, to all beneficiaries of this friendly settlement agreement.

One of the most significant aspects of this agreement, and to ensure remembrance more generally, was a disclosure of the archives of the Oliverio Castañeda de León Association of University Students (AEU), which contained information about Mario Alioto López Sánchez. These archives contained, among others, the following elements: (a) documents from 1994 including letter exchanges between public institutions and the AEU leadership; (b) comments issued by the AEU (and by other university student associations) on the murder of a student called Mario; (c) letters sent by international institutions, student associations from several countries, and private individuals, written in solidarity to demand that the Guatemalan government investigate this murder and to show support for the AEU.

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 Guatemalan 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. 148/23

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