IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement on Case Concerning the Extrajudicial Killing of Adolescent Diego Felipe Becerra Lizarazo in Colombia

December 21, 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 14,808—Diego Felipe Becerra Lizarazo and Family, Colombia—and to publish approval report 272/23.

This case concerns the State's international responsibility for the extrajudicial killing of adolescent Diego Felipe Becerra Lizarazo, perpetrated by an officer of the National Police in Bogotá when the young man tried to escape after being caught drawing graffiti. The petition denounced that the National Police had set up the scene so it looked like the victim had died after robbing a bus.

On May 18, 2023, the parties signed a friendly settlement agreement where the State acknowledged its international responsibility for violations of the rights held in Articles 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 11 (right to privacy), 13 (right to freedom of thought and expression), 14 (right of reply), 19 (rights of the child), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention, in accordance with Article 1.1 of that instrument, to the detriment of Diego Felipe Becerra and his family and friends.

The State committed to: (1) holding a public event to acknowledge its responsibility; (2) holding a tribute event; (3) holding a lecture on human rights, youth, and urban art; (4) creating a human rights diploma course named after Diego Felipe Becerra; (5) providing educational assistance; (6) providing psychosocial assistance; (7) publishing relevant excerpts of the approval report; and (8) providing financial compensation through the mechanism that was set up to that effect by Act 288 of 1996.

The IACHR approved the agreement that was signed and noted compliance with the commitment to hold an event to acknowledge the State's responsibility, which was held on August 31, 2023, at El Renacimiento park in Bogotá (Capital District). The victim's family, their guests, and their representative all took part in the event, along with the Colombian President, the Defense Minister, the Director General of the National Police, the Acting Mayor of Bogotá, and the head of the State's National Legal Defense Agency. The Commission verified coverage of this event on traditional media and on the State's social media accounts, saw the relevant posts and news reports, and had access to photographs of the event.

The Commission further noted the tribute that was held as agreed, where the bridge located at the intersection of 116th Street and Boyacá Avenue in Bogotá (Capital District) was named after Diego Felipe Becerra Lizarazo and where the Bogotá Mayor's Office took other measures to pay tribute to the young man. The IACHR decided to continue to monitor the remaining commitments until full compliance with them had been verified.

The IACHR commends both parties on their efforts to attain a friendly settlement 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 and notes the efforts made by the petitioning party 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. 311/23

4:27 PM