Press Release

IACHR Expresses Satisfaction over Colombia's Acknowledgment of Responsibility

August 12, 2011

Washington, D.C., August 12, 2011—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its satisfaction over the fact that Colombia held a public ceremony to acknowledge the State's international responsibility in the case of Manuel Cepeda Vargas.

According to information the Commission has received, on August 9, 2011, the Colombian government held the public act of acknowledgment of responsibility in Case No. 12.531, Manuel Cepeda Vargas. This marks a step forward in the resolution of a case the IACHR took to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in November 2008. The Court handed down its judgment on May 26, 2010.

The case involves the extrajudicial execution of Senator Manuel Cepeda Vargas—a leader of the National Directorate of the Colombian Communist Party and a high-profile member of the political party Union Patriótica—on August 9, 1994, in Bogotá. The case also has to do with the lack of due diligence in the investigation, the failure to punish those responsible for the victim's execution, the subsequent obstruction of justice, and the lack of adequate reparation to the victim’s next of kin.

The Commission recognizes the value of the public acknowledgment of international responsibility in the case of Senator Cepeda Vargas and draws attention to the public apology offered to the victims by representatives of the State, a critical gesture within the spirit of the reparations ordered by the Court.

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 human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. 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. 90/11