Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report No. 34/19 on Case 11.990A, Oscar Orlando Bueno Bonnet et al., Colombia

April 12, 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to publish the friendly settlement report concerning Case 11.990 (Oscar Orlando Bueno Bonnet, Colombia).

The case concerns the extrajudicial execution of Oscar Orlando Bueno Bonnet, Jefferson González Oquendo and Jean Carlo Cavarique (who was a child at the time) by officers of the Colombian State on January 10, 1997 in the department of Arauca, as well as the failure to investigate those events and punish the people responsible for them.

On October 23, 2010, the Commission approved Admissibility Report No. 124/10, where it deemed the case admissible for alleged violations of the rights protected in Articles 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 13 (right to freedom of thought and expression), 19 (rights of the child) and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention.

The parties signed a friendly settlement on May 6, 2015, in the context of a working meeting they held in the presence of the Commission, during the working visit to the country conducted by Commissioner José Jesús Orozco, IACHR Rapporteur for Colombia. Later, the parties signed two addenda to the agreement, on March 3 and December 11, 2017. On February 12, 2019—in the context of a working meeting facilitated by the Commission during its 171st Period of Sessions in Sucre, Bolivia—the parties signed a final friendly settlement incorporating the changes made in the two addenda, and they jointly requested IACHR approval of that final settlement. The friendly settlement includes the following clauses:

I. Acknowledgement of international responsibility: The Colombian State acknowledges its international responsibility for violations of the rights protected in Article 4 (against young men Oscar Orlando Bueno Bonnet and Jefferson González Oquendo) and Articles 5, 8 and 25 (against victims and their families) of the American Convention, for the events that happened on January 10, 1997 and involved members of the security forces shooting Oscar Orlando Bueno Bonnet and Jefferson González Oquendo in Saravena, Arauca [...].

II. Concerning the administration of justice: The parties acknowledge the progress that has been made in this case concerning the administration of justice. However, the State commits to continuing to exercise its obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish the people responsible for those events.

III. Satisfaction measures:

1. The State commits to posting on the websites of the Presidential Human Rights Department and the National Agency for the State’s Legal Defense the report issued by the Commission in accordance with Article 49 of the American Convention on Human Rights to approve the final friendly settlement.

2. Grant to cover tuition and living expenses: The State commits to granting Kevin Andrey Bueno Solano and Gabriela Esmeralda Bueno Galvis grants worth 70,000,000 Colombian pesos to cover tuition for an undergraduate academic program at a Colombian institution, as well as to fund their living expenses. As an exception, funds will be made available for Gabriela Bueno (on the same terms as for undergraduate studies), so she may pay her tuition fees to complete a postgraduate academic program at a Colombian higher education institution [...]. Grant to cover tuition and living expenses for Jefferson Villamizar worth 50,000,000 Colombian pesos, so he may fund his technical or technological education [...].

IV. Guarantees of non-repetition: [...] With a view to ensuring the formulation and adoption of strategies to prevent recruitment and use of children and adolescents in the municipality of Saravena, the State—through the Presidential Human Rights Department and the Technical Secretariat of the Cross-Sectional Commission to Prevent Recruitment, Use and Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents—will host the following activities:

a) Rights mapping with children and adolescents, through four workshops (each lasting 4-5 hours and involving a different group of 25 children and adolescents from the municipality), to gather their impressions about protecting and exercising rights.
b) Workshop to socialize with children, adolescents and institutions the results of those rights-mapping exercises.
c) Workshop for local institutions and authorities, to develop a strategy to prevent the three stages of recruitment.
d) Participatory workshop for children and adolescents, to identify inputs and other elements that are set to be incorporated into the new public policy instrument.
e) Training for the security forces on the adoption of a differentiated approach focused on children [...].

V. Financial reparation measures: The State commits to implementing Act 288 of 1996 once this Friendly Settlement is approved—when the Commission issues its approval report in keeping with Article 49 of the American Convention—with a view to providing reparations for any material or immaterial damage that is proved to have been caused to the families of the victims listed in the annex, as long as they prove that their claims are legitimate and as long as they have not received compensation through administrative courts. The Defense Ministry will be charged with implementing Act 288 of 1996.

The Inter-American Commission closely followed the implementation of the friendly settlement that was agreed in this case and highly commends both parties for their efforts while negotiating the friendly settlement, which turned out to be compatible with the Commission’s aims and purposes.

In its report, the IACHR noted that Clause 1 of the friendly settlement involved a statement and that parts a), b), c) and d) of Clause 3 have attained full compliance. Concerning clauses 2 and 4, the Commission considered that there had been partial compliance. Finally, the IACHR noted that compliance with Clause 5 and with part e) of Clause 3 remained pending. The Commission asked the State to keep conducting the actions necessary to fully implement the friendly settlement, and it reminded the parties of their commitment to periodically report to the IACHR on their efforts to ensure compliance with those clauses.

The IACHR noted that this friendly settlement had been executed to a significant degree, with partial compliance. The Commission therefore noted that it would continue to monitor the implementation of clauses 2, 4 and 5 of that friendly settlement until they were fully implemented.

The Commission commends the Colombian State on its efforts to solve cases that are taken before the friendly settlement mechanism and to develop a friendly settlement policy and a policy based on compliance with decisions made by the Inter-American Human Rights System. The Commission further congratulates the petitioning party for all its efforts to contribute to improving the friendly settlement procedure.

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. 096/19