Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Friendly Settlement Signed in Petition 314-09, German Eduardo Giraldo Agudelo and Family

December 3, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the signing of a friendly settlement agreement in Case 13,776, German Eduardo Giraldo Agudelo and Family. The agreement was signed on September 9, 2019 by Sandra Villegas Posada—representing the alleged victims in this case—and the Colombian State.

On March 19, 2009, the IACHR received a petition alleging the arbitrary arrest and subsequent extrajudicial killing of Mr. German Eduardo Giraldo by civilians who were allegedly working for the Special Armed Command of the National Police, in events that were said to have taken place on January 25, 1991 in the municipality of Copacabana, Antioquia. Mr. Giraldo’s family found out about his death through media reports that said he had died in clashes during the operation to rescue journalist Diana Turbay and identified Mr. Giraldo as a one of her kidnappers. Petitioners alleged that the Colombian State bore international responsibility for events around Mr. Giraldo’s death, and for the failure to investigate and solve the case.

On April 24, 2019, the Commission declared that petition admissible, through report no. 46/19. In the report, the IACHR concluded that it had competent jurisdiction to assess alleged violations of Articles 3 (right to juridical personality), 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 7 (right to personal liberty), 8 (right to a fair trial), 11 (right to privacy), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with Articles 1.1 and 2 of that Convention.

On April 12, 2019, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding to start working toward a friendly settlement agreement. They eventually signed the agreement on September 9, 2019 in Bogotá. The friendly settlement agreement that was signed holds major satisfaction measures, including the following: i) an event to acknowledge responsibility, with an active role for victim’s family and representatives alongside representatives of State institutions; ii) moves to investigate, try, and punish anyone responsible for German Eduardo Giraldo’s death in order to establish the real motives for that death; iii) the provision of a study grant to fund the ongoing university education of the victim’s son; iv) rehabilitation measures including medical, psychological, and psychosocial care, to provide adequate, timely, and priority treatment to the victim’s family through the General Social Security System for Healthcare; iv) training for military criminal law judges, public prosecutors, and magistrates concerning human rights, efforts to collect, guard, and assess evidence, with a curriculum that expressly addresses the examination and analysis of the events that gave rise to the petition filed before the IACHR in connection with Mr. German Eduardo Giraldo Agudelo’s death; and v) financial compensation for the alleged victim’s family.

The Commission welcomes full compliance with the event to acknowledge responsibility, which was held on September 21, 2019 in the Santa Cruz neighborhood, in Medellin’s second district. The event was chaired by Deputy Minister for the Promotion of Justice Juanita Maria Lopez and it was broadly publicized in various Colombian media.

Finally, the Commission values the synergies for constant cooperative dialogue between the Colombian State and the petitioning party in bilateral negotiations to design this agreement. The IACHR calls on the relevant authorities to seek compliance with the State’s remaining international obligations based on this agreement, until victims obtain comprehensive reparations and until full compliance with the agreement is achieved. The Commission also values the good will of the petitioning party and its committed efforts to reach an agreement that allows the victim’s family to access a comprehensive restoration of their rights.

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. 315/19