Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Signing of Friendly Settlement Agreement in Case of Luis Horacio Patiño and his Family

December 17, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the signing of a friendly settlement agreement between petitioners and the Colombian State in Case 13,370, Luis Horacio Patiño and his Family, Colombia.

On March 7, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received a petition alleging the Colombian State’s international responsibility for the events around the death of Mr. Luis Horacio Patiño while he was in the custody of the State, and for failing to investigate those events. On September 7, 2017, the Commission said the case was admissible with regard to Articles 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with Articles 1.1 and 2 of that Convention, and to Articles 1 (obligation to prevent and punish torture), 6 (effective measures to prevent and punish torture), and 8 (ex-officio investigations of torture cases) of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture.

On December 3, 2019, in Bogotá, the parties signed a friendly settlement agreement that requires—as a reparation measure—holding an event at the Cómbita Incarceration Facility in Boyacá, for the Colombian State to publicly apologize and acknowledge responsibility for these events, with the active involvement of the petitioners and of the alleged victim’s family, and in the presence of officials of the National Institute of Prisons and Penitentiary Facilities. The State committed to displaying posters with Mr. Horacio Patiño Agudelo’s photo and background at five national incarceration facilities, to preserve historical memory concerning these events.

The State also committed to publishing the IACHR’s report concerning the approval of this friendly settlement agreement—if applicable—and to posting it on the website of the National Institute of Prisons and Penitentiary Facilities and the National Agency for the State’s Legal Defense. This friendly settlement agreement also commits the State to organizing training courses about human rights to improve penitentiary services, including among the topics the lessons learned from this case. Finally, the agreement includes financial reparations in keeping with Act 288 of 1996, to compensate beneficiaries for any material or immaterial damage caused to the alleged victim that has not been covered in domestic judicial proceedings.

The Commission values the collaborative dialogue between the Colombian State and the petitioning party in bilateral negotiations to design this friendly settlement agreement. The IACHR calls on the relevant authorities to seek compliance with the State’s international obligations based on this agreement, until the victim’s family obtains 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. 325/19