Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report No. 1/20 on Case 13,776, Germán Eduardo Giraldo and Family, Colombia

February 18, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) plans to approve the friendly settlement agreement in Case 13,776, Germán Eduardo Giraldo Agudelo and Family. This agreement was signed on September 9, 2019 by the Colombian State and Sandra Villegas Posada—of the petitioning organization Javier Villegas Posadas, representing the victims in this case.

On March 19, 2009, the IACHR received a petition filed by the organization Javier Leónidas Villegas Posadas, which alleged that the Colombian State was internationally responsible for the arbitrary arrest and subsequent extrajudicial killing of Mr. Germán Eduardo Giraldo on January 25, 1991, by a group of armed men in plain clothes who wore bracelets that identified them as officers of law-enforcement agencies, while he was at his sister’s home.

On April 12, 2019, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding that led to a friendly settlement agreement signed on September 9, 2019. On October 16, 2019, the parties jointly submitted to the Commission a document on progress made to implement the agreement and requested its approval.

In this friendly settlement agreement, the State agreed to take the following measures:

1. continuing to exercise its obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish the people responsible for these events;
2. holding an event to acknowledge responsibility;
3. granting financial aid to support the education of the victim’s son;
4. granting medical, psychological, and psychosocial assistance to the victims;
5. continuing to deliver to judges, public prosecutors, and magistrates of military criminal courts training on human rights and on efforts to collect, store, and assess evidence;
6. including the events addressed in this petition as a topic for study and examination in training sessions for public officials;
7. granting financial compensation, in accordance with Act 288 of 1996.

In friendly settlement report 1/20, the Commission highlighted the fact that there had been full compliance with article 2, concerning the event to acknowledge responsibility. It noted that the public event to acknowledge responsibility had been held on September 21, 2019 in the Santa Cruz neighborhood, in Medellín’s second district. This event was chaired by the Deputy Minister for the Promotion of Justice and brought together victims and their relatives along with the petitioners, officials of the Medellín Mayor’s Office, residents of the Santa Cruz neighborhood in Medellín’s second district, officers of the National Police, and representatives of the National Agency for the State’s Legal Defense, among other national and local organizations.

Concerning the remaining articles in this friendly settlement agreement, the IACHR observed that the parties had drafted plans to ensure a timely implementation. The Commission therefore found that partial compliance had been attained in this case. In its report, the IACHR said it would continue to oversee efforts to attain full compliance with the measures that were still being implemented.

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 Convention’s aims and purposes. In this context, the Commission congratulates both parties for their disposition and willingness to work toward solving this issue without litigation. The Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of all pending measures until full compliance is attained. Finally, the Commission commends the Colombian State for its efforts to build a public policy concerning friendly settlements and alternative conflict-resolution.

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. 044/20