Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report No. 2/20 on Case 12,915—Ángel Díaz Cruz and Others, Mexico

March 12, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve the friendly settlement agreement concerning Case 12,915—Ángel Díaz Cruz and Others, Mexico—which was signed on January 28, 2016 by Ricardo López Hernández, José Leonardo López Hernández, Cristina Reyna Cruz López, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, and the Mexican State.

On November 16, 2006, the IACHR received a petition filed by the civic association that runs the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, alleging that the Mexican State was internationally responsible for the death of Ángel Díaz Cruz, aged 9 at the time, and for injuries caused to Ricardo López Hernández, aged 11 at the time, and José Leonardo López Hernández, all of them Tsotsil indigenous persons. These events were allegedly caused by an explosive device that belonged to Mexico’s Federal Army on December 17, 2000, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the state of Chiapas. The petitioners further alleged that these events had been handled by military courts and that the individuals responsible for them remained unpunished.

On September 3, 2015, the parties signed a note where they expressed their interest in reaching a friendly settlement agreement. They eventually signed the agreement on January 28, 2016. On September 24, in the context of a working meeting facilitated by Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, IACHR Rapporteur for Mexico, the parties jointly asked the Commission to approve the agreement.

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

• Investigating these events;
• Providing comprehensive healthcare to victims and their close family;
• Registering victims and their close family for the public health insurance scheme;
• Providing education grants for nine of the victims’ relatives;
• Taking all measures necessary to ensure that José Leonardo López Hernández and Ricardo López Hernández can join the National Forest Commission’s fire brigades in San Cristóbal de las Casas;
• Holding an event to publicly acknowledge responsibility;
• Promoting the event to publicly acknowledge responsibility:
• Renaming the community clinic in El Aguaje, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, as “Ángel Díaz Cruz,” to remember the boy who was killed;
• Holding training sessions for justice operators;
• Granting financial compensation for material and immaterial damage caused to the victims;
• Implementing a productive project for each of the victims.

In the context of the friendly settlement procedure, the Commission verified that the Mexican State had fully complied with all items related to healthcare. The IACHR also confirmed full compliance with the item that required study grants for nine beneficiaries of the agreement.

The Commission acknowledged full compliance with the requirement of an event to acknowledge responsibility, which took place on January 28, 2016, at the Chiapas Autonomous University’s Law School auditorium, in the ceremony where the friendly settlement agreement was signed. The Commission also found that there had been full compliance with the item on the promotion of the event to acknowledge responsibility, since the State publicized it with a press release posted in the media section of the Interior Ministry website and the Foreign Ministry published the friendly settlement agreement on its website.

In its friendly settlement report, the IACHR said that full compliance had also been attained in the items linked to training sessions for justice operators and financial compensation for the victims. The Commission found partial compliance with the item linked to the healthcare center and the plaque to provide satisfaction for victims’ relatives—the State is waiting for the Finance Ministry to assess plans to build and equip El Aguaje Micro-Regional Healthcare Center.

In its assessment, the IACHR noted that there had been full compliance with nine out of the thirteen measures held in the friendly settlement agreement. It therefore decided to continue to monitor articles 3.2 (investigation), 3.8 (employment for victims), 3.11 (healthcare facility with plaque), and 3.15 (productive project).

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 Mexican State for its efforts to build a public policy concerning friendly settlements and alternative conflict-resolution.

Friendly settlement report no. 2/20, concerning Case 12,915, is available here.

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. 054/20