Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report No. 20/20, on Case 12,961 F—Miguel Ángel Chinchilla Erazo and Others, Honduras

May 8, 2020

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) plans to approve and publish the friendly settlement agreement in Case 12,961 F—Miguel Ángel Chinchilla Erazo and Others, Honduras. This agreement was signed on June 28, 2019 by the Honduran State and Hugo Ramón Maldonado, representing the organization CODEH; Leonel Casco Gutiérrez, representing the organization APRODEH; and Fredy Omar Madrid and Gladys Ondina Matamoros, representing the victims in this case. The IACHR congratulates petitioners and the Honduran State for their efforts to achieve these results.

This case is linked to the Honduran State’s international responsibility for violations of the rights to judicial safeguards and to judicial protection, stemming from mass, unfair staff dismissals from the National Police—at various levels—though Decree 58–2001, which was published on issue 29,504 of the official journal La Gaceta on June 16, 2001. In March 2003, Honduras’ Supreme Court of Justice declared that decree unconstitutional and void, but the retroactive effects of that decision were allegedly not applied to the victims.

The parties started negotiating a friendly settlement in November 2014. They held a working meeting facilitated by Commissioner James Cavallaro on September 5, 2017, during the IACHR’s 164th Period of Sessions. On December 5, 2018, the parties held another working meeting, facilitated by Commissioner Joel Hernández, during the IACHR’s 170th Period of Sessions. These negotiations led to the signing of six friendly settlement agreements, on December 20, 2018; on January 21, 2019; on April 3, 2019; on June 12 and 28, 2019; and on September 18, 2019, respectively. In 2019, the Commission decided to approve three of those agreements, where full compliance had been attained and where financial reparations had been provided to 147 victims. In this context, the IACHR issued Report 105/19, on Case 12,961 A—Bolívar Salgado Welban and OthersReport 101/19, on Case 12,961 C, Marcial Coello Medina and Others; and Report 104/19, on Case 12,961 D—Jorge Enrique Valladares Argueñal and Others, all of them concerning Honduras. At the time, the IACHR decided to continue to facilitate negotiations in Cases 12,961 E—Jorge Alberto Cerrato Rivera and Others and 12,961 F—Miguel Ángel Chinchilla Erazo and Others, and kept these cases as friendly settlement procedures. The Commission further opted to pursue litigation in Case 12,961 G—Rufino Ferrufino Cárcamo and Others, concerning individuals who did not wish to comply with the friendly settlements that had been agreed.

In the friendly settlement agreement signed in Case 12,961 F, the parties agreed to implement one single measure—to provide financial reparations for each of the beneficiaries included in the agreement, in the form of payment of a specific sum based on the salary structure for police officers, administrative staff, and various ranks and hierarchical positions. The State provided financial compensation to the 24 beneficiaries of this friendly settlement agreement, worth a total of 9,405,000 lempiras (equivalent to approximately 378,089 dollars).

The Inter-American Commission closely monitored the implementation of the friendly settlement agreed in this case and highly commends both parties for their efforts while negotiating the agreement, which turned out to be compatible with the Convention’s aims and purposes. Further, the IACHR congratulates both parties for their disposition and willingness to work toward solving Cases 12,961 A, C, D, and F without litigation. The Commission highlights payments made for all compensation packages, as well as the fact that full compliance was attained in four agreements in favor of a total of 171 victims.

Finally, the Commission commends the Honduran State for its efforts to build a public policy concerning friendly settlements and alternative conflict-resolution. The IACHR further invites the Honduran State to continue to use the friendly settlement mechanism, both in other cases linked to Decree 58–2001 and in other matters concerning Honduras that are being dealt with in the individual petition and case system.

Friendly settlement report no. 20/20, concerning Case 12,961 F, 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. 105/20