Press Release

IACHR Announces Publication of Report No. 84/20 on Petition 595-09, Jorge Alberto Montes Gallego and Family, Concerning Colombia

June 12, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced its decision to approve the friendly settlement agreement relating to petition 595-09, Jorge Alberto Montes Gallego and family, concerning Colombia, which was signed on October 18, 2019 by the state of Colombia and Miguel Piñeros Rey, representing the petitioner.

On March 30, 2009, the IACHR received a petition presented by Miguel Piñeros Rey which alleged that the state of Colombia was internationally responsible for the death of Jorge Alberto Montes Gallego on July 19, 1994. The victim was allegedly killed by members of illegal armed groups who blocked the Villavicencio–San Martín Road for approximately six hours, preventing the victim from reaching a hospital in time to receive the treatment he needed after having received several gunshot wounds. Subsequently, the relatives of Mr. Montes Gallegos were allegedly forced to leave the area where they were living as they believed their lives to be at risk.

On August 26, 2019, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding which led to the signing of a friendly settlement agreement on October 18, 2019. In this friendly settlement agreement, the state committed to:

1. Holding a private ceremony to acknowledge responsibility;

2. Publishing a description of events on the website of the National Legal Defense Authority for six months.

3. Granting financial compensation in accordance with the procedure established in Law 288 of 1996.

In its friendly settlement report, the IACHR evaluated the measures of satisfaction that had been implemented, through which the state committed to holding a private ceremony acknowledging its responsibility, giving a letter of apology to the victim’s family, and publishing the approval report on the National Legal Defense Authority website for six months. With regard to clause 3, which concerns financial reparation, the IACHR observed that, according to the mechanism established in Law 288 of 1996, this measure must be complied with once the approval report has been issued. It therefore deemed compliance with this measure to be pending. The IACHR took note of the commitments the state has made and note the aspects of the friendly settlement agreement that remain pending and will continue to be monitored until they have been fully complied with.

The IACHR monitored the development of the friendly settlement closely and praised the two parties for the efforts they made during the negotiations toward reaching an agreement that would be compatible with the objectives of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. The IACHR commended both parties for their willingness to move toward settling this issue through nonadversarial means. It will continue to monitor implementation of the remaining measure until this has been fully complied with. The IACHR also congratulated the state of Colombia for its efforts to develop public policy on friendly settlements and alternative forms of dispute resolution.

Friendly Settlement Report No. 84/20 on petition 595-09 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. 135/20