Press Release

IACHR Announces the Publication of Report No. 80/20 on Case 13.370, Luis Horacio Patiño and Family, Concerning Colombia

June 19, 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 case 13.370, Luis Horacio Patiño and family, concerning Colombia, which was signed on December 3, 2019, by the state of Colombia and Libardo Preciado Niño, representing the petitioner.

On March 7, 2007, the IACHR received a petition presented by Libardo Preciado Camargo and Libardo Preciado Niño in which they alleged that the Republic of Colombia was internationally responsible for the events surrounding the death of Luis Horacio Patiño Agudelo on January 18, 1996, at which time he was in the custody of the state while serving a sentence for the crime of homicide at El Barne National Penitentiary in the municipality of Combita, Boyacá. It also alleged that the state was responsible for the lack of investigation and clarification of the events in question.

On September 3, 2019, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding which led to the signing of a friendly settlement agreement on December 3, 2019.

In this friendly settlement agreement, the state committed to the following:

1. Hold an official ceremony to acknowledge responsibility;
2. Create banners with a photo of Luis Horacio Patiño;
3. Publish the IACHR’s approval report for the friendly settlement agreement on the websites of the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC) and the National Legal Defense Authority;
4. Include the facts of the case as a teaching point in human rights training courses given by the National Penitentiary School;
5. Grant economic compensation in accordance with the procedure established in Law 288 of 1996.

It should be noted that the official ceremony to acknowledge responsibility was held online on April 24, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony was chaired by the director of the National Legal Defense Authority, Camilo Gómez Alzate, and was also attended by the director of human rights at the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC), Alejandra Restrepo; the victim’s family members and the petitioners; judges from the High Court of Tunja; other members of the judiciary; the director of the Internal Action Foundation, Johanna Bahamón; the IACHR rapporteur for Colombia, Commissioner Antonia Urrejola; the assistant executive secretary of the IACHR, Marisol Blanchard; and technical staff from the IACHR Executive Secretariat. The ceremony was broadcast live on YouTube and is available at the following link.

With regard to the other clauses of the friendly settlement agreement, the IACHR noted that the parties have created work plans to implement these in due course. In its report, the IACHR therefore deemed that the agreement had been partially implemented.

The IACHR monitored the development of this friendly settlement closely and praised the two parties for the efforts they made during the negotiations toward reaching a friendly settlement agreement that would be compatible with the objectives of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, the IACHR rapporteur for Colombia, acknowledged the efforts made by the Colombian state and the victim’s relatives and representatives to hold the ceremony online. She emphasized that “in these unprecedented conditions, in which the world we knew is no longer the same, we must continue our fight. There is no quarantine and no social distancing for human rights, and today’s ceremony is proof of this. I think I’m right to say that this ceremony acknowledging the state’s responsibility is unprecedented in the history of the Inter-American System of Human Rights. Thank you for finding an alternative way of holding the ceremony in memory of Luis Horacio Patiño Agudelo.” The IACHR commended both parties for their willingness to move toward settling this issue through nonadversarial means. It will continue to monitor the implementation of the remaining measures until they have 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.

The Friendly Settlement Report No. 80/20 on Case 13.370 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. 141/20