Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Signing of Friendly Settlement Agreement in Case 13,642–Edgar José Sánchez Duarte, Colombia

August 3, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the signing of a friendly settlement agreement in Case 13,642, Edgar José Sánchez Duarte. The agreement was signed on July 14, 2020 by Graciela Sánchez Duarte, Arturo Mojica, and Enrique Laiton Cortes—representing the alleged victims in this case—and the Colombian State.

On February 1, 2007, the IACHR received a petition alleging that Edgar Sánchez Duarte had been subjected to an extrajudicial killing by members of the Colombian Army Unit to Fight Kidnappings and Extorsions (UNASE, by its Spanish acronym) in the city of Valledupar, in the Cesar department. The victim was allegedly followed for days until September 13, 1993, when he was shot three times while he was outside his home with his wife and two children. Petitioners alleged that the Colombian State bore international responsibility for the events that led to Mr. Sánchez Duarte’s death, and for the subsequent failure to investigate and solve the case.

On July 7, 2018, the Commission declared that petition admissible, through admissibility report no. 81/18. In the report, the IACHR concluded that it had competent jurisdiction to assess alleged violations of Articles 4 (right to life), 8 (right to a fair trial), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with Articles 1.1 and 2 of that Convention.

On May 23, 2019, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding to start working toward a friendly settlement agreement, which they signed on July 14, 2020 in Bogotá. The friendly settlement agreement that was signed holds major forms of redress, including the following: i) an event to acknowledge responsibility and extend a public apology, with an active role for the victim’s family and representatives alongside representatives of State institutions; ii) rehabilitation measures including medical, psychological, and psychosocial care, to provide adequate, timely, and priority treatment to the victim’s family through the General Social Security System for Healthcare; iii) the provision of a study grant to fund the university education of the victim’s son; and iv) financial compensation for the alleged victim’s family.

Finally, the Commission values the constant cooperative dialogue between the Colombian State and the petitioning party in bilateral negotiations to design this agreement. The IACHR calls on the relevant authorities to seek compliance with the State’s international obligations based on this agreement, until victims obtain comprehensive reparations and until full compliance is achieved. The Commission also values the good will of the petitioning party and its committed efforts to reach an agreement that allows the victim’s family to access a comprehensive restoration of their rights.

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. 189/20