Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report No. 213/20 on Case 13,319—William Fernández Becerra and Family, Colombia

September 28, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) plans to approve the friendly settlement agreement in Case 13,319—William Fernández Becerra and Family. The victims, their representatives, and the Colombian State signed this agreement on April 29, 2020.

On July 23, 2008, the IACHR received a petition filed by Luis Guillermo Serrano Escobar (representing the alleged victims) against the Colombian State. The petition alleged that the State was responsible for the events that surrounded the death of William Fernández Becerra, aged 17 at the time, in the early hours of August 26, 1996, on the Panamericana road connecting the towns of Popayán and Pasto, in the municipality of Mercaderes. Fernández Becerra died after being shot six times, allegedly by officers of the Colombian National Police who were on a mission to fight road robbery.

On July 16, 2019, the parties formally launched negotiations in search of a friendly settlement, which led to the signing of this friendly settlement agreement. In this agreement, the Colombian State acknowledged its international responsibility for violations of Articles 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 19 (rights of the child), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights.

In this friendly settlement agreement, the State further committed to providing redress through measures that included holding an event to acknowledge responsibility and publicize these events, and providing healthcare and financial compensation to the victim’s family, to ensure reparation for the material and immaterial damage caused to them.

In Friendly Settlement Report 213/20, the IACHR found that compliance with measures held in clauses 2 (Satisfaction measures), 3 (Health measures), and 4 (Compensation) remained pending. The Commission therefore decided to continue to monitor them until full implementation is achieved.

The Commission commends the parties for making the most of IACHR facilitation in their negotiations. The IACHR urges the Colombian State to keep working to implement pending measures until it attains full compliance with all the commitments it made and provides comprehensive reparations for the victims.

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. 236/20