Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report 333/20 on Case 13.421, Geminiano Gil Martínez and Family, Concerning Colombia

December 14, 2020

A+ A-

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced its decision to approve the friendly settlement agreement relating to case 13.421, Geminiano Gil Martínez and family, concerning Colombia, which was signed on December 4, 2019, by the state of Colombia and the victim’s representatives.

On December 21, 2007, the IACHR received a petition filed against the Colombian State, alleging that it was internationally responsible for violating the rights to life, personal integrity, personal liberty, a fair trial, and judicial protection, to the detriment of Mr. Geminiano Gil Martínez, who was kidnapped on December 6, 1989, while traveling from Granada, Antioquia department, to a campsite located in Corregimiento de Santa Ana, and whose body was later found with a gunshot wound to the head. According to the petitioners, these events were allegedly perpetrated by illegal armed groups, and at the time the petition was filed, they had not yet been clarified nor had those responsible for them been investigated or sanctioned.

On December 4, 2014, the parties signed a friendly settlement agreement in which the Colombian State acknowledged its international responsibility for the human rights violations that were committed to the detriment of Geminiano Gil Martínez. It also undertook to hold a private ceremony acknowledging this responsibility and to issue the appropriate invitations and reminders concerning this solemn occasion, to publish a report approving the friendly settlement agreement, and to pay financial reparation in light of the mechanism established in Law 288 of 1996.

In response, in Friendly Settlement Agreement Report No. 333/2020, the IACHR deemed that the commitments regarding the private ceremony acknowledging responsibility had been fully complied with, including the issuing of invitations and reminders. At the same time, the IACHR deemed that the measures relating to the publication of the agreement and the financial compensation should be implemented after the approval report is issued, and therefore deemed compliance with them to still be pending. Consequently, the friendly settlement agreement was approved with partial compliance. The IACHR will therefore continue to supervise compliance with these aspects of the agreement until it has been fully implemented and it urges the State to take the necessary steps to achieve this.

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 an agreement that would be compatible with the objectives of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. The IACHR applauds the efforts that the Colombian State has made to reach solutions through the individual petition and case system’s friendly settlement mechanism and congratulates it on having partially implemented this friendly settlement agreement. It also wishes to congratulate the petitioning party on the efforts it made to move the friendly settlement process forward. 

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. 297/20