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IACHR Publishes Report No. 37/19 on Case 12,190, José Luis Tapia and other Carabineros, Chile

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WASHINGTON.- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve the friendly settlement concerning Case 12,190—José Luis Tapia and other Carabineros, Chile—and to publish the relevant approval report. The IACHR noted that there had been full compliance with the agreement and congratulated petitioners and the State of Chile for their efforts to achieve those results.

The case concerns the international responsibility of the Chilean State for events where a group of Carabineros (officers of Chile’s national police) were subjected to an arbitrary procedure where they were rated, later dismissed and eventually denied justice by the highest judicial institutions of the Chilean State. Those Carabineros are considered victims of a legal procedure that violated their basic rights and lacked judicial safeguards. On March 8, 2018, the parties signed a friendly settlement that includes the following clauses:

Clause I. Acknowledgement of the facts: Through this friendly settlement, the State acknowledges the facts held in the petition that was submitted to the Commission.

Clause II. Financial reparations: The State commits to paying each of the petitioning former Carabineros a peso sum equivalent to US$ 17,000, as reparations for any harm—whether material or immaterial—that may have been caused […].

Clause III. Creation of a monitoring committee: In order to monitor compliance with the commitments made in this friendly settlement, the parties agree to create a “Monitoring Committee” coordinated by representatives of the Human Rights Department at the Foreign Ministry and of the Office of the Under Secretary for Human Rights at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. A representative of Chile’s Carabineros will also be part of that Committee, and so will the victims’ lawyer. Members of the Committee will need to agree on the method and frequency required for their meetings. The Committee will need to submit reports to the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR, detailing progress concerning the commitments made in this friendly settlement, whenever the Committee thinks such a report would be appropriate or whenever the Executive Secretariat requests such a report.

The Inter-American Commission closely followed the implementation of the friendly settlement that was agreed in this case. The IACHR highly commends both parties on their efforts while negotiating the friendly settlement, which turned out to be compatible with the Convention’s aims and purposes. In its approval report, the IACHR stated that this friendly settlement had been fully complied with.

Finally, the Commission commends the Chilean State on its efforts to solve cases that are taken before the friendly settlement mechanism and to develop a friendly settlement policy and a policy based on compliance with decisions made by the Inter-American Human Rights System. The Commission further congratulates the petitioning party for all its efforts to contribute to improving the friendly settlement procedure.

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 defense of 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.

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