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Coalition of Organizations Call on Haiti to Prosecute Jean-Claude Duvalier

Posted on: Friday, January 21, 2011

Keywords: Haiti

As organizations concerned with human rights in Haiti, we call on the Government of Haiti to immediately take steps to investigate and prosecute Jean-Claude Duvalier for human rights violations committed during his 1971-86 rule of Haiti.  Scores of human rights investigations, legal cases, victim testimonies, and in-depth reports provide ample evidence to commence formal proceedings against Jean-Claude Duvalier. While the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute Duvalier rests squarely with the Government of Haiti, we call on the international community to provide all needed assistance to enable Haiti to fully and promptly investigate and prosecute him.  Given the fragile state of Haiti’s infrastructure following the January 12, 2010 earthquake and the current cholera and electoral crises, significant international assistance may be needed. 

During Jean-Claude Duvalier’s regime, systematic killings, “disappearances,” torture, and other ill-treatment were widespread.  These crimes were often carried out by the infamous paramilitary force known as the Tontons Macoutes (or officially as the Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale), as well as special units of the armed forces of Haiti and local authorities empowered with brutal force.  The crimes left many thousands dead, wounded, or in exile and amounted to crimes against humanity.  Under international law, Haiti is obligated to investigate and prosecute such acts, which are not subject to otherwise relevant statutes of limitation.

Jean-Claude Duvalier’s arrival in Port-au-Prince on January 16 provides the Government of Haiti an unprecedented opportunity to right the wrongs of the past through the rule of law.  By thoroughly investigating and effectively prosecuting these crimes, the Government of Haiti would finally end the impunity that Duvalier has enjoyed since he fled into exile in France in 1986.  It would also provide well-deserved hope to those who have waited decades for their persecutors to be brought to justice.  And–at a crucial moment in the country’s political process—it will demonstrate that while the constitution may be paper, it can be mightier than the bayonet.

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Antan ke òganizasyon ki konsène ak dwa moun an Ayiti, nou mande Gouvènman Ayiti-a pou li pran imedyatman tout mezi pou fè ankèt ak pouswiv Jean-Claude Duvalier pou vyolasyon dwa moun pandan ane li te fè sou pouvwa-a de 1971 a 1986. Nòt nan ankèt dwa moun, afè jiridik, temwayaj viktim, ak rapò detaye bay ase prèv pou kòmanse pwosedi fòmèl kont Jean-Claude Duvalier. Pandan ke responsabilite prensipal pouf è ankèt ak pouswi Duvalier chita franchman sou do Gouvènman Ayiti-a, nou mande kominote entènasyonal la pou bay tout èd ki nesesè pou Ayiti kapab fè ankèt ak pouswiv li tout bon, epi prese. Daprè jan eta efrastrikti Ayiti frajil aprè tranblemendetè 12 janvye 2010 la, ak kriz ki gen kounye-a akòz kolera ak eleksyon-an, yo ka bezwen anpil èd kote kominote entènasyonal la.

Sou pouvwa Jean-Claude Duvalier, asasinay, “disparisyon”, tòti, ak lòt move tretman te konn fèt toupatou. Apil fwa krim sa yo se fòs paramilitè ke yo konnen sou non Tonton Makout (oswa ofisyèlman sou non Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale) kit e konn fè yo, ansanm ak tout inite spesyal fòs lame Dayiti ansanm ak otorite local yo kit e genyen yon fò brital. Krim sa yo fè plis pase mil moun mouri, blese, oswa an ekzil, ak lòt krim kont limanite. Daprè dwa entènasyonal la, Ayiti oblije fè envestigasyon ak pouswiv jan de zak sa yo, ki pa ale anba lwa sou limitasyon yo.

Jean-Claude Duvalier ki vini nan Pòtoprens nan dat 18 janvye-a bay Gouvènman Ayiti-a yon gwo opòtinite pou ranje tout sa ki te fèt mal nan lepase daprè lalwa. Lè fè yon bon envestigasyon ak ale devan lajistis pou krim sa yo, Gouvènman Ayiti-a tap fini ak zafè enpinite ke Duvalier tap jwi depi lè li te ale nan egzil an Frans an 1986. An mèm tan sa t’ap bay lespwa bay tout sa ki t’ap tann depi lontan ke moun ki t’ap pèsekite yo-a pase devan lajistis. Epi – nan yon moman enpòtan nan pwosesis politik peyi-a – l’ap montre ke menm si konstitisyon-an se papye, li gen plis pouvwa pase bayonet.

 

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Sachant que plusieurs organisations s’inquiètent de la situation des droits humains à Haïti, nous demandons au Gouvernement d’Haïti de prendre immédiatement les moyens nécessaires pour enquêter et poursuivre Jean-Claude Duvalier pour les violations des droits humains commises durant sa présidence à Haïti de 1971 a 1986. Des dizaines d’enquêtes, d’affaires juridiques, de témoignages de victimes et de rapports en profondeur relativement aux droits humains donnent de nombreuses preuves pour initier des procédures juridiques et politiques formelles contre Jean-Claude Duvalier. Sachant que la responsabilité première d’enquêter et de poursuivre Duvalier reste définitivement du ressort du Gouvernement d’Haïti, nous en appelons à la communauté internationale pour fournir toute l’assistance nécessaire pour permettre à Haïti d’enquêter et de poursuivre Duvalier de manière complète et prompte. Compte tenu l’infrastructure fragile de l’État haïtien suite au tremblement de terre du 12 Janvier 2010, à la vague actuelle de choléra frappant la population et suite aux différentes crises électorales, une assistance internationale significative sera nécessaire.

Durant le régime de Jean-Claude Duvalier, des persécutions systématiques, des disparitions forcées, de la torture et autres traitements dégradants furent répandus.  Ces crimes ont souvent été commis par les forces paramilitaires connues sous le nom de Tontons Macoutes (ou officiellement sous les Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale), ainsi que par les unités spéciales des forces armées d’Haïti et les autorités locales prises sous la force brutale. Les crimes ont laissé des milliers de morts, de blessés ou d’exilés, soit assimilables à des crimes contre l’humanité. Sous le droit international, Haïti a l’obligation d’enquêter et de poursuivre ces actes, qui  ne sont pas assujettis à d’autres délais de prescription pertinents.

L’arrivée de Jean-Claude Duvalier à Port-au-Prince le 16 Janvier 2011 fournit au Gouvernement d’Haïti une opportunité inédite de redresser les torts du passé à l’aide de la règle de droit. En approfondissant les enquêtes et en poursuivant efficacement ces crimes, le Gouvernement d’Haïti pourrait finalement mettre un terme à l’impunité dont Duvalier a pu jouir depuis le moment de son départ en exil en France en 1986. Cela donnerait également un espoir bien mérité à tous ceux qui ont attendu des décennies pour que les persécuteurs soient amenés en justice. Finalement, dans un moment crucial du processus politique haïtien, une telle action montrerait que même si la constitution ne semble être qu’un morceau de papier, elle peut être plus puissante que la baïonnette.

 

January 20, 2011

 

Signatories:

MADRE
Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law
Dr. Paul Farmer,* co-founder Partners In Health, Professor Harvard University, Kolokotroneo University
Center for Constitutional Rights
Allan K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School
Human Rights Clinic University of Miami School of Law
Asociación Nacional de Centros (ANC)
International Human Rights Law Clinic and Human Rights Program
University of Virginia School of Law
Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic
University of Minnesota Law School
International Action Ties
Friends of the Earth – Amigos de la Tierra
Comisión de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH)
Immigration Clinic
William S. Boyd School of Law
University of Nevada
Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham Law School
Other Worlds
Lamp for Haiti Foundation
Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights
University of Cincinnati College of Law
Refugio del Rio Grande, Inc.
Immigrant Rights Project, University of Tulsa College of Law
Immigration Law Clinic, University of California Davis School of Law
Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)
Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos (AMAP)
Center for Justice& Accountability
UnityAyiti
Canada Haiti Action Network/Reseau de solidarite Canada-Haiti
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
University of California Hastings College of the Law
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Haitian National Coalition for the Environment (KNAA)
Haiti Dream Keeper Archives
Center for Social Justice
Seton Hall University School of Law
Beyond Borders
Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye
Let Haiti Live
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Haiti
Physicians for Haiti
International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE)
Instituto Peruano de Educacion en Derechos Humas y la Paz (IPDEDEHP)
St. Boniface Haiti Foundation
Montreal-Haiti Solidarity Committee
School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch)
UCF Haitian Sutdies Project
All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)
Paloma Institute
Global Exchange
Green Cities Fund, Inc.
Institute of Redress & Recovery at Santa Clara University
Alliance for Global Justice
Central American Legal Assistance
Nicaragua Center for Community Action (NICCA)
St Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America
The National Lawyers Guild International Committee
Konpay
National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
Kentucky Interfaith Taskforce on Latin America and the Caribbean (KITLAC)
Essex Transitional Justice Network
University of Essex
National Lawyers Guild Task Force on the Americas
American Association of Jurists (AAJ)



* Dr. Paul Farmer signed on in his individual capacity
 


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