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

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 theVolontaires de la S�curit� 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 �ganizasyon ki kons�ne ak dwa moun an Ayiti, nou mande Gouv�nman Ayiti-a pou li pran imedyatman tout mezi pou f� ank�t ak pouswiv Jean-Claude Duvalier pou vyolasyon dwa moun pandan ane li te f� sou pouvwa-a de 1971 a 1986. N�t nan ank�t dwa moun, af� jiridik, temwayaj viktim, ak rap� detaye bay ase pr�v pou k�manse pwosedi f�m�l kont Jean-Claude Duvalier. Pandan ke responsabilite prensipal pouf � ank�t ak pouswi Duvalier chita franchman sou do Gouv�nman Ayiti-a, nou mande kominote ent�nasyonal la pou bay tout �d ki neses� pou Ayiti kapab f� ank�t ak pouswiv li tout bon, epi prese. Dapr� jan eta efrastrikti Ayiti frajil apr� tranblemendet� 12 janvye 2010 la, ak kriz ki gen kounye-a ak�z kolera ak eleksyon-an, yo ka bezwen anpil �d kote kominote ent�nasyonal la.

Sou pouvwa Jean-Claude Duvalier, asasinay, "disparisyon", t�ti, ak l�t move tretman te konn f�t toupatou. Apil fwa krim sa yo se f�s paramilit� ke yo konnen sou non Tonton Makout (oswa ofisy�lman sou non Volontaires de la S�curit� Nationale) kit e konn f� yo, ansanm ak tout inite spesyal f�s lame Dayiti ansanm ak otorite local yo kit e genyen yon f� brital. Krim sa yo f� plis pase mil moun mouri, blese, oswa an ekzil, ak l�t krim kont limanite. Dapr� dwa ent�nasyonal la, Ayiti oblije f� envestigasyon ak pouswiv jan de zak sa yo, ki pa ale anba lwa sou limitasyon yo.

Jean-Claude Duvalier ki vini nan P�toprens nan dat 18 janvye-a bay Gouv�nman Ayiti-a yon gwo op�tinite pou ranje tout sa ki te f�t mal nan lepase dapr� lalwa. L� f� yon bon envestigasyon ak ale devan lajistis pou krim sa yo, Gouv�nman Ayiti-a tap fini ak zaf� enpinite ke Duvalier tap jwi depi l� li te ale nan egzil an Frans an 1986. An m�m tan sa t'ap bay lespwa bay tout sa ki t'ap tann depi lontan ke moun ki t'ap p�sekite yo-a pase devan lajistis. Epi – nan yon moman enp�tan 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'inqui�tent de la situation des droits humains � Ha�ti, nous demandons au Gouvernement d'Ha�ti de prendre imm�diatement les moyens n�cessaires pour enqu�ter et poursuivre Jean-Claude Duvalier pour les violations des droits humains commises durant sa pr�sidence � Ha�ti de 1971 a 1986. Des dizaines d'enqu�tes, d'affaires juridiques, de t�moignages de victimes et de rapports en profondeur relativement aux droits humains donnent de nombreuses preuves pour initier des proc�dures juridiques et politiques formelles contre Jean-Claude Duvalier. Sachant que la responsabilit� premi�re d'enqu�ter et de poursuivre Duvalier reste d�finitivement du ressort du Gouvernement d'Ha�ti, nous en appelons � la communaut� internationale pour fournir toute l'assistance n�cessaire pour permettre � Ha�ti d'enqu�ter et de poursuivre Duvalier de mani�re compl�te et prompte. Compte tenu l'infrastructure fragile de l'�tat ha�tien suite au tremblement de terre du 12 Janvier 2010, � la vague actuelle de chol�ra frappant la population et suite aux diff�rentes crises �lectorales, une assistance internationale significative sera n�cessaire.

Durant le r�gime de Jean-Claude Duvalier, des pers�cutions syst�matiques, des disparitions forc�es, de la torture et autres traitements d�gradants furent r�pandus. Ces crimes ont souvent �t� commis par les forces paramilitaires connues sous le nom de Tontons Macoutes (ou officiellement sous les Volontaires de la S�curit� Nationale), ainsi que par les unit�s sp�ciales des forces arm�es d'Ha�ti et les autorit�s locales prises sous la force brutale. Les crimes ont laiss� des milliers de morts, de bless�s ou d'exil�s, soit assimilables � des crimes contre l'humanit�. Sous le droit international, Ha�ti a l'obligation d'enqu�ter et de poursuivre ces actes, qui ne sont pas assujettis � d'autres d�lais de prescription pertinents.

L'arriv�e de Jean-Claude Duvalier � Port-au-Prince le 16 Janvier 2011 fournit au Gouvernement d'Ha�ti une opportunit� in�dite de redresser les torts du pass� � l'aide de la r�gle de droit. En approfondissant les enqu�tes et en poursuivant efficacement ces crimes, le Gouvernement d'Ha�ti pourrait finalement mettre un terme � l'impunit� dont Duvalier a pu jouir depuis le moment de son d�part en exil en France en 1986. Cela donnerait �galement un espoir bien m�rit� � tous ceux qui ont attendu des d�cennies pour que les pers�cuteurs soient amen�s en justice. Finalement, dans un moment crucial du processus politique ha�tien, une telle action montrerait que m�me si la constitution ne semble �tre qu'un morceau de papier, elle peut �tre plus puissante que la ba�onnette.

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
Asociaci�n 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
Comisi�n 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 Acci�n frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)
Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminaci�n 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 Nouv�l 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

January 21, 2011  / Latin America and Carribean / Haiti