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SAITI

Human Rights Challenges

Facing the New Government

April 2001 SUMMARY Al INDEX: AMR 361002/2001
DISTR: SC/CC/CO




On 7 February 2001 Jean Bertrand Aristide was sworn in as president of Haiti for the second
time. He took office with a five-year term in which to implement the initiatives and reforms
deferred by the disruption of his first term by military coup in 1991. Amnesty International
believes that the beginning months of this presidency constitute a crucial period for Haiti.
The efforts that the new government undertakes to address pressing human rights concerns
will have serious ramifications, not just for the immediate future, but for the longterm
feasibility of a climate of respect for human rights in the country.
Some significant gains have been made in the decade since Aristide's first election, including
the disbanding of the notorious military, the Forces Armnes d'Haiti; the creation and
strengthening of a new civilian police force, the Police Nationale d'Haiti, Haitian National
Police (HNP); and partial efforts at judicial reform. Moreover, since the local and legislative
elections held in 2000, Haiti has a fully functioning government apparatus for the first time in
over three years.
The difficulties facing the new administration, however, are many. Increasing levels of electoral
and other political violence, efforts to politicize key institutions, gang-like activity, violent
crime and drug trafficking present ever more formidable obstacles. The manner in which
President Aristide and his government deal with serious human rights concerns regarding the
independent and professional functioning of the police and judiciary; the existence of illegal
security groups linked to newly-elected officials; the overcrowded prison system; and the
vulnerability of human rights defenders in a context of increased political violence will be of
vital importance for Haiti's future.





F"


This report summarizes a 34-page document (13,176 words), HAITI: Human Rights
Challenges Facing the New Government (AI Index: AMR 36/002/2001) issued by
Amnesty International in April 2001. Anyone wishing further details or to take action on
this issue should consult the full document. An extensive range of our materials on this
and other subjects is available at http://www.amnesty.org and Amnesty International
news releases can be received by email: http://www.amnesty.org/news/emailnws.htm

INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT, 1 EASTON STREET, LONDON WCIX ODW, UNITED KINGDOM


In this document Amnesty International gives a series of concrete recommendations to political
parties, international actors and, most importantly, the administration of new President Jean
Bertrand Aristide, for protecting and safeguarding human rights in Haiti at the start of this new
period. These recommendations include carrying out prompt and impartial investigations into
all acts of apparent political intimidation and violence; disbanding illegal security groups linked
to elected officials; investigating all alleged human rights violations and bringing those
implicated in such violations to trial in a prompt and fair manner; reinforcing the independence
and professionalism of key institutions such as the police and the judiciary; building on the
success of the Raboteau trial held in November 2000 by continuing investigations of past human
violations; and taking all steps to safeguard the safety of human rights defenders, journalists and
others engaged in the defense of human rights principles.









Caption: Mural of then-presidential candidate Jean Bertrand Aristide in October 2000.



KEYWORDS: GOVERNMENT CHANGE / ELECTIONS / IMPUNITY /
HARASSMENT / FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION / INDEPENDENCE OF JUDICIARY
/ POLICE / PARAMILITARIES / HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS / POLITICAL
VIOLENCE / PRISON CONDITIONS / POLITICAL BACKGROUND /
LEGISLATION / INVESTIGATION OF ABUSES






[EMBARGOED FOR: 19 April 2001]

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Public

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HAITI

Human Rights Challenges
Facing the New Government




f.-,










CAI


April 2001
Al Index: AMR 36100212001
Distr: SCICC/CO
INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT, 1 EASTON STREET, LONDON WC1X ODW, UNITED KINGDOM












TABLE OF CONTENTS


List of frequently-used acronyms ..................................................... 2

Some important dates in recent Haitian political history ................................... 2

Introduction ..................................................................... 3
Political background ....................................................... 4
The killing of Jean Dominique ...................................... 5
Ongoing electoral tension ............................................ 7
Withdrawal of the International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti ............ 9
Socio-econom ic context ...................................... .............. 10

Current human rights concerns ................................... .. ............. 11
A. Recent violations by illegal security groups .......................... . .... 11
Violations of the right to physical integrity .............................. 12
Violations of the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly ..... 17
Interference in the functioning and independence of the judiciary ............ 19
B. Conduct of the Haitian National Police ................................... 20
Background ................................................... 20
Recent reported violations by the police ............................... 21
The police reaction to electoral violence ......................... .... 22
Discussions regarding recruitment and developments in rural policing ........ 23
C. Situation of the judiciary ................................................. 23
Developments in the administration of justice ........................... 23
Important progress in addressing impunity .............................. 24
D Prisons ............................................................... 27
E. The situation of human rights defenders .................................... 28

Conclusion and Recommendations ...................................... ........... 29
I. Recommendations to the Haitian authorities .................................. 29
II. Recommendations to all Haitian political parties .............................. 33
III. Recommendations to the USA and Haitian authorities ......................... 33
IV. Recommendations to international organizations and governments involved in Haiti 34








List of frequently-used acronyms


CEP: Conseil Electoral Provisoire, Provisional Electoral Council
DAP: Direction de I'Administration Pdnitentiaire, Direction of Penitentiary Administration
FADH: Forces Armnes d'Harti, Haitian Armed Forces
FRAPH: Front Rdvolutionnaire Armd pour le Progres d'Harti, Revolutionary Armed Front for the
Progress of Haiti
HNP: Police Nationale d'Harti, Haitian National Police
NGO: Non-governmental organization
OAS: Organization of American States
OPC: Office de Protection du Citoyen, Ombudsman's office
UN: United Nations

Some important dates in recent Haitian political history


16 December First free elections Jean Bertrand Aristide won 67% of vote.
6 January Failed coup attempt.
7 February Aristide inaugurated as president (Ren6 Pr6val named Prime Minister).
30 September Military coup led by General Raoul C6dras ousted President
Aristide.
3 July Governor's Island Agreement, foreseeing Aristide's return to Haiti on 30
October, signed by C6dras and Aristide.
11 May De facto President Emile Jonaissant installed by the military.
19 September US-backed Multinational Force (MNF) entered Haiti, immediately after
C6dras acceded to an agreement signed by former US president Carter
and Jonaissant allowing for a general amnesty.
10 October C6dras resigned, leaving the country shortly thereafter.
15 October Aristide returned to Haiti.
25 June Legislative elections held.
17 December Presidential elections; Ren6 Pr6val elected.
7 February Pr6val inaugurated.
15 February Pr6val named Rosny Smarth as Prime Minister.
6 April Senate elections held.
9 June Prime Minister Smarth resigned.
15 December Senate ratified Jacques Edouard Alexis as Prime Minister.
11 January Mandates of most local and legislative officials ended; Pr6val did not
extend them, beginning a period of rule by decree.
14 January Jacques Edouard Alexis assumed the duties of Prime Minister; the cabinet
and government program were formed without parliamentary approval.
16 March Preval appointed a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to organize
elections.
4 January The CEP presented a code of ethics for political parties; only two signed.
21 May Races held between over 29,000 candidates for 7,500 local and legislative
posts.
7 July The Organization of American States (OAS) pulled its electoral observers
out of Haiti to protest vote-counting methodology.
9 July Second-round elections held in some races.
28 August New parliament installed.
26 November Presidential elections held; Jean Bertrand Aristide was the victor.


1990:
1991:



1993:

1994:





1995:

1996:

1997:

1998:
1999:


2000:












HAITI

Human Rights Challenges Facing the New Government




INTRODUCTION

On 7 February 2001 Jean Bertrand Aristide was sworn in for the second time as president of
Haiti. He took office with a five-year term ahead of him in which to implement the programs
and reforms deferred by military coup in 1991. He had been elected in 1990 by 67% of the vote
in Haiti's first free elections. The coup, which was carried out seven months after his
inauguration, was followed by three years of active and brutal repression against his supporters
by Haiti's military leaders and their paramilitary allies.' Aristide was restored to office in 1994
in the wake of a multinational intervention; however, in spite of calls from some sectors that he
be allowed to make up the three years of his term spent in exile, he remained in office only
slightly over a year before new elections were held, in accordance with the pre-coup electoral
timetable.

With his recent inauguration in February 2001 President Aristide, assisted by his Prime
Minister Jean Marie Ch6restal, has once again been given the opportunity to confront as
head of state the challenges facing Haiti. Some significant gains were achieved in the
decade since his first election, including Aristide's disbanding of the military, the creation
and strengthening of a new civilian police force and partial efforts at judicial reform.2
Moreover, since the local and legislative elections held in 2000, Haiti has a fully
functioning government apparatus for the first time in over three years.

The difficulties facing the country, however, are many. Increasing levels of drug
trafficking, violent crime, electoral and political violence, efforts to politicize key
institutions and gang-like activity present ever more formidable obstacles. The manner in
which the new administration deals with serious human rights concerns regarding the
functioning of the police and judiciary; the existence of illegal security forces linked to
newly-elected officials; the prison system; and the vulnerability of human rights defenders
in a context of increased political violence will be crucial for Haiti's future.


See Amnesty International, Haiti: On the Horns of a Dilemma: military repression or foreign
invasion?, AI Index: AMR 36/33/94, August 1994.

2 See Amnesty International, Haiti: Unfinished Business: justice and liberties at risk, AI Index:
AMR 36/01/00, March 2000; Amnesty International, Haiti: Still Crying Out for Justice, AI Index: AMR
36/02/98, July 1998; and Amnesty International, Haiti: A Question of Justice, AI Index: AMR 36/01/96,
January 1996.


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4



In this document Amnesty International outlines its key concerns in these areas, and gives
a series of concrete recommendations to the administration of President Jean Bertrand
Aristide for protecting human rights in Haiti at the start of this new period.

Political background

Under Article 134-3, Haiti's 1987 Constitution disallows successive presidential terms.
When newly-returned President Aristide stepped down to make way for Ren6 Pr6val in
February 1996, it constituted the first peaceful handover between democratically-elected
leaders in Haitian history. The government of new President Pr6val quickly became beset
by political difficulties. It was without a Prime Minister from June 1997, when Rosny
Smarth resigned from that post following allegations of electoral fraud. When the mandates
of nearly all of the country's elected officials expired in January 1999 President Pr6val did
not extend them, beginning instead a period of rule by decree. The vacant post of Prime
Minister was filled by Jacques Edouard Alexis, whose nomination had received
parliamentary approval but whose cabinet and program were never ratified.

Elections to fill the vast number of vacant posts nationwide were scheduled and postponed
several times. Voter registration finally began in January 2000. Over 90% of the electorate
were believed to have registered for the new photograph-bearing voter identification card.

Some efforts were made to curb any electoral violence and to minimize potential disruptive
effects of the electoral contests. In January 2000 several parties signed a Code of Ethics
developed by the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP), the Provisional Electoral Council;3
the code required parties and candidates to abstain from spreading opinions or encouraging
actions that would endanger the sovereignty, public order, integrity or security of the
country. Parties, candidates or their supporters were forbidden to disrupt meetings
organized by rival parties or candidates. Weapons were disallowed in public gatherings
linked to the elections. The Fanmi Lavalas4 party of Jean Bertrand Aristide signed the
code, though main opposing coalition Espace de Concertation (Consultation Forum) and






3 The nine-member provisional electoral council was appointed by then-President Pr6val in March
1999. Article 191 of the Haitian Constitution provides for the formation of a permanent council as an
independent institution.

4 Lavalas, the Haitian Creole word for 'flood,' was the term used to describe the vast popular
movement that brought Jean Bertrand Aristide, a Catholic priest, his electoral victory in 1990. Fanmi
Lavalas, or 'Lavalas Family,' is the current name of his political party.


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party Organisation du Peuple en Lutte (OPL), Organisation of People in Struggle, did not,
citing lack of confidence in the CEP's ability to enforce the code.5

Shortly before the May elections, a security plan for the electoral period was drawn up with
the participation of the government, the police, electoral officials and political parties.
However, most of the benefits of efforts towards a peaceful and calm electoral climate were
made void by the 3 April 2000 killing of well-known and much-respected journalist Jean
Leopold Dominique.

The killing of Jean Dominique

M Balanse, M Pa Tonbe
Mwen La Pi Red In one of the most high-profile acts of violence in
-- --:. recent Haitian history, prominent radio journalist
and longtime advocate of human rights principles
Jean Dominique was shot dead by unknown
assailants who waited for him outside the courtyard
of his radio station, Radio Haiti Inter, on 3 April.6

with him. Jean Dominique had been an outspoken
advocate of change from during the Duvalier
period,7 and had continued to publicly draw
attention to anti-democratic tendencies within
diverse sectors of the Haitian political scene and
society.

Photo of Jean Dominique on his return Several days after the killing, a march of several
to Haiti from exile at the end of Jean hundred people calling for those responsible for
Claude Duvalier's dictatorship. AI
Jean Dominique's death to be brought to justice was
disrupted by people claiming to be supporters of the Fanmi Lavalas party. After Jean
Dominique's funeral, a group of such self-described partisans gathered outside the


5 See Amnesty International, Haiti: Unfinished Business: justice and liberties at risk, AI Index:
AMR 36/01/00, March 2000.

6 See Amnesty International, 'Haiti: Elections must not be marred by violence', News Service
83/00, AI Index: AMR 36/005/2000, 5 May 2000 and 'Haiti: Amnesty International urges UN not to
abandon Haiti', News Service 229/00, AI Index: AMR 36/009/2000, 4 December 2000.

7 Dictator Frangois Duvalier retained power from 1957 until his death in 1971; at that time his
office passed to his son Jean-Claude, who was ousted in 1986.


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headquarters of another Port-au-Prince radio station, Radio Vision 2000, and threatened to
bum it down, after burning the nearby headquarters of the political party Konfederasyon
Inite Demokratik (KID). That building also served as the headquarters for the Espace de
Concertation. A few days earlier, journalists of Radio Vision 2000 had reportedly sent an
open letter to the Ministry of Justice denouncing threats against its staff and requesting
official protection.

For its part, Radio Haiti Inter resumed broadcasts one month after Jean Dominique's death.
However, the targeted killing of such a popular and well-known activist, with
unquestionable credentials in the democratic struggle, caused a great deal of fear, tension
and self-censorship during the electoral period. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
involved in human rights, as well as other groups, took part in numerous activities in
memory of Jean Dominique; in one such initiative, over 11,000 signatures have been
collected to a statement put together by those groups urging the authorities to investigate
his death and bring those responsible to justice.

The investigation into the killings got off to a slow start. Leads were not followed up
immediately and some of the investigating judge's efforts were hampered by incidents such
as that which occurred when a group of demonstrators occupied the courtyard of the justice
building, ostensibly to show support for then-senatorial candidate Dany Toussaint, who had
been summoned for questioning by the investigating judge. In a separate development, one
suspect was reportedly arrested after having been shot in the buttocks by members of the
Haitian National Police; he then died in hospital, and his body was said to have been taken
from the morgue in circumstances which have yet to be clarified.

The judge responsible for the case was replaced in October, and the new judge requested
an unlimited extension of the investigative period, which was granted by the doyen, the
senior judge of the court. The new judge called several individuals for questioning,
including the director of Radio Vision 2000, the chief of police, several police officers and
members of the security detail of the National Palace and Dany Toussaint. The latter,
elected to the Senate, initially refused, invoking parliamentary immunity. The judge
summoned several of his associates, and eventually ordered that one of the police officers
serving as his bodyguard be jailed after the guard allegedly became verbally aggressive.
Radio stations reported that the judge had received further verbal threats from a Fanmi
Lavalas deputy. In a positive move, at end February Senator Toussaint requested a
temporary absence without pay from the Senate and announced his intention to comply with
the summons.


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Ongoing electoral tension

As the first round of elections drew near, acts of intimidation and violence continued.
These were most frequently reported to be at the hands of people claiming to be supporters
of Fanmi Lavalas, but on several occasions partisans from other parties were said to be
responsible. Party candidates and leaders did not publicly condemn the violence by their
supporters, or make any visible attempt to restrain or control them.

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) reported
that there were more than 70 acts of violence in the three months leading up to the May
elections, in which seven candidates or party activists died.8 In the environment of political
tension surrounding the elections all deaths of candidates or other political figures were
viewed as particularly suspect. However, following inquiries by Amnesty International into
some of these killings, the organization believes that in at least some cases the deaths were
not politically motivated, but were rather the result of common crime.

Local and legislative races, involving a reported 29,000 candidates running for 7,500 posts,
were held on 21 May 2000. Voting took place relatively peacefully, with high voter
turnout. FanmiLavalas candidates were widely acknowledged to have won the majority of
races. Delayed elections were held in the department of the Grand' Anse on 11 June; the
department had been the scene of conflict between rival parties, in which electoral offices
and houses of those believed to be sympathetic to rival parties were burned and some
activists went into hiding.

However, after disputing the methods used to tally votes in Senate races to determine
whether run-off elections were necessary, the OAS, the United Nations (UN) and key
governments condemned the results of the May elections as published by the CEP. Leon
Manus, head of the CEP, left the country for the USA, where he denounced President
Pr6val for having pressured him to tabulate results in favour of Fanmi Lavalas candidates.
International donors cut off aid to and observation of further elections, isolating the Haitian
government. Some went further, making economic aid contingent on revision of the May
results.

Within Haiti, ongoing intimidation and violence, often by self-described political partisans,
contributed to a climate of tension and insecurity. A second round of elections for some
posts in the Chamber of Deputies was held in July; the OAS, in protest at the May Senate
results, did not observe this round.


S The OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Haiti, "Chief of Mission Report to the OAS
Permanent Council," 13 July 2000, para. 9.


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In August a group of 193 Haitian intellectuals published a "Citizens' Protest" against
electoral violence and intimidation and in favour of democratic principles. In spite of such
efforts, however, violent incidents continued. To give only a few examples, on 4
September, a fragmentation grenade was reportedly thrown by unknown assailants at the
locale of the national state television station, Telivision Nationale d'Harti. On 6 September,
the Port-au-Prince locale of the grassroots credit union Fondasyon Kole Zepol (FONKOZE)
was robbed and one of its staff abducted by armed men in police uniforms. The body of the
staff member was found days later. Though an investigation was opened, the extent of
police involvement in the incident was not clear.

Violence intensified in the week preceding the presidential elections in late November, with
a series of explosions in which at least 16 people were injured and two children were killed.
Nonetheless, the actual voting took place peacefully. Most opposition parties did not
participate, and assessments of voter participation varied widely. Jean Bertrand Aristide
was incontestably the overwhelming choice of those who voted.

In December it was announced that Aristide and outgoing USA president Bill Clinton had
signed an eight-point accord addressing, among other issues, the resolution of the dispute
over the May election results. However, opposition figures continued to reject Aristide's
election and discussed establishing an alternative government. In response, on 9 January
2001 representatives of popular organizations claiming to support Fanmi Lavalas issued
threats of physical violence against members of opposition parties and journalists during
a press conference in the Saint Jean Bosco church in Port-au-Prince.

In issuing the threats, the speakers referred to a list of public figures reportedly opposed to
the upcoming inauguration of Aristide; they warned the individuals concerned to change
their position within three days or face violence. Religious leaders, journalists and others
protested; Amnesty International again called on the authorities to take steps to curb
violence by all political sectors, and urged that special protection be given to those affected
by the threats.9 Port-au-Prince prosecutors opened an investigation, though one interview
in mid-January, with the lawyer of one of the men involved, was disrupted by an aggressive
demonstration by his supporters, leading to the temporary closure of the parquet, the
prosecutors' office.

In the third week of January four more hand-made bombs reportedly exploded in Port-au-
Prince, with no fatalities. President-elect Aristide wrote to leading opposition politicians
inviting them to meet to resolve the political crisis. In the meantime, opposition figures


9 See Amnesty International, 'Haiti: Amnesty International urges immediate response to threats of
political violence', News Service 7/01, AI Index: AMR 36/001/2001, 11 January 2001.


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held an open meeting in which they reiterated their rejection of the results of earlier
elections and their intention to set up a provisional government pending new elections.
Aristide and opposition leaders met in early February but were unable to reach an
agreement. Aristide was inaugurated on 7 February.

Opposition parties, for their part, continued to refuse to recognize Aristide and named
Gerard Gourgue as a 'provisional president.' In a speech given around the time of
Aristide's inaugural address, Gourgue contributed to political tensions by inviting the return
to Haiti of former military from the notorious Haitian Armed Forces, the Forces Armies
d'Harti (FADH).10

Withdrawal of the International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti

In spite of the deteriorating human rights situation, in November United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan recommended that the UN's International Civilian Support Mission
in Haiti (MICAH) be discontinued when its mandate ended on 6 February 2001 ." This
marked the end of the international human rights monitoring presence which had begun in
1993, during the period of the de facto military authorities, with a joint UN / OAS
monitoring mission. Amnesty International criticized the Secretary General's decision. It
argued that a premature withdrawal, particularly of the human rights component of the
mission, effectively negated the results of past efforts to promote a climate of respect for
human rights, and was potentially detrimental to an already-fragile human rights situation.12
Discussions were reportedly underway among the OAS and countries who had been
identified as "Friends of Haiti"" during the 1990s, among other actors, regarding how best
to address the need for ongoing human rights monitoring in Haiti.

At the same time, international donors maintained the distance they had taken from Haiti,
particularly following the May electoral dispute. In February 2001, the European
Community confirmed that it had frozen 44.4 million euros (US$ 41.7 million) intended for
programs in Haiti, as it considered the May events to constitute a violation of article 9 of



10 Text of speech printed in "Haiti: opposition's provisional president Gourgue addresses nation,"
BBC, 14 February 2001.

MICAH's mandate began in March 2000, but due to financial and other constraints the first
advisers under its three 'pillars,' police, justice and human rights, were not fielded until June.
12 See Amnesty International, 'Haiti: Amnesty International urges UN not to abandon Haiti',
News Service 229/00, AI Index: AMR 36/009/2000, 4 December 2000.

'3 Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, USA and Venezuela.


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the Cotonou Agreement between European and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries
regarding democratic principles and human rights.'4 The United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) reiterated at end February that the US$ 70 million
slated for Haiti would be provided through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) rather
than through the government.15

Socio-economic context

Reductions in international aid have potentially devastating effects. Haiti remains the only
nation in the Americas to be classified in the 'low human development' category of the
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)'s Human Development Index, with a rank
of 150th out a total of 174 countries worldwide.16 According to the Haitian NGO Plate-
forme Hartienne De Plaidoyer Pour un Ddveloppement Alternatif (PAPDA), Haitian
Platform in Defence of an Alternative Development, 80% of the rural population in Haiti
lives in conditions of absolute poverty, with an income of less than US$ 1 per day.

The latest UNDP figures indicate that the average gross domestic product per capital in Haiti
is one fifth that for the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean and only 6% that of
countries rated as having 'high human development."7 Literacy for those aged 15 and older
is 47.8% in Haiti as compared to 87.7% for the region;"8 those able to attend school must
pay for it themselves, as due to lack of public funds for education, 90% of schools are





14 "EU sanctions Haiti over non-respect for democracy ACP," Agence France Presse, 6
February 2001; and "Gel de l'aide de l'Union Europeenne," Haiti on Line, 2 February 2001. The Cotonou
Agreement is a twenty-year trade accord signed on 21 June 2000 between the European Community and
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, replacing the Lom6 Convention. The stated objectives
include "to promote and expedite the economic, cultural and social development of the ACP States, with a
view to contributing to peace and security and to promoting a stable and democratic political environment"
(The Cotonou Agreement, 21 June 2000, article 1.)
I5 "Le gouvemement americain maintient sa position sur ]a crise," Radio Mitropole transcript, 22
February 2001.

6 Human Development Report 2000: human rights and human development, United Nations
Development Program, 2000. This report is based on estimates and figures from 1998.

17 Op. cit., UNDP Human Development Index, 2000. Average gross domestic product per capital
is given as USS 1,383 in Haiti as opposed to US$ 6,510 regionally and USS 21,799 for countries with
'high human development.'

18 Op. cit., UNDP Human Development Index, 2000.


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private."9 Public health services are practically non-existent, particularly in the countryside.
However, the effects of this lack are partially alleviated by the presence of several hundred
doctors and other medical personnel whose services have been donated by the government
of Cuba; they are stationed in health posts throughout the country. Life expectancy is
estimated at 54 years, as compared to 69.7 years for the rest of Latin America and the
Caribbean and 77 years for countries with 'high human development.'20

In 2000 the situation was exacerbated by conflicts in the electoral and political arena. Fears
of instability, coupled with decisions on the part of governments responsible for much of
the international aid to Haiti to distance themselves from the country, contributed to a drop
in value of the local currency, the gourde. The effect was to reduce purchasing power even
more, making daily subsistence an ever greater struggle for the majority of Haitians.


CURRENT HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS

Below, Amnesty International outlines its concerns with regard to unofficial and illegal
security groups, the police, justice, prisons and the situation of human rights defenders in
Haiti. Following this section, Amnesty International makes a series of recommendations
to the new administration of President Jean Bertrand Aristide with regard to these crucial
areas.

A. Recent violations by illegal security groups

Threats and acts of intimidation by political partisans and international discord over
election returns were accompanied by worrying developments in the maintenance of law
and order in several localities in the country. Soon after taking up their functions, some
mayors and local administrators elected in the May contests began to develop their own
unofficial armed security forces, often composed of political partisans. These groups have
been responsible for a number of human rights violations. While there were clear political
motivations in some of these incidents, in others the groups had appropriated law and order
functions, at times in response to pressure from partisans to create jobs.19


"9 Interview with PAPDA, Port-au-Prince, November 2000.

20 Op. cit., UNDP Human Development Index, 2000.

"In one such instance, in early November, Port-au-Prince radio stations broadcast statements by
the second mayor adjoint of the city announcing the creation of heavily armed security brigades, to be
made up of young women and men trained by the mayor's office, with the aim of protecting markets and
public spaces. The radio stations noted that in previous weeks the mayor's office had been the scene of


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There is no provision in Haitian law for public security forces attached to elected officials.
Following the disbanding of the military, the police force, which operates under the
Ministry of Justice, is the only remaining security body with legal standing under the
Haitian Constitution. Its function is to ensure law and order and to protect the life and
property of citizens.20 Mayors and their municipal councils, for their part, are tasked with
administrative and management duties and are subject to oversight by the Ministry of the
Interior.21 Given Haiti's dual history of a highly politicised public security force at the
service of those with political power, and backed by equally politicised unofficial
paramilitary forces, the emergence of these new illegal forces attached to elected officials
is an extremely worrying development which, if not addressed promptly, could come to
constitute a serious challenge to the maintenance of the rule of law. The Prime Minister
of Haiti and high-level justice, police and legislative officials have recognized the gravity
of this trend and have pledged to dismantle illegal forces and to prosecute those participants
responsible for human rights violations. To date, however, little progress seems to have
been made.

Violations of the right to physical integrity

2 November, Hinche22

On 18 September 2000, several thousand supporters of the Mouvman Peyizan Papaye
(MPP) and opposition parties in the Central Plateau took part in a peaceful march from
Papaye to Hinche to draw attention to concerns about security and the political situation in
the Central Plateau. A few shots were allegedly fired by unknown persons during the
march itself, but did not disrupt the event, and no one was injured.

The MPP then organized a meeting in Hinche to discuss similar concerns. The meeting was
set for Thursday 2 November; the organizers wrote to the Police Nationale d'Haiti, Haitian
National Police (HNP), to request protection and issued an open invitation for participation
on the radio. During its visit to the area on the day following the meeting, Amnesty



violent demonstrations by young partisans from the newly-elected mayoral team's party, demanding jobs;
the stations queried to what extent the decision to create the new armed brigades was influenced by the
need to respond to pressure from demonstrators.
20 See Articles 269 and 269.1.

21 Decret du 22 octobre 1982 sur organisation et le fonctionnement de la commune, art. 5.

22 See Amnesty International, 'Haiti: Government must act to disband armed groups', News
Service 214/00, AI Index: AMR 36/008/2000, 10 November 2000.


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International spoke with a range of sources in and around Hinche about their version of
subsequent events.

The meeting was scheduled to take place in the RecifNight Club, a walled space containing
a roofed dance area near the marketplace in Hinche. According to meeting organizers, the
police and the Hinche mayor's office, there was a confrontation between Fanmi Lavalas
partisans and organizers on the morning preceding the meeting. The former were
apparently trying to put up political posters in the area around the venue, when meeting
organizers objected. In the altercation, a Fanmi Lavalas partisan was reportedly injured in
the hand.

The meeting commenced about 2:45 p.m., and reportedly had several hundred participants
from Hinche town and the surrounding areas. The environment was said to be peaceful.
Participants reported that as it was ending, at about 5:15 p.m., stones began to be thrown
into the locale from the yard of a neighboring house, which belonged, according to some
sources, to an employee of the Hinche mayor's office. This continued for several minutes.
Several participants were said to have been injured.

As participants began to leave the meeting, shots were fired by assailants positioned at
several points. Police indicated that the weapons used included automatic weapons such
as the Uzi and T65 as well as. 12 gauge shotgun and .38 revolver. Though there were four
police officers assigned to provide protection at the meeting, police sources said that they
were outgunned and were obliged to take shelter with meeting participants.


At least five people were shot by those firing at the
meeting venue. Four of them, two meeting
participants and two passers-by, were shot near the
exit or in the street outside the locale. One of the
passers-by, who was working on a truck parked
nearby, was caught unawares in the street and shot
through the right ankle. Another was pushing a cart
along the road when the shooting commenced, and
was shot through the back. Of the wounded
participants, one, a 47-year-old MPP member, was
shot in the right side and was also injured in the hand
by assailants throwing stones. Another participant, a
young Espace de Concertation partisan, was hit by a
bullet in the back of the neck as he headed down the
street away from the locale; his friends collected him
and took him to the local hospital.


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Attack victim with bullet wound.
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14



Dieugrand Jean Baptiste, brother of MPP leader Chavannes Jean Baptiste, was shot on the
ground inside the compound. According to some witnesses, he was deliberately shot as he
attempted to take shelter, by assailants who they believed had recognized him. The bullet
penetrated his chest cavity, reportedly damaging his left lung; he was later evacuated to
Port-au-Prince, where he underwent emergency surgery.

Chavannes Jean Baptiste, assisted by his bodyguards, was rushed from the venue; his
entourage drove away in two cars, both of which were hit by bullets as they were fleeing
the scene. The mayor of Hinche told Amnesty International that, though he was not present
when the firing began, he believed that meeting participants were responsible for shooting
each other; this version was contradicted by meeting participants and some authorities, who
reported that the firing came from outside the meeting only, with no exchange of gunfire.
Several witnesses and authorities indicated that the attack seemed to have been well-
planned and organized.

Those shooting reportedly included personnel of the mayor's offices of Hinche and
Maissade, a nearby town. Some witnesses indicated seeing the mayor of Maissade among
those firing on the meeting. He was also reported by witnesses to have been among a group
of armed men which, once the meeting had been broken up, proceeded to the house of the
coordinator of the Espace de Convergence party. The coordinator's wife and her four small
children fled out the back and hid. He and his men broke in and ransacked the house; they
reportedly stole some material before dousing the rest with gasoline and setting fire to the
house, burning it completely to the ground.











.House of the coordinator,
burned by armed attackers




As mentioned above, the mayor of Hinche said that he was not present at the time of the
shooting. Several sources reported that he was present throughout the evening, however,
and that he threatened HNP officers that he would fire at them if they obstructed him and


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15



f" his men in any way. Gunfire,
some of it from heavy arms, was
heard in central Hinche
". throughout the night, though no
---A- further injuries were recorded.
The group that had attacked the
.- meeting burned an MPP truck
^-*-^^ ^ -which had been used to bring
chairs to the venue, as well as
five motorcycles and two
bicycles belonging to meeting
participants. The sound system
Burnt motorcycles and bicycles inside the Recif locale AI used for the event was stolen.

The mayor of Hinche reported that during the disturbance he apprehended the justice of the
peace ofLa Victoire, another town, and confiscated his motorcycle, after finding him in the
company of those who had organized the meeting. He said that he was taking steps to have
the judge removed from office. Other sources indicated that the judge was beaten during
the confrontation. Following the incident, the mayor of Maissade claimed in a radio
broadcast that he had come to 'bring order' to the area.

No arrests were made during the disturbances, though police confiscated the weapons of
two MPP members late in the evening, reportedly because the permits were out of date.
The next day, the local justice of the peace carried out a survey of the damage and
submitted his report to the prosecutor; the latter submitted the dossier to the cabinet
d'instruction, the investigating office.

Following the violence at the peaceful demonstration and reports that the mayors of Hinche
and Maissade were among the assailants, Prime Minister Alexis gave a public radio
declaration reminded the mayors and other local officials that they do not have policing
functions and that the HNP is the only legal security force. He also reminded local officials
that any effort on their part to create their own armed forces would be considered illegal.
Minister of Justice Camille Leblanc told Amnesty International that he planned to visit the
area to investigate the incident and to meet with local officials to explain that they have no
mandate to interfere in these issues. It is not clear what steps have subsequently been taken
in this regard.


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iF 10-14 September 2000, Petionville

SArmed individuals under the authority of
Sthe mayor's office reportedly engaged in a
major day-time sweep of the market area in
Petionville in early September. The sweep
was intended to dislodge a gang of thieves
Sr said to have been operating in the market.
Some of those arrested in this sweep told
'- ;. Amnesty International how they were
S' apprehended as they went about their
1 business by a 'brigade' of men, some of
I them armed with .38 revolvers or batons;
there was at least one uniformed police
I U' officer with them. Several detainees
S' l reported separately that they were beaten
S"' with batons, then tied up together, beaten
again and loaded into a white pickup
S, belonging to the Petionville mayor's office.
Petionville lockup in November 2000 AI

They were taken to the Petionville police station. Police officers told Amnesty
International that the 'agents de la mairie, "agents of the city hall,' had badly beaten some
people during arrest, and that they arrived at the police station with head and leg wounds.

Police officers also admitted that, following these arrests, the holding cell at Petionville
police station became severely overcrowded, with 48 men and boys crammed into the small
space. Detainees who were present at the time said that there was no room on the floor for
them all to stand, not to mention sit down, so some men and boys were obliged to cling to
the bars above floor level or were confined to makeshift hammocks which they hung from
the ceiling. As one detainee said, 'nou te mare en le, noupa te kap domi' ('we were tied up
in the air, we weren't able to sleep.') They spent over two weeks in these conditions; when
they began serious protests, they were taken out of the cell and beaten by police officers.
In addition to these injuries, several detainees were reportedly taken to hospital with severe
swelling in their limbs due to the impossibility of movement in such closely packed
conditions.

Those arrested were taken to the Port au Prince parquet, prosecutor's office, on 2 October.
As they had not been arrested according to procedures laid out in the Haitian legal code,
either following investigation or in the very act of committing a misdeed, there was no


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information available to back the charges (generally 'association de malfaiteurs,' or gang-
related activity) listed in the police station register against them. The casefile forwarded
to prosecuting officials consisted of a list of 28 names, but no information justifying or
explaining their detention. Police and justice officials admitted to Amnesty International
during its November 2000 visit that the arrests had been illegal and arbitrary, and voiced
dismay at the disregard for legal safeguards and police procedures. For their part, mayoral
officials admitted to Amnesty International that the arrests had no legal basis.

Several sources had referred to an incident earlier in September in which the illegal security
force reportedly beat a suspected thief to death on the steps of the police station; for its part,
the mayor's office indicated that the man had been killed by a mob.

In response to Amnesty International's expression of concern, the mayor's office indicated
that it took the initiative to form this group in the interest of security in the area, due to the
lack of capacity of the HNP. The mayor's office said that at times their representatives
patrol with the police, but at times they act on their own; and that they consider their group
to be more effective than the police due to the efficiency of the community network of
Fanmi Lavalas organizers who pass on information about potential problems within their
neighborhoods. The mayor's office claimed that its officers had been trained by official
police trainers and received materials from the HNP; the Director General of the HNP
denied this.

The local officials claimed, in addition, that police and justice officials welcome these
activities and view them as supportive of their own work. Both local police and justice
officials, however, denied this. They said, rather, that on a day-to-day basis they can do
little else but go along with the activities and try to deal with the consequences as best they
can, but that they are concerned about the disregard for legal framework and safeguards
underlying the existence of these unofficial forces. They also stressed to Amnesty
International that a firm response from their superiors was needed to curb such activities
wherever they occur.

Violations of the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly

25-26 November 2000, Pliche23
The afternoon of Saturday 25 November, the day before the presidential elections, a group
of armed men including Jean Candio, deputy elect for St. Louis du Sud and Cavaillon, as
well as Martel Ren6 and Bailly Vincent, mayor and adjoint mayor elect of Cavaillon,


Information on this incident was provided by the Haitian NGOs Southern Network for the
Defence of Human Rights and the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, as well as by press accounts.


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reportedly entered the Catholic church in Pliche, 4' communal section of Cavaillon,
Department of the South and broke up a community meeting being held there to discuss
local tourism. According to some reports, they arrived in a pickup belonging to the local
office of the national telephone company, Teleco, and were accompanied by at least one
Teleco employee. At least seven members of the group were armed, according to witnesses;
weapon types included revolver, .12 gauge shotgun and Uzi-style machine gun. They
demanded that the church be closed, as the presidential elections were going to be held the
next day.

The men reportedly kicked and struck some of the people present in the church and turned
over pews and flower pots. They forced everyone out of the church and, once outside,
ordered them to lie down on the ground. The parish priest, Pare Yves Edmond, resisted.
In response, several of the men reportedly aimed their weapons at him. The mayor said that
he was forbidding any religious services, including celebration of the village festival, until
after the elections.

The next day the same armed men returned, broke up the celebration of mass and ordered
worshippers out of the church. At no point was there a police presence.

Father Yves Edmond called on police and justice officials to take action. On 26 November
a group of 18 priests from the Department of the South, including the bishop of Les Cayes,
wrote a letter directly to President Preval asking that those responsible for this violence be
brought to justice, and that reparations be made to the community.

The district senator, Yvon Feuill of Fanmi Lavalas, disputed this version of events and
accused Father Edmond of supporting the rival OPL party. For their part, the local officials
implicated admitted to closing the church but denied using violence. The Episcopal
Conference of Haiti, Conference Episcopale d'Haiti, condemned the officials' behaviour.
Father Yvon Massac, an influential member of Fanmi Lavalas, called on the party to take
steps against any officials elected on the Fanmi Lavalas ticket who formed illegal armed
groups and pressured or committed violence against others, and suggested that the officials
involved in the Plich6 incident offer an apology to the community. The local justice of the
peace opened an investigation; for its part, the Chamber of Deputies also sent a commission
to Plich6 to investigate. The outcome of these investigations had not been made public as
this document went to press.

4 November, St Louis du Sud
A group of armed men led by the local mayor reportedly fired shots in the air to break up
a meeting in which Haitian intellectual Herv6 Denis, Minister of Culture under Aristide at
the time of the 1991 coup, was speaking. The meeting was organized by members of the
Espace de Concertation in the commune of St. Louis du Sud, Department of the South; the


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mayor reportedly indicated that he and his followers had disrupted it because it had been
organized without his authorization. Though those present protested to national authorities,
no follow-up was reportedly made.

Interference in the functioning and independence of the judiciary

26 October 2000, Maissade
At end October, the mayor of Maissade and a group of sympathizers demonstrated and
burned tyres in the street off the main square before closing the tribunal de paix of
Maissade. The mayor confiscated the materials and motorcycles provided to the justice of
the peace by the Ministry of Justice, and left them in the care of the police. For their part,
the police reportedly did not take part in the closure of the tribunal de paix; they told
Amnesty International that they had not been involved in the incident in any way.

The mayor reportedly informed the departmental prosecutor, the commissaire de
gouvernement in Hinche, that he had closed the tribunal because the judge was not affiliated
with his own Fanmi Lavalas party. According to some sources, the mayor began his
pressure after the justice of the peace issued warrants for two Fanmi Lavalas partisans on
charges of theft; the tribunal was closed following their transfer to Hinche prison. The
justice of the peace subsequently went into hiding.

The day after the closure, a group of supporters of the OPL party apparently tried to reopen
the tribunal, but it was again closed by a group of individuals said to be linked to the
mayor's office. No one was visibly armed and there were no injuries reported.

The justice of the peace submitted a report to departmental judicial authorities, destined for
the Ministry of Justice. When Amnesty International raised the issue with the Minister of
Justice, he said that he would investigate it.

Fanmi Lavalas partisans also reportedly closed the tribunal de paix in Cerca Carvajal
earlier in October, under similar circumstances. As reported above, the mayor of Hinche
told Amnesty International that he had apprehended the justice of the peace of La Victoire
and taken away his motorcycle after finding him in the company of organizers of the 2
November MPP meeting in Hinche.

Maissade had been the scene of confrontation between party partisans earlier in the year.
The human rights NGO Coalition Nationale pour les Droits des Hartiens, National


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Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR), reported24 that in the early morning hours of 12 July
officers of the special HNP unit Unites ddpartmentales de maintien d'ordre (UDMO), the
Departmental Units to Maintain Order, arrested five Espace de Concertation members
following reports of gunshots. During the arrest, the UDMO officers were reportedly
accompanied by Fanmi Lavalas members rather than local HNP officers. After the arrest,
the UDMO agents were said to have allowed the Fanmi Lavalas supporters who had been
accompanying them to mistreat the detainees. They were transferred to Hinche the next day,
and eventually released.


B. Conduct of the Haitian National Police

Background

As outlined previously, following his return from exile Aristide abolished the Haitian
military, the Forces Armies d'Harti (FADH). In November 1994 the new Police Nationale
d'Harti, Haitian National Police (HNP) was created by law. The creation of a new police
force under civilian control25 and mandated to guarantee public order and protect Haiti's
citizens26 represented a departure from the past, which had been characterized by a
repressive public security force at the service of those who wielded political power.

Expectations for the new force were high. Some serious human rights violations were
committed,27 but the publication in 1995 of a Code de Diontologie (Code of Conduct) and
the creation of an Inspection Generale (Office of the Inspector-General) were viewed as
positive steps in enforcing a respect for human rights within the police. For the first time
in Haiti, in September 2000 police officers were tried in connection with human rights
violations; three officers and a police commissioner were found guilty of the killings of



24 Open letter from NCHR to the Conseil Supirieur of the HNP, 17 August 2000, reproduced on
Haiti Online, 28 August 2000.

25 The Ministry of Justice, as per article 269 of the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti: "la
Police est un Corps Arm6. Son fonctionnement relive du Ministere de la Justice."
26 Article 269-1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti: "Elle [la police] est cr66e pour la
garantie de l'ordre public et la protection de la vie et des biens des citoyens. Son organisation et son mode
de fonctionnement sont r6gl6s par la Loi."

27 See Amnesty International, Haiti: Unfinished Business: justice and liberties at risk, Al Index:
AMR 36/01/00, March 2000; Amnesty International, Haiti: Still Crying Out for Justice, Al Index: AMR
36/02/98, July 1998; and Amnesty International, Haiti: A Question of Justice, AI Index: AMR 36/01/96,
January 1996.


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eleven men in the Carrefour-Feuilles neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince (see below).

At the same time, the police came under growing pressures which challenged the
professionalism and strength of the institution. These included an increase in drug
trafficking through Haiti; efforts by some political sectors to undermine the impartiality of
the institution; and rising electoral violence throughout 2000.28

Recent reported violations by the police

There were some reports of illegal killings by police in 2000, as well as allegations that in
some instances they were acting in conjunction with illegal security groups (see above).
Beatings of criminal suspects following arrest were reported to be frequent, and during its
November 2000 visit Amnesty International found evidence of several recent cases of this
type.

Local human rights groups continued to try to follow up on such allegations, but were
obstructed by the breakdown in the functioning of the Inspection Generale, with which they
had built up regular relations. This occurred in April 2000, when the head of the Inspection
Gdnerale, Luc Joseph Eucher, was transferred to a diplomatic position outside the country.
The post remained vacant for nearly a year, with as a result little or no progress in internal
investigations of alleged violations.

The delay in naming a new head fuelled concerns about the strength of the commitment
within the police to respect for human rights norms. In the light of other developments
described more fully below, it also sparked debate about the potential politicization of the
police force as a whole, since this official was one of the police hierarchy, along with
Director General Pierre Deniz6 and Secretary of State for Public Security Robert Manuel,
whom popular organizations with ties to Fanmi Lavalas as well as party leaders had
demanded be replaced throughout 1999.29 Within a week of Aristide's inauguration,
however, the post was filled, with the naming of Jean Baptiste Arvel Victor as the new head
of the Inspection Gendrale.






28 See Amnesty International, Haiti: Unfinished Business: justice and liberties at risk, AI Index:
AMR 36/01/00, March 2000.
29 See Amnesty International, Haiti: Unfinished Business: justice and liberties at risk, AI Index:
AMR 36/01/00, March 2000. Robert Manuel resigned and left Haiti in October 1999.


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The police reaction to electoral violence

More than any active violations of human rights, however, the HNP were most frequently
criticized by local groups and in the domestic press in 2000 for failing to intervene to
protect citizens from disruptive, violent and at times politically motivated behaviour by
other groups. In one such example, on 27 March 2000 demonstrators, some of whom
reportedly claimed ties to the Fanmi Lavalas party, set fire to tyres at barricades around
Port-au-Prince. The central market was burnt and four people were reportedly killed.
Demonstrators were said to be calling for, among other demands, the resignation of the
CEP. The HNP did not actively intervene, leading Amnesty International and other groups
to publicly call on it to carry out its duty to safeguard public security in a professional and
impartial manner.30

In the days following the May elections, police arrested around 30 opposition candidates
and partisans, some of them following demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud
perpetrated by Fanmi Lavalas supporters. Among those arrested was Paul Denis, former
senator and candidate for re-election, from the OPL party; he was arrested in Les Cayes on
illegal firearm charges with four others. All were subsequently released.

Again, in June, the HNP did not confront violent political demonstrators claiming to
support Fanmi Lavalas who set up barricades, burned tires and stoned vehicles while
calling on the CEP to publish the final results of the May elections. This inaction led the
domestic press and others to charge that the police lacked effectiveness and even
demonstrated partisan sympathy with the demonstrators. Some police sources indicated to
Amnesty International, however, that at least part of the unwillingness to intervene was due
to reluctance to confront demonstrators who they perceived to be tacitly backed by the
government.

In the context of the dispute over vote tallying methodology, in August 2000 the USA
announced it was shutting down a training program and other aid to the HNP.3"

In one incident officers did attempt to carry out their policing role in a political rally: on
2 October, demonstrators awaiting the arrival of Aristide to register his candidacy in Port-
au-Prince nearly lynched three police officers, including the Delmas commissioner, after


30 See Amnesty International, 'Haiti: Political violence', News Service 060/00, AI Index AMR
36/04/00, 30 March 2000.

"3 "U.S. Halts Haitian Program," AP, 8 August 2000; "Le ministry haltien relativise la decision du
gouvemement americain de mettre fin a son programme d'assistance et de formation a la PNH," Agence
Haitienne de Presse, 4 August 2000.


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they tried to challenge a heavily armed and well-known Fanmi Lavalas activist. The
commissioner subsequently fled the country with five other police commissioners following
rumours, widely believed to be unfounded, of a plotted coup. Following their departure,
remaining commissioners and departmental directors were transferred to other regions,
rendering more difficult the effective provision of security during the November elections.
A summons was issued for the activist. The Minister of Justice, speaking in relation to this
incident, affirmed that no one, regardless of political affiliation, is above the law and that
everyone must respond equally before the justice system;32 however, as this document went
to print the demonstrator had yet to appear in court.

Discussions regarding recruitment and developments in rural policing

Discussions have begun about how to provide police coverage in rural areas currently
under-serviced by the HNP. There is widespread agreement within the Haitian NGO
community, as well as among members of the judiciary and police, that to ensure
independence and to avoid the risk ofpoliticisation of the public security force, rural police
should not be under the control of local elected officials but rather, part of the existing
structure of the HNP under the Ministry of Justice. Similarly, recruitment of new officers
to the HNP must continue to be carried out in an apolitical manner, with an eye to ensuring
the impartial and nonpartisan character of the police force.


C. Situation of the judiciary

The lack of independent, impartial and accessible justice is one of the most substantial
impediments to respect for human rights in Haiti. The justice system remains largely
dysfunctional, in large part due to the legacy of past dictatorships, which used the courts
as another means of ensuring their own control. In addition, reform efforts since the return
to democracy six years ago have been disjointed. As a result, developing and implementing
a coherent plan for reform of this fundamentally important institution is one of the greatest
expectations facing Haiti's new lawmakers.

Developments in the administration of justice

The Ministry of Justice invited NGOs, the Ombudsman's office, Office de Protection du
Citoyen (OPC), and others to take part in a week-long seminar at the Ecole de la
Magistrature, Magistrates College, in September to comment on seven draft laws. They


32 "Haiti: Justice minister promises to pursue Cadavre, Raymond cases," Metropole web site as
reported by the BBC, 18 January 2001.


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cover the creation of a General Inspection unit to oversee the behaviour of judicial officers;
a code for judges; independence of the judiciary; the organization of the Magistrates
College; drug trafficking; money laundering; and the composition of a council of judges.

The draft bill on independence of the judiciary is of particular importance, as it includes
several provisions aimed to guarantee the impartiality and non-partisan nature of judicial
officials. According to Article 175 of the Haitian Constitution, for example, the President
names justices of the peace from a list submitted by local Assembldes Communales,
Communal Assemblies. Provision 37 of the draft bill would require that all nominees be
instead selected through a process organized by the Magistrates College, thereby ensuring
their basic competence and avoiding purely political nominations.

Important progress in addressing impunity

Raboteau

The Raboteau trial marked a pivotal moment in the struggle against impunity in Haiti.33 At
the same time, local human rights activists noted that during the trial, the day-to-day review
of evidence of past violations had the effect of raising the profile of human rights concerns
in general in the public discourse.

Raboteau is a heavily-populated shanty town along the coast at GonaYves, a city in the
Artibonite department. Throughout the period of the de facto military authorities, it was
particularly targeted for repression by the army and paramilitary because of its activist past
and the strong support of its inhabitants for ousted president Aristide. As a result of a joint
military and paramilitary operation which began on 18 April 1994, an unknown number of
people lost their lives. Homes were sacked and burned and men, women and children
beaten. Some died from the beatings or from gunshot wounds while others drowned as they
fled into the sea. Some bodies were never recovered, as the survivors had to flee the area
for their own safety.

Efforts to bring those responsible for the massacre to justice have gone on for several years.
By 1998 at least 22 people were in detention pending the outcome of the investigation into
crimes committed in the course of the massacre, including murder, attempted murder,
assault, torture, illegal imprisonment, abuse of authority, theft, arson and destruction of
property. Arrest warrants were issued for the leaders of the 1991 military coup and other
military officers and paramilitary leaders, for their alleged role in masterminding the


33 See Amnesty International, 'Haiti: The Raboteau trial a chance to strike back against
impunity', News Service 188/00, AI Index: AMR 36/007/2000, 3 October 2000.


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25



massacre. Efforts by the authorities to track down those responsible included unsuccessful
attempts to extradite several suspects from Honduras, Panama and the USA.











i Jury member speaks during the Raboteau
trial CAI

Following commendable efforts by the Haitian justice system, with the support of the
Bureau d'Avocats Internationaux, International Lawyers Bureau, the trial opened in
October 2000. More than thirty people attended from Raboteau to bear witness; in addition,
five independent international experts testified about the context of repression in which the
massacre was carried out, the military structure involved and the forensic evidence
available. The Plateforme des organizations haftiennes des droits de l hommee (POHDH),
Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations; NCHR; the Commission Nationale
Justice et Paix, National Justice and Peace Commission; and the Commission diocdsaine
Justice et Paix de Gonaives, Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission of Gonaives, issued
several joint reports on the progress of the trial, with analyses of the functioning of the jury,
prosecutors and defence attorneys. The Bureau d'Avocats Internationaux also issued
weekly updates on the trial.

On 9 November 16 people were convicted of taking part in the massacre. Twelve of these,
including Captain Castera C6nafils, military commander of Gonaives at the time, and Jean
Tatoune, accused of belonging to the paramilitary group FRAPH (at first known as the
Front rdvolutionnaire pour l'avancement et le progres haftiens, Revolutionary Front for
Haitian Advancement and Progress, later to become the Front rdvolutionnaire armed pour
leprogres d'Haiti, Revolutionary Armed Front for the Progress of Haiti), were condemned
to life in prison with hard labour. The four others received shorter sentences of between
four and ten years; all 16 were ordered to pay damages into a fund for the families of
victims. Six defendants were acquitted.

Thirty seven defendants including General Raoul C6dras, head of the military government;
Emmanuel Constant, founding leader of FRAPH; police chief Michel Frangois; and C6dras'


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deputy Philippe Biamby were tried in absentia. They were all sentenced to life in prison
with hard labour, and were fined one billion gourdes, or roughly US$ 43 million. In the
USA, NGOs engaged in a renewed campaign for the extradition to Haiti of Emmanuel
Constant. Several other former military or paramilitary members implicated in human
rights violations, including former military police captain Jackson Joanis, convicted in
absentia for the 1993 assassination of activist Aristide supporter Antoine Izmery,34 were
detained in the USA in late 2000.

The Ministry of Justice indicated that investigations were underway with a view to
preparing trials of other well-known instances of past human rights violations.

Carrefour-Feuilles
On 28 May 1999 in the Carrefour-Feuilles neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, 11 people35
were shot dead by police. Circumstances indicated that they had been summarily
executed.36 Police claimed that three of them had been killed in a shoot-out, but witnesses
testified that police shot the men while they were in custody and lying on the ground. Police
then reportedly arrested eight others. Witnesses who saw the bodies in the city morgue
reported that ten of the young men had been shot in the head, while the remaining one had
been shot in the chest.

The Minister of Justice announced the opening of a three-judge commission of inquiry into
the Carrefour-Feuilles killings. Six police officers suspected of involvement were detained,
including Port-au-Prince Commissioner Rameau following his arrest in and extradition
from the Dominican Republic. Another officer had been arrested earlier but reportedly
escaped from detention. Following the arrests of these police officers, several of whom had
been implicated in earlier killings, reports ofextrajudicial executions by the police declined.

The trial of those accused took place in September 2000. Two police officers were
acquitted, and four others, including Commissioner Rameau, received the minimum


Amnesty International, Haiti: Still Crying Out for Justice, AI Index: AMR 36/02/98, July 1998;
Amnesty International, 'Haiti: Eye-witness account of extrajudicial execution', News Service 146/93, AI
Index: AMR 36/WU 03/93, 4 November 1993; and Amnesty International, Urgent Action 321/93, AI
Index: AMR 36/20/93, 13 September 1993.

3 Victims were Monfils 'Calypso' Alexandre; Iss6 'Ti-Tonton' Austin; 'Dadou'; Lionel 'Nene'
Louis; Dieumaitre Charles; Dieunord Voltaire; Michael Louis; Eddy 'Rasta' Saint Jean; Saint Fils Gilles;
Mira Registre; and Joseph Gilbert Gilles.

"See Amnesty International, Haiti: Unfinished Business: justice and liberties at risk, AI Index:
AMR 36/01/00, March 2000; and Amnesty International, Urgent Action 129/99, AI Index: AMR 36/05/99,
3 June 1999.


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sentence of three years. Some sources expressed dismay at the application of the minimum
sentence and at elements such as the reported presence of police in civilian clothes in the
courtroom, which they said discouraged the attendance of some victims' families.
However, there was generally a positive reaction to this first trial of members of the Haitian
National Police accused of human rights violations, and to the quality of the evidence
amassed by the prosecution, which included ballistic evidence.


D. Prisons

As of 29 September 2000, authorities of the Direction de l'Administration Pinitentiaire
(DAP), Direction of Penitentiary Administration, of the Haitian National Police registered
a total of 4,335 detainees. This total is nearly three times the estimated maximum capacity
of the system, which the authorities placed at 1,500." Of the detainees, one fifth (20.03%)
had been tried; the remainder were in pre-trial detention. Among the population 93.59%
were men, 4.96% were women or girls and 1.45% were boys. Roughly half of all detainees
were housed in the Penitentier National, National Penitentiary, in Port-au-Prince, the
official capacity of which is 800.

Amnesty International noted that the DAP administrators interviewed continued to
demonstrate strong efforts in the areas of record keeping and management, a marked
improvement on past practices. Nonetheless, actual conditions in Haitian prisons continued
to fall below international standards, due to overcrowding, lack of resources and outmoded
facilities in some regions. The difficulties in supplying food noted during Amnesty
International's 1999 visit had been somewhat resolved, so that provision of meals was more
regular. Officials brought to the attention of Amnesty International that proper care for
conditions of detention was hindered by the fact that the overall prison budget has remained
unchanged since 1995, in spite of a nearly three-fold increase in the number of detainees
and the effects of inflation.

During Amnesty International's November 2000 visit, prison officials reported having
requested that the Minister of Justice allocate judges to the National Penitentiary, to review
casefiles in order to make decisions to release or to try those caught in the backlog of pre-
trial cases. The Ministry formally instructed judges to do so, and it is hoped that this will
alleviate the backlog. In March 2000 the Ministry reportedly submitted a request for funds
to the central government to fund efforts to reinforce the prosecutors' offices as one means
of promptly addressing untried cases.



37 Interview, Port-au-Prince, 9 November 2000.


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28



Efforts continue to investigate and punish alleged human rights violations by prison guards.
Prison officials told Amnesty International about an alleged incident in Jacmel in October
2000, in which a guard was said to have raped a female detainee. The guard was detained
during the course of an internal investigation; police then passed the case to the public
prosecutor for follow-up. The final outcome was not known at the time of drafting this
report.

In June 2000, new internal disciplinary regulations for prison guards, Riglement de
Discipline Gendrale, were issued by DAP. These regulations, developed with assistance
from UNDP, were seen as an important step in ensuring respect for the human rights of
detainees.


E. The situation of human rights defenders


NGOs came under pressure at several
points during 2000, most notably
during their efforts to commemorate
the life and work of Jean Dominique.
In one example, a 7 April march
organised by a coalition of women's
groups to press for justice with regard
to the killings was reportedly disrupted
by counter demonstrators who set up a
burning barricade and chanted political
slogans. According to reports, police
were present but did not intervene until
marchers asked for their protection.


Entrance to Radio Haiti Inter courtyard, where Jean
Dominique was killed on 3 April 2000 @AI


Also in early April the human rights organization NCHR, National Coalition for Haitian
Rights, wrote to police authorities to request investigation of two recent incidents of
surveillance of the organization's premises by unidentified individuals. The organization
noted that this need was all the more pressing in light of the March 1999 shooting of its
Port-au-Prince director, Pierre Esp6rance, by unidentified assailants.3





3' See Amnesty International, Haiti: Unfinished Business: justice and liberties at risk, Al Index:
AMR 36/01/00, March 2000; and Amnesty International: Urgent Action 45/99, AI Index: AMR 36/01/99,
10 March 1999.


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NGO sources indicated that there were no new series of threats issued or threatening leaflets
found in 2000. However, some of them indicated that, while denunciations of violations
by justice or police officials are generally tolerated, they cannot criticize, for example, acts
of intimidation or violence by some self-described Fanmi Lavalas supporters or other
political partisans without fear of reprisals.

With regard to their human rights monitoring activities, several NGOs reported that their
contacts with the HNP had suffered following the departure of the former head of the
Inspection Generale, who had appointed specific inspectors to respond to their requests for
information; as mentioned above, a new head was appointed in February 2001 and it is
hoped that the situation will improve. The NGO prison observation network continued its
work in Fort Libert6, Gonaives, Les Cayes, Mirebalais, Port-au-Prince (Fort National) and
Port de Paix.

Meanwhile, the staff of the OPC, Office de Protection du Citoyen or Ombudsman's office,
has developed a draft bill regularizing its functioning and the particulars of its duties.39 The
bill as written would reportedly expand the organization's mandate.


CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Amnesty International believes that the first six months of President Aristide's term
constitute a crucial period in Haiti. The efforts that his government undertakes to address
the pressing human rights concerns described above will have serious ramifications, not just
for the immediate future, but for the long-term feasibility of a climate of respect for human
rights in Haiti. The organization has developed specific recommendations for the new
government, which it hopes will be of help in formulating responses to the difficult
situation facing Haiti today.

I. Recommendations to the Haitian authorities

Regarding unofficial security groups

1. Per promises made to Amnesty International following the incident in Hinche
described in this document, Haitian police and justice officials must investigate this
and any other incident of violence by armed groups linked to elected officials.
Officials suspected of involvement in human rights violations must be immediately
suspended pending the outcome of impartial and independent investigation by the


39 The Office was provided for in the 1987 Constitution and inaugurated in November 1997.


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relevant judicial authorities. All those implicated in human rights violations must
be brought to trial promptly and fairly, and the verdict made public.

2. The Haitian National Police, with the backing of local and national authorities,
must ensure that unofficial security groups linked to elected officials are disarmed
and disbanded, and must take all steps to prevent the formation of further such
groups.

3. The Ministry of the Interior should clarify for local officials their responsibilities
and the limits of their mandate, to help avoid such incidents in future.

Regarding the police

4. Haitian authorities must take all possible steps to safeguard the impartiality,
professionalism and public accountability of the police force. Recruitment of new
members must be carried out in a way as to ensure their lack of political
partisanship.

5. National authorities must make every effort to reinforce the police in the lawful
exercise of its law and order functions, so that the force can fully carry out its duty
to safeguard public security in a professional and impartial manner.

6. The Head of State, Minister of Justice and Director General of the HNP must send
a strong and clear message to all police officers that human rights violations will
not be tolerated. Those suspected of involvement in human rights violations must
be immediately suspended pending the outcome of impartial and independent
investigation and the casefile passed to the relevant judicial authorities for follow-
up.

7. All HNP personnel must be made fully aware of, and abide by, the UN Code of
Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of
Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and all other relevant
international standards.

8. The new Inspector General of the HNP must ensure that former links with NGOs
and other members of civil society be reinforced. His office must publish regular
detailed reports of the status of investigations relating to police officers suspected
of committing human rights violations. Consideration must be given to the
establishment of a complaints unit within the office of the Inspector General, to
increase public recourse to the unit.


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31



9. Discussions of any new policing units, such as rural police, must first and foremost
stress the need to maintain an impartial and independent public security force.

Regarding electoral or political violence

10. President Aristide must respond promptly and firmly to any continuing violence,
intimidation, or efforts to politicise Haitian institutions by partisans of his own
political party. A clear message must be sent to partisans that such behaviour will
not be tolerated. Similarly, a message must be sent to officials of Haitian
institutions, particularly the police and the judiciary, that they will be supported in
carrying out their duties professionally and impartially, even when this entails
acting against individuals who claim to be partisans of the Fanmi Lavalas party.

11. The Haitian authorities must take all possible steps to fully and impartially
investigate acts of violence such as the bomb explosions in Port-au-Prince in the
week preceding the presidential elections, and more recently in mid-January, and
bring those responsible to justice.

Regarding justice issues

12. In instances in which members of the former military or paramilitary forces
currently abroad return to Haiti, authorities should make every possible effort to
follow up any allegations of involvement in past human rights violations and to
ensure that those implicated in past violations are brought to trial promptly and
impartially.

13. The Haitian authorities must make every possible effort to successfully conclude
the investigation into the deaths of Jean Dominique and Jean Claude Louissaint.
All justice and other officials involved in the investigation must be protected and
supported so that they can fully and impartially carry out their work.

14. Every effort must be made to strengthen the independence, impartiality and
effectiveness of the justice system. Within those efforts, special attention must be
paid to ensuring the impartiality and independence of public prosecutors.
Recruitment and training must be carried out in a way as to ensure political
impartiality.

15. Where local justice authorities are under pressure from political partisans, local
officials or other groups, central authorities must act swiftly and decisively to put
an end to such pressure and to support the independence of local judicial officials.


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16. The authorities must give the highest priority to the process of judicial reform,
acting as quickly as possible on the reform law. This reform should follow up on
the recommendations of the National Commission for Truth and Justice, and take
into account international standards such as the UN Basic Principles on the
Independence of the Judiciary, the UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors and
the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

17. Authorities should make every possible effort to continue the progress made, with
the Raboteau and Carrefour-Feuilles trials, in combatting impunity.

Regarding the prison system

18. As a long-term aim but at the earliest possible opportunity, the authorities must
seek, with the assistance of foreign governments and international organizations,
to achieve prison conditions that are consistent with the UN Standard Minimum
Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and other relevant international standards.

19. Every possible step must be taken within the judicial system and the prison system
to alleviate the severe overcrowding currently prevalent in Haitian prisons.

20. A separate rehabilitation facility for minors must be established as soon as possible,
in accordance with the requirements of Haitian law. Every effort must be made to
ensure that treatment of minors in detention complies in every way with the
requirements laid out in article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Regarding human rights defenders

21. The Haitian government must take immediate and effective steps to guarantee the
safety of human rights defenders, journalists and other public figures at risk for
their activities to investigate and raise public awareness of human rights concerns.

22. Authorities at all levels of government must commit themselves to investigating
allegations of threats, intimidation or attack against human rights defenders and
bringing those responsible to justice.

23. The Haitian government must take all possible steps to ensure that the principles
contained in the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups
and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9
December 1998, are fully incorporated into national law and mechanisms.


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Regarding other matters

24. The Haitian Government should ratify as soon as possible the UN Convention
against Torture, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, the two optional protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture and
Inter-American Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons, and
incorporate such standards, as well as those it has already ratified, into domestic
legislation, including the Constitution.


II. Recommendations to all Haitian political parties

1. Leaders of all political parties must respond promptly and firmly to any violence,
intimidation, or efforts to politicise Haitian institutions by their partisans. Political
parties must take all possible measures to ensure that their partisans behave in
accordance with the law; when they engage in illegal activities, all political parties
must facilitate the work of the authorities in investigating and sanctioning their
behaviour.

2. Political parties and other groups must make every possible effort to facilitate
investigations into acts of violence such as the bomb explosions in Port-au-Prince
in the week preceding the presidential elections, and more recently in mid-January.
Parties and other groups must facilitate all efforts to bring those responsible to trial.


III. Recommendations to the USA and Haitian authorities

1. The USA authorities should pass on to the Haitian authorities any information in
the possession of the CIA or other USA government agencies which may shed light
on the identity of those responsible for human rights violations in Haiti. The USA
Congress should consider conducting an independent investigation into the possible
direct or indirect involvement of USA officials in human rights violations in Haiti
at the time of the de facto military government. Any USA citizens found
responsible for such violations should be held to account for their actions.


IV. Recommendations to international organizations and governments involved in Haiti

1. International institutions and donors should make the impact of their actions on the
overall climate of respect for and protection of human rights in Haiti the guiding


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34



principle in any decision to expand, modify or end their activities in the country.

2. The United Nations, the Organization of American States and concerned governments
must make every possible effort to engage in dialogue with the Haitian Government
regarding the need for human rights monitoring and any other type of human rights
involvement required by the current situation in Haiti.

3. International governmental and non-governmental organizations should give the highest
possible priority to assisting Haiti in the tasks of judicial reform and reinforcement of
key institutions in accordance with international human rights standards.


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