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ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Doc. 9 rev.
February 11, 1994
35 YEARS PROMOTING AND DEFENDING HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE AMERICAS
ON THE SITUATION
i'iY 2 6 in;.
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
SI -O I
Approved by the Commission at its 850 session
held from January 31 February 11, 1994
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRO DUCTION ................... ................. 1
CHAPTER I IACHR ACTIVITIES IN HAITI
A ) Background ................................. 5
B) IACHR Activities during the period of 1991 1993 .....
a) IACHR exploratory mission from
Decem ber 5 7, 1991 ......................
b) IACHR's On-site visit to Haiti
on August 23 27, 1993 ...................
i) Background .........................
ii) O n-site visit . . . . . . . . . . . . .
'TER II THE POLITICAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK IN HAITI
A) The 1987 Constitution ........................
i) The Executive Branch ..................
ii) The Legislative Branch .................
iii) The Judicial Branch ...................
B) Rights and Guarantees established by the Constitution
Means to ensure the protection of individual rights . .
Haiti's international obligations with respect
to Hum an Rights ...........................
CHAPTER III THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN HAITI
A) Background ....................
i) The December 16, 1990 Election
ii) The Attempted Coup d'Etat ...
iii) The Government of President Ari
iv) The Coup d'Etat of September
Is . . . . .
stide . . . .
29, 1991 . .
Developments and steps taken by the OAS
UN to facilitate dialogue ................
The Washington Agreements .............
The Villa d'Accueil Accord ..............
La Florida Declaration ..................
Steps towards the establishment of a
C ivil M mission .. ... .. .. .. .. . .. . .
The Governors' Island Accord .............
The New York Pact ...................
vii) The new Government of Prime Minister Malval 56
THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN HAITI
Introduction ............................ 67
General Overview of Human Rights in Haiti ....... 67
C) Factors which contribute to Human Rights Violations 70
i) Lack of separation between the Army
and the Police ....................... 70
ii) Lack of training of Military/Police in
respecting Human Rights . . . . . ..... 71
iii) Existence of paramilitary operatives:
Attaches y Zenglendos ................. 72
iv) Military domination of the Judicial system . .. 74
D) Status of Selected Human Rights Cases ......... 75
a) Right to Life ......................... 75
i) Legal Provisions ................... 75
ii) General Observations and Selected Cases .76
b) Right to Personal Liberty and Right
to Humane Treatment . . . . . . . ..... 80
i) Legal Provisions .................... 80
ii) General Observations . . . . . ..... 82
iii) Selected Cases from Port-au-Prince . . . 83
Selected Cases from the countryside . . .
People Arrested and/or Beaten for
Expressing Support of President Aristide . .
c) Freedom of Thought and Expression . . . ... 89
i) Legal Provisions .................... 89
ii) General Observations . . . . . ..... 91
iii) Selected Cases .................... 91
d) Right of Assembly ..................... 93
i) Legal Provisions ................... 93
ii) General Observations . . . . . . ... 93
iii) Selected Cases from Port-au-Prince . . . 94
iv) Selected Cases from the Countryside . . 95
E) Reports approved by the IACHR at its 85th Session . 97
i) Report No 9/94: Violations of
the Right to Freedom and Personal Liberty .98
ii) Report No 10/94: Violations of the
Right to Life ...................... 109
iii) Report No 11/94: The Murder of
Georges Izm6ry ................... 119
CHAPTER V THE REFUGEES ....................... 135
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .............. 149
i) IACHR Press Releases ................. 153
ii) Governors' Island Accord ............... 166
iii) New York Pact ....................... 168
REPORT ON THE SITUATION OF
HUMAN RIGHTS IN HAITI
1. Given the critical situation of human rights persisting in Haiti,
aggravated by the military coup of September 29, 1991, the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has continued to
assign priority to the country, and has been presenting a report on the
situation of human rights in Haiti every year.
2. During this period, the Commission has repeatedly been asked
by the Permanent Council and the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of
Foreign Affairs of the Organization of American States to conduct on-
site visits to Haiti. It has also received requests from President Jean-
Bertrand Aristide to visit the country. Unfortunately, each attempt
taken by the Commission to organize such a visit to Haiti was either
ignored or rejected by those who exercise power in Haiti. Finally, after
President Aristide asked the Commission on July 6, 1993 to conduct
an on-site investigation, on July 19, 1993, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, indicated a willingness to allow the Commission to visit the
3. The Commission conducted the visit from August 23 to 27,
1993. All of the information compiled by the Special Delegation
pointed to a systematic pattern of human rights violations lodged
against supporters of President Aristide by the military, the police and
their collaborators. Most of the reported cases of extrajudicial
executions and arbitrary, unlawful detention, (which were always
accompanied by beatings and mistreatment), took place in the poor
neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, where the vast majority of President
Aristide's supporters live.
4. The Commission also observed that the number of human
rights violations in rural areas had increased, especially in the Artibonite
region and the Central Plateau. Witnesses interviewed by the IACHR
Delegation testified to the repression they were suffering at the hands
of the military, including the destruction of their homes. This has led
to a mass displacement of people constantly fleeing the violence.
5. During the period covered by this report, human rights
violations increased in Haiti, despite the signing of the Governors Island
and New York Agreements. Such violations, which include extra-
judicial executions; disappearances; arbitrary detention; torture;
mistreatment; extortion; prohibition of the right of assembly and
repression of the media, increased greatly in number. In the capital,
violence by gunmen operating on the instructions of the Army has
escalated. Assaults by zenglendos gangs of gunmen trained by
former members of the military have contributed towards heightening
the atmosphere of fear and insecurity among the population.
Paramilitary groups called attaches, as well as the zenglendos, operate
with full impunity. In the provinces, violations are being committed not
only by section chiefs and their associates, but also by new "militia"
recently created by the Army to continue the repression. Most of the
violations have occurred in a political climate promoted by the armed
forces in their efforts to remain in power.
6. In Chapter I, this report describes the activities carried out by
the Commission as of December 1991 and its most recent visit to Haiti
in August 1993. Chapter II reviews the political and legal system in
Haiti, as established by the 1987 Constitution. Chapter III provides
background information on the political developments in Haiti after the
1991 coup d'etat, and on the steps taken by the Organization of
American States and the United Nations to facilitate a political dialogue
between the parties concerned so as to bring about the return of
President Aristide and the restoration of democracy to Haiti.
7. Chapter IV of the report analyzes the current human rights
situation in Haiti. This report is based mainly on the testimony given
by either the victims of human rights violations themselves or their
family members during the last visit conducted by the Commission.
Claims of violations of individual rights received at IACHR headquarters
are similarly considered. Also included in this Chapter is the
information presented by the OAS/UN Civilian Mission and
documentation provided by a number of human rights groups working
both inside and outside Haiti. Chapter IV additionally gives a brief
description of the military structure in Haiti as background to the
subsequent analysis of the various institutional factors contributing to
the aggravation of the human rights situation in the country. In
addition, a few of the many claims of human rights violations received
by the Commission are illustrated. The last chapter of the report,
Chapter 5, discusses the issue of Haitian refugees, the vast majority of
whom seek asylum in the United States because of the critical situation
they face in Haiti today.
CHAPTER I IACHR ACTIVITIES IN HAITI
8. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has been
paying special attention to the situation of human rights in Haiti
practically since its inception. The systematic violation of basic human
rights during the Duvalier family dictatorship compelled the Commission
to conduct a visit to Haiti and further, to issue a special report in 1979.
During the almost thirty years of the Duvalier regime, a complex legal
and political structure was instituted and continues to this day to have
an impact on the exercise of human rights. After former President
Jean-Claude Duvalier left Haiti on February 6, 1986, the Commission
continued its work by issuing a follow-up report on the human rights
situation in the country.
9. A few weeks before leaving the country in 1986, President
Jean-Claude Duvalier invited the Commission to conduct a visit to Haiti.
That visit, however, did not materialize. It was only on July 29th
1986, that the National Government Council, which succeeded
Duvalier, issued another invitation to the Commission to observe the
human rights situation in Haiti. The full Commission conducted a visit
from January 20 to 23, 1987.
10. Considering that at that time a process of democratization had
been undertaken, (a process which included the drafting of a new
constitution and the organization of free, multiparty elections in Haiti by
November 1987), the Commission expressed its concern about human
rights to the Haitian Government by means of a communication to the
Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which it requested that it be granted the
authorization necessary to continue to observe in situ the human rights
situation during that period. The full Commission conducted another
visit to the country in January 1987.
11. After the elections scheduled for November 29, 1987 were
cancelled due to tragic events occurring on that date, the Commission
reviewed the situation and issued a press release on March 25, 1988,
announcing its decision to prepare a special report on the human rights
situation in Haiti. It also expressed its desire that the government allow
it to conduct a visit to the country for this purpose. On April 26, 1988,
the government of President Manigat invited the Commission to
conduct an on-site investigation.
12. After a period of extreme tension, the government of President
Manigat was overthrown and General Henry Namphy took power on
June 20, 1988. Given these developments, the Permanent Council of
the Organization of American States again met on June 29 1988 to
review the situation in Haiti. It adopted Resolution 502, in which,
among other steps, it instructed the IACHR to examine the status of
human rights in the country and to report to the next regular meeting
of the General Assembly. In that resolution, the Permanent Council
reasserted "the full validity of all the principals of the Charter ... that
call for the effective exercise of representative democracy ... and the
full enjoyment of fundamental human rights."
13. After taking the necessary steps, a Special Delegation of the
IACHR conducted a visit to Haiti from August 29 to September 2,
1988. The findings of the visit are discussed in a Special Report on the
Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, which extensively reviews the
problem of human rights in the context of the 1987 Constitution. The
Commission noted in the report that it was essential that a timetable
for elections be established so that free, fair elections could be held and
a democratic, civilian government could take office. It stressed that in
order for the Haitian electoral process to be acceptable in light of the
November 29, 1987 elections which had been violently obstructed by
the military, coupled with the widespread distrust of the military's
capacity or willingness to turn power over to a civilian government
elected by universal suffrage, it should be subject to international
supervision by UN and OAS observers.1
14. On September 17, 1988, a coup d'etat led by a group of
noncommissioned officers removed Lieutenant General Henry Namphy
and replaced him with Brigadier General Prosper Avril. Recently
promoted, General Avril agreed to be President of the military
government "in order to save the country from anarchy and chaos" and
declared that he and the noncommissioned officers would respect all
the international commitments of Haiti. The Avril government
weathered two attempted coups d'etat on October 14, 1988 and
April 2, 1989. The state of emergency was imposed for so long that
it became the norm. As a consequence, disillusionment proved the only
outcome of the post-Duvalier experiment in government, with the
population at large being pushed out of political life, which was now
boiling down to internal power struggles within the Army.
15. Given the escalating violence and deteriorating human rights
situation, the Permanent Council of the OAS met again on February 23,
1990, to discuss the situation in Haiti. It decided to ask the
Commission to continue assigning priority to the human rights situation
in Haiti, and, with the consent of the Haitian Government, to conduct
another visit to the country and prepare a special report.'/ However,
due to the worsening conflicts in Haiti, the Avril government was
unable to respond to the invitation before it was replaced by the
provisional government led by Ertha Pascal Trouillot. The Commission
arranged with Trouillot to conduct an observation mission from
April 7th 10th 1990.
16. As a result of the observation mission, the IACHR presented
a special report to the General Assembly of the OAS at its June 1990
session in Paraguay. Taking into account that report, which covered
the period of the Avril government and specially emphasized the
1. Doc. OEA/Ser.L/V.II. 74. doc. 9, rev. 1, of September 7, 1988.
2. Doc. OEA/Ser.G. CP/RES. 537/90 of February 23, 1990.
Commission's concern about the problem of security during the
elections,3 the General Assembly approved a resolution entitled
"Support for the Democratic Process in the Republic of Haiti".'4
17. After the observation mission conducted in April 1990, the
Commission was advised of a serious deterioration in the human rights
situation in Haiti, as ongoing efforts were made in preparation for
upcoming elections. On these grounds, and following instructions from
Leo Valladares Lanza, Chairman of the Commission, Bertha Santoscoy,
attorney for Haitian affairs in the Commision's Secretariat, visited Port-
au-Prince from September 10 to 14, 1990, in order to obtain further
information on the situation of human rights there. That information
was considered by the IACHR during its 78th meeting, and it was
decided that another visit to Haiti should be conducted with a view to
following up on the situation and providing support for the
democratization process undertaken.
18. At the invitation of the government, the full Commission
visited Haiti from November 14 to 16, 1990, to observe, in general,
the situation in the country and political rights in particular, within the
framework of the elections. During its visit, the Commission observed
encouraging signs that the electoral process under way could indeed
result in genuinely democratic elections. The first such sign was that
the number of registered voters was the highest in the history of Haiti,
which could be interpreted as reflecting the deep desire of the Haitian
people to achieve change peacefully. The second sign was the will of
the provisional government to successfully carry out the elections its
primary objective, according to the highest government authorities.
19. In its follow-up report of 1990-1991,5' the Commission
reported that the general elections had been held peacefully, in the
3. Doc. OEA/Ser.L/V/11.77 rev. 1, doc. 18 of May 8, 1990.
4. Doc. AG/RES. 1048 (XIX-0/90) of June 8, 1990.
5. Doc. OEA/Ser.L/V/11.79, rev. 1 doc. 12 of February 22, 1991.
presence of international observers from the OAS and the UN
(ONUVEH), who declared that the elections had been free and
democratic. Father Jean Bertrand Aristide was elected as
Constitutional President a post he held until a coup d'etat ousted him
from office on September 29, 91
B. IACHR activities during the period 1991-1993
a. IACHR exploratory mission from December 5 to 7. 1991
20. Given the grave events that had taken place with the
September 1991 coup d'etat in Haiti, the Secretary General of the
OAS, exercising the powers conferred upon him through the "Santiago
Commitment", called a Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. At the
meeting, which was held in Washington on October 2, 1991, a
Resolution entitled "Support for the Democratic Government in Haiti"
(MRE/RES.1/91) was approved, whereby it was decided: "To urge the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, pursuant to the request
by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to immediately take every measure
within its purview to protect and defend human rights in Haiti and to
report to the Permanent Council of the Organization in this connection."
21. During its 80th meeting on October 3, 1991, the Commission
met at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. with President Aristide, the
Secretary General of the OAS, Ambassador Joao Clemente Baena
Soares, and the Representative of the Permanent Haitian Mission to the
OAS, Ambassador Jean Casimir. During the meeting, there was a
constructive discussion on how the Commission could be useful in
defending human rights in Haiti, given developments since
September 29, 1991, and to contribute towards prompt restoration of
democratic rule and the legitimately elected authorities. Ideas were
also exchanged as to how to implement the recommendation made by
the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, at President
Aristide's request, that the Commission take the measures within its
purview to protect and defend human rights in Haiti.
22. Taking into account Resolution MRE/RES. 1/91 (referred to
above) and the numerous reports of human rights violations, the
Commission carried out an exploratory mission to Haiti on December 5
to 7, 1991. The purpose of the mission was to determine whether the
conditions existed in the country for the Commission to perform its
work, to identify the problems that would require further investigation
and, if special situations were detected, to refer them to the
government so that they could be resolved.
23. The Special Delegation of the IACHR consisted of the
Chairman of the Commission, Patrick L. Robinson, the Deputy
Chairman, Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, the Commission Secretariat's
attorney for Haitian affairs, Bertha Santoscoy-Noro, and Luis Jim6nez.
24. During its stay in Haiti, the Delegation met with Mr. Jean-
Jacques Honorat, who had been appointed Minister of Foreign Affiars
by those who exercised the power in Haiti and with members of
Parliament, Senator Ebran6 Cadet and Deputies Duly Brutus and Pierre
Carel Rindal. It also interviewed the Chief of the Armed Forces,
General Raoul C6dras, who was accompanied by personnel from Army
25. In addition, the IACHR Delegation met with representatives of
human rights organizations and political parties in order to collect
information on the political situation in the country. It visited the "La
Famille C'est La Vie" child welfare center and later interviewed
representatives of the print and broadcast media to ascertain the status
of the exercise of freedom of expression. The Delegation interviewed
representatives of trade unions, the Catholic church and other major
interest groups in the country.
26. During its visit, the Delegation was advised that the persons
interviewed had not had any trouble reporting to it, nor, prior to its
departure, had they suffered any reprisals. The Delegation was able to
observe that this was a change in comparison to the previous visit of
the Civil Mission of the OAS, during which, according to information
received, several people had had serious trouble contacting the mission.
27. During its three day stay in Haiti, the Delegation did not
encounter any obstacles to its work, was able to move easily to
different parts of Port-au-Prince without feeling that its independence,
security or the necessary discretion of its activities was at all
jeopardized. Given its short stay, due to the exploratory nature of its
mission, the Delegation was unable to travel to cities in the interior,
although it would have liked to.
28. The Chairman of the Commission, Patrick Robinson, and the
Deputy Chairman, Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, presented the findings of the
exploratory mission to Haiti to the Permanent Council of the OAS on
January 9, 1992. They pointed out that the human rights situation in
Haiti was highly volatile and extremely dangerous for a number of
reasons: a very grave institutional crisis had been created in the
country; the vast majority of the Haitian people existed in desperately
poor living conditions; the public was politically polarized; violence was
routinely used to settle social differences; and there was no tradition of
democratic custom and practice. Such serious problems could only
be resolved by the Haitian people themselves, with the cooperation of
the international community. With regard to the business of the
Commission, its contribution would be to continue working with other
OAS bodies and with the Haitian Government and people to achieve
unrestricted respect for human rights and the full force of political
rights and the institutional framework necessary for a representative
b. IACHR's On-site visit to Haiti on August 23rd to 27th, 1993
29. Prior to the on-site August 1993 visit, the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights had requested consent from those who
exercised power in Haiti to conduct an observation mission on the
situation of human rights in the country. The IACHR proposed two
visits: an exploratory mission from December 13 to 15, 1992, and an
on-site visit from January 11 to 15, 1993.
30. Those exercising power in Haiti did not give such consent.
Instead, by communication of December 8, 1992, they indicated that
the date on which the visits could be conducted would be announced
shortly, but it was not until a month later did it reply that "the Haitian
Government had, in goodwill, already allowed the presence of a Civilian
Mission of the OAS, one of the purposes of which was precisely to
evaluate the situation of human rights in the country. The visit of the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, scheduled for
January 15, 1993, therefore did not seem necessary."
31. Since it could not conduct the visit, in a press release issued
on January 8, 1993,-/ the Commission reasserted its desire to travel
to Haiti, and appealed to all nongovernmental human rights
organizations, particularly those operating in Haiti, to the victims and
their families, and, in general, to all persons whose individual rights had
been violated in any way because of the political crisis to forward their
claims to the IACHR.
32. The Commission was able to prepare its special report on Haiti
for 1992, thanks to the many claims of human rights violations
received from the victims themselves and from human rights groups
6. See Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, 1993, pages 47-48.
operating inside and outside the country as well as other reliable
33. During its 83rd meeting from March 1 to 12, 1993, President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide addressed the Commission on the situation of
human rights in Haiti. He emphasized that human rights were being
violated with impunity by the military. He stated that the presence of
the IACHR in Haiti was necessary and asked it to take the steps
necessary to obtain the support of the member states to pressure the
military regime into accepting the visit of the Commission in the
34. President Aristide also said that the permanent presence of the
IACHR in Haiti would make it possible to develop strategies in order to
carry out projects and programs designed to protect human rights. The
army and police could thus be modernized and the judicial system could
be strengthened. At the same time, a public information campaign
could be carried out targeting the Haitian population at large.
35. At the end of the meeting, the Commission again agreed to
seek the consent of those who exercised power in Haiti to conduct an
on-site visit, setting May 1993 as an appropriate time. To this request
however, no response was forthcoming. The request was resubmitted
on June 25, and by communication of July 19, 1993, Mr. Francois
Benoit, who had been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs by those
exercising power in Haiti, advised that the Commission would be
permitted to visit the country.
36. Pursuant to the July 3, 1993 Governors Island Agreement
made between President Aristide and the leader of the Armed Forces,
General Raoul C6dras, the Representative of the Permanent Haitian
Mission to the OAS, Ambassador Jean Casimir, addressed an invitation
to the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR from the democratically
elected government of President Aristide for the Commission to
conduct a visit to observe the human rights situation in Haiti and to
maintain a permanent presence in the country during the transition
period that had been established for the return of President Aristide.
The invitation noted the need for the Commission to make the visit as
quickly as possible, that is, before ratification by Parliament of Prime
Minister-Designate Robert Malval, in order to observe the political
climate and any street demonstrations in support of President Aristide,
and to determine whether the climate was appropriate for the
protection of human rights during the transition.
ii) On-site visit
37. The IACHR Delegation conducted the visit from August 23rd
to 27th, 1993. It consisted of the following members: Michael
Reisman, Deputy Chairman of the Commission and Head of the
Delegation; Ambassador Oliver Jackman, Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, Leo
Valladares Lanza and Patrick Robinson, members of the IACHR; David
Padilla, Assistant Executive Secretary of the IACHR; Bertha Santoscoy,
Senior Specialist for Haitian Affairs; Relinda Eddie and Meredith Caplan,
attorneys for the Commission; Maria Julia Meyer, administrative officer;
and Serge Bellegarde from the OAS language services staff.
38. At the beginning of the visit, the IACHR Delegation held an
official meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During its stay, the
IACHR Delegation met with the following members of the OAS/UN
Civilian Mission: Ambassador Colin Granderson, Director of the
Mission; lan Martin, Director of Human Rights; William O'Neill, Legal
Advisor; Tiebil Drome, Deputy Director of Research and Investigations;
and Marfa Clara Martin, also of Investigations. The Delegation
interviewed Father Antoine Adrien and Chavannes Jean-Baptiste,
members of the Presidential Commission established by President
Aristide to conduct the political negotiations.
39. On the first day of the visit, the Delegation also interviewed
the following representatives of nongovernmental human rights
organizations: Nekker Dessables, Paul Dejean and Jean-Claude Jean of
the Haitian Human Rights Organizations Platform [Plateforme des
organizations haTtiennes des droits de I'homme]; Jean-Claude Bajeux,
Jean-Robert Vaval and Jean Robert Benoit of the Ecumenical Human
Rights Center [Centre oecum6nique des droits humanss; Gladys Joseph
of Sant Karl Levek; Georgette Senatus of the Haitian Lawyers
Committee [Comit6 des avocats ha'tiens]; Ann Fuller and Pierre
Esp6rence of the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees; Father Hugo
Triest, Polycarpe Joseph and Marcel Hilaire of Justice and Peace
[Justice et Paix]; Jessie Ewald Benoit of the Human Rights Commission
[Commission des Droits Humains] and Agency for Comprehensive
Economic Development [Agence de D6veloppement Economique
Int6gre]; Freud Jean of the Alternative Program for Justice [Programme
alternatif de justice]; and attorney Jean Joseph Exum6. The Delegation
received a great deal of information from these sources on current
human rights violations in the country.
40. On August 24, the Delegation met with the Commander-in-
Chief of the Armed Forces in Haiti, General Raoul C6dras, who was
accompanied by Army headquarters staff. The Delegation also met
with a number of Members of Parliament: Senate president Jean-Louis
Firmin and Senators Turnep Delp6, Rony Mondestin and Ebran6 Cadet.
That same day, the Delegation interviewed the following media
representatives: Evans Dubois of Le Nouvelliste; Jean-Marie Dorsainvil
of Radio Soleil; Evariste P. Michel and Yolette Mengual of Arc-en-Ciel;
Jean-Germain Alexandre and Patrick Moussignac of Radio Cara'bes.
Subsequently, the Delegation met with Antoine Izm6ry and Father Ivon
Massak, representatives of the Freedom Committee (KOMEVEB) and
thereafter with following representatives of Haitian trade unions: Marc
Antoine Destin of the Confederation of Haitian Workers [Conf6edration
des travailleurs haTtiens] (CTH); Gabriel Miracle, Raymond Viau and
Gesner Milcent of the Autonomous Haitian Workers Organization
[Centrale autonome des travailleurs haitiens]; Gesner Jean-Philippe and
Patrick Numas of the General Independent Organization of Men and
Women Workers of Haiti [Organisation g6n6rale ind6pendante des
travailleurs et travailleuses haTtiens] (OGITH); and Joseph Lefils and
Daceus Louisius of the Federation of Union Workers [F6d6ration des
ouvriers syndiqu6s] (FOS).
41. On August 25, the Delegation divided up into three groups.
Group One, made up of Michael Reisman, Leo Valladares Lanza and
Bertha Santoscoy, traveled to the Central Plateau region, where it was
given valuable support by members of the Civilian Mission based there.
In Hinche, this delegation observed the climate of repression that the
population was subjected to. In fact, a number of people who belonged
to Ti'L6glise refused to meet in public places for fear of being identified
and suffering reprisals on the part of the local authorities.
42. Group One met with certain authority figures who had been
appointed by those exercising the power in Haiti, such as the Justice
of the Peace, the Commissioner and a Magistrate. At its visit to the
Hinche Prison, this Delegation received abundant information on
arbitrary detention, prison conditions, mistreatment and torture inflicted
upon the prisoners at the time of arrest and in prison, and on unjustified
delays in court hearings for the defendants in some cases up to two
43. A second group, consisting of Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, Oliver
Jackman, David Padilla and Relinda Eddie, travelled to the Artibonite
region. In Saint-Marc, the Delegation group met with members of the
Civilian Mission, interviewed the military commander of the area and
visited the Saint-Marc Prison. In Gonaives, it met with Archbishop
Gerard Dormevil and interviewed victims of human rights violations by
44. The third group, made up of Patrick Robinson and Meredith
Caplan, visited the Port-au-Prince penitentiary and questioned a large
number of prisoners on their legal status and prison conditions. In the
afternoon, the Delegation group received individual claims of human
rights violations from victims and family members.
45. On August 26, the full Delegation met with recently ratified
Prime Minister Robert Malval at his home. It also interviewed
representatives of some of the major political parties: Victor Benoit,
Pierre Andre Guerrier, Dunois Eric Contave, Lucien Pardo, Evans Paul
and Turnep Delp6 of the National Front for Change and Democracy
[Front national pour le changement et la d6mocratie] (FNCD) and the
National Committee of the Congress of National Democratic
Movements [Comit6 national du Congres des movements d6mocrates]
(KONAKOM); G6rard Pierre-Charles, Irvelt Chery and Patrick Norz6us of
the Lavalas Political Organization [Organisation politique Lavalas] (OPL);
Ren6 Theodore of the National Reconstruction Movement [Mouvement
de reconstruction national] (MRN); Reynolds Georges, Luc Audaute
and Marcel Moise of the Alliance for the Liberation and Advancement
of Haiti [Alliance pour la liberation et I'avancement d'Haiti] (ALAH) and
Leslie Manigat of the Union of Progressive Democrats [Rassemblement
des d6mocrates nationaux progressistes] (RDNP). That afternoon the
Delegation met with Claude L6vy and Raymond Lafontant,
representatives of the Business Association [Association des industries]
(ADIH), and with Amos Jonas, Aldajiste Pierre, Belanot Augustin, Jilaire
Josef, Vilsaint Destinasse and Martine Alvarez, representatives of the
Peasant Women's Movement [Mouvement des paysannes].
46. The many claims of human rights violations the Delegation
received during its on-site visit shared the following features. First,
there was repeated testimony that the rights to life, personal freedom
and safety, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly were
being constantly violated. Second, the climate of fear and insecurity
that had developed in the country had led to large-scale displacement
of people fleeing repression by the military from the provinces to the
capital and vice versa. In the interior of the country, witnesses
interviewed by the Delegation were so fearful of the reprisals they
might suffer on the part of the military authorities that many insisted
on clandestine meetings. The pattern that emerges from these
testimonies is that grave physical abuse is taking place, sometimes
involving entire families merely suspected of being supporters of
President Aristide. The information obtained during this on-site visit
will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter IV of this report.
47. At the end of its visit, the Delegation issued a press release
at a press conference held on August 27 at the Hotel Holiday Inn.
CHAPTER II THE POLITICAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK IN HAITI
A. The 1987 Constitution
48. The Constitution adopted in 1987 reflects the Haitian people's
outright rejection of the 29 years of Duvalier family dictatorship.7'
49. The most popular provision of the 1987 Constitution was
Article 291, which bars supporters of the previous dictatorship regime
from holding any public office for a 10-year period. This measure was
designed to make a clear break with the Duvalier past and move on to
a Duvalier-free future.
50. Another important feature of the 1987 Constitution was
Article 289, which establishes a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).
This Council practically became a parallel power to the National
Government Council (CNG) since it was assigned control of the
elections, one of the duties the CNG had previously assigned itself.
51. The 1987 Constitution declares that Haiti is "an indivisible,
sovereign, independent, cooperative, free, democratic and social
republic."8- The condition of "cooperative" was added to the wording
of the 1983 Constitution (as amended). As provided for in the 1983
Constitution, the political structure is that of a traditional democracy.
Articles 58, 59 and 60 stipulate that sovereignty is vested in all
citizens, who delegate the exercise of such sovereignty to the three
branches of government: legislative, executive and judiciary. Each
7. According to Le Moniteur, the official government daily, the total number of
votes cast at the November 29, 1987 elections was 1,271,334, or 45.5% of the
2.8 million eligible voters, of whom 1,268,980 voted for the Constitution, an
approval rate of 99.8%.
8. Article 1, 1987 Constitution of Haiti.
branch of government is independent of the other two and none may
go beyond the boundaries set for them by the Constitution and by law.
i) The Executive Branch
52. According to the Constitution, the President must be elected
by direct universal suffrage with an absolute majority of votes. If an
absolute majority is not obtained in the first round of elections, a runoff
election must be held between the two main contenders.9/
53. The term of office of the president must begin on the
February 7 following election day and end on February 7 five years
later.-'/ Presidential elections must be held on the last Sunday in
November during the fifth year of the president's term of office.)"
The same individual may not serve more than two terms of office and
such terms may not be consecutive.12/
54. Among the duties of the President is the designation of the
Prime Minister from among the members of the majority party of the
Parliament, which must ratify the President's choice.1' The President
has the power to declare war,14 and, with the approval of the
Senate, to appoint the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.15'
9. Ibid, Article 134.
10. Ibid, Article 134.1.
11. Ibid. Article 134.2.
12. Ibid, Article 134.3.
13. Ibid, Article 137.
14. Ibid, Article 140.
15. Ibid, Article 141.
The President is also the nominal head of the armed forces.)-6 Should
the position of the President become vacant, the resident of the
Supreme Court assumes the duties of the President and is sworn in by
the National Assembly, duly convened by the Prime Minister.17/
55. According to Article 135 of the Constitution, to be elected
President of Haiti, a candidate must:
a) Be a native Haitian and never have renounced Haitian
b) Have attained 35 years of age by election day.
c) Enjoy civil and political rights and never have been sentenced
to death, personal restraint or penal servitude or the loss of
civil rights for a crime of ordinary law.
d) Be the owner in Haiti of at least one piece of real property and
have his or her primary residence in the country.
e) Have resided in the country for five consecutive years prior to
the date of the elections.
f) Have been relieved of his or her responsibilities if he or she
has been handling public funds.
56. The Prime Minister is the head of the government and
conducts the policy of the nation.8/' The conditions to be met in to
be designated Prime Minister are similar to those pertaining to the
President, except that, with respect to age, a candidate must have
16. Ibid, Article 143.
17. Ibid, Article 149.
18. Ibid. Articles 155 and 156.
attained 30 years of age, and must have resided in the country for five
consecutive years before elections.
57. The Prime Minister selects the members of his or her cabinet
with the approval of the President and a vote of confidence from the
Parliament.-' In concert with the President, the Prime Minister is
responsible for national defense2' and law enforcement.21-
58. In short, the 1987 Constitution reduces the power of the
executive branch by establishing the duties of the President and the
Prime Minister, bans consecutive reelection and institutes a democratic
form of government effectively separating powers.
59. It provides that the executive power is exercised by the
President and the government. Thus, according to the Constitution, the
President appoints the Prime Minister, and it is the latter, not the
President, who has the authority to conduct national policy.22/
Cabinet members are selected by the Prime Minister with the approval
of the President.2'
60. The Constitution provides that the High Court of Justice may
indict the President and the Prime Minister for certain offenses such as
high treason or other crimes committed in the discharge of their
19. Ibid, Article 158.
20. Ibid, Article 159-1.
21. Ibid, Article 159.
22. Ibid, Article 156.
23. Ibid, Article 158.
24. Ibid, Article 186.
61. Furthermore, the Constitution calls for establishment of a
Conciliation Committee to settle disputes between the executive and
the legislative branches of government or between the two houses of
Parliament. Operation of the Conciliation Committee is to be
determined by law.26'
ii) The Legislative Branch
62. The 1987 Constitution provides for a two-house parliamentary
system consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.2 The
conditions set forth by the Constitution for election to a four-year term
as deputy with limitations on re-election are similar to those established
for candidates for President and Prime Minister, except that the
minimum age is 25, and the residency requirement is two consecutive
years prior to election day in the electoral ward the candidate seeks to
63. The conditions for election for senator8' are similar to those
for deputy, except for the minimum age, which is 30, and the residency
requirement, which is four consecutive years prior to election day in the
electoral ward the candidate seeks to represent.
64. Senators are elected for a six-year term and may be re-
elected. In addition, according to Article 291, the most important
prerequisite for a candidate for deputy or senator is that he or she not
have had any ties to the dictatorship regimes, since that would mean
automatic disqualification from any public office.
25. Ibid, Article 206.
26. Ibid, Article 206-1.
27. Ibid, Article 88.
28. Ibid, Article 96.
65. The Constitution provides that joint meetings of the Chamber
of Deputies and the Senate constitute the National Assembly. The
Senate is permanently in session.2/ In no case may either house be
dissolved or adjourned.3-' In the event of disagreement between the
Legislative and the Executive branches, the 1987 Constitution provides
for a Conciliation Committee to which such disputes are to be referred
66. The 1987 Constitution sets out the duties of the legislative
branch with regard to its power to enact laws. Both houses, as well as
the executive, may submit bills."3/ Similarly, additional powers are
granted to Parliament in its capacity as the National Assembly, such as
swearing in the President, ratifying a declaration of war, approving or
rejecting treaties and amending the Constitution.32/
67. Meetings of the National Assembly are public, unless at least
five members request a closed session.-3 Members of the legislature
have immunity from the day they are sworn in until their term of office
29. Ibid, Article 95.1.
30. Ibid, Article 111.8.
31. Ibid, Article 111.1.
32. Ibid, Article 98.3.
33. Ibid, Article 110.
34. Ibid, Article 114.
iii) The judiciary branch
68. According to the 1987 Constitution, judiciary power is vested
in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, County Courts, Courts of
Peace and Special Courts.-' The Constitution also provides that the
Senate may act as High Court of Justice to hear political cases, such
as the public trial of a president for treason.
69. Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges are
appointed by the president for a 10-year term of office36 from a list
of at least three candidates for each court seat submitted by the
Senate.37/ County Court judges are appointed for a seven-year term.
Supreme Court justices, and Court of Appeals and County Court judges
may not be removed from office.38'
70. For political crimes, the Constitution establishes special
courts, the jurisdiction of which is to be determined by law.39 It also
provides that sentences may not be delivered in closed session in the
case of political offenses or offenses involving the media.40'
35. Ibid, Article 173.
36. Ibid, Article 174.
37. Ibid, Article 175.
38. Ibid, Article 177.
39. Ibid, Article 173.
40. Ibid. Article 173.
B. Rights and guarantees established by the Constitution
71. The Constitution consists of a preamble, fifteen titles and
298 articles. Of the fifteen titles, Title III, entitled "Basic Rights and
Duties of Citizens", concerns individual rights, and Title IV concerns
72. The Constitution declares that all Haitians are equal before the
law,41- but confers certain advantages on native Haitians, such as
allowing only native Haitians to be candidates for such offices as
President of the country, Prime Minister or Member of Parliament. The
provisions of previous constitutions whereby any individual born in
Haiti, even of foreign parents, was granted the status of native Haitian,
were not included in the 1987 Constitution.
73. The Constitution establishes both the basic rights and the
duties of Haitian citizens. The age of majority is 18 years,/ at which
age, all political and civil rights may be exercised.43 Capital
punishment is abolished in all cases.44/
74. Individual liberty is guaranteed, and persons may only be
prosecuted, arrested or detained according to law.4/ No one may be
detained without an arrest warrant, unless the perpetrator is caught in
the act,-' and arrest warrants may not be served between 6:00 p.m.
41. Ibid, Article 18.
42. Ibid, Article 16-2.
43. Ibid, Article 17.
44. Ibid. Article 20.
45. Ibid, Article 24-1.
46. Ibid, Article 24-2.
and 6:00 a.m."' No one may be detained for more than 48 hours
unless he or she has appeared before a judge who has been asked to
rule on the legality of the arrest and the judge has confirmed the arrest
by a well-founded ruling."' Torture and any form of coercion are
prohibited4" and the detainee may only be interrogated in the
presence of his or her attorney or a witness of his or her choice.5
75. Anyone violating the constitutional guarantees of individual
liberty is subject to legal proceedings, and government employees are
liable under civil and administrative criminal law for acts committed in
violation of such rights.S'
76. Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Constitution and
all offenses involving the media and abuses of the right of expression
come under the code of criminal law.52'
77. Freedom of assembly and association are also guaranteed, but
the police must be notified in advance of any meetings or
47. Ibid, Article 24-3(d).
48. Ibid, Article 26.
49. Ibid, Article 25.
50. Ibid, Article 25-1.
51. Ibid, Articles 27 and 27-1.
52. Ibid, Articles 28.3.
53. Ibid, Articles 31.2.
78. The right to education is guaranteed and primary school is
mandatory "under penalties to be prescribed by law.""' Secondary
education is "open to all" but is not compulsory.55'
79. Freedom to work is guaranteed. The state guarantees equal
working conditions to all workers regardless of their sex, and the right
to fair wages, to rest, to a paid annual vacation and to a bonus. 6
The right to strike is recognized, but may be limited by law.7/
80. Private property is recognized and protected. Although
nationalization and confiscation are prohibited, an exception is made for
land reform."! Landowners in rural areas are obligated under the
Constitution to protect their property against erosion, subject to the
penalty prescribed by law for failure to fulfill this obligation."' The
purpose of this provision is to address the problem of erosion of arable
land, which has devastated Haiti's farming capacity.
81. Personal safety is guaranteed by the Constitution, and no
Haitian may be deported or expelled "for any reason." Furthermore, no
one may be deprived of his or her legal capacity or nationality for
political reasons.~' No Haitian needs a visa to leave or enter the
country.-1 No house search or seizure of papers may take place
54. Ibid, Articles 32.3.
55. Ibid, Articles 32.6.
56. Ibid, Articles 35-1.
57. Ibid, Articles 35-5.
58. Ibid, Articles 36.2.
59. Ibid, Articles 36.4.
60. Ibid, Articles 41.
61. Ibid, Articles 41-1.
except under the terms of the law.-"' Mail and other forms of
communication are inviolable, and may only be limited by judicial
82. Persons detained temporarily awaiting trial must be held
separately from those who are serving sentence64/ and prisons must
be operated "in accordance with standards reflecting respect for human
dignity according to applicable legislation."65
83. Recognizing that both Creole and French are the official
languages of Haiti,6-" all laws, orders, decrees, international
agreements, etc. must be published in both languages, except for
"information concerning national security."67/
C. Means to ensure protection of individual rights
84. The Constitution establishes the position of Protector of
Citizens in order to protect all individuals against any type of abuse
committed by the government.68- The position is to be held for a
seven-year term by a person elected by consensus by the President of
the country, the President of the Senate and the President of the
62. Ibid, Articles 43.
63. Ibid, Articles 49.
64. Ibid, Articles 44.
65. Ibid, Articles 44-1.
66. Ibid, Articles 5.
67. Ibid, Articles 40.
68. Ibid, Articles 207.
Chamber of Deputies. The Protector of Citizens intervenes free of
charge on behalf of any complainant, who does not need to be a
85. Other provisions of the Constitution designed to protect
individual rights include the limitations and safeguards imposed on the
government with respect to declaration of a state of siege and
separation of the army and the police.
86. A state of siege may only be declared in the event of civil war
or foreign invasion.7Z Accordingly, it cannot be declared to silence
dissension, demonstrations or other disturbances. A state of siege
must be declared by the President, with the approval of the Prime
Minister and the entire Cabinet, and must include an immediate
convening of the National Assembly to rule on the measure.72' The
state of siege is lifted if it is not renewed every two weeks by a vote
of the National Assembly,73 which must remain in session for the
entire duration of the state of siege.74
87. The Constitution provides that no other armed corps besides
the army and the police may exist in the country. In fact, it specifically
stipulates: "No other armed corps may exist in the national
territory,"7 / a reference to dissolution of the notorious National
Security Volunteers, popularly known as the "Tontons-Macoutes."
69. Ibid, Articles 207-1.
70. Ibid, Articles 207-2.
71. Ibid, Articles 278.
72. Ibid, Articles 278-1.
73. Ibid, Articles 278-3.
74. Ibid, Articles 278-4.
75. Ibid, Articles 263-1.
88. The duties of the Armed Forces consist of defending the state
against any foreign aggression, although they may also be called upon
to provide assistance in the case of natural disasters or for development
work and "at the well-founded request of the executive, they may lend
assistance to the police when the latter are unable to handle a
89. Military service is compulsory for all Haitian citizens who have
attained eighteen years of age.z7J Haitians have the right to bear
arms for use in self-defense, but only with express authorization from
the Chief of Police,-8/ and the possession of firearms must be
reported to the police.-9/
90. The Constitution stipulates that the police operates under the
authority of the Ministry of Justice"' and that its purpose is to
"investigate violations, offenses and crimes committed, in order to
identify and arrest the perpetrators.""81/
91. The Constitution also establishes that the members of the
Armed Forces and the police are subject to "civil and penal liability
according to the terms set forth in the Constitution and applicable
76. Ibid, Articles 266.
77. Ibid, Articles 268.
78. Ibid, Articles 268-1.
79. Ibid, Articles 268-2.
80. Ibid, Articles 269.
81. Ibid, Articles 273.
82. Ibid, Articles 274.
D. Haiti's international obligations with respect to human rights
92. Haiti is a member of the Organization of American States and
of the United Nations, the respective Charters of which establish
respect for human rights.
93. On September 27, 1977, Haiti deposited its instrument of
accession to the American Convention on Human Rights signed at San
Jos6. The American Convention entered into force on July 18, 1978,
and Haiti is accordingly legally bound to respect the rights and
freedoms established in the Convention and to guarantee for all persons
under its jurisdiction, the full and free exercise of their rights, regardless
of their race, color, gender, language, creed, political or other opinion,
ethnic origin, social standing, financial situation, birth or any other
94. Article 276-2 of the Haitian Constitution stipulates that once
treaties are ratified by Haiti they become part of the legislation of the
country.8" This provision is extremely important since the effect of
it is that the American Convention on Human Rights is part of Haitian
law, Haiti having ratified the Convention.
95. The American Convention is the only general instrument on
human rights to which Haiti is a party. Haiti is, however, party to the
following human rights instruments on prevention of discrimination:
the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (1965); the International Convention on the Elimination
and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1978); The ILO Convention
concerning Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of
Equal Value (No. 100) (1951); and the ILO Convention concerning
Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation (No. 111)
83. Ibid, Articles 276-2.
96. Haiti is likewise party to human rights conventions relating to
the following: The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
the Crime of Genocide (1948); the Supplementary Convention on the
Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices
Similar to Slavery (1956); the Convention for the Suppression of the
Traffic in and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949);
the ILO Convention concerning the abolition of Forced labour (No. 29)
(1930); the ILO Convention on the Abolition of Hard Labor (No. 105)
(1957); the OAS Convention on Asylum (1928); the OAS Convention
on Political Asylum (1933); the OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum
(1954); and the OAS Convention on Territorial Asylum (1954).
97. Haiti is party to human rights instruments on the protection of
particular groups such as: the ILO Convention concerning Freedom of
Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (No. 87) (1948);
the ILO Convention on the Application of the Principles of the Right to
Organization and Collective Bargaining (No. 98) (1949); the United
Nations Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952); and Inter-
American Convention on the Granting of Political Rights to Women
(1948); and the four Geneva Conventions (1949, 1950).
CHAPTER III THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN HAITI
i) The December 16, 1990 elections
98. The election campaign officially began on November 7, 1990
in a calm atmosphere under the reinforced supervision of the Army.
This situation changed, however, on December 6 when a bomb
exploded during an election meeting in Petionville. Six people died and
52 were wounded. They were among the supporters of Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, the candidate presented by the National Front for Change and
Democracy [Front national pour le changement et la d6mocratie]
(FNCD). Aristide accused the Union for National Reconciliation [Union
pour la reconciliation national] of planting the bomb and called for the
arrest of its leader, Roger Lafontant. A few days earlier, Lafontant
announced that there was a conspiracy afoot which involved murder and
other acts of political terrorism. He had also on previous occasions,
publicly threatened the pro-democracy camp.
99. The general elections were held peacefully in the presence of
international observers from the Organization of American States, the
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations (ONUVEH),
and representatives of the following nongovernmental organizations:
the Carter Center, the Socialist International and the Permanent
Conference of Political Parties of Latin America (COPPAL). The
observers reported a few minor irregularities, due to disorganization or
to certain fiscal inadequacies experienced by the Electoral Council, but
they declared that the elections had indeed been free and democratic.
100. On December 23, the Electoral Council officially proclaimed
that Jean-Bertrand Aristide had been elected president of Haiti, having
obtained the absolute majority of votes. The former Roman Catholic
priest garnered 67.39 percent of the votes cast at the December 16
ballot, in which 75 percent of the electorate had participated.
ii) Attempted coup d'etat
101. One month before the President-elect was to take office, an
attempted coup d'etat occurred in the early hours of January 7. Neo-
Duvalierist leader Roger Lafontant, supported by a segment of the
Army, forced provisional president Ertha Pascal Trouillot to step down
and proclaimed himself president of the country on national radio,
announcing that he "had joined with the armed forces and the police to
take power in order to defend the interests of the common fatherland,
to guide it along the path to true democracy" and to "reveal to the
world the errors and outright failure of international communism."
102. The attempted coup was preceded by sustained shooting in
the area of the President's Office and Dessalines barracks, adjacent to
the Palace. The Tontons-Macoutes patrolled in armored vehicles
shooting at passers-by to intimidate the population, which immediately
reacted by taking to the streets and raising barricades with burning tires
in various areas of the city to prevent the former Duvalierist militia from
circulating and to demand that the outcome of the elections be
103. The Chief of the Armed Forces, General Abrahams, crushed
the coup led by Lafontant to prevent Aristide from taking office.
Lafontant and 15 followers, both military and nonmilitary, were taken
to the general headquarters of the armed forces where they were
detained pending trial.
104. The international community condemned the attempt to
overthrow the government in Haiti. On the very day of the coup, the
Permanent Council of the OAS held an emergency meeting to discuss
the situation in Haiti and decided to support the provisional government
of President Ertha Pascal Trouillot and the democratic process through
which Jean-Bertrand Aristide had been elected president by the
unquestionable will of the people.84
105. Some 75 people lost their lives and over 150 were wounded
during the violence that broke out in Port-au-Prince on January 7. Most
of the victims, Tontons-Macoutes or associates of Lafontant, were
lynched by the mob. The Government of Haiti established a curfew
because of the continued assaults on persons suspected of being linked
to the January 7 coup. Meanwhile, President Aristide appealed to his
supporters and to the public at large for peace and discipline so that
calm could be restored in the country and lamented the violence that
church property had suffered.
106. Despite the climate of terror and intimidation maintained by
rumors of another attempted coup d'etat by the neo-Duvalierists, on
February 7, 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide took office as the new
107. On that occasion, the Commission expressed its satisfaction
with the four years of democratization concentrated on turning power
over to a civilian government through the election held on
December 16, 1990 a true reflection of the will of the people. The
efforts undertaken by the provisional government and the armed forces
had been decisive for the election to take place in conditions of security
that allowed the entire political spectrum to participate and the Haitian
population at large to express itself freely in the election process. The
Commission stated also that the presence of international observers
from the Organization of American States and the United Nations had
contributed towards instilling a climate of greater confidence in the
Haitian population, while highlighting the international community's
concern about a democratic and peaceful outcome to the elections.
84. See Resolution CP/RES. 555 (842/91).
108. The December 16th, 1990 presidential elections marked a
new stage in the political history of Haiti. President Aristide's
assumption of power embodied the hopes of the Haitian people, who
sought a democracy based on grassroots participation and social and
iii) The government of President Aristide
109. While in power, President Aristide had to cope with a
number of problems and pressure from such segments as the
conservatives, Duvalierists, politicians and the military, who perceived
the sweeping changes and social reforms as a threat to their interests.
110. At the beginning of his term, President Aristide committed
himself to adopting concrete measures to ensure respect for human
rights. One of the first steps taken by his government was thus to ask
the Commander of the Armed Forces, General Abrahams, to remove six
Army generals and one colonel and replace them with some of the
colonels who had supervised the presidential elections. Colonel Raoul
C6dras, who headed the Electoral Security Committee, was promoted
to Major General, and a few months later was appointed Commander-
in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In addition, President Aristide ordered
that a number of officers who were known for human rights violations
be transferred to remote areas of the country and in their stead, officers
and privates who had suffered abuses during the rule of General Avril
were to be promoted. These measures were not well received by the
111. Another initiative taken by the new Aristide government was
to prohibit certain officials of the previous government from leaving the
country. One such official was the former provisional President Ertha
Pascal Trouillot, who was associated with the January 7 attempted
112. Violence continued during the first few months of the
Aristide government, with several cases of "street justice." One
incident in particular took place on March 19, in Montrouis in the
Artibonite region, when two policemen killed 14-year-old Phanos
M6rantus for refusing to give them 150 dollars. Upon learning of the
incident, the townspeople stormed the local police station where they
found the two officers and killed them using the "Pere Lebrun" torture,
which consists of placing a tire around the victim's neck and setting it
113. To address the crimes and human rights violations
perpetrated by the previous governments, on February 25, 1991, a
Special Commission was established to review known cases, such as
the Rabel, Danti and Labadie massacres. The commission consisted of
the Ministers of Justice; Social Affairs; Agriculture and Planning. A
second commission was later set up to investigate human rights abuses
committed during the period from 1986 to 1990. This second
commission was made up of prominent independent individuals such as
Necker Dessables, a member of the Justice and Peace Commission;
Jean-Claude Bajeux, Director of the Ecumenical Human Rights Center;
Lucien Pardo, an Artibonite statesman and Patrick Henry and Georges
Moises, members of grassroots organizations.
114. In mid-March, the Aristide government discovered a
conspiracy instigated by certain persons. On March 26, 1991,
Anthony Virginie Saint-Pierre, former Minister of Information under the
General Avril government, and Andr6 Isidore Pongnon, former
Commander of Fort Dimanche, were arrested and indicted for
conspiracy against state security.
115. Among the persons wanted by the new government were
General Williams Regal6, former Minister of Defense under the Namphy
government, for allegedly organizing the massacres committed during
the 1987 elections, and the former Mayor of Port-au-Prince, Frank
Romain, accused of having organized the massacre of the San Juan
Bosco Church in 1988.
116. In the context of these arrests, on April 4, 1991, a second
summons was served on Ertha Pascal Trouillot for a hearing on her
alleged complicity in the January 7, 1991 coup. Trouillot spent one
night in jail and was then ordered under house arrest, which was
suspended on April 10th.
1 17. The violence and abuse of authority committed in rural areas
of the country led the Aristide government to seek to eliminate the
'section chief'85' system. A press release dated April 4, 1991
announced the dismissal of all section chiefs and the transfer of their
duties from the Armed Forces to the Ministry of Justice. The section
chiefs relinquished their weapons to the Army and new rural officials
were appointed by the Justices of the Peace. Despite the
government's good intentions, however, many problems arose. First,
although it had indeed been decided to eliminate the section chief
system, a proper selection procedure for the appointment of new
officials had not been instituted, and in many localities, the population
could not agree on the persons to be appointed, given their lack of
capacity and experience. In addition, it was very difficult for the new
rural officials to fight crime since they were no longer armed, and
violence proliferated to the point where criminals could act with total
impunity. At the same time, the military continued to operate in rural
areas, hindering law enforcement.
118. In June 1991, grassroots organizations demonstrated in both
the capital and the provinces to protest the measures taken by Prime
Minister Ren6 Pr6val to increase the prices of food staples. The
economic crisis was compounded by the mass expulsion of Haitians
who had been working in the Dominican Republic. '
85. For a description of the "section chief", see infra, pages 71 72
86. An IACHR Delegation visited Santo Domingo to observe the situation of the
Haitian workers who were being expelled from the country and issued a report on
the matter. Doc. OEA/Ser.L/V/11.81, doc.6, rev.1, February 14, 1992, pages.269-
119. In the midst of this climate of violence and discontent due
to the serious economic crisis, relations between the Executive and
Parliament deteriorated even further. According to various statements,
this conflict arose when President Aristide, pursuant to Article 295 of
the Constitution, appointed Ren6 Preval Prime Minister without
consulting Parliament. According to Article 158 of the Constitution,
the Prime Minister must present his declaration of general policy to
Parliament and therefrom, obtain a vote of confidence. Ultimately,
however, the Prime Minister was later approved by Parliament on
February 14, 1991.
120. In March, as reported to the Commission, tension rose
between the Executive and Parliament when the President appointed
Supreme Court justices without advising the Senate, which thereafter
responded by declaring the appointments null and void according to
Article 175 of the Constitution. The justices nevertheless held office
until October. Subsequently, President Aristide again, without
consulting the Senate, appointed ambassadors and members of the
Official Auditing Office and the Administrative Court.
121. Political tension was also present between the members of
the National Front for Change and Democracy (FNCD) alliance of
parties, which had supported Aristide's candidacy, and the members of
the Lavalas Movement. FNCD leaders criticized appointments of
persons with little political experience to key positions, while the
Lavalas leaders accused the FNCD of seeking government appointments
so that they could distribute administrative positions among their
supporters. The conflict actually stemmed from differences in their
concepts of democracy.
122. During the last few days of July 1991, Roger Lafontant and
his accomplices were tried for the January 7, 1991 coup d'etat. The
government had to appoint public defenders for the accused, since
most of the attorneys interviewed by the families of the defendants
refused to represent them after receiving death threats. Lafontant
refused to be represented by the public defender. The trial took place
in a tense atmosphere, with crowds gathered outside the courthouse
clamoring for the defendants to be submitted to the "Pere Lebrun"
torture. The defendants were found guilty and sentenced to life
imprisonment, even though the maximum sentence for crimes against
state security is only 10 to 15 years according to the Penal Code. Only
one of the defendants was allowed to appeal. The trial was perceived
by the Haitian people as the end of Duvalierism and the Tonton-
123. Despite the problems which faced the Aristide government,
attempts were made to carry out social reforms and to help meet the
basic needs of the Haitian people. For example, efforts were made to
reform the judiciary and the penitentiary system and a bill which would
have established separation of the armed forces and the police was
never passed by Parliament. In addition, efforts were also made to
eliminate the section chief system. While a Human Rights Committee
was established in the Senate and a Special Committee to investigate
human rights violations was created, these too were short lived due to
chronic problems such as: inadequate judicial resources leading to a
climate of insecurity among the people, compelling some of them to
take the law into their own hands; police dependance on the Armed
Forces; land ownership; the existence in practice of the section chief
system; serious economic problems and the conflicts among the
different branches of government. Such inherent difficulties prevented
the effective implementation and enforcement of human rights from
being carried out.
iv) The September 29, 1991 coup d'etat
124. On September 29, 1991, the Armed Forces of Haiti
overthrew the democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
in a coup d'etat. After a shootout in his home, Artistide fled to the
National Palace, along with 150 soldiers and policemen who remained
loyal to him, but the loyal forces were overcome and the Chief of the
Presidential Guard was assassinated. The President was forced to
leave the National Palace and was taken to the military headquarters,
where he was compelled to resign. Later, through mediation by the
Ambassadors of France, the United States and Venezuela to Haiti,
President Aristide was given safe-conduct to travel to Venezuela, along
with certain officials from his government.
125. A military junta made up of General Raoul C6dras,
Commander-in-Chief of the Haitian Armed Forces, Colonel Alix Sylva,
Deputy Commander-in-Chief, and Colonel Henri Robert Marc Charles,
former member of the military assigned to Washington, declared that
it had taken control of the government.
1 26. Upon learning of the coup, the Haitian population took to the
streets and raised barricades in certain areas of Port-au-Prince. Some
organizations called for general strikes and demonstrations, but the
military violently repressed any street protests with random shooting,
thus preventing the population from organizing a mass uprising, as had
occurred during the January 7, 1991 attempted coup. A number of
sources reported to the Commission that hundreds of people had been
killed and wounded during the first few days of fighting, especially in
the poor neighborhoods of the capital.
127. The first week of October 1991, the Haitian Parliament
pursuant to Article 149 of the Constitution, named Justice Joseph
N6rette, President of the Supreme Court, as Provisional President to
replace ousted President Aristide. Article 149 provides that a member
of the Supreme Court may temporarily act as Chief of State should the
position become vacant. The procedure took place after a detachment
of soldiers had surrounded Parliament and fired on the building.
128. The provisional President was to appoint a new cabinet and
to thereafter organize elections within a period of 45 to 90 days. The
founder and director of the Haitian Center for Human Rights and
Freedoms (CHADEL), Jean-Jacques Honorat, was appointed Prime
Minister of the provisional government.
B. Political developments and steps taken by the OAS and the UN to
129. Throughout the political crisis in Haiti, the Organization of
American States and the United Nations have played a crucial role in
seeking to promote political negotiations between the various parties
concerned, in order to restore democracy to the Republic of Haiti.
130. As noted earlier, the military coup that overthrew President
Aristide on September 29, 1991 was immediately condemned by the
Organization of American States: the Permanent Council held an
emergency meeting on September 30 and voiced its most energetic
condemnation of the events and demanded that the democratically
elected President be restored to power.8'7 It denounced the loss of
lives and called for the punishment of those responsible in accordance
with strictly observed international laws.
131. In a press release issued on October 1, 1991, the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights expressed its grave concern
over the events in Haiti, which had cost so many lives. It pointed out
that the coup was an obvious violation of the political rights and other
basic rights and freedoms recognized by the American Convention on
132. Because of the gravity of the events in Haiti, the Secretary
General, exercising the authority conferred upon him pursuant to
Resolution 1080 and the "Santiago Commitment," convened an Ad Hoc
Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which was held in Washington
on October 2nd, 1991. At that meeting, a resolution entitled "Support
for the Democratic Government of Haiti" (MRE/RES. 1/91) was adopted
and the following resolved: "To urge the Inter-American Commission
87. See Resolutions 567 (870/91) and AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-0/91).
88. See Annual Report on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1992, Doc.OEA/Ser.L/V/II.81, doc.6, rev.1, February 14, 1992, page 364.
on Human Rights, in response to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's
request, to take immediately all measures within its competence to
protect and defend human rights in Haiti and to report thereon to the
Permanent Council of the Organization."
133. On October 4, 1991, an OAS Delegation headed by
Secretary General, Ambassador Joio Baena Soares, and comprising six
Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the member countries, traveled to
Port-au-Prince to undertake negotiations for the restoration of
democracy in Haiti. The Haitian military refused to negotiate and the
Delegation immediately returned to Washington.
134. On October 8, the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs
urged the member states of the OAS to freeze the assets of the Haitian
State and to level a trade embargo against Haiti. It created a Civilian
Mission (OEA/DEMOC) to reestablish and strengthen democratic
institutions (MRE/RES.2/91). On December 10th, 1991, the Permanent
Council of the OAS issued a resolution entitled "Program to support the
promotion of democracy."89/
135. On November 9, the OAS Civilian Mission, headed by
Augusto Ramirez Ocampo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Colombia, who had been appointed by the Secretary General of the
OAS, began discussions which would later be continued in Cartagena
de Indias, Colombia (November 21st to 23rd, 1991). Unfortunately,
these discussions did not result in any agreement.
136. During the second week of December 1991, Ramirez
Ocampo returned to Haiti to resume the negotiations that had been
suspended since the Cartagena meeting. On that occasion, three
names were mentioned as possible candidates for prime minister:
Victor Benoit, Secretary General of the National Committee of the
Congress of Democratic Movements (KONAKOM), whom President
Aristide supported; Marc Bazin, former presidential candidate and leader
89. Res. OEA/Ser.G, CP/RES. 572(882/91).
of the Movement to Establish Haitian Democracy (MIDH); and Ren6
Theodore, Secretary General of the Haitian Communist Party (PUCH)
which was subsequently integrated into called the National
Reconstruction Movement (MRN). Near the end of December,
Theodore agreed to be a consensus candidate and by mid-February, the
Chamber of Deputies of Haiti publicly announced its support for his
appointment as Prime Minister.
137. Taking into consideration Resolution MRE/RES.1/91 and the
many complaints of human rights violations, the Commission, as
previously indicated, conducted an exploratory mission to Haiti on
December 5 to 7, 1991. The Chairman of the IACHR, Patrick
Robinson, and its Vice Chairman, Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, presented
their findings to the Permanent Council of the OAS on January 9th,
1992.9' After hearing the report of the Secretary General, on
January 22, the Permanent Council approved Resolution CP/RES 575
885/92, establishing a Special Commission to observe enforcement of
i) The Washington Agreements
138. Because the timing seemed right to undertake further
negotiations, the Organization of American States sought to sponsor a
January meeting in Washington. This meeting never eventualized
because the negotiating parties could not reach an agreement. In an
effort to work out a comprise in forumlating a political solution to the
Haitian situation, on February 23rd 25th, the OAS sponsored yet
another meeting. Participating in this meeting were deposed President
Aristide, who was accompanied by Mayor of Port-au-Prince Evans Paul;
Prime Minister-designate, Ren6 Theodore and a parliamentary delegation
90. See Annual Report of the IACHR for 1991, OEA/Ser.L.V-ll.81, doc. 6,
rev. 1, of February 14, 1992, pp. 225-247.
headed by the respective presidents of the two houses of Parliament,
Senator D6jean B1lizaire and Deputy Alexandre M6dard.
139. At the close of that meeting, the negotiating parties signed
the Washington Protocol of Agreement, whereby they agreed to
guarantee civil liberties and allow political parties and civic
organizations to operate freely in Haiti in accordance with the Haitian
140. The Protocol acknowledged the need to: ensure the return
of President Aristide and to restore him to his functions in government;
to draft and enact laws which would implement the institutions
provided for under the Constitution. These would include the law on
local communities, the law on the separation of the police from the
Armed Forces, and the law governing the Office of Citizens' Protection.
The accord also called for an agreement on the fostering through laws
and regulations, the implementation of a policy of social harmony and
141. The parties acknowledged the need to declare a general
amnesty, save for common criminals, and to request the OAS and the
international community to provide urgent and substantial assistance
to the national consensus government. Such assistance would allow
for the rejuvenation of the Haitian economy, the promotion of social
welfare, transformation of the Armed Forces and the police into
professional institutions and the strengthening of democratic
institutions. At that meeting, a Protocol of Agreement was also signed
between President Aristide and the Prime Minister-designate, Rend
Th6odore, who pledged to create the conditions necessary for President
142. Though the international community reacted very favorably
to the Protocols of Washington, problems surfaced and hampered their
acceptance in the Haitian Parliament. In a television interview some
days later, President Aristide reiterated that he was opposed to the
amnesty for the military involved in the coup d'etat and noted that the
accords did not specify an exact date for his return.
143. Moreover, while the Protocols represented an enormous
effort to find a political solution to the Haitian situation, it was very
difficult to translate the agreements into practice. First, the fact that
the military and those exercising power in Haiti were not parties to the
Agreements suggested from the onset that they would not be accepted
and the army would be opposed to any type of investigation into the
human rights violations that had occurred during and after the coup
d'etat. Furthermore, Parliament was unable to ratify the accords due
to both Houses not having the requisite number of members present for
that purpose. Later, those who exercised power in Haiti submitted the
Washington Accords to the Supreme Court for an opinion on their
legality, and the Court ruled them unconstitutional and without legal
foundation. According to statements presented to the Commission of
Human Rights, the decision did not seem to correspond with the
ii) The Villa d'Accueil Agreement
144. The authorities exercising power in Haiti did not recognize
the Washington Agreements and decided instead to create a Tripartite
Commission in which they were represented by their appointed Prime
Minister, Mr. Jean-Jacques Honorat; the House of Parliament was
represented by Senate President D6jean B6lizaire and Chamber of
Deputies by its President Alexandre Medard. Representing the Armed
Forces was their Commander-in-Chief Raoul C6dras. At this session
however, President Aristide and his supporters were excluded.
145. The negotiations culminated on May 8, 1992, with the so-
called Tripartite Agreement of Villa d'Accueil, which, as one might
expect, did not recognize President Aristide as the constitutional
President. Under the Agreement, a consensus government was to be
established for the purpose of negotiating the lifting of the embargo and
resuming negotiations with the Organization of American States. Later,
Mr. Nerette, who had subsequently been appointed President by those
who exercised power, resigned his post. Marc Bazin was designated
Prime Minister, with the approval of the military and a questionable
Senate majority. These negotiations and the Prime Minister's
designation were in direct contravention of the resolutions adopted by
the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MRE/RES 2/91 and
146. On the occasion of the OAS General Assembly, held in
Nassau, The Bahamas, May 18th through 22nd, 1992, the Ad Hoc
Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted a resolution entitled
"Restoration of Democracy in Haiti" (MRE/RES. 3/92), wherein it
reiterated the previous resolutions and urged the member states to
adopt additional measures to extend and step up enforcement of the
trade embargo against Haiti and increase the humanitarian relief
targeting the poorest segments of the Haitian population. The member
states were also urged either not to grant or to revoke, as the case may
be, any entry visas extended to the authors of the coup d'etat and their
supporters and to freeze their assets. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs
again asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to
continue to monitor closely the situation in Haiti and to keep the Ad
Hoc Meeting informed by way of the Permanent Council.
iii) The Florida Declaration
147. After the Washington Agreements were abandoned and
changes occurred on the political scene in Haiti, President Aristide
launched a new negotiating campaign and called a meeting, which was
held in Miami on June 26th through 29th, 1992. Present were a
number of political leaders who supported the restoration of democracy
in Haiti. At the end of the meeting, a document entitled "Towards a
National Consensus" was adopted. Also known as the "Florida
Declaration," it reasserted the need to find a negotiated political
solution and, to that end, the assistance of the Secretary General of the
Organization of American States and the Secretary-General of the
United Nations was requested. The Declaration reiterated the request
that the OAS send a Civilian Mission to resume the political dialogue in
iv) Steps towards establishment of the Civilian Mission
148. In an effort to determine new opportunities and to set the
stage for the resumption of political negotiations, the Organization of
American States sent a mission to Haiti August 18th through 21st,
1992, headed by Secretary General Ambassador JoAo Clemente Baena
Soares. The Mission comprised several Ambassadors, including the
Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Marco
Tulio Bruni Celli, and representatives of the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM), the United Nations (UN) and the European Economic
Community (EEC). This mission represented the first step towards the
subsequent establishment of the Civilian Mission.
149. The mission's efforts led to a new round of talks at the OAS
on September 1st between Father Antoine Adrien, President Aristide's
envoy and Mr. Francois Benoit who represented Mr. Marc Bazin who
had been appointed Prime Minister by those exercising power in Haiti.
There it was decided that an 18-man mission would be sent to help
reduce the violence in general and to encourage respect for human
rights. The team was further to cooperate in the distribution of
humanitarian aid and the assessment of progress made toward a
political solution to the Haitian crisis. The Civilian Mission, in which
former Prime Minister of Jamaica Michael Manley participated, began
its work in mid-September 1992.
150. Even though the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had authorized
the arrival of the 18 OAS observers to be deployed throughout the
country's geographic departments, after three months, officials in Port-
au-Prince told the civilian delegation that their presence "had no legal
grounds" and that "there was no way their safety and their freedom of
movement in the country's interior could be guaranteed."
151. Through a resolution passed on November 10, 1992
(CP/RES. 594 923/92), the Permanent Council of the OAS decided to
urge the member states of the United Nations to renew their support
by adopting measures that were consistent with the previous
resolutions approved by the OAS. It also urged the member states of
the OAS and the United Nations to increase their humanitarian
assistance to the Haitian people and asked the United Nations to
participate in the OAS Civilian Mission to bring about a peaceful
solution to the crisis.
152. In the face of human rights violations persisting and
worsening in Haiti attendant with the repercussions arising with
thousands of Haitians seeking refuge in neighboring member countries,
the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted resolution
(MRE/RES. 4/92) dated December 13th. This Resolution reaffirmed
earlier resolutions and instructed the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Meeting
and the Secretary General of the OAS to make an additional effort with
all Haitian interests as a matter of urgency and in close cooperation
with the United Nations Secretary-General, to facilitate political dialogue
among them to restore democratic institutions in Haiti. The objective
of this effort should initially be to bring about, as soon as possible, a
substantial increase in the OAS civilian presence. The OAS Secretary
General was given a mandate to explore, in conjunction with the UN
Secretary-General, the possibility and advisability of bringing the Haitian
situation to the attention of the United Nations Security Council as a
means of bringing about global application of the trade embargo
recommended by the OAS. In that resolution the Chairman of the Ad
Hoc Meeting and the Secretary General of the OAS were also
instructed to "cooperate in the efforts of the Chairman of the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights, in light of the serious and
continuing human rights violations in Haiti and the refusal those
exercising power in Haiti to allow the Commission to conduct an on-
site visit as soon as possible."
153. From the onset of the Haitian crisis, the United Nations had
condemned the coup d'etat and recognized President Aristide's
government as the legitimate one. Cooperation between the OAS the
UN led to the strengthening of the Civilian Mission. In December, the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali,
appointed former Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs Dante Caputo as
his Special Envoy. Caputo immediately flew to Haiti on an exploratory
mission to seek a solution to the crisis. On January 13, 1993, the OAS
Secretary General, Baena Soares, announced to the Permanent Council
that Caputo had been appointed as his personal representative.
154. In late January, complications arose in the OAS/UN
representative's efforts to reach an agreement on acceptance of a
Civilian Mission of some 400 observers. Mr. Marc Bazin objected to
the mission by declaring that although those who exercised power, i.e.,
the Army and Parliament had accepted that a mission would be sent
and a solution to the Haitian crisis would be negotiated, in his opinion,
the proposed arrangement represented "a risk of international
155. In early February 1993, agreement was reached between
those who exercised power in Haiti and the Special Envoy of the OAS
Secretary General to allow the deployment of the OAS/UN Civilian
Mission in Haiti. The main purpose of the mission was to help ensure
respect for human rights, thereby creating a suitable climate in which
a political solution for the restoration of democratic constitutional
government in Haiti could be achieved. If the situation improved, the
Civilian Mission was additionally to assist in institutional strengthening
and modernization, particularly with respect to the reform of the judicial
system reform, modernization of the armed forces, establishment of a
specialized police force and the resumption of international technical
cooperation, as set forth in the respective resolutions adopted by the
Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
156. Ambassador Colin Granderson was appointed head of the
OAS/UN Mission, with the collaboration of a team of human rights
experts headed by lan Martin, former Secretary General of Amnesty
International. Both organizations increased the number of observers in
the Mission, who by the end of March had been set up in the nine
departments of Haiti.
157. During the first three months of 1993, the Special Envoy,
Dante Caputo, made several trips to Haiti and met with certain
authorities appointed by those exercising power, General C6dras,
various church representatives and with the Presidential Commission.
In late March, Caputo suggested a six months deadline for the return
of President Aristide, but the military hardened their position in
response, with Prime Minister Bazin accusing the OAS and the UN of
interference in domestic affairs. Caputo initiated new negotiations and
in May announced his plan which called for the deployment of an
international police force. The plan was subject to consent by all
parties involved and to approval by the UN Security Council, prior to
the return of President Aristide to the country. The plan also called for
the appointment of a new Prime Minister to be designated by President
Aristide and approved by Parliament. Not only that, but amnesty and
guarantees for the military, along with a financial aid package of one
billion dollars to be disbursed over a five-year period under programs to
be prepared by a mission of experts from the World Bank, IDB, IMF and
UNDP, were included.
158. During the following three months, those who exercised
power in Haiti proved unwilling to reach an agreement on the political
crisis. On June 23, Caputo indicated that if there was no dialogue with
the representatives of the democratic government, then the sanctions
called for under Article VIII of the United Nations Charter would be
instituted. That day the embargo imposed by the United Nations
Security Council (Res. 841) entered into effect. The shipment of oil
and weapons to Haiti was banned and foreign assets of those who
exercised power in Haiti and their supporters were frozen. The
pressure from the Security Council left the authorities who exercised
power in Haiti with a total dearth of fuel, and led to negotiations at the
highest level albeit indirect between President Aristide and the
Chief of the Armed Forces, General C6dras, at Governors Island in New
v) The Governors Island Agreement
159. On July 3, 1993, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
and Haitian Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces General Raoul
C6dras signed the Governors Island Agreement in New York. In the
accord, the parties agreed to take the measures necessary to resolve
the Haitian crisis. To this end, they pledged to reach a solution by
means of political dialogue, consolidation of democratic institutions, the
separation of state powers, the freedom of action for political parties
and the restoration of President Aristide to his legitimate office, thus
creating the conditions for his return to take place on October 30,
160. Other important points of the agreement included: allowing
Parliament to play an active part by enacting laws to ensure the
transition; appointment of a new Prime Minister by President Aristide;
the promulgation of an amnesty-related law; suspension of the
embargo; early retirement of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed
Forces; continued involvement of the international community to help
rebuild the economy; establishment of a new police force;
professionalization of the armed forces; and monitoring of
implementation of the agreement by the United Nations and the
Organization of American States.91
vi) The New York Agreement
161. One of the initial steps for implementation of the Governors
Island Agreement was a political dialogue between representatives of
the Haitian political parties in order to reach a commitment which
would pave the way for an institutional democratic framework. That
91. See annexes on pages 166 167.
dialogue took place on July 13, 1993 in New York. Representing
President Aristide were the members of the Presidential Commission:
Father Antoine Adrien, Fred Joseph, Jean Moliere, Chavanne Jean
Baptiste, Wesner Emmanuel, Micha Gaillard and Georgette Omero. The
following political parties were represented: FNCD, PANPRA and
Socialist Group, the Alliance for Parliamentary Cohesion and the
Constitutional Bloc. Parliament was represented by presidents of the
two Houses who were linked to the military, Deputy Antoine Joseph
and Senator Thomas Dupiton, and by constitutionally elected presidents
of the House of Deputies, Deputy Alexandre M6dard and Senator Firmin
162. On July 16, 1993, after intensive negotiations, the
representatives of the Haitian political forces approved the New York
Agreement,92' whereby a six-month political truce would be observed
in order to guarantee a stable, peaceful transition period. The
agreement also included the following: (a) the Armed Forces of Haiti
would respect the Governors Island Agreement; (b) Parliament would
not be obstructed and the members elected in the controversial
January 18 elections would voluntarily abstain from meeting in
Parliament until the constitutionally established institution to which the
case had been referred had ruled on the matter; (c) the necessary
measures would be taken to protect the full exercise of human rights;
(d) reform of the judicial system would be undertaken immediately;
(e) President Aristide would designate a new Prime Minister, approval
of whom would be ensured as soon as possible; (f) amnesty-related
laws would be enacted under an emergency procedure; (g) a new police
force would be established and begin operation and that paramilitary
forces would be abolished.
92. See annexes on pages 168 170.
vii) The new government of Prime Minister Malval
163. Shortly after the New York Agreement was concluded,
President Aristide designated Robert Malval as Prime Minister. Malval
is a prominent 50-year-old businessman with political science degrees
from the United States and France, and is considered a close advisor
of President Aristide. He had been very active in the election
campaign, and, through his connections with the business community,
had organized a "Haitian Summit" in Miami on July 22 and 23, 1993,
to establish contacts between the Haitian private sector and American
164. Six weeks after the Governors Island Agreement was signed
and after numerous discussions had been held on the conditions
established in the 1987 Constitution for candidates for Prime Minister -
particularly on Malval's status as a "native Haitian" on August 25,
1993, the National Assembly approved his designation as Prime
Minister. Malval immediately submitted his general policy'statement to
the two Houses, and pointed out his intention of remaining in office
until December 15, 1993 for essentially "personal and professional"
165. While the Prime Minister was being ratified by Parliament,
the Organization of American States recommended to its member
states that the sanctions imposed on those who exercised power in
Haiti on October 8, 1991 in Resolution 841 be lifted. On August 27,
the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the
Resolution, immediately suspending the sanctions imposed on June 1 6,
1993. It warned however, that the sanctions would be reinstated if all
the provisions of the Governors Island Agreement, including President
Aristide's return, were not fully complied with. The United States
Department of State advised that it had decided to lift the ban against
entry into the United States it had imposed on 112 leaders and
supporters of those who exercised power in the Haitian government.
166. Malval traveled to Washington to be sworn in by President
Aristide, to whom the United States Government had granted political
asylum in 1993. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Haitian
Embassy in Washington on August 30, 1993. That same day, Prime
Minister Malval attended a special meeting of the Permanent Council of
the OAS where he pledged to help reestablish democracy in his
167. The cabinet of the
Louis D6joie, Jr.:
General Jean B6liotte:
Colonel Ren6 Prosper:
Agronome F. S6verin:
new government was made up of the
Information and Culture
Trade and Industry
Planning, External Affairs and Civil
Agriculture, Natural Resources and
Education, Youth and Sports
Finance and Economic Affairs
Public Works, Transportation and
168. The Presidential Commission set up in July 1992 by
President Aristide to conduct the political negotiations was dissolved
on August 31, having regard to the fact that its raison d'etre no longer
169. Human rights in Haiti however, continued to be
systematically violated, even more so after the signing of the Governors
Island Agreement. Despite the measures taken by the international
- 58 -
community to lift the embargo, the situation continued to deteriorate,
becoming critical in September 1993. The acts of violence were
designed to prevent the new government from taking office and
functioning. Thus, on September 8, Mayor Evans Paul resumed his post
amidst demonstrations and death threats. Leaving the Mayor's Office,
Minister of Information Herv6 Denis and his bodyguard were assaulted
and wounded by civilian gunmen while policemen at the scene stood
by passively. Disturbances that day left five dead and 15 wounded.
Many ministers in the new government were forced to flee their homes
after receiving death threats. Certain recently appointed officials were
unable to take over their offices. Even Prime Minister Malval worked
from his home for security reasons. In a statement on September 8,
1993, the Permanent Council of the OAS condemned the increase in
human rights violations.
170. While these disturbances were taking place, Dante Caputo
arrived in Port-au-Prince with 30 experts to begin a series of meetings
with Prime Minister Malval and General C6dras. The experts were to
assess the situation in Haiti before the technical mission was sent to
modernize the armed forces and establish a separate new police force.
171. One of the first steps taken by the new Malval government
was to suspend state radio and television broadcasts and to promise
far-reaching changes in all government controlled media, which were
still in the hands of officials loyal to those who had exercised power
before Prime Minister Malval's appointment. This led to the occupation
of the national radio and television facilities by gunmen trying to
prevent the new directors from taking over.
172. During this wave of repression, Antoine Izm6ry was killed on
September 11, 1993 by the civilian gunmen know as attaches. Izm6ry
was a personal friend of President Aristide and founder of the Hand-in-
Hand Committee for the Blossoming of Truth (KOMEVEB), which
supported the restoration of democracy in Haiti. Dozens of other
murders were also committed in the neighborhoods of Canap6 Vert,
Delmas, Musseau and Carrefour. The climate of terror in the wake of
these attacks led to the imposition of a curfew beginning at dusk by
those who exercised power. Another factor increasing fear on the part
of the population was the return of Duvalierists who had fled to the
Dominican Republic, including former generals Henry Namphy and
Prosper Avril and former Port-au-Prince mayor Franck Romain, accused
of leading the assault groups responsible for the 1988 San Juan Bosco
173. In mid-September, at President Aristide's request, Parliament
held a meeting in which it was to vote on a number of items, including
the laws separating the Army and the police; budgetary matters; the
dismantling of armed groups and the administration of local
communities. This session of Parliament was suspended because of a
lack of a quorum. Parliament was in fact paralyzed due to the dilatory
measures being taken by the pro-military Deputies and the lack of
security for pro-Aristide legislators.
174. As a result of the hardening of the military's position,
President Aristide warned that if there was no decrease in the violence
and human rights abuses which he blamed on General C6dras and
Port-au-Prince Police Chief Michael Francois he would call for the
reinstatement of the embargo. He also urged the Haitian people to use
nonviolence as a strategy to enable peace to return to Haiti, despite
those opposed to democracy.
175. On September 23, by Resolution 867, the United Nations
Security Council authorized a 1,300-man United Nations Mission
(MINUHA) to be sent to Haiti. The Mission was to include 560 police
supervisors and a 700-man military attachment including a
construction engineering unit and 60 military instructors, mostly from
the United States. The Governments of Canada and France were
providing 100 soldiers each, and a number of other countries, such as
Venezuela, Algeria, Austria, Madagascar, Russia, Senegal and Tunisia,
were also to provide military personnel. The Mission was to be headed
by the Special Envoy, Caputo. The Commissioner in charge of the
Mission police force was to travel to Haiti on September 25 and a
contingent of 50 officers was scheduled to arrive on October 7. The
mission of the officers was to help the Haitian Government establish a
new police force separate from the armed forces, as provided for in the
Constitution and in accordance with the Governors Island Agreement.
176. In statements to the press referring to UN Security Council
Resolution 867, General C6dras declared that he would not accept a
foreign intervention force disguised as technical assistance and accused
the international community of violating the Governors Island
Agreement by imposing sanctions while failing to provide the aid
promised for economic development of the country, which was
essential to create the climate of peace desired.
177. In a press release issued on September 24, the Commission
condemned the violence committed by unofficial armed groups that
operated with the complicity of the Army and the police, claiming
blatant violation of the Governors Island and New York Agreements
signed in July 1993. The Commission also expressed its concern about
the threats Caputo had received, which it interpreted as another
attempt to destabilize the process of political negotiation in Haiti. The
Commission appealed to the armed forces of Haiti to disarm and
dismantle armed civilian groups.93
178. The situation became critical in the first two weeks of
October when groups of civilians attached to the armed forces took
over the media in Port-au-Prince to threaten the United Nations Mission
in Haiti, demanding expulsion of the Special Envoy, Caputo, and the
resignation of Prime Minister Malval. The strike called for by the so-
called Haitian Front for Advancement and Progress (FRAPH) on
October 7 terrorized the Haitian people, who were forced to leave their
activities and keep off the streets. Merchants in several Port-au-Prince
markets were assaulted, leaving two wounded and one dead.
According to observers, the strike was referred to as an "armed strike"
and a "curfew." During the FRAPH demonstrations, there was an
obvious lack of military patrols, and some witnesses even testified
93. See annex pages 153 154.
having seen soldiers with the civilian gunmen as they forced people out
of the streets.
179. In this context of provocation, on October 11, violent
demonstrations were organized by the FRAPH and other paramilitary
groups to prevent the technical assistance mission from disembarking
to begin training the armed forces and the police. OAS/UN Mission
observers and United States Embassy staff were denied access to the
Port-au-Prince pier. Acts of vandalism against reporters and diplomatic
vehicles were committed during these demonstrations, and shots were
fired in the air to cause panic.
180. The demonstrations were aided and abetted by the police,
which even reorganized traffic lanes for the obvious purpose of helping
the demonstrators pass. As a result, the ship could not dock and the
United States Government ordered it to withdraw from Haitian waters.
Canada also ordered the withdrawal of a detachment of 50 members
of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which had arrived on October 7.
181. The assassination of the Minister of Justice, Guy-Francois
Malary, two of his bodyguards and his driver by paramilitary groups
further aggravated the situation. The murders occurred the day before
the expected resignation of the chief of the armed forces, scheduled for
182. Given'these developments, the Permanent Council of the
OAS expressed its concern in Resolution 967/93 dated October 12.
The Commission issued a press release after its 84th meeting (from
October 5 to 15, 1993), pointing out that although implementation of
the Governors Island Agreement and the New York Agreement was
being threatened by the violence and repression committed by the
armed forces, the agreements remained in force in the eyes of the
international community, which could take the necessary measures
against those groups that were obstructing full restoration of
democracy and the individual rights of the population.~'
183. Two days after the "USS Harlan County" was prevented
from entering Port-au-Prince, the UN Security Council by Resolution
873 of October 13, 1993, reinstated the oil and weapons trade
embargo against Haiti and froze the foreign assets of the Haitian
military authorities, on the grounds that the commitments to restore
democracy to the country had not been honored. After Haitian military
leader General C6dras refused to resign, the Security Council authorized
a naval blockade. Through Resolution 875 of October 16, it urged all
member states, either bilaterally or through regional organizations or
mechanisms, in cooperation with the legitimate government of Haiti, to
take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure strict enforcement
of Resolutions 841 and 873 regarding the supply of oil, other petroleum
products, weapons and any type of related materials, and in particular
to detain all maritime traffic to Haiti for as long as necessary to inspect
and verify its cargo and destination.
184. In Resolution 875, the Security Council also confirmed its
willingness to consider adoption of any supplementary measures that
might be necessary to ensure full compliance with its resolutions. At
midnight on Monday, October 18, the sanctions established entered
into effect. Six United States warships, along with other warships from
Canada, France, Argentina, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands
began patrolling the waters surrounding Haiti, preventing access of
banned items, but not of humanitarian aid. The OAS/UN Mission
observers were evacuated through the naval blockade to the Dominican
Republic, which set up supervision along its border with Haiti.
185. In view of these events, General C6dras asked President
Aristide to call a meeting of the Haitian Parliament so that it could
urgently approve a new amnesty decree. On October 3, President
Aristide issued an amnesty decree for political offenses committed
94. See Annex pages 155 156.
between September 29, 1991 and July 3, 1992, which therefore
offered no protection from prosecution for offenses considered ordinary
crimes, or from possible civil suits against the perpetrators of human
rights violations committed in Haiti during the previous 24 months.
Article 6 of the Governors Island Agreement stipulates that in addition
to the presidential amnesty, such instruments as may be approved by
Parliament in this respect were to be implemented. However, certain
observers noted that during the Governors Island negotiations,
President Aristide, despite constitutional norms, was expected to
cooperate to ensure that the Haitian Parliament would grant a broader
amnesty which would include common law offenses for political
186. With only one week left before his scheduled return,
President Aristide faced not only the resistance of the Haitian military,
but also opposition from some members of the United States Congress
who objected to Washington's continued support. However, both the
Clinton Administration and the Congressional Black Caucus group of
legislators maintained their support for the exiled president.
187. To remedy the political stalemate, a "Crisis Committee" was
established, made up of members of Parliament opposed to Aristide,
who proposed that both houses agree to vote simultaneously on the
amnesty law and the law establishing and organizing the police force.
However, the proposal did not reach the point of adoption, since most
of the pro-Aristide members of Parliament had fled the country or were
in hiding for fear of assassination attempts. Thus, on the three
occasions Parliament was called to meet, sufficient members to
establish a quorum were absent.
188. On October 27, it was announced that the date scheduled
for President Aristide's return to Haiti was postponed, and the
Secretary-General of the UN reported that Prime Minister Malval would
remain in office even if President Aristide did not return on October 30,
as stipulated in the Governors Island Agreement.
189. In view of the impossibility of return to Haiti of President
Aristide on the date stipulated due to the military's total lack of
cooperation, Prime Minister Robert Malval returned to Washington on
December 1 to inform President Aristide of his decision to resign on
December 15. It was later announced that Prime Minister Malval would
remain in office until a substitute was appointed in accordance Haiti's
Constitution. He called for the hosting of a conference on national
reconciliation in Haiti to be attended by representatives of all the
political, civilian and economic sectors in the country. That conference,
however, was never held, because President Aristide preferred that all
discussion should be based on the Governors Island Agreement.
190. In view of the deadlocked political situation, representatives
of the four "friends" of Haiti: France, United States, Canada and
Venezuela, met in Paris on December 13 to consider how to resolve the
Haitian crisis. At the conclusion of that meeting, they decided to send
a high-ranking military mission to Haiti to speak with the Haitian military
leaders, who refused to receive them. In response to that refusal, the
delegation warned that the military and petroleum embargo might be
transformed into a total embargo, if by January 15, 1994, measures
had not been taken to implement the provisions of the Governors Island
191. Far from improving the situation, new acts of violence
occurred in late December 1993, which left hundreds of Haitians
homeless. Over 200 dwellings were burned in the Cit6 Soleil district,
and several inhabitants were left dead or injured from gunfire. The
incident was believed to be an act of vengeance by members of the
FRAPH, in answer to the death of Issa Paul, a member of their party,
whose burnt body was found before the incidents.
192. At the first session of the Haitian National Assembly, on
January 10, 1993, Members of Parliament supporting and opposing
President Aristide attacked each other physically. This happened as a
result of the decision not to allow 13 senators who had been elected
in the elections of January 18, 1993 to be seated. The resulting chaos
caused most of the lawmakers to leave the chamber. This incident in
itself, is an outright repudiation of the New York Agreement by the
assembly elected in the contested elections.
193. On January 14 to 16, 1994, an IACHR delegation attended
the Miami Conference organized by President Aristide. The purpose of
the Conference was to discuss in principle and in detail the situation
concerning Haitian refugees (boat people). This discussion was
expanded later to cover the return of democracy to Haiti. The deposed
President concluded the conference with an appeal for the unity of the
Haitian people and further called for the implementing of procedures for
the appointment of a new Prime Minister and government of common
CHAPTER IV HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN HAITI
194. This chapter will focus on the current status of human rights
in Haiti during the period from March 1993 through January 1994. It
is based on information that was provided to the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights during its on-site visit to Haiti from
August 23-27, 1993 through direct testimonies and written
documentation from individuals and non-governmental organizations;
as well as the documentation received during the Commission's 84th
period of sessions held from October 1-15, 1993; reports of the
UN/OAS Civilian Mission; and numerous reports sent to the
Commission from human rights NGOs which operate throughout Haiti.
195. This chapter provides an introductory overview of the human
rights situation for the period covered in this report and provides a brief
description of the military structure in Haiti, in order to analyze the
significant institutional factors which contribute to Haiti's poor record
in respecting human rights. Similarly, this chapter focuses on the
fundamental human rights which are most consistently violated in Haiti,
providing case examples illustrative of the type of violations most
commonly observed by the Commission.
B) Overview of Human Rights in Haiti
196. The human rights record in Haiti has continued to deteriorate
during the period under consideration in this report. Despite
overwhelming condemnation from the international community, harsh
reports issued by the UN/OAS Civilian Mission in Haiti and the
imposition of limited sanctions, the military authorities have made no
progress in improving its human rights record. Further, the military
authorities have failed to live up to commitments regarding respect for
human rights and civil liberties made at the signing of the Governors
Island Agreement on July 3rd, 1993, and the New York Pact on July
197. Much of the increase in violations during this period is
attributable to increased attempts at political expression among the
Haitian people and the attendant military repression. For example,
both the number and gravity of human rights violations increased after
the accord reached at Governors Island in July, 1993. Encouraged by
General C6dras' agreement to step down and the anticipated return of
President Aristide on October 30th, supporters of the Aristide
government sought to express their commitment publicly. Such
demonstrations were met by intensified repression on the part of
military and para-military troops, and generally, repression of society-at-
large increased as the prospect of President Aristide's return aroused
apprehension and opposition in the military. As October 30th passed
and no transition occurred, what was feared by the international
community became clear: the military would operate in complete
contravention of the rule of law, seemingly unaffected by the
international community's harsh criticism of its dismal human rights
198. The present environment in Haiti continues to be one
characterized by repression and fear. In Port-au-Prince, the military
acts with increasing brazeness, as illustrated by the very public killing
of prominent President Aristide supporter, Antoine Izm6ry in
September, 1993, and a month later, the assassination of Minister of
Justice, Mr. Guy Francois Malary, as well as acts of intimidation
directed against members of the UN/OAS Civilian Mission. Victims are
not only political activists, but also ordinary citizens in what is seen as
an observable strategy to maintain a climate of intimidation and terror
among the general civilian population. In the rural areas, instances of
arbitrary detentions, beatings, illegal searches and seizures of property,
disappearances, and torture have increased, causing more people to go
into hiding or to leave their homes.
- 69 -
199. Throughout Haiti, the violations take place with the active
involvement and/or the silent complicity of police and military forces.
Violence is directed against unarmed civilians, who do not respond with
violence against military agents, and in the meantime, the acts go
unchecked and unpunished. Persons who are linked with organizations
suspected of promoting the return of democracy are regularly the
targets of threats and harassment from the military.
200. Aristide supporters known as lavalassiens95' are frequently
under surveillance by local section chiefs, and are often detained and
harassed by local military and paramilitary forces. In the provinces, the
military normally interupts and disperses meetings organised by local
community leaders, thereby preventing them from meeting and
201. Detention procedures and conditions continue to violate
standards stipulated in domestic and international law. Although there
exist 15 prisons in Haiti, many detainees are held in military barracks
or front posts for the entire period of their imprisonment. Numerous
persons are illegally detained and held for long periods of time, in some
cases up to two years. Conditions of imprisonment in the prisons,
which are administered by the Armed Forces of Haiti, remain bad.
Commission members who visited some of the prisons observed
overcrowding and signs of malnutrition among some of the prisoners.
They also heard of prisoners being subjected to mistreatment and
beatings by prison guards.
202. While in general, judges, prosecutors, and independent
lawyers continue to face threats and harassment, some judges have
shown great courage by freeing detainees on the ground that their
detentions were illegal. Many of these releases are due in part to the
constant presence of OAS/UN Mission observers. Thanks to the
pressure exerted by the Civil Mission on the courts to observe due
95. Lavalassien is a name used by the military to describe members of the
Lavalas movement, a popular people's movement started by Jean Bertrand Aristide
before the 1990 elections. Lavalas means "flood" in Creole.
process guarantees granted under Haitian law, a larger number of
detainees have been released pending trial and in some cases, hearings
have been granted within 48 hours of arrest.
203. On the other hand, the crackdown on the domestic press has
continued to be severe. Para-military groups known as attaches have
repeatedly harassed and detained vendors of Libete, the only Creole96
language newspaper, and have confiscated and destroyed copies of the
paper. Radio journalists throughout the country receive similar
C) Factors Contributing to the Violation of Human Rights in Haiti
i. Lack of Separation Between Police and Army
204. Although article 263 of the Haitian Constitution requires the
existence of a police force independent of the Army, the Armed Forces
of Haiti have been successful in opposing implementation of a police
force, independent of the military, to oversee domestic affairs. In
effect, the Army is used to "police" the country, which results in
devastating consequences to human rights. The Haitian domestic
police force is, in effect, a division of the army in which members of
the Armed Forces regularly serve tours of duty. Soldiers who are
assigned to police duty do not receive any special training regarding
domestic peace keeping. As a result, such officers have little
awareness of the need to differentiate between the treatment of
unarmed civilians as opposed to other armed forces and further, they
have no understanding of proper procedures for arrest, search and
96. Creole is the language spoken by most of the Haitian population. See also
Article 5 of the Constitution of Haiti.
205. The power of the military in Haiti is immense. Although Haiti
is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, military
appropriations have consistently used up more than one-third of the
country's national budget. The military structure -- created with the
help of the United States Marines during the United State's occupation
of Haiti from 1915-1934 -- has remained largely the same, and
contributes to the pervasive power of the Haitian Armed Forces. The
General Headquarters, directed by the Commander-in-Chief, is the
ultimate authority over all officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces.
The Headquarters oversees 14 military corps -- one for each of Haiti's
nine Departments; Port-au-Prince; the Marine Corps; the Air Force; the
Presidential Guard and the Armed Infantry. Each Department is also
under the direction of a colonel and divided into Districts which are
under the direction of captains. Districts are subdivided into sub-
districts, under the direction of a lieutenant or sub-lieutenant; and sub-
districts are further subdivided into communal sections headed by
206. Although, in thery, the powers of a Section Chief are fairly
limited, in practice, they wield powers far beyond their mandate, in
effect creating their own systems of local governance. For example,
army regulations prohibit Section Chiefs from imposing entry/exit taxes
on peasants who take farm animals through their jurisdictions, yet the
imposition of illegal taxes and the acceptance of bribes is a regular
practice among Section Chiefs. Army regulations also require section
chiefs to have arrest warrants in all but exceptional circumstances and
to prepare reports of arrestees within 24 hours of their arrest, yet
Section Chiefs regularly enforce illegal arrests without warrant, and
incommunicado detention for periods longer than 24 hours is not
uncommon in Haiti.
ii. Lack of Training of Military/Police in Respecting Human Rights
207. Haitian soldiers are not trained to respect human rights or to
protect civil liberties, nor are they taught that there is a distinction
between military activity and police work. Moreover, there is nothing
in their training backgrounds that is likely to have sensitized them to the
concept of upholding the rule of law in their daily activities. Recruits,
like the majority of Haitians, tend to be poor and largely illiterate.
208. Soldiers tend to have, on average, low education levels, no
formal schooling after joining the Army, and tend to be essentially
ignorant of basic human and civil rights. They are provided weapons
but given little training about when the use of armed force is and is not
appropriate. They do not learn how to make legal arrests, to conduct
proper searches for evidence, and to interrogate within constitutional
limits. Record-keeping, fingerprinting, and forensic techniques are
rudimentary at best. Finally, soldiers are not taught to respect the
rights of civilians, detainees, and prisoners while performing police
209. Instead, soldiers learn by example, following the actions and
attitudes of their superiors. Unfortunately, the Armed Forces have
never emphasized the need to respect the rule of law and to protect
human and civil rights, but have instead resisted attempts by human
rights groups to educate soldiers about such rights and no such
programs appear to be on the horizon. Although the constitutional
Haitian government has requested human rights training from
international human rights organs, including the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights, the volatile political situation makes it
highly improbable that such a program will be instituted in the near
iii) Existence of Paramilitary Operatives: Attach6s and
210. Corruption not only permeates the military framework, but
feeds into the creation of paramilitary operatives. Section Chiefs, who
frequently buy their positions through bribes, and can be dismissed at
will, try to recoup their investment as quickly as possible through the
hiring of assistants, commonly called attach6s.971 Attaches pay
Section Chiefs for the chance of working in and profiting from the
corruption network. Haitian law limits each Section Chief to only two
such assistants; but in practice, section chiefs regularly maintain large
private militias of these assistants.
211. Attaches have no legally recognized status, yet are probably
the most significant factor in "policing" the rural areas. Each Section
Chief usually appoints one to five attaches to serve as deputies. The
deputies supervise about 30 adjoints who in turn direct other auxilaries,
such as the souket-larouz6. At every level, these attaches are involved
in extortion, levying fines, and paying and receiving bribes. They are
not interested in policing, nor are they trained for such service. Rather
their numbers and unrestrained power contribute to a system of
"policing" characterized by corruption and oppression.
212. In addition to attaches, there has been a marked increase in
the activity of bands of armed men, known as zenglendos, who have
been linked with scores of human rights violations in Haiti. The
zenglendos carry out nightly raids, robberies, and murders, and as
pointed out, are either armed and directed by, or act with, the
complicity of the army. Like attaches, zenglendos have been linked to
many of the human rights violations in Haiti, including the torture and
murder of civilians. The paramilitary structure of these forces makes
it difficult to identify them and to pin responsibility for their acts on the
military. The Para-military and zenglendos continue to be an important
factor in maintaining a repressive environment throughout the country,
with the active and tacit cooperation of the FADH, committing human
97. A government decree dated December 16, 1988, proposed that FADH
rules be revised to establish a process for choosing section chiefs by popular
election, rather than by appointment, which contributes to the military corruption.
The decree has never been implemented. During his stint in office, President
Aristide sought to eliminate the Section Chief system but unfortunately, the laws
which would have brought about that change were never approved by Parliament.
rights violations in relative anonymity because of their unofficial status.
iv. Military Domination of the Judicial System
213. The existence of a climate in which human rights violations
are committed with impunity is also attributed to military domination of
the judiciary and the corruption that the military generates within the
judicial processes. The report issued by the OAS/UN Civilian Mission
on Haiti, states the following:
...[m]embers of the Armed Forces and those linked to them
continue to intimidate judges and prosecutors, many of whom
owe their positions to influential members of the military...
...members of the judiciary remain extremely reluctant to
investigate cases involving the FAD'H. The Mission has seen
several cases where compelling evidence of a human rights
violation has been presented to a judicial official and no action
taken. The officials freely admit that it would be either too
dangerous or fruitless for them to undertake an
214. Military corruption of judicial processes is also a widely
observable phenomenon. Because there is no independent police force
in Haiti, judicial officials must depend on military personnel to investigate
crimes, to identify criminal suspects, and to detain and arrest persons
accused of crimes, in accordance with procedural guidelines set out in
Haiti's Constitution and domestic laws. In fact, the military not only
obstructs judicial processes through harassment and intimidation of
judges and lawyers, but it also actively violates due process guarantees
contained in both domestic and international law.
98. Report of the OAS/UN International Civilian Mission Report for the Period
June 1 August 31, 1993, Organization of American States Permanent Council,
OEA/Ser.G CP/INF. 3551/93 (November 11, 1993), paragraphes 66 and 68.
215. For example, both Haitian and international law prohibit
arbitrary detention. Article 24(2) of the 1987 Haitian Constitution
provides that no one may be arrested or detained other than by the
written order mandate ) of a legally competent official. Similarly, article
7(3) of the American Convention on Human Rights provides that, "[n]o
one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment."99/ Also, under
Haitian law, the warrant must state in the official languages of Creole and
French, the reason for the arrest or detention; it must also cite the
provision of law which provides for punishment of the act charged; and
it may only be executed between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00
p.m.1001 Although these requirements provide important protections
against violations of human rights, military and paramilitary forces
regularly perform arbitrary warrantless arrests, frequently at night, in
flagrant violation of both domestic and international law.
D) Status of Selected Human Rights
a) Right to Life
(i) Legal Provisions
216. The right to life is guaranteed in article 4 of the American
Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter "American Convention"). It
1. Every person has the right to have his life respected.
This right shall be protected by law and, in general,
99. Haiti is a state-party to the American Convention and as such is bound by
this international legal instrument.
100. 1987 Constitution, art. 24-3(a) and (d). Supra, pages 26, 27 and 29.
from the moment of conception. No one shall be
arbitrarily deprived of his life.
2. In countries that have not abolished the death penalty,
it may be imposed only for the most serious crimes
and pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a
competent court and in accordance with a law
establishing such punishment, enacted prior to the
commission of the crime. The application of such
punishment shall not be extended to crimes to which
it does not presently apply.
3. The death penalty shall not be reestablished in states
that have abolished it.
4. In no case shall capital punishment be inflicted for
political offences or related common crimes.
5. Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons
who, at the time the crime was committed, were
under 18 years of age or over 70 years of age; nor
shall it be applied to pregnant women.
6. Every person condemned to death shall have the right
to apply for amnesty, pardon, or commutation of
sentence, which may be granted in all cases. Capital
punishment shall not be imposed while such a petition
is pending decision by competent authority.
(ii) General Observations and Selected Cases
217. According to information received by the Commission, there
has been a clear increase in extrajudicial killings during the period covered
by this report. To illustrate the trend, one report gives the following
numbers of deaths investigated as suspected violations of the right to life:
Month Deaths Investigated
May 1993 9
218. The majority of the killings recorded have occurred in the
capital city of Port-au-Prince. There is usually no criminal investigation
after a death is recorded by military local authorities. Rather, the body is
immediately taken away after the death is recorded, usually without a
coroner's investigation as to the cause of death.
219. The increase in violations of the right to life seems to
correspond with the increase in political tensions following the signing of
the Governors Island Agreement and New York Pact in July as the
international community increased pressure on Haiti through the
imposition of embargoes. The following cases are illustrative of the types
of right to life violations reported to the Commission.
Marcel Pontus and Jeannot Louis Jean, Port-au-Prince
220. These leaders of the Baptist Church were picked up by armed
men in civilian clothing on March 18 1993. On March 24, their bodies
were found in a Port-au-Prince morgue with knife and bullet wounds.
101. Civil Mission Report See Footnote No. 97
Gervais Vernet, Port-au-Prince
221. On July 3, military personnel from the Anti-Gang Service shot
and killed Vernet (26 yrs.), a third-year engineering student, while he was
driving a taxi. On the same day, Armed men also killed another student
near the Church of St. Louis King of France.
Marc Dessource, Port-au-Prince
222. The Commission has received conflicting reports on the killing
of Marc Dessource. According to one report, he and a local merchant
named Lamercie were killed by "zenglendos" in the Mapou district of Bois
Patate. According to another report, Dessource was killed by uniformed
military men who burst into his house during the night in the
neighborhood of Canap6 Vert, shouting "You are always talking about the
return of Aristide, but will not be there to see it," before pulling him from
his bed and shooting him dead. Both reports date the killing on July 14.
It is of note that the areas of Upper Turgeau, Canape Vert and Bois
Patate in Port-au-Prince have been the site of sustained gunfire by groups
of armed civilians, yet have never received any police surveillance.
Antoine Joseph and Adnor Larose, Port-au-Prince
223. On August 3, Antoine Joseph (46 yrs.),a street vendor, was
killed by armed men who broke into his house in Carrefour Vincent.
Before killing him, the aggressors forced him to scale the wall between
his house and that of his neighbor, Adnor Larose (47 yrs.) whom the
armed men had killed minutes earlier.
Andrel Fortune, Las Cahobas
224. On August 16 in Las Cahobas (Plateau Central), Andrel Fortune
(29 yrs.), member of the Alliance of Popular Organizations of Las Cahobas
(AOPLC), was shot and killed by an army corporal who, with a group of
six uniformed members of the Armed Forces, visited Fortune's house that
day. The corporal shot Fortune in the back as he attempted to escape his
assailants. Shortly before the killing, Fortune had been involved in a
dispute with a sergeant. The army claimed they had gone to his house
to arrest him and that they shot him because Fortune had tried to seize
the corporal's gun.
In June, Fortune had successfully evaded two police arrest attempts
at rallies, organized in Las Cahobas, supporting the return of President
Aristide. Prior to the killing, he had been living in hiding because his
family's home was under police surveillance.
Antoine Izmery and Jean-Claude Mathurin, Port-au-Prince
225. Izm6ry, a wealthy businessman who had been a major
contributor to Aristide's 1990 electoral campaign, was assassinated by
armed men on September 11. Prior to his death, he was an active and
prominent voice for restoring the Aristide government. In the month prior
to his murder, he had founded the "Komite mete men pou verite blayi"
(KOMEVEB), the Joint Committee for the Emergence of the Truth; and
through KOMEVEB, had organized several public demonstrations in
support of Aristide.
Izm6ry was killed in broad daylight while attending a mass to
commemorate the 1988 Church of St. Jean Bosco massacre (over which
President Aristide had previously presided as parish priest). The service
was commemorated at the Sacred Heart Church. Armed men in civilian
clothing carried Izm6ry out of the church, forced him to kneel in a clearing
in front of the church, and shot him at close range in the head. Minutes
later, the same armed men killed Jean-Claude Mathurin. Both killings took
place within the purview of police who were patrolling the area around
the church, but the assailants left the scene of the murders without being
stopped. Eyewitnesses identified some of the killers as known
"attaches", and one of them may have been an officer from a local police
station. There was no police investigation of the killing, and Izm6ry's
dead body remained untouched in front of the church for five hours after
Izm6ry's murder is a clear case of retaliation against a political
activist. The public manner in which it was carried out had the direct and
immediate effect of intimidating other Aristide supporters, as was
evidenced by the fact that in the two weeks after the assassination, no
public demonstrations were attempted.
Guy Francois Malary, Minister of Justice, Port-au-Prince
226. Guy Malary, Minister of Justice, two of his guards and his
chauffeur were killed on October 13 by a group of armed men who
ambushed Malary's car on a street near his private office. Malary was
killed on the same street where Antoine Izm6ry was murdered more than
one month before. Malary, who had assumed his post on September 2,
was a longtime supporter of President Aristide and former president of the
Inter-American Association of Businessmen. Prior to his death, Malary
had initiated changes in the judiciary and had been an outspoken
proponent of separating the police and military.
b) Right to Personal Liberty and Right to Humane Treatment
(i) Legal Provisions
227. The right to personal liberty is guaranteed in article 7 of the
American Convention, as follows:
1. Every person has the right to personal liberty and security.
2. No one shall be deprived of his physical liberty except for
the reason and under the conditions established beforehand
by the constitution of the State Party concerned or by a
law established pursuant thereto.
3. No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment.
4. Anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons
for his detention and shall be promptly notified of the
charge or charges against him.
5. Any person detained shall be brought promptly before a
judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial
power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time
or to be released without prejudice to the continuation of
the proceedings. His release may be subject to guarantees
to assure his appearance for trial.
6. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty shall be entitled to
recourse to a competent court, in order that the court may
decide without delay on the lawfulness of his arrest or
detention and order his release if the arrest or detention is
unlawful. In States Parties whose laws provide that
anyone who believes himself to be threatened with
deprivation of his liberty is entitled to recourse to a
competent court in order that it may decide on the
lawfulness of such threat, this remedy may not be
restricted or abolished. The interested party or another
person in his behalf is entitled to seek these remedies.
7. No one shall be detained for debt. This principle shall not
limit the orders of a competent judicial authority issued for
nonfulfillment of duties of support.
228. The right to humane treatment is guaranteed in article 5 of the
American Convention, as follows:
1. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental and
moral integrity respected.
2. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman,
or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons
deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the
inherent dignity of the human person.
3. Punishment shall not extended to any person other than the
4. Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances,
be segregated from convicted persons, and shall be subject
to separate treatment appropriate to their status as
5. Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be
separated from adults and brought before specialized
tribunals, as speedily as possible, so that they may be
treated in accordance with their status as minors.
6. Punishments consisting of deprivation of liberty shall have
as an essential aim the reform and social readaptation of
(ii) General Observations
229. Reports received by the Commission indicate an observable
pattern with regard to temporary disappearance. Victims who were
disappeared state that they were blindfolded and taken away from homes
or places of work by groups of three or four armed men. Victims were
then driven in unmarked cars to secret places of detention where they
were interrogated about their political activities and their knowledge of
other activists by captors who were usually well-informed about the
victims' activities and contacts. In several cases from June through
August, 1993, the victims were questioned about their links to Antoine
Izmery. All of the victims were subjected to beatings and were held for
several days before being taken to public spots and released.
230. Instances of arbitrary detention/arrest, beatings and ill-
teatment, illegal search and seizure, rape, and torture have increased
during the time period covered by this report. These violations have
occurred throughout the country, often accompanying violations of the
right to life, right of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of
expression. The following is a small, representative sampling of cases
reported to the Commission.
(iii) Selected Cases from Port-au-Prince
231. On July 10, after attending a demonstration in support of
Aristide at the Church of St. Jean in Port-au-Prince, Pierrot Mathurin (24
yrs.) was arrested and detained at the Port-au-Prince police station known
as the "Cafeteria." During his detention, Mathurin was tortured;
subjected to a form of torture called "kal6t marasa,"102/ and was
beaten with an iron bar. He was released the next day. He sustained
numerous physical injuries including rupture of the eardrums with internal
bleeding, loss of hearing, fractured bones, bruises and inflammation on
the arms and face, and open wounds on the back and legs.
102. "Kal6t marasa" describes a particular form of torture in which blows are
simultaneously administered to both sides of the head. It frequently results in
severe injury to the ears, including perforation of the ear drum, infection, and loss
Dominique Jean and Jane Marie Exil
232. On July 14, Dominique Jean and Jane Marie Exil, two active
members of the Popular Movement of St. Martin (MPSM), were arrested
by military patrol in the St. Martin quarter of Port-au-Prince. The victims
had been posting photos and writing graffiti in support of President
Aristide. After their arrest, they were taken to the Anti-Gang Service
where they were severely tortured and beaten. The victims were released
on July 16 in a state of precarious health.
233. On July 25, Olen Dostene (29 yrs.), an agricultural worker,
was picked up near the airport in Port-au-Prince by armed men in an
unmarked white pick-up truck. The men beat him with their batons,
accusing him of constantly distributing photos of Aristide in Port-au-
Prince. Dostene, who sustained a fractured left arm because of the
beating, was driven to a place near Sartre and left there.
234. On August 20 in Carrefour P6an (Port-au-Prince), Valery Pfiffer,
member of the National Federation of Haitian Students, was abducted by
four armed men who blindfo into hiding.
235. On August 21, Ernst Charles, a member of the Peasant
Movement "Tet a Bef T' Legliz" and the "Centrale Gen'rale des
Travaillerus" (CGT) (a workers union) was kidnapped by seven men in a
pick-up truck and taken, blindfolded, to a private house which appeared
to be one of the "zenglendo" headquarters. Charles was severely beaten
on the buttocks and abdomen, and interrogated under very bright lights
as he was shown photographs of himself taking part in a political
demonstration and of various political organizations leaders, base
community members and journalists.
After two days of such treatment, the abudctors blindfolded him,
drove him around in a police car for several hours, and dumped him on a
downtown street. Charles' body exhibited signs of torture, including a
bloody shaved head and wounds on the back, buttocks and neck.
236. On August 31 around 8 p.m., Wilner Metellus and Etuienne
Romelus, two policemen from the Cafeteria police station abducted 21
year old Jocelyne Nicolas in her home, accusing her of having distributed
posters of Aristide. Her parents went to the "Cafeteria" the next day to
seek her release, but police authorities denied knowledge of her
whereabouts. That evening, Nicolas was released, having been beaten
in the head and raped by her abductors. She has since gone into hiding.
Senator Wesner Emmanuel
237. On October 5, Senator Emmanuel was harassed and arrested
by armed civilians, with the help of police. Emmanuel's office was
surrounded by militants associated with the neo-Duvalierist Front for
Advancement and Progress in Haiti (FRAPH), and when police showed up
on the scene, they participated with FRAPH in the arrest.
Jean-Claude Bajeux and the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights
238. On October 5, four heavily armed men raided the office of the
Ecumenical Center for Human Rights. In addition to terrorizing Bajeux,
director of the Center, the men threatened and beat employees. In their
retreat, the assailants fired several shots, wounding a nearby person.
(iv) Selected Cases from the Rural Countryside
Val6rien Thiophene, Gonaives
239. On June 29, the military arrested Thioph6ne (70 yrs.) in his
house, beat him, and took him to the local military barracks. According
to reports, this man had also been arrested and beaten on June 26 and
was being harassed because the military was searching for his son who
leads a popular organization in the L6t B6 Kanal quarter.
Amio Metayer and Paul O'Donnell, Gonaives
240 On the night of June 26, military in GonaTves invaded two
neighborhoods and performed a series of indiscriminate searches to
uncover members of local popular organizations. At least nine persons
were severely beaten in the course of these searches. The houses of
Amio M6tayer and Paul O'Donnell, two leaders of organizations, were
pillaged that same night.
Eddy Deravines, Hinche
241 On July 13, a group of five youth were detained and tortured
by military men. One of them, Eddy Deravines (24 yrs.), was arrested.
They were tortured with a "djak."'103 Deravines, who was beaten in
103. "Djak" (sometimes spelled "djack") is the word used to describe a
particular type of torture in which a person's wrists are tied to his or her ankles,
and a pole is inserted across the chest so that the person can be suspended in mid-
air and beaten in this position. A variation on the "djak" torture technique has been
described by residents of Verrettes. In this variation, a person is tied to a chair,
and the bottom of the chair tied to a long rope, the free end of which is flung over
the ceiling rafters. During interrogation, the victim is hung in mid-air as his or her
torturers pull on the free end of the rope. If the victim does not cooperate and/or
provides unsatisfactory answers to questions, the torturers let go of the rope, and
the victim and chair come crashing to the ground.
the head, escaped the prison where he was being held. As of July 22,
his companions were still in prison.
Residents of Lizon
242. Military stationed at Croix des Bouquets descended on Lizon
(Bon Repos) on July 18 and harassed the inhabitants of the town,
ordering them to lie flat with their stomachs on the ground. The military
abused them by kicking them and hitting them with batons and rifle butts.
They then arrested a student, Erold Jean (20 yrs.), and several others.
The soldiers took the detained persons to the local military post despite
the intervention of the captain of the Bon Repos police station.
Monique Bregard, Jre6mie
243. Monique Br6gard (23 yrs.), who was six months pregnant,
involuntarily aborted her fetus following torture inflicted upon her by
military in J6r6mie on July 19. She was beaten both when initially
detained and later when taken to the barracks, this despite her cries that
she was pregnant. Another pregnant woman was also beaten by a
military man in J6r6mie that same day.
G6rald Rubin Lamour, Pont-Sonde
244. On August 4, G6rald Rubin Lamour was in a protestant church
in Pont-Sond6 (Artibonite) participating in prayer when a military
commando and armed men interrupted the service and arrested him. The
victim was severely beaten, particularly on the wrists, head, and face
with "kal6t marasa." He was also forced to walk the entire zone on foot
before being released.
Rend Sylveus Benjamin, Pont-Sonde
245. On August 14, Ren6 Sylv6us Benjamin was arrested at Pont-
Sond6 (Artibonite) by an army corporel named Lucien. He was
transferred several minutes later to the St. Marc military barracks, where
he was harassed for having installed a camera in front of his home to
monitor the comings and goings of the military, and accused of
distributing political tracts. Benjamin was tortured with "kal6t marasa"
blows and released the next day.
(v) People Arrested and/or Beaten for Expressing Support
of President Aristide
Manistin Capricien, M61e St. Nicolas
246. On March 29 in Mole St. Nicolas (Northwest Department),
military and their attaches arrested and physically harassed several
persons accused of distributing tracts and of possessing photos of
President Aristide. One of the detainees, professor Manistin Capricien,
was hospitalized after the incident.
Aristide supporters, Jr6dmie
247. On July 15, two Aristide supporters were arrested at J6r6mie
(Grande-Anse) by attachess" in the presence of military men. They were
forced to remove photos which they had posted.
Faniel Glosy, Mirebalais
248. Faniel Glosy was arrested on July 18, on the pretext of having
posted photos of Aristide, even though there was no indication that he
had done so. He was taken to military barracks at Mirebalais (Plateau
Central) where he was severely beaten.
Esnold Maillot, Jude Donvil, and Huguens Bellevue, Domond-Peligra
249. On July 22 and 23, a military adjoint named Paul Nestor
arrested Esnold Maillot (35 yrs.), Jude Donvil, and Huguens Bellevue in
Domond-P6ligra (Plateau Central). Nestor accused Maillot of being a
"lavalassien" and tortured him.
Vesner Joseph, Rodrique Jean, and Mrs. Paul Casseus, Jean-Denis
250. On July 24, after a meeting organized by members of the
group K-Huit in Jean Denis (Verrettes), the local chief of police arrested
Vesner Joseph, Rodrique Jean, and Mrs. Paul Cass6us, whom he accused
of being "lavalassiens." The victims each paid 100 gourdes to obtain
Inokal Deka, Sarazen
251. On July 29, Inokal Deka, agricultural worker and member of
the Movement "Peyizan Chalmay Peralt" (MOPCHAP), was arrested by
the military in Sarazen (Plateau Central). He was accused of being a
c) Freedom of Thought and Expression
(i) Legal Provisions
252. Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights
provides the following:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and
expression. This right includes freedom to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds,
regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, in print,
in the form of art, or through any other medium of
2. The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing
paragraph shall not be subject to prior censorship but
shall be subject to subsequent imposition of liability,
which shall be expressly established by law to the
extent necessary to ensure:
a. respect for the rights or reputations of
b. the protection of national security, public
order, or public health or morals.
3. The right of expression may not be restricted by
indirect methods or means, such as the abuse of
government or private controls over newsprint, radio
broadcasting frequencies, or equipment used in the
dissemination of information, or by any other means
tending to impede the communication and circulation
of ideas and opinions.
4. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 2 above,
public entertainments may be subject by law to prior
censorship for the sole purpose or regulating access to
them for the moral protection of childhood and
5. Any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national,
racial, or religious hatred that constitute incitements to
lawless violence or to any other similar actions against
any person or group or persons on any grounds
including those of race, color, religion, language, or
national origin shall be considered as offenses
punishable by law.
(ii) General Observations
253. The Commission was made aware of numerous instances in
which Haitian military authorities have tried to intimidate journalists who
are covering human rights violations and the general political climate in
Haiti. The tactics for monitoring the press range from rebukes to arrest,
creating a climate in which the press know they are being closely
observed by those in power. The following cases represent a small
sampling of cases reported to the Commission.
(iii) Selected Cases
Cajuste Lexius, Fabonor St. Vil, Sauveur Orelus, Port-au-Prince
254. On April 23rd in Port-au-Prince, Cajuste Lexius, Fabonor St. Vil,
and Sauveur Orelus, three union leaders who belong to the "Centrale
G6n6rale des Travailleurs" (CGT), were arrested and brutally beaten by
members of the 30th Police Company after having called for a strike over
Radio CaraYbe. Police arrested the men on the false pretext that they had
been illegally using firearms. Civilian Mission observers who learned of
the arrest almost immediately attempted to intercede, but police denied
them access to the men for three days. When they were finally able to
see the victims, one of the observers commented on the severity of
injuries to Cajuste Lexius -who was hospitalized at the Mission's
insistence. All three men were eventually released.
Journalist from Tropic FM, Photographer from Haiti Progrbs, Claudy
255. In July, a journalist from Tropic FM and a photographer from
the daily "Hai'ti Progrbs", which covered the appearance of the body of
Vesnel Francois, were threatened by policemen and armed men. The
police also confiscated the photographer's material. Also in July,
reporter-photographer Claudy Vilm6 was arrested in Port-au-Prince after
he took photos of military men at a gas station. He was beaten by
masked armed men who confiscated his material, and then taken to Fort
Dimanche, a former prison. Vilm6's cousin, Jackie Ddlice, was abducted
by armed men on July 10. Her body, riddled with bullets, appeared three
days later on a highway in Port-au-Prince. Finally, on the morning of July
24, six vendors for the newspaper, "Lib6te", were arrested. Their money
was stolen, and their newspapers burned. Five of them were taken to the
Anti-Gang Research and Investigative Service office where they were
harassed and released a few hours later.
256. In September, Luc Francois, a journalist with Radio Television
Express, went into hiding when he learned that he had been accused of
submitting to the New York-based Haitian newspaper, "Ha'ti Progrbs",
news stories critical of local police.
257. In October, soldiers ordered Lucner Desir, a radio technician
with Radio Phalanstere International in Gona'ves, and an unidentified radio
technician of Radio Provinciale, to go to the local military post for
questioning. Neither of them obeyed the order, however; and the next
day both were arrested in compliance with orders from the regional
military commander, who accused them of "broadcasting songs by
politically committed singers." The arrests are significant because neither
radio station has broadcasted any national news since the September