This item is only available as the following downloads:
This volume was donated to LLMC to enrich its on-line offerings and for purposes of long-term preservation by
Columbia University Law Library
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
OEA/Ser.L/V/11.85 Doc. 9 rev. February 11, 1994 Original: Spanish
35 YEARS PROMOTING AND DEFENDING HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE AMERICAS
\4kY 'J (, jyu/,
^REPORT ON THE SITUATION
HUMAN RIGHTS IN HAITI
GENERAL SECRETARIAT ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES WASHINGTON, D.C. 1994
Approved by the Commission at its 85 session held from January 31 February 11,1994
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I IACHR ACTIVITIES IN HAITI
A) Background................................. 5
B) IACHR Activities during the period of 1991 1993 ..... 9
a) IACHR exploratory mission from
December 5 7, 1991 ...................... 9
b) lACHR's On-site visit to Haiti
on August 23 27, 1993 ................... 12
i) Background......................... 12
ii) On-site visit......................... 14
CHAPTER II THE POLITICAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK IN HAITI
A) The 1987 Constitution........................ 19
i) The Executive Branch.................. 20
ii) The Legislative Branch ................. 23
iii) The Judicial Branch ................... 25
B) Rights and Guarantees established by the Constitution 26
C) Means to ensure the protection of individual rights .... 29
D) Haiti's international obligations with respect
to Human Rights........................... 32
CHAPTER III THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN HAITI
A) Background .............................. 35
i) The December 16, 1990 Elections......... 35
ii) The Attempted Coup d'Etat.............. 36
iii) The Government of President Aristide....... 38
iv) The Coup d'Etat of September 29, 1991 .... 42
B) Political Developments and steps taken by the OAS
and the UN to facilitate dialogue................ 44
i) The Washington Agreements............. 46
ii) The Villa d'Accueil Accord .............. 48
iii) La Florida Declaration.................. 49
iv) Steps towards the establishment of a
Civil Mission........................ 50
v) The Governors' Island Accord............ 54
vi) The New York Pact ................... 54
vii) The new Government of Prime Minister Malval 56
CHAPTER IV THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN HAITI
A) Introduction ............................ 67
B) 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
iv) Selected Cases from the countryside ..... 86
v) People Arrested and/or Beaten for
Expressing Support of President Aristide ... 88
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 N 9/94: Violations of
the Right to Freedom and Personal Liberty 98
ii) Report N 10/94: Violations of the
Right to Life ...................... 109
iii) Report N 11/94: The Murder of
Georges Izmery................... 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 country.
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
- 2 -
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 extrajudicial 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.
- 3 -
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.
- 5 -
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.
- 6 -
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, 1 988, the government of President Manigat invited the Commission to conduct an on-site investigation.
1 2. 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
- 7 -
elected by universal suffrage, it should be subject to international supervision by UN and OAS observers.17
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.
- 8 -
Commission's concern about the problem of security during the elections,- the General Assembly approved a resolution entitled "Support for the Democratic Process in the Republic of Haiti".-
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,- the Commission reported that the general elections had been held peacefully, in the
3. Doc. OEA/Ser.L/V/ll.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/ll.79, rev. 1 doc. 12 of February 22, 1991.
- 9 -
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
- 10 -
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 Jimenez.
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 Ebrane Cadet and Deputies Duly Brutus and Pierre Carel Rindal. It also interviewed the Chief of the Armed Forces, General Raoul Cedras, who was accompanied by personnel from Army Headquarters.
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 democracy.
- 12 -
b. lACHR'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.
- 13 -
operating inside and outside the country as well as other reliable sources.
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 country.
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 Cedras, 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.
- 14 -
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; Marfa 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; Ian Martin, Director of Human Rights; William O'Neill, Legal Advisor; Tiebile 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 organisations haitiennes des droits de I'homme]; Jean-Claude Bajeux,
- 15 -
Jean-Robert Vaval and Jean Robert Benoit of the Ecumenical Human Rights Center [Centre oecum6nique des droits humains]; Gladys Joseph of Sant Karl Levek; Georgette Senatus of the Haitian Lawyers Committee [Comit des avocats haitiens]; Ann Fuller and Pierre EspeVence 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 Dveloppement Economique Integre]; Freud Jean of the Alternative Program for Justice [Programme alternatif de justice]; and attorney Jean Joseph Exume. 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 Cedras, 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 Ebrane 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 Caraibes. Subsequently, the Delegation met with Antoine Izmery 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 [Confederation des travailleurs haitiens] (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 generale independante des travailleurs et travailleuses haitiens] (OGITH); and Joseph Lefils and Daceus Louisius of the Federation of Union Workers [Federation des ouvriers syndiques] (FOS).
- 16 -
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'Leglise 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 years.
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 the military.
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 Delpe of the National Front for Change and Democracy
- 17 -
[Front national pour le changement et la democratic] (FNCD) and the National Committee of the Congress of National Democratic Movements [Comite national du Congres des mouvements democrates] (KONAKOM); Gerard Pierre-Charles, Irvelt Chery and Patrick Norzeus of the Lavalas Political Organization [Organisation politique Lavalas] (OPL); Rene* Theodore of the National Reconstruction Movement [Mouvement de reconstruction nationale] (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 democrates nationaux progressistes] (RDNP). That afternoon the Delegation met with Claude Levy 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 miliary 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.
- 19 -
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.-
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."- 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.
- 20 -
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.-
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.7 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.
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. The President has the power to declare war,1 and, with the approval of the Senate, to appoint the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
9. ibid, Article 134.
10. lbjd, Article 134.1.
11. ibjd, Article 134.2.
12. ibjd, Article 134.3.
13. ibid, Article 137.
14. ibid, Article 140.
15. ibjd, Article 141.
- 21 -
The President is also the nominal head of the armed forces.7 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.7
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 nationality.
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.1 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 candaidate must have
16. Ibid, Article 143.
17. ibid, Article 149.
18. ibid, Articles 155 and 156.
- 22 -
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 defense and law enforcement.^
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. Cabinet members are selected by the Prime Minister with the approval of the President.
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 duties.217
19. Ibid. Article 158.
20. ibid, Article 159-1.
21. ibjd, Article 159.
22. ibid, Article 156.
23. ibjd, Article 158.
24. ibjd, Article 186.
- 23 -
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.7 Operation of the Conciliation Committee is to be determined by law.7
ii) The Legislative Branch
62. The 1987 Constitution provides for a two-house parliamentary system consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.7 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 represent.
63. The conditions for election for senator7 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 reelected. 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. ibjd, Article 206.
26. ibjd, Article 206-1.
27. ibid, Article 88.
28. Ibid, Article 96.
- 24 -
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. In no case may either house be dissolved or adjourned.22'' In the event of disagreement between the Legislative and the Executive branches, the 1 987 Constitution provides for a Conciliation Committee to which such disputes are to be referred for resolution.
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. 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.1
67. Meetings of the National Assembly are public, unless at least five members request a closed session. Members of the legislature have immunity from the day they are sworn in until their term of office expires.^
29. JbM, Article 95.1.
30. Ibjd, Article 111.8.
31. Ibid, Article 111.1.
32. ibjd, Article 98.3.
33. ibjd, Article 110.
34. ibjd, Article 114.
- 25 -
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 office from a list of at least three candidates for each court seat submitted by the Senate. 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.
70. For political crimes, the Constitution establishes special courts, the jurisdiction of which is to be determined by law. It also provides that sentences may not be delivered in closed session in the case of political offenses or offenses involving the media.1
35. Ibjd, Article 173.
36. ibjd, Article 174.
37. ibid, Article 175.
38. ibjd, Article 177.
39. Ibid. Article 173.
40. Ibjd, Article 173.
- 26 -
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 aliens.
72. The Constitution declares that all Haitians are equal before the law, 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.' Capital punishment is abolished in all cases.
74. Individual liberty is guaranteed, and persons may only be prosecuted, arrested or detained according to law.1 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. ibjd, Article 16-2.
43. ibid, Article 17.
44. ibid, Article 20.
45. ibid, Article 24-1.
46. ibid, Article 24-2.
- 27 -
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 prohibited^ and the detainee may only be interrogated in the presence of his or her attorney or a witness of his or her choice.
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.
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.1
77. Freedom of assembly and association are also guaranteed, but the police must be notified in advance of any meetings or demonstrations.
47. ibjd, Article 24-3(d).
48. ibid, Article 26.
49. Ibid, Article 25.
50. ibjd, Article 25-1.
51. Ibid. Articles 27 and 27-1.
52. ibjd, Articles 28.3.
53. Ibid. Articles 31.2.
- 28 -
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.
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. The right to strike is recognized, but may be limited by law.1
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.1 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.^ No house search or seizure of papers may take place
54. ibjd, Articles 32.3.
55. ibid, Articles 32.6.
56. ibjd, 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.
- 29 -
except under the terms of the law.1 Mail and other forms of communication are inviolable, and may only be limited by judicial ruling.
82. Persons detained temporarily awaiting trial must be held separately from those who are serving sentence7 and prisons must be operated "in accordance with standards reflecting respect for human dignity according to applicable legislation."
83. Recognizing that both Creole and French are the official languages of Haiti,1 all laws, orders, decrees, international agreements, etc. must be published in both languages, except for "information concerning national security."
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. 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.
- 30 -
Chamber of Deputies. The Protector of Citizens intervenes free of charge on behalf of any complainant, who does not need to be a Haitian citizen.
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.^ 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.1 The state of siege is lifted if it is not renewed every two weeks by a vote of the National Assembly, which must remain in session for the entire duration of the state of siege.
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. ibjd, Articles 207-2.
71. ibid, Articles 278.
72. ibjd, Articles 278-1.
73. ibjd, Articles 278-3.
74. ibjd, Articles 278-4.
75. ibjd, Articles 263-1.
- 31 -
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 situation. "m
89. Military service is compulsory for all Haitian citizens who have attained eighteen years of age.217 Haitians have the right to bear arms for use in self-defense, but only with express authorization from the Chief of Police,7 and the possession of firearms must be reported to the police.2^
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."7
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 legislation."7
76. ibjd, Articles 266.
77. ibjd, Articles 268.
78. ibjd, Articles 268-1.
79. ibjd, Articles 268-2.
80. ibjd, Articles 269.
81. ibjd, Articles 273.
82. Ibid. Articles 274.
- 32 -
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 Jose\ 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 social condition.
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.^ 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) (1958).
83. ibjd, Articles 276-2.
- 33 -
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).
- 35 -
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 democratic] (FNCD). Aristide accused the Union for National Reconciliation [Union pour la reconciliation nationale] of planting the bomb and called for the arrest of its leader, Roger Lafontant. A few days earlier, Lafontant announced that there was a conpiracy 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
- 36 -
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 respected.
103. The Chief of the Armed Forces, General Abrahams, crushed the coup led by Lafontant to prevent Aristide from taking office. Lafontant and 1 5 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
- 37 -
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.^
105. Some 75 people lost their lives and over 1 50 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 president.
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).
- 38 -
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 economic justice.
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 Cedras, 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 Armed Forces.
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 coup.
- 39 -
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 Me>antus 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 on fire.
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 Rabei, 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 Andre 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 Regala, 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.
- 40 -
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.
117. The violence and abuse of authority committed in rural areas of the country led the Aristide government to seek to eliminate the 'section chief7 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 Rene Preval 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.269-295.
- 41 -
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 Rene Preval Prime Minister without consulting Parliament. According to Article 1 58 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
- 42 -
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-Macoute system.
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,
- 43 -
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 Cedras, 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 Nerette, 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.
- 44 -
B. Political developments and steps taken bv 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. 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 Human Rights.M/
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/11.81, doc.6, rev.1, February 14, 1992, page 364.
- 45 -
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 Joao 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."
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, Ramfrez 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).
- 46 -
of the Movement to Establish Haitian Democracy (MIDH); and Rene Theodore, Secretary General of the Haitian Communist Party (PUCH) which was subsequently intergrated 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 Cell", presented their findings to the Permanent Council of the OAS on January 9th, 1992. 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 the embargo.
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, Rene Theodore and a parliamentary delegation
90. See Annual Report of the IACHR for 1991, OEA/Ser.L.V-11.81, doc. 6, rev. 1, of February 14, 1992, pp. 225-247.
- 47 -
headed by the respective presidents of the two houses of Parliament, Senator Demean Belizaire and Deputy Alexandre Medard.
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 Constitution.
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 economic recovery.
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, Rene Theodore, who pledged to create the conditions necessary for President Aristide's return.
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.
- 48 -
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 Court's jurisdiction.
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 Dejean Belizaire and Chamber of Deputies by its President Alexandre Medard. Representing the Armed Forces was their Commander-in-Chief Raoul Cedras. 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
- 49 -
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 MRE/RES 3/92).
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
- 50 -
United Nations was requested. The Declaration reiterated the request that the OAS send a Civilian Mission to resume the political dialogue in Haiti.
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."
- 51 -
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."
1 53. 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
- 52 -
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 subjugation."
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 Ian 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.
- 53 -
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 Cedras, 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 Cedras, at Governors Island in New York.
- 54 -
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 Cedras 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, 1993.
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.
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 committment which would pave the way for an institutional democratic framework. That
91. See annexes on pages 166 167.
- 55 -
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 Medard and Senator Firmin Jean Louis.
162. On July 16, 1993, after intensive negotiations, the representatives of the Haitian political forces approved the New York Agreement, 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.
- 56 -
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 investors.
1 64. 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" reasons.
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.
- 57 -
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 country.
167. The cabinet of the new government was made up of the following ministers:
Claudette Werleigh: Herve Denis: Berthony Berri: Louis Dejoie, Jr.: General Jean Beliotte: Colonel Rene" Prosper: Jean-Marie Cherestal:
Agronome F. Severin:
Guy-Francois Malary: Jean Moliere: Victor Benoit: Marie-Michele Rey: Rosemond Pradel:
Foreign Affairs Information and Culture Social Affairs Trade and Industry Defense Interior
Planning, External Affairs and Civil Service
Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development Justice Public Health
Education, Youth and Sports Finance and Economic Affairs Public Works, Transportation and Communications
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 existed.
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 Herve 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 Cedras. 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 Izmery was killed on September 11,1993 by the civilian gunmen know as attaches. Izmery 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 Canape 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
- 59 -
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 massacre.
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 Cedras 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 attachement 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
- 60 -
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 Cedras 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.
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.
- 61 -
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 October 15.
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
- 62 -
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 Cedras refused to resign, the Security Council authorized
' a naval blockade. Through Resolution 875 of October 16, it urged all
J! 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 j to detain all maritime traffic to Haiti for as long as necessary to inspect
and verify its cargo and destination.
i 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 Cedras 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.
- 63 -
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 motives.
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 1 5. 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 Agreement.
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 Cite 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
- 65 -
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 accord.
- 67 -
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
- 68 -
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 16th, 1993.
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 record.
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 Izmery in September, 1993, and a month later, the assasination 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 meatime, 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 lava/ass/ens 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 associating.
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.
- 70 -
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 Creole-language newspaper, and have confiscated and destroyed copies of the paper. Radio journalists throughout the country receive similar treatment.
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 seizure.
96. Creole is the language spoken by most of the Haitian population. See also Article 5 of the Constitution of Haiti.
- 71 -
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 Section Chiefs.
206. Although, in thery, the powers of a Section Chief are fairly limited, in pratice, 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
- 72 -
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 duties.
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 future.
iii) Existence of Paramilitary Operatives: Attaches and Zenglendos
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
- 73 -
will, try to recoup their investment as quickly as possible through the hiring of assistants, commonly called attaches.1 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 attache's to serve as deputies. The deputies supervise about 30 adjoints who in turn direct other auxilaries, such as the souket-larouze. 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.
21 2. 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.
- 74 -
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:
...[mjembers 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 investigation.
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.
- 75 -
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 (mandat) 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."^ 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.7 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 states:
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.
- 76 -
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
- 77 -
by this report. To illustrate the trend, one report gives the following numbers of deaths investigated as suspected violations of the right to life:
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.
Month May 1993
June July August September
101. Civil Mission Report See Footnote No. 97
- 78 -
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 Canape* 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.
Andrei Fortune, Las Cahobas
224. On August 1 6 in Las Cahobas (Plateau Central), Andrei Fortune (29 yrs.), member of the Alliance of Popular Organizations of Las Cahobas
- 79 -
(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. Izmery, 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.
Izmery 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 Izmery 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 Izmery's
- 80 -
dead body remained untouched in front of the church for five hours after the shooting.
IzmeVy'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 lzme>y 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
- 81 -
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:
- 82 -
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 criminal.
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 unconvicted persons.
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 the prisoners.
(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
- 83 -
August, 1993, the victims were questioned about their links to Antoine lzme>y. 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 "kalot marasa," 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. "Kalot 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 of hearing.
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 Generale 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
- 85 -
demonstration and of various political orgaizations 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 harrassed 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.
- 86 -
(iv) Selected Cases from the Rural Countryside
Valerien Thiophene, GonaVves
239. On June 29, the military arrested Thiophene (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 Lot Bo Kanal quarter.
Amio Metayer and Paul O'Donnell, GonaVves
240 On the night of June 26, military in GonaVves 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 Metayer 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." 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 midair 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.
- 87 -
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, Jeremie
243. Monique Bregard (23 yrs.), who was six months pregnant, involuntarily aborted her fetus following torture inflicted upon her by military in Jeremie 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 Jeremie that same day.
Gerald Rubin Lamour, Pont-Sonde
244. On August 4, Gerald Rubin Lamour was in a protestant church in Pont-Sond (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 "kaldt marasa." He was also forced to walk the entire zone on foot before being released.
- 88 -
Ren6 Sylveus Benjamin, Pont-Sond6
245. On August 14, Ren Sylveus Benjamin was arrested at Pont-Sonde (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 "kalot marasa" blows and released the next day.
(v) People Arrested and/or Beaten for Expressing Support of President Aristide
Manistin Capricien, Mole 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, Jeremie
247. On July 1 5, two Aristide supporters were arrested at Jeremie (Grande-Anse) by "attaches" 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.
- 89 -
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 Casseus, whom he accused of being "lavalassiens." The victims each paid 100 gourdes to obtain their release.
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 "lavalassien."
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,
- 90 -
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 one's choice.
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 others; or
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 adolescence.
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
- 91 -
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. Vii, Sauveur Orelus, Port-au-Prince
254. On April 23rd in Port-au-Prince, Cajuste Lexius, Fabonor St. Vii, and Sauveur Orelus, three union leaders who belong to the "Centrale Generale des Travailleurs" (CGT), were arrested and brutally beaten by members of the 30th Police Company after having called for a strike over Radio CaraTbe. 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.
- 92 -
Journalist from Tropic FM, Photographer from HaitiProgr&s, Claudy Vilme
255. In July, a journalist from Tropic FM and a photographer from the daily "Haiti Progres", 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 Vilme' 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. Vilme's cousin, Jackie Delice, 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, "Libete", 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, "Haiti Progres", news stories critical of local police.
257. In October, soldiers ordered Lucner Desir, a radio technician with Radio Phalanstere International in GonaVves, 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