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ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
OEA/Ser.L/V/I 1.74 Doc. 9 rev. 1 September 7, 1988 Original: English
OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006
Approved by the Commission at its 991st meeting, held on September 7, 1988, during the 74th session
held from September 6 to 16, 1988
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. RESOLUTION No. 502 ADOPTED BY THE
OAS PERMANENT COUNCIL . I
a. Activities of the Commission during
its On-site Observation . 2
b. Complaints received . 5 C. Findings . 5
d. Observations of the Haitian Government on
the Human Rights Situation in Haiti . 6
B. CONTENT, METHODOLOGY AND SOURCES EMPLOYED
IN THE PRESENT REPORT . I . 7
C. BACKGROUND INFORMATION SINCE THE FALL OF DUVALIER . 8
a. Collapse of the Duvalier Regime . 8
b. Invitation of the National Governing
Council (CNG) to the Commission . 8
- Activities of the Commission during its
On-Site Observation . 9
- Complaints received . 10 - Preliminary Findings . 11 - The Emerging Crisis . 16 - Derailment of the Democratization Process . 20
C. The Elections of January 17, 1988 . 21
- Invitation of the Government of Leslie
Manigat to the Commission . 21 d. The Coup d'-Etat of June 20, 1988 . 22 e. The Attack on the St. Jean Bosco Church . 22
f. The Ouster of Lt. Gen. Namphy . 23
CHAPTER I - THE LEGAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM IN HAITI
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS . 25
A. THE STATUS OF THE RULE OF LAW UNDER THE MILITARY
GOVERNMENT OF LT. GENERAL HENRI NAMPHY . 25
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B. THE DUVALIER CONSTITUTIONS . 28
a. The Power of the Executive under the
Duvalier Constitutions . 28
b. The Political Organization of the
Duvalier State . 30
- The Executive Branch . 31 - The Legislative Branch . 32 - The Judicial Branch . 34
C. Rights and Guarantees under the
Duvalier Constitution (1983) . 34
d. Mechanisms Established to protect Individual
Rights under the Duvalier State . 36
e. Restrictions Placed on the Enjoyment of Human
Rights by Government Practice under the
Duvalier regime . 37
f. The Departure of Duvalier and the Transition
to the National Governing Council (CNG) . 37
C. THE HAITIAN CONSTITUTION OF 1987 . 39
a. Disqualification of Duvalierists
for public office . 39
b. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) . 39
c. The Power of the Executive under
the 1987 Constitution . 40
D. THE POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE STATE
UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION . 42
- The Executive Branch . 42 - The Legislative Branch . 43 - The Judicial Branch . 45
a. Rights and Guarantees under the
1987 Constitution . 45
b. Mechanisms Established to Protect Individual
Rights under the 1987 Constitution . 47
E. HAITI'S INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS IN THE
FIELD OF HUMAN RIGHTS . 49
CONCLUSION . 50
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CHAPTER II - POLITICAL RIGHTS
A. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS . 53
a. The Political Situation in 1985 . 56 b. The Referendum of July 22, 1985 . 58
C. Increasing Demands for President Duvalier
to Step Down . 59
d. Mr. Gr6goire Eugene's Defection . 60 e. Gonalves . 60
B. POLITICAL RIGHTS ACCORDING TO THE NEW
LEGAL SYSTEM (1986-1987) . 61
a. Background to the Law Regulating the
Organization of Political Parties . 62
b. The Decree Regulating the Organization of
Political Parties . 63
C. Background to the Creation of the
Provisional Electoral Council . 65
d. The Creation of the Provisional
Electoral Council (CEP) . 71
e. The Continuing Struggle between the CNG
and the CEP for Control of the
November 29, 1987 Elections . 75
C. THE NOVEMBER 29, 1987 ELECTION DAY MASSACRE
AND THE DISSOLUTION OF THE CEP . 81
a. The Failure of the Army to Maintain Security . 81
b. The Dissolution of the Provisional
Electoral Council . 84
c. The Election-day Aftermath . 85
d. The Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council
on December 7. 1987 . 88
D. THE ELECTIONS OF JANUARY 17, 1988 . 89
a. The CNG's New Electoral Calendar . 89 b. The Boycott of the United Opposition Parties . 91
C. The Results of the January 17, 1988 Elections . 94
d. The Inauguration of Leslie Manigat
on February 7, 1988. 95
E. THE COUP D'ETAT OF JUNE 20, 1988. 96
a. The Attempt by President Manigat to consolidate
his Power over the Military. 96
b. The Coup of June 20, 1988. 100
C. The Installation of a Military Government . 100
d. The Political Agenda of General Namphy. 101
F. THE COUP WITHIN THE COUP OF SEPTEMBER 17, 1988 . 103
a. The Attack on the St. Jean Bosco Church. 103
b. The Ouster of Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy. 104
CHAPTER III - THE RIGHT TO LIFE, LIBERTY AND SECURITY 107
A. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS. 107
a. Violations of the Right to Life and the
Failure'of the Government to Investigate
and Punish those Persons Responsible. 108
- Martissant. 110
- Mr. Charlot Jacquelin (Case No. 9784) . 112
- The Killings in 1986-1987. 113
- The Killings on November 28-29. 1987. 114
- The Killing of Mr. Lafontant Joseph
(Case No. 10.209). 118
- The Killings at the St. Jean Bosco Church . 122
B. LEGAL RULES IN FORCE IN HAITI RELATING
TO PERSONAL LIBERTY. 124
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a. The Commissaire du Gouvernement . 126 b. The Juge d'Instruction . 127
C. THE PRACTICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF HAITI
IN THE MATTER OF PERSONAL LIBERTY . 128
a. The Situation in the Detention Centers:
Persons in Detention . 128
b. The Case of Mr. Jean Gibson Narcisse
(Case No. 9897) . 134
c. The Case of Mr. Yves Volel (Case No. 10.095) . 136 d. The Case of Mr. Jean Raymond Louis . 137
e. The Case of Messrs. Yves and Carl Auguste
(Case No. 10.022) . 139
f. The Case of Messrs. Eddy Moise, S6neque Jean
Louis and Kador D~r6sil (Case No. 10.022) . 142
g. The Layout of Recherches Criminelles . 145
h. Arbitrary Arrests Prior and Following the
January 17, 1988 Elections . 147
i. Harassment of Opponents to the Government . 150
- The Case of Mr. O'Daniel P. Bastiani . 151 - The Case of Mr. Murat . 152 - The Case of Mr. Laurentes Robuste . 152 - The Case of Mr. Laennec Hurbon . 153
D. EXPULSIONS AND RESTRICTIONS ON THE
LIBERTY OF MOVEMENT . 153
a. The Case of Nicolas Estiverne (Case No. 9855) . 153
b. The Case of Mr. Daniel Narcisse . 161 c. The Case of Dr. Ernst Mirville . 161 d. The Case of Dr. Turneb Delpe . 162
e. The Cases of Messrs. Jean Robert Sabalat
and Jean Claude Roy . 162
f. The Case of Mr. Louis Dejoie II . 162
g. The Case of President Leslie Manigat and
Members of his Government . 162
h. The Case of Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy . 163
CHAPTER IV - FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION AND
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
A. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS . 165 B. THE LEGAL REGIME . 167
C. INITIAL IMPROVEMENT IN THE EXERCISE OF FREEDOM OF
EXPRESSION DURING THE CNG PERIOD . 169
D. ATTACKS AGAINST THE PRESS: ARRESTS, DETENTIONS,
HARASSMENT AND DEATHS OF JOURNALISTS . 173
E. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION UNDER THE MANIGAT GOVERNMENT . 176
F. INITIAL IMPROVEMENT IN THE EXERCISE OF FREEDOM OF
ASSOCIATION DURING THE CNG PERIOD . 179
a. The Importance of KONAKOM . 179
G. THE WAVE OF TERROR IN THE COUNTRYSIDE . 183
- The Peasants' Demands . 187
CONCLUSION . 188
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS . 191
FOOTNOTES . 195
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A. RESOLUTION No. 502 ADOPTED BY THE OAS PERMANENT COUNCIL
1 . On June 29, 1988, the OAS Permanent Council met in Washington, D.C., to consider the military takeover and the ensuing events which had occurred in Haiti. At that meeting a resolution was adopted on "The Situation in Haiti and (the) Validity of the Principles of the OAS Charter." This Resolution, inter alia, called upon the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate the human rights situation in Haiti and to submit its Report thereon to the OAS General Assembly, scheduled to begin on November 14, 1988 in El Salvador.
2. The text of Resolution No. 502 is as follows:
THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES,
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT:
The events that have transpired in Haiti since June 20, the date on which a government headed by General Henri Namphy forcibly took power, and especially the reports of certain measures taken by that government that would affect the human rights enshrined in instruments of the inter-American system to which Haiti is a party;
The principles of the Charter of the Organization of American States and the high aims sought through them, in particular those requiring the political organization of the member states on the basis of the exercise of representative democracy and full respect for fundamental human rights; and
Its resolution CP/RES. 441 (644/86) of February 14, 1986, which states that the Organization of American States, adhering strictly to the principle of nonintervention, is prepared to cooperate with the Republic of Haiti in any way that will lead to st-rengthening the essential principles of representative democracy enshrined in the Charter of the Organization, as well as its resolution -CP/RES. 489 (720/87) of December 7, 1987, through which it expresses its
conviction that it is necessary to resume the democratic process in Haiti and to adopt all necessary measures so that the people of Haiti may express their will through free elections, without pressure or interference of any type,
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1. To reaffirm the full validity of all the principles of the Charter of the Organization of American States and, in particular, in light of the deplorable events that have transpired in Haiti, those that call for the effective exercise of representative democracy as a requirement for the solidarity of the American states, the high aims sought by the Organization, and full enjoyment of fundamental human rights.
2. To reiterate, within the context of the principle of
nonintervention, its solidarity with the Haitian people as well as its hope that they will be able to realize their legitimate
aspirations to peace, freedom, and democracy by exercising their right to self-determination.
3. To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to examine the human rights situation in Haiti and to submit a complete report thereon to the General Assembly at its next regular session.
4. To await the report that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will submit to the General Assembly and to make such comments to the Assembly as it deems appropriate on the progressive development of human rights in Haiti.
3. Pursuant to the terms of this mandate of the OAS Permanent Council, the Commission on June 30, 1988, requested the consent of the military regime of Lt. General Henri Namphy to send a delegation to Haiti to conduct an on-site observation of the human rights situation. On July 12f 1988 the Commission received a cable from General Abraham, Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs, granting consent for the visit to take place. Following discussions between representatives of the Haitian
military government and the Commission, the dates August 29-September 2, 1988, were agreed upon for the visit of the Commission.
4. Ms. Christina M. Cerna, the lawyer on the Commission's
Secretariat responsible for Haiti, traveled to Haiti from August 1-6, 1988, in order to make the necessary arrangements for the visit. During this preparatory visit a press communique was released in Haiti announcing the Commission's visit and Ms. Cerna and the representative of the OAS in Haiti, Mr. Ragnar Arnesen, gave interviews to the television press
regarding the composition of the delegation and the purpose of the upcoming mission.
a. Activities of the Commission during its On-site Observation
5. During its visit the Commission requested a meeting with the President of the military government, Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, to which no
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response was given. The Commission was advised that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had requested the meeting with the President for the Commission, and until the last day of the Commission's stay no response had been made. The delegation did meet with the Foreign Minister, Brig. Gen. H6rard Abraham and Brig. Gen. Fritz Antoine, the Minister of Justice, as well as with Maj. Gen. Williams Regala, the Minister of Interior and National Defense and many other government officials. The President of the military government and the ministers had all held similar positions while constituted as the National Council of Government from February 7, 1986 to February 7, 1988.
6. The Commission met with Mme. Mireille Pluviose, the Commissaire du Gouvernement (Public Prosecutor) for Port-au-Prince, as well as with Col. Joseph D. Baguidy, who is in charge of the police headquarters, Recherches Criminelles. The Commission also met with Col. Jean-Claude Paul, responsible for the military headquarters Casernes Dessalines in Port-au-Prince, and with Major Isidor Pognon, head of Fort Dimanche and Col. Weber Jodesty, head of the National Penitentiary. The Commission met with the authorities at these detention centers and then visited the detention areas and interviewed detainees in private. It requested to see the registry of detainees in each location and to interview some
prisoners, by name, and others were selected at random. The Commission requested to see the registry of detainees at Recherches Criminelles, however Col. Baguidy refused to make the registry available to the Commission, stating that he had received no instructions to do so. Col. Paul stated that no one was detained at Casernes Dessalines, therefore, there was no registry. As during its previous visit the Commission inspected the cells and examined the prison conditions and investigated all matters it considered useful as regards the medical care and legal assistance available to the detainees.
7. The Commission met with representatives of many human rights groups. The Commission received testimony from Mr. Jean-Jacques Honorat, head of the Haitian Center for the Defense of Public Liberties (CHADEL); from Mr. Jean-Claude Bajeux, the head of the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights (CEDH); from Mr. Arnold Antonin, head of the National Network for Human Rights Defense (RENADDWAM); from Mr. G6rard Toussaint, the General Secretary of the League of Former Political Prisoners (LAPPH); from Mrs. Raymonde Joseph, widow of Mr. Lafontant Joseph and head of the Women's Committee against Torture; from Mr. Renaud Pierre, head of the League for the Protection of Children and from Messrs. Joseph Maxi, the President and Jean-Claude Nord, the Secretary General, of the Haitian League for Human Rights. In light of the recent assassination of Mr. Lafontant Joseph, the former head of the Center for the Promotion of Human Rights, special attention was given to this case and the impact of this killing on the human rights community.
8. The Commission interviewed many political leaders in order to receive their views on the situation and the prospects for a return to the
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democratization process: Rev. Sylvio Claude, President of the Parti Democrate Chr6tien Haitien (PDCH); Mr. Louis Dejoie II, President of the Parti Agricole Industriel National (PAIN); Mr. G6rard Gourgue, candidate for the presidency in the elections of November 1987 of the Front National de Concertation (FNC); Mr. Hubert de Ronceray, President of the Mobilisation pour le Developpement National (MDN) party; Mr. Gr6goire Eugene, President of the Parti Social Chretien (PSCH); Mr. Serge Gilles, President of the Parti National Progressiste Revolutionnaire (PANAPRA-Socialist) and spokesman for the Patriotic Unitarian Bloc (BIP) comprised of PANAPRA, the PNPDH of Dr. Turneb Delp6 and the Mouvement de 28 November 1980 headed by Mr. Max Paen; and Mr. Victor Benoit, National Secretary of the National Committee of the Congress of Democratic
Movements (KONAKOM). The Commission also had the opportunity, outside of Haiti, to receive the views of the ousted President, Mr. Leslie Manigat.
9. The Commission received important testimony from members of the written and oral press. It met with Mr. Adyjeangardy, the General
Secretary of the Press Asssociation, and with Mr. Dumayric Charlier of the newspaper Le Matin.
10. The Commission received testimony from Father Hugo Triest, a Belgian priest and director of Radio Soleil; Mr. Richard Widmaier of Radio Metropole and Mr. Jacques Sampeur of Radio Antilles as regards the situation of press freedom in Haiti. The members of the delegation had frequent contact with members of the press who covered their visit while in Haiti.
11. The Commission also sought the views of the business and labor sectors and interviewed Mr. Jean Edouard Baker, the President of the Association of Haitian Industries (ADIH); Mr. Claude Levy, the Director of the Banque Credit Immobilier and, Mr. Antoine Izmery of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce. The representatives of the business sector presented important information as regards the impact of the military takeover and the military government on the business climate in Haiti.
12. The Commission received important information on labor issues from representatives of the three labor federations in Haiti: Messrs. Germaine Jean Franqois and Jean Claude Le Brun of CATH-CLAT; Messrs. Gabriel Miracle and Mr. Jean Auguste Mesyeux of the Autonomous Federation of Haitian Workers (CATH); and, Messrs. Joseph Senat, Pierre Charles Joseph and Benet Joseph of the FOS, the Federation of Unionized Workers. At these meetings specific cases and problems concerning human rights violations were discussed.
13. The Commission also met with Pere Aristide, a Salesian priest and an important voice within the Catholic Church theology of liberation; with the sociologist Mr. Gerard Pierre Charles and with representatives of the Committee of the Civil Society created to call for respect for the 1987 Constitution.
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14. The members of the delegation travelled to St. Marc, Pont Sond6 and Petite Rivi6re to receive information regarding recent events in the Artibonite, as well as to Thomonde, Papaye and Hinche to receive testimony regarding the events in the Central Plateau region of Haiti and in particular, to investigate allegations regarding the repression of peasant organizations and actions taken against local Catholic priests and nuns. The Commission received information in the provinces in the form of specific human rights complaints which must remain confidential until these complaints have received due consideration by the full Commission.
b. Complaints received
15. The Commission, in its press release, announced that it would receive any one in Haiti who wished to present information to it, on Wednesday, August 31, 1988, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again in the afternoon from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. In fact, much of the information received on that day and during the Commission's visit was in the form of complaints which will be processed according to the Commission's Regulations.
16. The Commission's finding as a result of this visit are summarized as follows:
1. The Commission has come to the conclusion that the current military government in Haiti has perpetuated itself in power as a result of violence instigated by elements of the Haitian Armed Forces resulting in the massacre of Haitian voters on November 29, 1987, the manipulation of the elections held on January 17, 1988, and the ouster of President Leslie Manigat on June 20, 1988, when President Manigat attempted to subordinate the military to civilian control.
2. Whether the military "seized" power on February 7, 1986, as it claimed or was placed in power, the National Governing Council (CNG) during its period in power demonstrated no vocation for democracy.
3. The result of the almost three-year old democratization process led by the military in Haiti has been the -.entrenchment of the military in power.
4. The discussions with the Ministers during the Commission's
August 1988 on-site visit revealed absolutely no intention or disposition on the part of the military to put Haiti on the road to democracy. On the contrary, the military appeared to conceptualize that there is nothing necessarily inconsistent between a military regime and democracy, ignoring the fact that their seizure of power is inherently undemocratic,
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particularly so in light of Article 3(d) of the OAS Charter and Article 23 of the American Convention.
5. Numerous arbitrary killings have occurred during the period
under consideration. The politically-motivated nature of the violence is evidenced by the fact that it can be turned on and off by the military authorities. The failure of the military to investigate and punish anyone responsible for these death squad type killings has been a matter of continuing concern to the Commission and leads it to conclude that these death squads function because of the impunity granted to them by the military.
6. The military regime, by means of the coup d'etat, attempted to nullify the 1987 Constitution, which was massively approved by popular referendum on March 29, 1987. The use of force by the military to thwart the will of the people is condemned by democratic nations and the respective instruments of international law.
7. All fundamental human rights in Haiti are under serious strain, limited by the Army's monopoly over the use of force. The Army,
functioning as a police force, does not serve to protect Haiti from external threats to its security, it functions to repress those persons and groups who attempt to change the deplorable conditions under which the majority of Haitians live.
d. Observations of the Haitian Government on the
Human Rights Situation in Haiti
17. In order to incorporate the views of the military government in its Report, the Commission requested on June 30, 1988, that the Government provide the Commission with whatever information it considered appropriate for inclusion in its Report by September 6, 1988, the date of the Commission's 74th regular session, and the date on which a draft Report would be submitted by the Secretariat to the Commission for its consideration. The Commission reiterated this request, by telex on August 3, 1988, a copy of which was presented personally to Brig. Gen. H6rard Abraham, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, by Ms. Cerna of the Commission's Secretariat. The Minister stated to Ms. Cerna that the Government's "report" would be presented to the Commission during its on-site observation. During the Commission's visit, Mr. David J. Padilla, the Assistant Executive Secretary, reiterated this request for information. The military government submitted a report to the Commission on September 8, 1988.
18. The Commission considered the report of the Government of Haiti which was received during its 74th period of sessions held during the period September 6-16, 1988. During that period of sessions the present report was approved. On September 17, 1988 a group of non-commissioned
officers ousted Lt. Gen. Namphy. and replaced him with Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril and a new government was formed. In light of the fact that thes6
events have just occurred an analysis thereof is premature at this time.
B. CONTENT, METHODOLOGY AND SOURCES EMPLOYED IN THE PRESENT REPORT
19. This report on the situation of human rights in Haiti covers the
period from February 7, 1986, with the departure of President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier, and the installation of the National Council of Government (CNG), headed by Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, to the government which assumed power, by force, on June 20, 1988, and was also headed by Lt. Gen. Namphy. In the opinion of the Commission an analysis of this period enables it to evaluate the conduct of the Government that has assumed power on June 20, 1988, and the situation which Resolution 502 of the OAS Permanent Council has specifically mandated the Commission to examine, since this Government was headed by the same military officer and his cabinet included many of the same officers of that earlier regime. As
stated in the preceding paragraph this Report notes the change in government which occurred on September 17, 1988 but does not analyze it.
20. The Commission makes frequent reference in this Report to events during the 29 year dictatorship of Frangois (1957-1971) and Jean-Claude (1971-1986) Duvalier. In the opinion of the Commission it is only by understanding what Haitian reality was like during the Duvalier period that the present can be understood. The conflict between the
pro-Duvalierist and anti -Duval ieri st forces and the role of the Army in this conflict defines the present Haitian political context. The entire
catalog of human rights - the right to life, liberty and the security of the person, the right to residence and movement, the right to nationality, the right to a fair trial and due process of law, the right to freedom of expression, the right to assembly and the right to exercise one's
political rights - all these individual rights are at risk in this conflict of forces seeking to maintain the Duvalierist structure and those which seek to bring about change based on a repudiation of the Duvalier period.
21. The Commission has embarked on this analysis by means of an examination in which the manner successive regimes in Haiti have observed the rights recognized in the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Haiti is a State party. Since the departure of President-for-Life,
Jean-Claude Duvalier, created expectations for a transition to democracy, the chapter on political rights is the central chapter of this report. The announcement by Lt. Gen. Namphy that the Constitution of 1987 would be replaced by a "new" Constitution undermines the rule of law, fragile as it was, not to mention the entire structure of the state.
22. The Commission has used various sources in preparing this Report. The most important has been the first-hand information obtained
during the Commission' s two on-site investigations: in January 1987 and August 1988. The Commission is grateful to the military government of Haiti for having permitted it to carry-out these investigative missions.
23. Haitian and foreign press sources have been used by the Commission as sources of information for the events described in this report. In those cases in which the Government of Haiti has provided observations on cases or situations mentioned in this report, this information has been given special consideration.
24. The Commission devotes a separate chapter to the legal framework of the Haitian state as set forth in the 1987 Constitution, which by its widespread acceptance during a national referendum in March 1987 provided a reference point in the understanding of the aspirations of the Haitian people. The Commission is particularly concerned about the unilateral abrogation of this Constitution by the military government as a result of the June 20, 1988 coup d'etat.
25. The Commission has also received important information from the local human rights organizations working in Haiti. In addition, the Commission is alarmed by the recent mutilation and murder of the human rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Lafontant Joseph.
C. BACKGROUND INFORMATION SINCE THE FALL OF DUVALIER
a. Collapse of the Duvalier Regime
26. On February 7, 1986 the Government of President-for-Life
Jean-Claude Duvalier collapsed as he and his closest supporters fled into exile, and a civil ian-mili tary junta which called itself the National Council of Government (CNG), headed by Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, the former Chief of Staff of the Army under Jean-Claude Duvalier, assumed power. The
six members of the CNG were Namphy, Cols. Williams Regala. Prosper Avril, Max Valles, and Messrs. Alix Cineas and G6rard Gourgue. The junta
effectively became a military junta in March 1986 as Mr. Gerard Gourgue resigned (March 20) and Messrs. Avril, Valles and Cineas were removed (March 21) following protest demonstrations against them.
b. Invitation of the CNG to the Commission
27. By note dated July 29, 1986 to the OAS Secretary General, Mr. Joao Clemente Baena Soares, the CNG invited the Commission to conduct a human rights mission in Haiti. During the Commission's 68th Session in
September 1986, the Commission considered the invitation of the Haitian Government and decided that given the importance of this mission that all the members should participate to give special emphasis to the Commission's support for the democratization process in train. Following
the 68th Session, the Haitian Government and the Commission set the dates January 20-23, 1987, for the Commission's visit to Haiti. Ms. Cerna
traveled to Haiti from January 7-9, 1987 to make the necessary preparations for the Commission's visit.
Activities of the Commission during
its On-Site Observation
28. During its visit the Commission met with the President of the National Council of Government, Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, and with Col. Williams Reqala, the Minister of Interior and National Defense and member of the CNG. The Commission also met with the Foreign Minister, Col.
Herard Abraham; the Minister of Justice, Mr. Franqois St. Fleur; the Vice Minister of Justice, Col. Fritz Antoine; and many other government officials. Due to cabinet changes in four ministries on January 5, 1987, the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Justice had been barely two weeks in their new positions.
29. The Commission met with Mr. Dupleix Jean-Baptiste, the
President, and other representatives of the Consultative Council and with Mr. Emile Jonassaint, President of the Constituent Assembly and other representatives of the Constituent Assembly. The mandate of the
Constituent Assembly was to approve the text of a Constitution which would be submitted for approval to a popular referendum.
30. The Commission met with the prison authorities at Fort Dimanche and the National Penitentiary and in those institutions it interviewed prisoners in private. it requested to see some prisoners, by name, and others were selected at random.
31. The Commission met with representatives of many human rights groups. It received testimony from Messrs. Jean-Jacques Honorat, Robert Duval, Jean-Claude Bajeux, Victor Benoit, Arnold Antonin, and Ms. Simone Castera. All of these human rights organizations have been functioning in Haiti only since the departure of the Duvalier regime.
32. The Commission interviewed many political leaders in order to receive their views on the democratization process: Rev. Sylvio Claude,
Messrs. Louis Dejoie II, Thomas D6sulm6, Gr6goire Eugene, Serge Gilles, Leslie F. Manigat, Hubert de Ronceray and, Mr. Rene Theodore.
33. The Commission received testimony from members of the written and oral press. It met with Mr. Willem Romelus, editor of the newspaper Haiti-Lib6r6e, with Mr. Franck Magloire, editor of the newspaper Le Matin and with Mr. Lucien Montas, editor of the newspaper, Le Nouvelliste.
34. It also received testimony from Mr. Jean Dominique, head of Radio Haiti-Inter, the first Haitian radio station to broadcast programs
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in the Creole language as well as in French. The Commission also met with Father Hugo Triest, director of Radio Soleil, as well as with the members of the staff of the radio station of the Catholic Church.
35. The Commission sought the views of the business and labor
sectors and interviewed Mr. Georges Sicard, President of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Jean Edouard Baker, President of the Association of Industries; and, Mr. Andre Apaid, the Founder of the Association of Industries.
36. The Commission received information on labor issues from the leaders of two labor federations in Haiti, from Mr. Yves Antoine Richard, the Secretary-General of the Autonomous Federation of Haitian Workers (CATH), and from Mr. Georges Fortun6, the President of CATH-CLAT and a co-founder of the political party of Mr. Leslie Manigat.
37. The Commission met with Father Grandoit, head of operations of MISYON ALFA, the literacy program which is organized and financed by the Catholic Church. It also met with Mr. Evans Paul, head of the Committee for Unity and Democracy (KID) which is a federation of neighborhood committees and with Mr. Jean Paul Duperval and Mr. Jose Sinai, members of KID.
38. Members of the Commission traveled to Gonaives and to Cap Haitien. In Gona~ives, the Commission met with Monsignor Emmanuel
Constant, the Bishop of GonaYves, and Mr. Paul Latortue, an economist who works with the rice farmers in the Artibonite region. The Commission also met with Mr. Hilton Benoit, the Commissaire du Gouvernement and with other individuals regarding the human rights situation in Gona~ ves, and, in particular, as regards the so-called "rice war" and the problems affecting the youth of the town Anse-Rouge.
39. In Cap Haitien, the Commission met with Father Yvon Joseph, the Chairman of the MISYON ALFA Board of Directors and head of the Haitian Conference of the Religious. It also met with other persons whose names, as well as those of others in Haiti, must remain confidential because their testimony was presented in the form of information regarding specific human rights complaints.
40. The Commission, in its press release, announced that it would receive information from any one in Haiti who wished to present
information to it, on Thursday afternoon, January 22, 1987, from 3 to 6 p.m. In fact much of the information received on that day and during the Commission's visit was in the form of complaints, which have been processed pursuant to the Commission's Regulations.
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41. On January 23, 1987, the President of the Commission, Mr. Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas, and the members of the Commission, held a press conference at the Villa Cr6ole Hotel. This conference was attended by many members of the Haitian and the international press, and at that time, the President made the following statement concerning the preliminary findings of the Commission. This statement was distributed to the press in English, French and in Creole. The text is as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press*
As you know, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
of the Organization of American States has been in Haiti, in plenary, since Monday, January 19th. Our visit, which had been originally planned last year, at the invitation of the Duvalier government, had to be indefinitely postponed, as a result of the dramatic and, indeed, revolutionary events which culminated on February 7, 1986. The present Government, the National Council of Government (CNG), renewed the invitation to the Commission, resulting in the present intense, four-day program of activities.
During this time we have had the opportunity of meeting
with an extremely representative cross-section of Haitian
society, including His Excellency, the President of the National Council of Government, Lieutenant General Henri Namphy and
Colonel Williams Regala, as well as the Minister of Foreign Relations, Colonel Herard Abraham and the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jacques St. Fleur. The Commission also held meetings with the members of the Constituent Assembly and the Consultative
The Commission also met with representatives of those
organizations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, with political leaders, with members of the press, trade unions, and leaders of the private sector, as well as
representatives of religious institutions.
In addition to our meetings in the capital, Port-au-Prince,
the Commission formed working groups in order to visit, simultaneously, the provincial centers, Cap Haitien and Gonalves. Another group visited the principal detention centers in Port-au-Prince: Fort Dimanche and the National
Penitentiary. There, after important dialogue with the
Government, we were able to meet with prisoners in total privacy and to inform ourselves as regards the conditions and
circumstances of detention of those prisoners.
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Let us make it plain that after four short days in Haiti, the Commission does not presume to offer a definitive judgment concerning the situation of the observance of human rights in this country. The Commission will meet again in Washington, D.C. during the coming month of March and at that time will consider the information, documents and testimony which it has received during its visit in loco in Haiti, and it hopes to return to Haiti this year to follow up on this process.
Nevertheless, we members of the Commission felt it
incumbent upon us, as our visit comes to a close, to state publicly what have been the preliminary impressions derived from the many and varied representations which have been made to us and from the observations which we have personally made during the course of this visit.
First of all, it is unquestionable that the events of February 7, 1986, represent an historic moment in the history of Haiti. The overthrow of the Duvalier dictatorship occurred on that day due to the united action of the Haitian people. With exemplary courage, employing peaceful methods and supported by the grassroots organizations of the country, the people of Haiti were able, on that day, to put an end to the Duvalier dynasty for-life. The international community provided support as well. The Commission is heartened to learn that its 1979 Report on the Human Rights Situation in Haiti, and its subsequent Annual Reports, which have updated the human rights situation each year, have helped to raise the consciousness of the peoples of the Americas as to the human rights situation in Haiti; and at the same time the Commission is disheartened to learn that persons have suffered reprisals at the hands of the Duvalier government for their collaboration in the human rights struggle. The Commission has requested and received guarantees from the CNG that no reprisals will be taken against persons collaborating with the Commission and that the Commission is free to meet with whomever it wishes, wherever, and in private, without fear of reprisals befallincf., those persons who testify before the Commission.
The Commission has observed changes in the situation of human rights in Haiti as compared with previous analyses of the situation, and these changes must be attributed to the historic events of February 7. The most striking development is the improvement in the right to freedom of expression. Your presence here today, as well as our presence here today,
combined with the open and frank self-analysis of the Haitian political, economic and social scene which we have witnessed in all the media since our arrival, represent an outstanding
achievement of the Haitian people. The process which has been
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begun by the CNG, involving an electoral timetable leading to the installation of democratic institutions by February 1988, is a process which offers to the Haitian people, and to the international community in general, hope for the future. The
voiceless have, at last, found their own voice.
At the same time, the Commission has been made aware of a
fundamental anxiety on the part of many sectors of Haitian society as regards the solidity of the process which is now in train. It has been represented to us, time and time again, that there exists a real danger that the process may be derailed due to certain fundamental weaknesses and contradictions which have their origin in the history of the repression and the
dictatorship so well known to all.
The Commission is concerned, specifically, with the extent
to which fundamental human rights, violated systematically in the past, are under attack in the present and have not been redressed as regards the past. We refer to the right of every one to be free from the danger of arbitrary arrest and
disappearance, the right to due process of law, the right to a fair trial and the right to liberty and to be free from mistreatment while in detention. Essential, as well, for the spirit of justice is the "deduvalierization" of the new order.
From the information which has been supplied to us, the Commission has learned that fundamental human rights continue to be violated, especially the minimum rights granted to persons in detention. The mistreatment of prisoners and of detainees, who cannot be termed "prisoners" because deprived of the guarantees of a fair trial, is an abominable practice which must be quickly
and definitively eliminated.
In compliance with its mandate, the Commission will
continue to closely monitor the human rights situation in Haiti, and hopes to count on the continued cooperation of the Haitian Government and all sectors of the population in the realization
of this work.
The Commission wishes to emphasize that it has received the
complete collaboration of both the Government and the people of Haiti in carrying out its important task, and it wishes to thank
both the Government and the Haitian people, as well as the organs of the press, for their invaluable cooperation during
42. During the 69th Session of the Commission, the issue of Haiti was included again on its agenda. The members of the Commission were in agreement that the purpose of the January 1987 mission to Haiti had been
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to observe the human rights situation in Haiti and, thereby, to contribute to the process of democratization. It was decided to postpone the
preparation of a special report until after the November 1987 elections in light of the fact that the CNG appeared to be facilitating the transition to democracy. The Commission would, however, include a chapter on Haiti in its Annual Report.
43. Several members of the Commission urged that a Note be sent to the Government of Haiti indicating its concerns regarding the human rights situation in that country, which it had observed during its on-site visit. As a consequence, the following Note was sent by the new President of the Commission, Prof. Gilda M.C.M. Russomano, to the Haitian Foreign Minister:
March 27, 1987
In the name of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights I wish to thank your Excellency's Government for
providing all the necessary facilities and cooperation to the Commission during its recent mission to Haiti which took place from January 20 to January 23, 1987. In light of the fact that the Commission is presently in Washington, conducting its 69th regular session, we wish to communicate the following concerns
at this time.
The Commission is in the process of evaluating the
testimony and documentation presented to it during its visit in light of the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Haiti is a State party. In this context, the Commission wishes to express its concerns in two areas: the
situation of human rights, especially as regards detainees, and
reflections concerning the democratization process.
As regards the situation of human rights, the Commission
wishes to recall to the attention of your Excellency's Government the obligations assumed as regards fundamental
rights, in particular as regards the right to life (Art. 4), the right to personal integrity (Art. 5), the right to personal liberty (Art. 7), the right to judicial guarantees (Art. 8). the right to honor and dignity (Art. 11) and the right to judicial
protection (Art. 25).
The Commission is concerned, specifically, with the extent
to which fundamental human rights, violated systematically in the past, are under attack in the present and have not been redressed as regards the past. We refer to the right of every
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one to be f ree f rom the danger of arbitrary arrest and disappearance, the right to due process of law, the right to a fair trial and the right to liberty and freedom from mistreatment while in detention. The complaints received by the Commission as regards the "disappearances" of Charlot Jacquelin and Vladimir David have regrettably been dismissed by the
governmental authorities who have failed to initiate serious inquiries as regards the fate of these two individuals. The
Commission recommends that the Government of Haiti instruct the responsible authorities to undertake a credible investigation in each of these two cases.
The Commission considers essential for the establishment of a climate of justice the separation of powers of the military and police forces. The Commission considers favorable the provisions of the new Constitution in this regard. The
complaints received by the Commission concerning members of the armed forces in relation to the population, in general, involve manifestations of a lack of respect for the people, arrogance towards them, and abuse of authority which, in some cases, has led to spontaneous acts of violence, especially during otherwise peaceful political or human rights demonstrations.
From the information presented to the Commission we have learned that fundamental human rights continue to be violated, especially the minimum rights granted to persons in detention. The mistreatment of prisoners and detainees is an abominable practice which must be quickly and definitely eliminated. The
testimony received from detainees in Fort Dimanche and the National Penitentiary confirms that detention commences with a beating, sometimes to the point of requiring medical attention, that detainees do not receive such medical attention, that, in general, they receive food once a day or not at all, most detainees suffer severe weight loss, they receive no visits, have no access to counsel, are not brought before a judge, and except on very rare occasions, they do not leave their cells. The case of Jean Gibson Narcisse, whom the Commission
interviewed in Fort Dimanche, is of particular concern to the Commission and we wish to receive a full report as to the medical and legal attention he has received. The Commission
recommends further that the Government maintain a central registry of the names of detainees and the places where they are detained.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is especially concerned about the case of Mr. Nicolas Estiverne who was expelled from Haiti on January 13, 1987. The Commission has
requested the Haitian Government to provide it with the reasons for which Mr. Estiverne is not permitted to return to Haiti.
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As regards the process of democratization currently in
process in Haiti, the Commission derives its responsibility in this area from the guarantee of political rights in the American
Convention (Art. 23).
The Commission wishes to note its satisfaction as regards
the process of transition to a democratic government which is the mandate of the National Council of Government since its
assumption of power on February 7, 1986.
The Commission wishes to congratulate the Haitian people
and, in particular, the Constituent Assembly for having fulfilled its mandate in approving a draft Constitution. The Commission trusts that the referendum scheduled for March 29, 1987 will give the Haitian people an opportunity to express its
political w-ill as regards this important document.
The Commission will continue to closely monitor the
democratization process in Haiti and seeks the consent of your Excellency's Government in order to send Ms. Christina Cerna, a member of the Commission's Secretariat to Haiti in May in order to update the Commission at its next meeting, scheduled to be
held in Washington, D.C., in June.
The Commission wishes to note that it looks forward to
continued cooperation from the Government of Haiti as regards the promotion and protection of human rights and has confidence that a transition to democratic rule will be achieved by means
of free elections this November.
Please, accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my
(s) Gilda Russomano
Col. Heard Abraham
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Emerging Crisis
44. Having; taken a decision at the 69th Session not to prepare a Special Report on the human rights situation in Haiti in light of the
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progress being made towards democratization, the Commission, nonetheless, intended to continue to monitor developments closely. Mr. Siles in his
January 23, 1987 press conference in Haiti, and Ms. Russomano in her March 27th letter to the Foreign Minister, both indicated that the Commission would send a member of its Secretariat to Haiti in order to update the Commission on the ensuing developments.
45. Ms. Cerna visited Haiti for this purpose during June 1-3, 1987. The two major events which had occurred in Haiti since the Commission' s visit were the referendum on the new Haitian Constitution of March 29, 1987, and the provision in the Constitution for the creation of a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). Pursuant to the new Constitution,
the Provisional Electoral Council, and not the CNG, would have the responsibility for organizing the upcoming elections.
46. During its 70th Session (June 22-Jilly 1, 1987) the Commission reviewed the events of the preceding months and the deteriorating situation of human rights. The CNG and the CEP were locked in a constitutional conflict regarding control of the upcoming elections and, in June, the CATH labor federation called for a general strike demanding the ouster of the CNG. The Commission decided once again to express its concern regarding these developments to the Government of Haiti. By means of a cable dated July 1, 1987 to the Haitian Foreign Minister, Prof. Gilda Russomano, the President of the Commission, expressed the following:
IN THE NAME OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS I HAVE THE HONOR TO ADDRESS YOUR EXCELLENCY IN REFERENCE TO A NUMBER OF SERIOUS CONCERNS REGARDING THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION AND THE PROCESS OF DEMOCRATIZATION IN HAITI SINCE THE
COMMISSION'S ON-SITE VISIT DURING JANUARY 1987.
IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THE HAITIAN GOVERNMENT HAS ASSUMED CERTAIN INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS IN THE AREA OF HUMAN RIGHTS BY RATIFYING THE AMERICAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, THE
COMMISSION CONTINUES TO BE PARTICULARLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE RESPECT, IN HAITI, OF THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES OF THE AMERICAN CONVENTION: RIGHT TO THE INTEGRITY OF THE PERSON (ARTICLE 5), RIGHT TO PERSONAL LIBERTY (ARTICLE 7), JUDICIAL GUARANTEES
(ARTICLE 8), PROTECTION OF PERSONAL HONOR AND DIGNITY (ARTICLE 11), RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE (ARTICLE 15), FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
(ARTICLE 16) AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (ARTICLE 23).
SPECIFICALLY, THE COMMISSION IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE ARREST AND BRUTAL MISTREATMENT OF THE TWO MEMBERS OF THE COMITE OUVRIER HAITIEN AND THE SIX MEMBERS OF THE CENTRALE AUTONOME DES
TRAVAILLEURS HAITIENS (CATH) AND THE DISSOLUTION OF THESE LABOR
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THE COMMISSION WAS PLEASED TO OBSERVE DURING ITS JANUARY VISIT THAT LABOR ORGANIZATIONS, WHICH HAD NOT BEEN ALLOWED TO FUNCTION DURING THE PREVIOUS REGIME, WERE PERMITTED TO ORGANIZE AND OPERATE. IT IS EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT THE RECENT REPORTS THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF HAITI HAS DISSOLVED THESE TWO LABOR ORGANIZATIONS, ARRESTED AND BRUTALLY MISTREATED MEMBERS OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS AND NOT ALLOWED THEM ACCESS TO A LAWYER BEFORE THEY WERE BROUGHT BEFORE A JUDGE, WHICH DID NOT OCCUR UNTIL THE
EIGHTH DAY AFTER THEIR ARREST.
AS REGARDS THE PROCESS OF DEMOCRATIZATION, THE PROGRESS OF WHICH THIS SAME COMMISSION APPLAUDED IN ITS LETTER TO YOUR EXCELLENCY DATED MARCH 27, 1987, THE COMMISSION WISHES TO REMIND THE HAITIAN GOVERNMENT OF ITS OBLIGATION PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 23 OF
THE AMERICAN CONVENTION.
THE RECENT INITIATIVE OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNING COUNCIL TO PUBLISH AN ELECTORAL LAW ON JUNE 22, 1987 WHICH IS NOT THE ELECTORAL LAW PREPARED BY THE PROVISIONAL ELECTORAL COUNCIL HAS ONCE AGAIN THREATENED TO DERAIL THE PROCESS OF DEMOCRATIZATION LEADING TO A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT FEBRUARY 7, 1988. TO PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY OF THE DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESS, THE COMMISSION CALLS UPON THE GOVERNMENT OF HAITI TO RECOGNIZE THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE ELECTORAL COUNCIL, SPECIFICALLY "CHARGED WITH THE DRAFTING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ELECTORAL LAW", BY THE HAITIAN CONSTITUTION. FAILURE TO DO SO CAN ONLY JEOPARDIZE THIS
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS TAKES THIS
OCCASION TO RENEW ITS HOPE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF HAITI AS REGARDS ITS CONTINUED COOPERATION IN THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND IS CONFIDENT THAT THE EVOLUTION OF THE COUNTRY TOWARDS A DEMOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED BY
MEANS OF FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS NEXT NOVEMBER.
I TAKE THIS OCCASION TO RENEW, EXCELLENCY, THE EXPRESSION OF MY
GILDA M.C.M. DE RUSSOMANO
47. During the Commission's 71st Session (14 September - 24 September 1987) the Commission decided to express its satisfaction to the Government of Haiti regarding the resolution of the constitutional crisis, yet indicated its concern about the continuing human rights violations. In a letter dated September 24, 1987, to the Haitian Foreign Minister, the Commission stated the following:
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September 24, 1987
In the name of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and on the occasion of the Commission's 71st period of sessions, I have the honor to address Your Excellency in order to communicate the concerns of the Commission as regards recent events in Haiti as they affect the human rights situation and the process of democratization.
As in my communication of July 1, 1987 to Your Excellency following the Commission's 70th period of sessions, the
Commission wishes to recall to the Government of Haiti the obligations assumed as a State party to the American Convention on Human Rights, particularly as concerns the right to life (Article 4), the right to the integrity of the person (Article 5), the right to personal liberty (Article 7), the right to due process (Article 8), the right to associate freely (Article 16) and the right to participate in government (Article 23).
The Commission is particularly concerned about recent
attacks against the Catholic Church, in particular the assault on August 23 by a group of 40 to 50 unidentified men, armed with automatic weapons, handguns, machetes and stones against the Revs. Antoine Adrien, William Smarth, Jean-Marie Vincent, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Rev. Joseph Berg.
These Catholic priests have been among Haiti's most visible and articulate human rights defenders, and the Commission calls upon the Haitian Government to protect these priests and the human rights bodies in Haiti from intimidation and attacks which impede their functioning freely.
As concerns the democratization process, the Commission notes that the Haitian Government has now recognized the constitutionally established independence and authority of the Provisional Electoral Council as regards the organization and carrying out of the upcoming elections. This is a very positive sign and it is the first step to guaranteeing that the elections take place.
Given the generalized climate of violence in Haiti at the present, it will not be easy for the Haitian people to participate in free and fair elections. Consequently, the
Commission calls upon the National Governing Council to restrain its security forces and to provide a climate of order for the elections to take place with the full participation of the Haitian people in this historic process.
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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights takes this
occasion to renew to the Government of Haiti its hopes for continued cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights in this hemisphere. The Commission trusts that the
Haitian people will celebrate free and fair elections in
November which will result in a democratic government assuming
power on February 7, 1988.
Please, accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my
David J. Padilla
Assistant Executive Secretary
48. The Commission reiterated its concern regarding the possibility of elections taking place in light of the generalized climate of violence in its 1986-1987 Annual Report. In relevant part, this Report to the OAS General Assembly stated:
The concern expressed by the President of the Commission
during the Commission's on site visit regarding the democratization process has been subsequently confirmed by recent events. At that time, the President stated that he feared that the democratization process might be derailed due to fundamental weaknesses and contradictions which had their origin in the history of the repression and the dictatorship. The task which is before the Haitian people and the Provisional Electoral Council is how to bring the electoral process back on track.
Given the generalized climate of violence in Haiti since August 1987, it wi.11 not be easy to re-establish a climate of normality which will permit the holding of elections. For that reason,
and recognizing that power is in the hands of the National Council of Government, the Commission calls on the C.N.G. to take all the necessary measures in order to facilitate the Provisional Electoral Council's task of organizing and carrying out the elections so that the Haitian people can elect a democratic government which will be ready to assume power on
February 7, 1988.
Derailment of the Democratization Process
49. On November 29, 1987, the massacre of voters on election-day and the CNG's decision to disband the Provisional Electoral Council put an end to the democratization process which, ostensibly, had begun on February 7, 1986, with the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier from power and from Haiti.
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50. The OAS Permanent Council scheduled an emergency meeting for Friday, December 4, 1987, to consider the recent events in Haiti. The
meeting was postponed until Monday, December 7, 1987, in light of the Haitian Government's offer to send Col. Heard Abraham, the Haitian Foreign Minister, to attend the Washington meeting.
51. During the few days prior to the December 7, 1987 Permanent Council meeting, the OAS and the Commission received hundreds of telegrams calling upon the inter-American system "to rescue the Haitian people" and to intervene in order to facilitate the holding of new elections in Haiti under OAS auspices.
52. The OAS Permanent Council met on December 7, 1987. Col.
Abraham's speech to the assembled OAS Ambassadors placed the responsibility for the failure of the elections on the CEP. The Permanent Council approved a resolution which emphasized the Charter-based principle of non-intervention and called upon the CNG to adopt all the necessary measures to assure that free elections be held.
53. Having recovered control of the electoral process as a consequence of the dissolution of the CEP, the military Government of Haiti designated the new members of the Electoral Council and issued its own electoral law, the provisions of which did not protect the secrecy of the ballot and facilitated governmental monitoring of each elector's vote.
C. The elections of January 17, 1988
54. On January 17, 1988 new elections were held in Haiti, under the control of the CNG, and in contravention of various provisions of the Haitian Constitution. Mr. Leslie Manigat was proclaimed by the CNG to have "won" these elections, in spite of what was estimated to be a 90% abstention on the part of the Haitian electorate.
55. During the Commission's 72nd Session it considered the recent events in Haiti and took the decision to prepare a report on the human rights situation in that country. In its press release, dated March 25, 1988, the Commission stated that:
The Commission has decided to prepare a report on the human
rights situation in Haiti, and it trusts that the Government will invite it to carry out an on-site observation of the
current status of human rights in Haiti.
Invitation of the Government of Leslie Manigat to the Commission
56. By note dated April 26, 1988, Mr. Gerard Latortue, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Worship of the Haitian
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Government invited the Commission to visit Haiti at a mutually convenient date to be set during the month of July 1988.
57. The Commission held an extraordinary meeting, its 73rd Session, in Washington, D.C., beginning May 9, 1988. At that time the members of the Subcommission who were to travel to Haiti Ms. Elsa D. Kelly, Mr.
Oliver H. Jackman and Mr. Patrick L. Robinson agreed on the dates July 4-6, 1988 as the dates for the mission. These dates were suggested to the Haitian Government in a note signed by Mr. Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, the President of the Commission, dated May 10, 1988.
58. On June 7, 1988, Mr. Gerard Latortue, at the OAS Permanent Council confirmed the dates for the Commission's visit with the Commission's Executive Secretary, Mr. Edmundo Vargas Carrefio. In
addition, he conveyed the Government's enthusiasm for the Commission's visit and emphasized the open-door policy of the Manigat Government.
d. The Coup d'Etat of June 20, 1988
59. Ms. Cerna was to travel on June 20, 1988 to Haiti to make the necessary arrangements for the Commission's visit. During the night of June 19-20 the Haitian military seized power and ousted President Manigat. In light of the fact that the Government, which had invited the Commission to carry out its on-site, was no longer in power, the
Commission cancelled its visit. The Permanent Council met on June 29, 1988 to consider the recent events which had occurred in Haiti (supra).
e. The Attack on the St. Jean Bosco Church
60. On September 11, 1988 gunmen burst into St. Jean Bosco Chur6h and attacked the parishioners. Thirteen people were killed and approximately eighty were injured. The Commission was meeting in Washington, D.C. at the time and issued the following press communique:
. During the recent on-site visit to Haiti of the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights the Commission
requested of the military government and received assurances that the pertinent guarantees be granted, and no reprisals be taken, against those persons or groups who provide the
Commission with information, pursuant to Article 59(a) of the
The Commission is horrified to learn of the attack on
September 11, 1988 by men armed with guns and machetes against the parishioners in the Church of St. Jean Bosco where Rev.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was giving Sunday morning mass. Father
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Aristide, an outspoken opponent of the military regime, informed the Commission during its visit, that he had been the subject of three previous attempts on his life and was constantly receiving death threats. The information presented to the Commission indicates that the police stood by as the attacks resulted in the killing of five parishioners, the injury of 70 others, and
the complete destruction by fire of St. Jean Bosco Church.
In light of the fact that there is a military compound very
near to the Church the Commission can only conclude that this attack was carried out with, at a minimum, the acquiescence of the government, and in flagrant violation of Haiti's
international obligations in human rights and the most elemental
norms of decency.
Washington, D.C. September 12, 1988
61. On September 16, 1988 the military government protested the Commission's communique, in particular, "the terms in the Communiqu6 in which the Commission appears to want to place the responsibility for these incidents on the Haitian authorities."
f. The Ouster of Lt. Gen. Nam2hy
62. On September 17, 1988 a coup led by non-commissioned officers ousted Lt. Gen. Namphy and replaced him with Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril. These lower ranking officers were reportedly outraged at the attack on the parishioners in St. Jean Bosco Church. On September 22, 1988 the
Commission received the following note from the Government of Haiti:
The Permanent Mission of the Government of Haiti to the
Organization of American States presents its compliments to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and has the honor to
bring to its attention that:
In light of the massacre recently perpetrated against the
St. Jean Bosco Church, the destruction by fire of churches, the attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular on freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of
assembly, freedom of association;
Determined to save the nation from the anarchy and chaos
which endanger the unity of the Haitian family;
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The Armed Forces of Haiti have promoted Lt. Gen. PROSPER
AVRIL to the Highest Office of the State.
In his message to the Nation, the Chief of State gave
assurances that his Government will respect the humna rights and fundamental freedoms of the Haitian people at all times and
Aware of the political crisis which is affecting the
country, he commits himself to continuing the democratization process, without which the quest for peace, justice and progress
would be doomed to fail.
The Permanent Mission of the Government of Haiti takes this
occasion to renew the assurance of its highest consideration to
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Washington, D.C. September 22, 1988
63. The Commission trusts that this commitment will be realized in the interest of the Haitian people who have for so long looked to the Army to help them in vindicating and safeguarding their rights and who, until now, have been, many times, betrayed in that confidence.
THE LEGAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM IN HAITI
1 . On September 17, 1988 a group of non-commissioned officers ousted Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy from the presidency and replaced him with Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril. Since these events have just occurred it is not possible to evaluate their impact at this time nor to predict how the situation will evolve. It should be noted, however, that these officers have called for the restoration of the 1987 Constitution, which must be amended, but they insist that Article 291 be maintained. This chapter
discusses the significance of the 1987 Constitution.
A. THE STATUS OF THE RULE OF LAW UNDER THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT OF LT. GENERAL HENRI NAMPHY
2. On June 20, 1988, Lt. Gen. Namphy announced to the Haitian people that the military had seized power because the President of the Republic, Leslie Manigat, had violated the Constitution by striking a blow at the Army in order to turn it "into a docile instrument of his personal power".' Lt. Gen. Namphy abolished the Legislature and abrogated this same Constitution when he seized power. He governed by decree.
3. Lt. Gen. Namphy has stated that the Haitian people are not ready for elections and that only the Army can bring about democracy In the opinion of Lt. Gen. Namphy political solutions would take shape along the way, as normalization occurs.
4. On July 8, 1988, Lt. General Namphy announced that a new constitution would be drafted which "must be strong and effective enough to direct the nation and ensure its future regardless of the circumstances. This was to have been the objective of the 1987 Constitution. Unfortunately, drawn up and ratified in an atmosphere of passion and emotionalism, this Constitution strayed too far from our
traditions" . No timetable was offered by the military as to when this new constitution would be presented.
5. Rev. Sylvio Claude, one of the leading opposition political figures, rejected Lt. Gen. Namphy's legal power to abolish the Constitution of 1987 and called for new elections to be held, pursuant to Article 149 of that Constitution, which provides:
Should the Office of the President of the Republic become
vacant for any reason, the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic, or in his absence, the Vice President of that Court, or in his absence, the judge with the highest seniority and so
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on by order of seniority, shall be invested temporarily with the duties of the President of the Republic by the National Assembly duly convened by the Prime Minister. The election of a new
President for a new five (5) year term shall be held at least forty-five (45) and no more than ninety (90) days after the vacancy occurs, pursuant to the Constitution and the Electoral
6. As the Commission stated in its 1985-1986 Annual Report concerning the CNG:
The Commission concludes that the National Governing
Council, at least for the moment, has managed to quell the on-going protest demonstrations that have plagued this Government since it assumed power having now announced the
long-awaited timetable for transition to a democratically elected government. Underlying problems remain, however, in
that the Council's acts have no juridical basis. The Council
proposes to function as a government for a two year period without the creation of the other branches of government. it
proposes to pass laws without an independent judiciary. Unless the transition process is democratized and allows greater
participation of the general populace, it is foreseeable that
such protests will resume.
7. In its meeting with Brig. Gen. H6rard Abraham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on August 29, 1988, the Commission's delegates asked the Foreign Minister for the reasons behind the coup d'etat. Brig. Gen.
Abraham stated that the Manigat Government had been attacking the
stability of the country's institutions by attempting to undermine the authority of the Commander - in-Chie f of the Haitian Armed Forces. Pursuant to the 1987 Constitution the president is only the "nominal" head of the Armed Forces whereas President Manigat was trying to make changes in the Army behind Lt. Gen. Namphy's back. In addition, President Manigat
attempted to remove Lt. Gen. Namphy, who pursuant to the 1987 Constitution was to have remained in his position for a three-year term. President
Manigat "violated the Constitution", and therefore, stated the Foreign Minister, he was ousted in order to prevent the establishment of a civilian dictatorship. In addition, the Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined the fact that President Manigat's ouster was met with total indifference in Haiti, "if anything", he said, the "people were glad."
8. In the opinion of the Foreign Minister, when the people approved the Constitution they really were only voting on Article 291 (the
provision of the Constitution which disqualified Duvalierists from running for public office for a period of ten years). He stated that they were "misled" and that the military government would "improve" the Constitution.
9. As regards a timetable for these changes, which the Minister predicted "will be opposed by some", he informed the Commission that the new Constitution will be ready "very soon". The timetable for a return to democracy, he said, depends on various factors, such as the establishment of the chambers of a legislature, the setting up of an electoral council, the registration of voters and the like. The Foreign Minister insisted, however, that the military government is a democratic government, albeit a de facto government, and that it "is not a dictatorship". The problem for the country, he said, has been "foreign interference", and added that there are plans to change the Concordat with the Vatican because there has been undue interference by the Church. The Church, which since the Pope's visit to Haiti has been in the forefront of the movement for a change in the status quo, has in recent months been the target of repeated attacks by the members of the military regime. As for the abrogation of the
Constitution at the present time, the Foreign Minister stated that "only foreigners are concerned about this," and that in his opinion "Haitians are already free and enjoy human rights".
10. In the view of the Minister of Justice, Brig. Gen. Fritz Antoine, with whom the delegation also met on August 29, 1988, the fact that the Constitution is not in force does not matter since "it is only a framework". The laws, such as in the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, are still in force. The military Government rules by
decree when it deem it necessary to legislate. The Minister of Justice added that since the Constitution had been revoked, the police is now under the Ministry of the Interior instead of under the Ministry of Justice, as stipulated in the Constitution, but this was not achieved by a decree. In addition, he stated that a decree was passed abolishing the death penalty. The death penalty had also been abolished by the 1987 Constitution.
11. The structure of the democratic state which was intact during the Government of Leslie Manigat, with whatever flaws, was abolished, and what replaced it was a military government which termed itself "democratic". Col. Jean-Claude Paul, Commander of the Dessalines
barracks, in an extensive discussion with the delegation on September 1, 1988, informed the Commission that the military "are democrats" who "love and defend" the Haitian people.
12. It is true that there were no public demonstrations following the ouster of President Manigat and that his removal was greeted with total indifference by the Haitian population. There were also no
demonstrations in favor of the 1987 Constitution, which the military coup effectively suspended. It does not follow, however, that the Haitian people welcomed the new era of law by military fiat. To understand the importance of the 1987 Constitution in the Haitian political process during the past almost three years since the departure of President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier, this chapter sets forth an
analysis of the 1987 Constitution which, as the expression of the national
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sovereignty, embodies the aspirations of the Haitian people. The 1987
Constitution, which Brig. Gen. Abraham said was identified in the minds of many Haitians with Article 291, is inherently anti-Duvalierist. In the
opinion of the Commission the 1987 Constitution cannot be understood without a description of the almost three decades of Duvalierist constitutions which preceded it.
13. The Duvalierist Constitutions accomodated, in their various
forms, twenty-nine years of authoritarian rule by the Duvalier family, which began in 1957 and ended in 1986, and constituted the last remaining hereditary dictatorship in the Americas since the fall of the Somozas in 1979.
B. THE DUVALIER CONSTITUTIONS
a. The Power of the Executive under the
14. Franqois Duvalier, or "Papa Doc" as he was known, came to power
as the result of having "won" an election on September 22, 1957; he was installed as President on October 22, 1957 and remained in power until his death in April 1971. Jean-Claude, Frangois Duvalier's then nineteen-year old son, who came to be known as "Baby Doc", was named by his father as successor, and due to the symbolism the family attached to the number 22, Jean-Claude assumed power officially on April 22, 1971, and remained in power until his departure from Haiti on February 7, 1986.
15. The first Constitution promulgated by the Duvalier dynasty dates from December 19, 1957. Article 87 of the 1957 Constitution provides that the presidential term be for a period of six years and that this term begin and end on May 15. Title XV of that Constitution explicitly
provides that "The mandate of the current President of the Republic (Franqois Duvalier), elected September 22, 1957 will end on May 15, 1963."
16. Haitian history reveals that previous heads of state had been overthrown when it became apparent, as the end of their constitutional term approached, that they did not intend to relinquish power. Franqois
Duvalier did not wait for the end of his six-year term in 1963 to make an unprecedented move.
17. On the occasion of the 1961 legislative elections, ballots were printed in the usual manner. At the top of each one were the words
"Franqois Duvalier, Pr6sident de la R6publique," but there had been no prior modification that an election for the presidency was being held. (Section II of the 1957 Constitution sets forth the procedure to be followed for presidential elections). It was estimated that only
government employees voted, but the government announced that 1,320,748 ballots had been cast. Franqois Duvalier's announcement that he had been elected to another six-year term came as a complete surprise.
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18. In 1964 Franqois Duvalier devised a means of dispensing once and for all with elections. Claiming that he was responding to popular
demand, he encouraged the legislature to adopt a new constitution, which it did on May 25, 1964, declaring him to be "President-for-Life".
(Section II of the 1964 Constitution still provided for presidential elections, presumably to be held after the death of Franqois Duvalier, but did not set forth the detailed procedures that existed in the 1957 Constitution).
19. The Haitian title "President-for-Life" did not originate with Franqois Duvalier. It was first introduced in the 1807 Constitution which made Henri Christophe Haiti's first President-for-Life.s The institution of a presidency-for-life appeared for the last time in the Constitution of 1846. After this no chief executive attempted to rule as president-for-life until Article 196 of the 1964 Constitution was promulgated, stating:
The legislative chamber constituted by the elections of
April 30, 1961 shall exercise the legislative power until the second Monday of April 1967, the date of expiration of the term
of office of the deputies now in office.
In these circumstances, Dr. Frangois Duvalier, supreme
chief of the Haitian nation, having developed, for the first time since 1804, a national spirit through a radical change in the political, economic, social, cultural and religious situation in Haiti, is elected president-for-life in order to ensure the accomplishments and permanence of the Duvalier
Revolution under the standard of national unity.
20. The 1964 Constitution declares Franqois Duvalier "Presidentfor-Life," "the unquestioned leader of the Revolution," "the Apostle of National Unity," the "Worthy Heir of the Founders of the Haitian Nation" and the "Restorer of the Fatherland".6
21. Upon the death of Frangois Duvalier in April 1971, his title of President-for-Life devolved upon his nineteen-year old son Jean Claude. This succession was legalized by the promulgation of the 1970 and 1971 amendments to the 1964 Constitution (especially Articles 91 and 100) which lowered the minimum-age requirements for the presidency from 40 to 18 years of age and empowered Frangois Duvalier to designate his own successor. Pursuant to Article 104, Jean-Claude's term was also destined to be for life. Article 104 states:
The successor designate shall hold the office of the
president of the State under the authority of Article 99 of the constitution instituting, in accordance with the will of the sovereign people, the office of president for life, and pursuant
to the provisions of the said Article 99.
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Analogous provisions were included in the 1983 Constitution, which named Jean-Claude Duvalier President-for-Life and gave him the right to
designate his successor, who, in turn, was to become President-for-Life after "ratification" by the people. Article 107 provides:
The President-for-Life of the Republic, citizen Jean-Claude
DUVALIER, is empowered to designate as his successor any citizen who fulfills the conditions established in Article 102 of the
This designation will be made by proclamation of the
President-for-Life, who by order (arr~t6) will convoke general meetings of the people to vote for the ratification of his
choice of the designated successor.
22. The requisites for being declared the designated successor were set forth in Article 102, which states:
To be elected (sic) President of the Republic, it shall be
1. To be a native-born Haitian and never to have renounced
2. To have attained 18 years of age;
3. To enjoy civil and political rights;
4. To be domiciled in Haiti;
5. To have been discharged of any liability if the candidate
has been handling public funds.
23. In summary, constitutions promulgated by both Franqois and. Jean-Claude Duvalier institutionalized hereditary rule in Haiti.
Political power was exclusively in the hands of the President-for-Life and the Constitution served to legitimize the tight control the President exercised over the Executive branch, the Legislature, the Judiciary, the Armed Forces, and virtually every other institution in Haiti.
b. The Political Organization
of the Duvalier State
24. The 1983 (amended) constitution declared Haiti to be an "indivisible, sovereign, independent democratic and social republic."8 Articles 58, 59 and 60 of the Constitution provided that sovereignty rests with the people and that the people delegate the exercise of that sovereignty to the executive, legislative and judicial powers, each of which is independent of the other two branches.
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The Executive Branch
25. The 1985 amendments to the 1983 Constitution provided that the executive power be exercised by two organs: by the President of the
Republic and by the Government. The Government is subordinated to the Chief of State, who is the President, and who exercises "supreme
26. Among the functions of the Chief of State, the head of
government is vested with the responsibility of "directing national policy in accordance with the expressed will of the people".10
27. The President's control over the Executive branch was
established by Article 113 of the 1983 (amended) Constitution, which provided:
The President of the Republic names the Prime Minister, the
Ministers and the Secretaries of State. He receives the individual or collective resignations of members of the
government that may be created by order for entire governmental bodies or individually. He convokes and presides over the
Cabinet whose manner of operation is determined by law. He
names and dismisses the civil and military functionaries of the state according to the conditions and manner provided for by the
general statute of public functions and other laws."
28. "Secretaries of State" and other cabinet members, however influential and powerful they might appear, were subject to period re-shufflinq. This re-shuffling was yet another means by which the Duvaliers assured that no one would gain sufficient power to destabilize the status quo, and it was a means by which the class which supported the President was appeased. There were at least ten cabinet overhauls since the 1979 IACHR Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti was written until the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier - in November 1979, April 1980, February 1982, May 1982, July 1982, September 1982, January 1983, November 1984, September 1985, November 1985 and December 1985.12
29. Article 116 of the 1983 (amended) Constitution gave Presidentfor-Life Duvalier the sole power to determine when "the institutions of the Republic and the regular functioning of public powers enshrined in the Constitution and the laws are seriously threatened" at which time he was authorized to take all exceptional measures dictated by the circumstances "to guarantee the continuance of the nation, the security of the State, the public peace, etc." There were no checks on this exercise of absolute power, no review mechanism according to the Courts or the Legislature, and no standards or guidelines for determining what is a threat to the State or limits on the measures the President might take. Article 116 basically rendered Article 119, on the declaration of a state of siege, irrelevant,
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since, pursuant to Article 119, the Legislative Chamber was called upon to approve the declaration of the state of siege. Article 116, however,
empowered the President alone to take whatever measures he determined necessary to maintain himself in power.
The Legislative Branch
30. The legislative power was exercised by a single body called the Chambre L6gislative (Legislative Chamber). This unicameral legislature had 59 deputies who were elected for six year terms. 1 3 Article 68
provided that to be elected a deputy one must own property in the area which one seeks to represent or exercise a profession or run a business. Powers granted to the legislature included: to make laws on its own
initiative or the initiative of the Executive; to monitor respect for the Constitution and the laws; and to annually vote the national budget.
31. An additional set of powers were granted to the members of the Legislative Chamber when they met as a National Assembly. 14 These
powers were: to give prior approval to the President's decisions to declare war or to negotiate peace; to revise the Constitution in whole or in part or to vote a new Constitution; to sanction treaties, conventions, international agreements; and, to sit as the High Court of Justice
pursuant to the conditions set forth in the present Constitution.
32. Meetings of the Legislative Chamber and of the National Assembly were public unless a minimum of five members requested that the meeting be closed to the public.15 Members of the Legislative Chamber were
constitutionally entitled to immunity from the date on which they took the oath of office until the expiration of their mandate. 16
33. In theory, the Legislative Chamber was to initiate legislation to be sent to the Chief Executive for approval and promulgation. In
practice, however, all legislative initiative was concentrated in the Presidency. Under the Duvaliers, the Legislative Chamber never proposed legislation, it only ratified Presidential initiatives and decrees.
34. Legislative elections were held under the Presidency of
Jean-Claude Duvalier but opposition parties were outlawed and independent candidates barred from the country, arrested and harassed into withdrawing from the race prior to elections. 1 7 As a result, all those who "won" elections and served as deputies in the Legislature had links to the Executive. Consequently, the Legislature served only to rubber-stamp approval to laws the President chose to enact.
35. The Legislature convened annually on the second Monday in April and the session lasted three months. If necessary, the session was
extended one or two months by the Executive or by the Legislative branch. The President might adjourn the Legislature for a period not more than one
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month or for less than fifteen days and there could not be more than two adjournments in a single session.
36. In addition, the Constitution empowered the President to dissolve the Legislative Chamber in cases of "serious conflict between the Legislative Power and the Government". 18 The decree dissolving the
Legislature shall, at the same time, provide for the holding of new elections. During the absence of a Legislature, resulting from the decree of dissolution, the President was empowered to provide for the needs of the public services.
37. Adoption of the 1983 Constitution resulted in the dissolution of the Legislature" and paved the way for elections of hand-picked
candidates on February 12, 1984. Similarly, the June 6, 1985 amendments to the 1983 Constitution, were to dissolve the then existing Legislature in 1986 to pave the way for a new Legislature to be put in place as a result of the elections scheduled for 1987." Periodic removal of
legislators, despite their ostensible six-year terms, was yet an
additional means by which the Duvaliers assured their unchecked control over the Haitian State.
38. During the nine months of the year when the Legislature was not in session, the President was granted "full powers" (Pleins Pouvoirs) under Article 216 of the 1983 Constitution which enabled the President to govern by decree for a period of eight months, during which time, as the IACHR stated in its Annual Report (1981-1982). "the people are deprived of constitutional guarantees and the most elemental human rights." Article
The Chief of the Executive branch, the Chief of State,
during the interval between legislative sessions, is vested with full powers to make decrees having the force of law in order to ensure the safety and integrity of the national territory and the sovereignty of the State, the consolidation of order and peace, the maintenance of the economic and financial stability of the nation, the increase in the well-being of the rural and urban populations and the defense of the general interests of
39. Previously, this power had been conferred on the President by Legislative Decree passed at the end of each annual legislative session. These decrees effectively suspended the individual rights granted in Articles 17, 18, 20f 21, 31, 48, 11, 122(2) and 125(2) of the 1964 Constitution (as amended in 1971). In effect, as noted by the Commission in its Annual Report (1983-1984), by promulgating Article 216 in the 1983 Constitution, Haiti institutionalized a "virtual state of emergency in which citizens have no other guarantees than those which the Executive grants them".
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The Judicial Branch
40. The judicial power was exercised by a high court called the Cour
de Cassation, the Courts of Appeal, lower courts (Tribunaux de premiere instance) and justice of the peace courts (Tribunaux de Paix)." The
Constitution, in Article 147, et seg., contemplated the creation of a High Court of Justice for treason, which was in fact the Legislature, sitting as the National Assembly, acting as a High Court of Justice, empowered to impeach the President for treason or any crime committed in the discharge of his functions.
41. Theoretically, the President could not direct the decisions of the courts, but his influence was very great since he personally appointed the presidents, vice presidents and judges of all the courts in the country. 2 2 In fact, however, the Judicial branch was not independent of the Executive branch, since Article 136 of the 1983 Constitution named the President "guarantor of the independence of the judicial power."
42. The judges of the Cour de Cassation and the Courts of Appeal were appointed for a term of ten years, and those of the civil courts, for seven years. 2 3 The term of office began when the judge took his oath and, once appointed, he was not subject to removal by the Executive branch for any cause whatsoever. 24
43. Pursuant to Article 133 of the 1983 (amended) Constitution special courts could be created by law to deal with specific questions. A presidential decree dated November 22, 1984 created a section of the Civil Court at Port-au-Prince to be known as the "Court of State Security" (Tribunal de Saret6 de 1'Etat) with jurisdiction over the entire national territory. It was to have "competence over all crimes and offenses against the internal and external security of the State and over
violations which by circumstances of purpose or of motives are considered of a political nature." The broadly-defined jurisdiction of this tribunal, however, was rarely invoked.
d. Rights and Guarantees under the
Duvalier Constitution (1983)
44. On the surface, the Haitian Constitution appeared to establish a democratic republic with the necessary checks and balances provided by a separation of governmental powers to prevent abuse of power. Upon closer examination, however, the Constitution set up a highly personalized, authoritarian system with absolute powers vested in the Chief Executive.
45. The 1983 Constitution, as amended, consisted of a preamble and fourteen titles containing 225 articles and was approved by the
Legislature in less than eight hours. Twenty nine of these articles were amended by Haiti's unicameral Legislature, by unanimous vote on June 6, 1985, as recommended by President Jean-Claude Duvalier.
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46. Of the fourteen titles of the Constitution, Title II deals with individual rights and is termed "The Rights and Duties of Haitians and Aliens. " The 1983 Haitian Constitution declared all Haitians to be equal before the law 25 but certain advantages were conferred on Haitiens d'origine. A Haitian "of origin" was defined as a person born of at least one Haitian parent; born in Haiti or abroad, or a person born of foreign
parents, in Haiti, provided that the person was of the black race . One had to be a Haitian of origin, to be President or deputy in the Legislative Chamber. The Prime Minister need not be a Haitian of origin. ministers must, however, be Haitian citizens, although not all were. 27
47. The Constitution set forth civil and political rights , individual rights and guarantees, 29 and duties of citizens. 30
Individual liberties were guaranteed and no one could be pursued, arrested or detained except in cases expressly set forth by law. No one could be arrested or detained except pursuant to a written warrant issued by a
competent official . No one could be kept under arrest for more than forty-eight hours unless he had been brought before a judge who was called to rule upon the legality thereof, and the judge had confirmed the arrest
by a decision setting forth the reasons .
48. The Constitution of 1964 (as amended in 1971) prohibited torture or other ill-treatment of the detainee, 33 but no such comparable provision was included in the 1983 Constitution.
49. House searches and seizures of papers were prohibited except by
virtue of law and in accordance with legally prescribed procedures . The law could not be applied retroactively except in criminal matters and
then only to benefit the accused . No penalty could be established,
except by law, or imposed except in the cases provided for by law (nulla
poena sine lege) . No one could be obliged, in criminal matters, to testify against himself.
50. The right to own property was guaranteed, but expropriation for a public or social purpose could be effected. Compensation was recognized
by the State for cases of expropriation for public utility and regulated by law. 37
51. The right to work and the right of the worker to a just wage, job training, health protection, social security and the welfare of his family were guaranteed insofar as the country's economic situation allowed. All workers had the right to protect their interests through trade union activities, and to engage in collective bargaining. 38
52. The death penalty could not be imposed for any political offense except for the crime of treason, which was defined as taking up arms against the Republic of Haiti, joining avowed enemies of Haiti or giving them aid and comfort.39
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53. Everyone was guaranteed the right to express his opinion on any matter and by any means. The expression of thought, whatever form it took, was not subjected to prior censorship except in the case of a declared war. Abuses of the right of freedom of speech were to be defined
and punished by law . However, a jury was to be used in criminal
trials and for political offenses committed through the press or by some
other means .
54. Freedom of religion and belief was guaranteed. The right to
profess one's religion or belief was established subject to the provision
that the exercise did not disturb public order .
55. The right to peaceful assembly was guaranteed without prior authorization, in conformity with the law governing the exercise of this
56. Haitians were guaranteed the right to associate and to form political parties, unions and cooperatives. This right was not to be subject to any preventive measure. No one could be compelled to join an association or a political party. The law regulated the conditions for the functioning of these groups and was to promote their formation.
57. Correspondence was inviolable; however, private letters and
documents could be intercepted by the authorities for the sole purpose of gathering evidence to be used in court and pursuant to a judicial
e. Mechanisms established to protect individual
rights under the Duvalier State
58. The 1983 (amended) Constitution provided that the law could not add to nor derogate from the Constitution: the letter of the Constitution
would always prevail .
59. The President, before taking office, took an oath to "observe and enforce the Constitution, and to respect and ensure that the rights of the Haitian people are respected. ,46 (This provision was somewhat anachronistic since the President-for-Life did not "take office.") The President was responsible for the enforcement of the Constitution, but he could never suspend or interpret it, nor fail to enforce it.47
60. The Court of Cassation was empowered to rule on the constitutionality of the laws when litigation was referred to it, and such cases which sought judicial review of the constitutionality of laws, were not to be subject to any requirement of deposit, penalty or fee . 4 8 In cases involving political offenses, or the press, the court session was to
be public .
f. Restrictions placed on the enjoyment of human rights
by government practice under the Duvalier regime
61. The vast majority of the individual rights guaranteed by the Duvalier Constitutions were not respected in practice.
62. Government forces, in particular, the Volunteers for National Security (the VSN, more commonly known as the Tonton Macoutes), were routinely identified as the persons responsible for the harassment,
persecution, kidnapping (since these "arrests" were conducted without the benefit of judicial warrant), torture and killing of a large class of individual s--aspi ring political leaders, journalists, labor organizers, youth organizers, lawyers and human rights activists--who attempted to exercise their human rights. Harassment and extortion practices by the VSN, especially in the rural areas, was a pervasive and continuous interference with the exercise of human rights.
63. The Duvalier administration appeared to have introduced certain predictable cycles in its manner of governing. At the beginning of the cycle the Government promised a "liberalization or democratization" of the regime, permitting the functioning of political parties, the holding of elections, an amnesty for political offenders and greater freedom of the press. 5 0 When the exercise of such rights began to gain momentum and governmental policies and conditions were placed under scrutiny and
criticized, major crackdowns involving sweeping arrests, torture and
killing began to occur. The individuals arrested would be either expelled from the country or subject to long term illegal and often brutal detention, with torture used to extract "confessions". The climate of terror resulting from such a crackdown brought about the abrupt end of the "liberalization or democratization" period until the next cycle was initiated. 51
g. The Departure of Duvalier and the Transition
to the National Governing Council (CNG)
64. These predictable cycles came to an abrupt end on February 7, 1986, when Jean-Claude Duvalier fled Haitian in the middle of the night on a United States Air Force plane which had been placed at his disposal. The Haitian people, who on February 7, 1986, were celebrating their "liberation" or Second Independence Day, did not scrutinize too closely the 6-man civilian-military junta that was installed to replace Duvalier. Jean-Claude Duvalier had left behind a videocassette tape which was played on television, following his departure, stating that he had personally chosen his successors. Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, however, head of the 6-man
National Governing Council (CNG), in his first speech to the Haitian people on February 7, 1986, announced that he had "seized the reins of power."52 Both versions appear incredible because the composition of the CNG included an important leader of the opposition to Duvalier, the
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head of the Haitian League for Human Rights, Mr. G6rard Gourgue, who would not have been selected to form part of a new government by either Jean-Claude Duvalier or Lt. Gen. Namphy unless other influences played a role. Consequently, one can only speculate as to why the forces which installed the CNG in power on February 7, 1986 did not place Mr. Gourgue at the head of this new government to demonstrate the importance of civilian control over the military in this transition process.
65. The CNG took power on February 7. 1986 and on February 10, 1986, installed its Cabinet. On February 26, 1986f it presented a list of its achievements after 18 days in power. This list sought to portray the CNG as a provisional government which would vindicate the demands of the Haitian people and work to install democracy in Haiti. The CNG stated that in a period of 18 days it had:
1. Freed all political prisoners;
2. Re-established absolute freedom of the press;
3. Dissolved and disarmed the VSN;
4. Set aside the Constitution of 1983 (as amended);
5. Dissolved the Legislature;
6. Seized and nationalized the goods, furnishings and real
estate of the ex-President Jean-Claude Duvalier;
7. Re-established the blue and red Haitian flag. (Under the
Duvaliers the Haitian flag had been changed to red and
black). 5 3
66. In fact it did do most of the things that it claimed to have done, with the exception of disarming the Macoutes.
67. On February 25, 1986f Lt. Gen. Namphy set forth the outlines of the CNG's political program. He announced that a consultative body would be formed, which would elect, by secret ballot, the members of a constituent assembly to draft a new Constitution. The CNG would govern by decree and would issue decrees regarding the press, and the organization of political parties. The new Constitution would set forth provisions regarding elections.
68. The Consultative Council, however, did not elect the members of the Constituent Assembly. Elections for 41 of the 61 seats on the Constitutional Assembly were held throughout Haiti on October 19, 1986. The CNG designated the other 20 members directly. The Ministry of
Information informed the public that 9.2% of the Haitian electorate participated in the October elections, whereas other sources reported a voter turnout of between 1% and 5%.
69. As mentioned in the Commission's 1986-1987 Annual Report the Constituent Assembly had "originally been viewed with skepticism but as it demonstrated its seriousness and responsiveness to its mandate, it won
popular support." Consequently, on March 29, 1987, the Haitian Constitution was submitted to a referendum, and 45.4% of the 2.8 million eligible Haitian voters cast their votes in favor of the new Constitution. The high voter turnout dramatically surpassed the 10% participation predicted.
C. THE HAITIAN CONSTITUTION OF 1987
70. The agenda for a new Haiti is set forth in the legal blueprint known as the Constitution of 1987. According to Le Moniteur, the official government newspaper, 1,271,334 votes were cast on March 29, 1987 which represented 45.4% of the 2.8 million eligible voters. Of these, 1,268,980 voted in favor of the Constitution, a 99.8% approval rate. The
Constitution attracted such a significant response from the population because it embodied a repudiation of the Duvaliers and the twenty-nine years of dictatorship.
a. Disqualification of Duvalierists
for Public Office
71. It appears that the new Constitution's most popular provision is Article 291 which concerns the disqualification of Duvalierists for public office for a period of ten years. This provision sought to define a clear line of demarcation between the Duvalierist past and the desired non-Duvalierist present. Article 291 states:
For ten (10) years following publication of this
Constitution, and without prejudice to any criminal action or civil suit for damages, none of the following may be candidates
for any public office:
a) Any person well known for having been by his excess zeal
one of the architects of the dictatorship and of its
maintenance during the last twenty-nine years;
b) Any accountant of public funds during the years of the
dictatorship concerning whom there is presumptive evidence
of unjustified gain;
c) Any person denounced by public outcry for having inflicted
torture on political prisoners in connection with arrests and investigations or for having committed political
b. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)
72. A second unusual characteristic of the 1987 Constitution is Article 289 which provides for the establishment of a Provisional
- 40 -
Electoral Council. This Provisional Electoral Council became virtually a parallel government to the CNG insofar as it was given control over the electoral process, a function previously within the self-proclaimed mandate of the CNG.
73. Article 289 provides that the CEP be comprised of members
representing different social sectors, of which the CNG represents only one of nine parts:
Awaiting the establishment of the Permanent Electoral
Council provided for in this Constitution, the National Council of Government shall set up a Provisional Electoral Council of nine (9) members, charged with drawing up and enforcing the Electoral Law to govern the next elections, who shall be
designated as follows:
1) One by the Executive Branch, who is not an official;
2) One by the Episcopal Conference;
3) One by the Advisory Council;
4) One by the Supreme Court;
5) One by agencies defending human rights, who may
not be a candidate in the elections;
6) One by the Council of the University;
7) One by the Protestant religions;
8) One by the National Council of Cooperatives
74. In addition, the Constitution, in Article 292, empowers the CEP with determining which candidates are Duvalierists and, as such, are to be disqualified as candidates for public office.
C. The Power of the Executive under
the 1987 Constitution
75. Under the Duvalier regimes, the Executive, transformed into
President-for-Life, had been all-powerful. Consequently, the drafters of the 1987 Constitution sought to prevent such a recurrent abuse of power and vested the powers of the Executive in the President of the Republic, who is the Head of State and the Government, which is headed by a Prime Minister. S 4
76. The President, under the 1987 Constitution, is to be elected by direct, universal suffrage by an absolute majority of votes. If that
majority is not obtained, a runoff is to be held between the two leading contenders.55
77. The presidential term is for a period of five years and this term is to begin and end on February 7 following the date of the elections.56 Presidential elections are to be held on the last Sunday
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of November in the fifth year of the President's term. 5 7 An individual may serve no more than two terms and the terms may not be consecutive. 5 8 The CNG scheduled elections for November 29, 1987, however, these elections were cancelled.
78. The duties of the Haitian President include the selection of the Prime Minister from among the members of the majority party in Parliament." The President's choice must be ratified by the Parliament. The President is empowered to declare war, 60 and with the consent of the Senate, he appoints the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed
6 1 6 2
Forces . The President is the nominal head of the Armed Forces . If the office of the Presidency becomes vacant the President of the Supreme Court is invested by the National Assembly, convened by the Prime
79. Pursuant to Article 135 of the Constitution, to be elected President of Haiti, a candidate must.
a) Be a Haitian by origin and never have renounced Haitian
b) Have attained thirty-five (35) years of age by election day; c) Enjoy civil and political rights and never have been
sentenced to punishment involving 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 real property and
have his habitual residence in the country;
e) Have resided in the country for five (5) consecutive years
before the date of the elections;
f) Have been relieved of any liability (avoir requ d6charge)
if he has been handling public funds.
80. The Prime Minister is the head of Government and conducts the policy of the nation. 64 To be appointed Prime Minister, a candidate must:
1) Be a Haitian by origin and never have renounced Haitian
2) Have attained thirty (30) years of age;
3) Enjoy civil and political rights and never have been
sentenced to punishment involving death, personal restraint
or penal servitude or the loss of civil rights;
4) Owen real property in Haiti and practice a profession there;
5) Have resided in the country for five (5) consecutive years; 6) Have been relieved of any liability (avoir requ d6charge)
if he has been handling public funds.
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81. The Prime Minister chooses the members of the Cabinet with the approval of the President, and a vote of confidence of both Houses of Parliament.6 5 In concert with the President, the Prime Minister is
responsible for national defense , and enforcement of the laws.
82. In summary, whereas the Duvalier constitutions institutionalized hereditary rule, the 1987 Constitution attempts to diminish the power of the Executive by creating the positions of President and Prime Minister, prevents consecutive re-election and institutionalizes a democratic form of government by providing for an effective separation of powers.
D. THE POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE STATE UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION
83. The 1987 Constitution declared Haiti to be "an indivisible, sovereign, independent, cooperatist, free, democratic and social republic . 68 This provision adds the notion of "cooperatist" to the formulation of the 1983 (amended) Constitution. As in the earlier
Constitution, the structure of the political organization is that of the traditional democratic state. Articles 58, 59 and 60 provide that
sovereignty is vested in all citizens and that all citizens delegate the exercise of that sovereignty to the three branches of government: the
executive, legislative and judicial. Each branch is independent of the other two, and none may go beyond the bounds set for them by the
Constitution and by the law.
The Executive Branch
84. The 1987 Constitution (like the 1985 amendments to the 1983 Constitution), provides that the executive power is to be exercised by the President of the Republic and by the Government.
85. Under the Duvalier Constitution, the President named the Prime Minister, but Jean-Claude Duvalier, as President, was also the Head of the Government. The Prime Minister was a figure without power. Under the
1987 Constitution the Prime Minister, not the President, is mandated by the Constitution to conduct the policy of the nation.69
86. Cabinet members, pursuant to the 1987 Constitution, are chosen
by the Prime Minister with the approval of the President . During the
two-year period of the interim military government the CNG shuffled the cabinet four times.
87. Checks are placed on the abuse of power by the Executive branch by the High Court of Justice, which has the authority to try the following persons, including the President and the Prime Minister, for certain
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a) The President of the Republic for the crime of high treason
or any other crime or offense committed in the discharge of
b) The Prime Minister, the Ministers and the Secretaries of
State for crimes of high treason and embezzlement or abuse of power or any other crimes or offenses committed in the
discharge of their duties;
c) Members of the Permanent Electoral Council and the Superior
Court of Auditors and the Court of Administrative Disputes for serious offenses committed in the discharge of their
d) Supreme Court justices and officers of the Public
Prosecutor's Office before the Court of Cassation;
e) The Protector of Citizens (Protecteur du citoyen).
88. In addition, a Conciliation Commission was established under the 1987 Constitution which is to settle disputes between the Executive Branch
and the Legislative and the two Houses of Legislature. The precise
functions of this Commission were to be regulated by the law. 73
The Legislative Branch
89. The Duvalier Constitution provided for a unicameral legislature which was dominated and manipulated by the Executive. The 1987
Constitution provided for a bicameral Legislature comprising a House of Deputies and a Senate. 74
90. Pursuant to the 1987 Constitution to be elected a member of the House of Deputies 7 5 a person must:
1) Be a Haitian by origin and have never renounced his
2) Have attained twenty-five (25) years of age;
3) Enjoy civil and political rights and never have been
sentenced to death, personal restraint or penal servitude
or the loss of civil rights for any crime of ordinary law;
4) Have resided at least two (2) consecutive years prior to
the date of the elections in the electoral district he is
5) Own at least one real property in the district and practice
a profession or trade;
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6) Have been relieved, if need be, of any liability (avoir
requ d6charge) as a manager of public funds.
A deputy is elected for a 4 year term and may be reelected.
91. Pursuant to the 1987 Constitution, to be elected a member of the Senate 76 a person must:
1) Be a Haitian by origin and never have renounced his
2) Have attained thirty (30) years of age;
3) 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;
4) Have resided in the Department he will represent, at least
four (4) consecutive years prior to the date of the
5) Own at least one (1) real property in the Department and
practice a profession or trade there;
6) Have been relieved, if need be, of any liability (avoir
requ d6charge) as a manager of public funds.
92. A Senator is elected for a 6 year term and may be reelected. In addition, pursuant to Article 291 of the 1987 Constitution, the most important prerequisite is that a candidate for the Senate or House of Deputies not have had ties to the Duvalier regimes, as such ties would disqualify him for public office.
93. The 1987 Constitution provides that the House of Deputies and the Senate, meeting together, comprise the National Assembly. The
legislative session commences with the meeting of the National Assembly. The first legislative session of the House of Deputies runs from the second Monday of January to the second Monday of May and the second session runs from the second Monday of June to the second Monday of September. 77 The Senate is permanently in session. 78 In no case may 79
the House of Deputies or the Senate be dissolved or adjourned .
Pursuant to the Duvalierist Constitution the President was constitutionally empowered to dissolve the Legislature in cases of conflict between the Executive and the Legislative branches. The 1987
Constitution provides for a Conciliation Commission to settle disputes between these two branches of Government.
94. The functions of the Legislature reflect those of the previous Constitution as regards the power to make laws. 80 As in the previous
Constitution laws can be initiated by either House of the Legislature or by the Executive. 8 1 Similarly, additional powers are granted to the Legislature when it meets as a National Assembly, such as to receive the
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constitutional oath of the President, to ratify the decision to declare war, to approve or reject treaties and to amend the Constitution. 82
95. Meetings of the National Assembly are public unless a minimum of 83
five members request that they be held in closed session . Members of
the Legislature are inviolable (immune from lawsuits) from the date on which they take their oath of office until the expiration of their mandate .
96. As a result of the elections of January 17, 1988, according to ex-President-for-Life Jean Claude Duvalier, 60% of the persons elected to serve in the Haitian Legislature during the Manigat government were Duvalierists.8 In the opinion of many Haitians with whom the
Commission spoke during its August 1988 visit, the January 1988 elections were unconstitutional, in light of the fact the Article 291 bars Duvalierists from standing for public office for a period of ten years.
The Judicial Branch
97. The Judicial power under the 1987 Constitution is vested in the high court known as the Cour de Cassation, the Courts of Appeal, Courts of First Instance, Justice of the Peace Courts and Special Courts." In
addition, as mentioned above, the Constitution contemplates a High Court of Justice, which is the Senate sitting as a tribunal to consider political cases such as the impeachment of the President for treason.
98. Judges of the Cour de Cassation and the Courts of Appeal are appointed for a term of ten years. Judges of the Courts of First Instance are appointed for seven-year terms. 87Judges of the Cour de Cassation are appointed by the President, from a list of at least three per seat, submitted by the Senate. a8 The judges of the Cour de Cassation, the
Courts of Appeal and the Courts of First Instance may not be removed from office.8
99. As regards political offenses, the Constitution does provide for the creation of special courts, the jurisdiction of which, however, must be determined by law.9 The Court of State Security (Tribunal de Stiret6
de l'Etat), created by the Duvalier regime, has been abolished.9 The
Constitution further provides that sentences may not be delivered in closed sessions in cases involving political offenses or the press.9
a. Rights and Guarantees under
the 1987 Constitution
100. The 1987 Constitution consists of a Preamble and fifteen titles containing 298 articles. Of the fifteen titles of the Constitution, Title
III deals with individual rights and is entitled "Basic Rights and Duties of the Citizen" and Title IV deals with "Aliens".
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101. The 1987 Constitution declares all Haitians to be equal before the law 9 3 but as in the Duvalier constitutions, certain benefits are conferred on Haitiens d'origine. A Haitian "of origin" is defined as a person born of at least one Haitian parent, who (i.e., the parent) was born Haitian, and who never renounced Haitian nationality. The racial
provision in the Duvalier constitutions, granting a black person, born in Haiti, but of foreign parents, Haitien d'origine status, has not been incorporated into the 1987 Constitution.
102. Pursuant to the 1987 Constitution, the President, the Prime Minister, the Deputies and the Senators must all be Haitians "of origin".
103. The 1987 Constitution provides that any Haitian who has adopted a foreign nationality during the twenty-nine years of the Duvalier regime, may recuperate her or his nationality, if, within two years of the publication of the Constitution, s/he makes a declaration to the Minister of Justice, for that purpose. 94 This provision however, does not appear to entitle the individual making this declaration to the recovery of his Haitien d'origine status.
104. The 1987 Constitution sets forth the basic rights of citizens as well as their duties.
105. The age of majority is defined as 18 years 95 at which the exercise of political and civil rights commences. 96 The death penalty is abolished for all crimes.97
106. Individual liberty is guaranteed and no one may be prosecuted, arrested or detained unless pursuant to law.98 No one may be detained without a warrant unless caught in the act of committing a crime,99 and no arrest warrant may be carried out between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. 100 No
one may be kept under arrest for more than 48 hours unless he has been brought before a judge who has been called to rule upon the legality thereof, and the judge has confirmed the arrest by a well-founded decision."' Torture, or any form of coercion is prohibited by the 1987 Constitution' 02 and the detainee may only be interrogated in the presence of his attorney or a witness of choice. 103
107. Violators of the constitutional provisions on individual liberty are subject to law suits and the government officials responsible for such acts are directly liable under civil and administrative criminal laws. 104
108. Freedom of expression is guaranteed and all offenses involving the press and abuses of the right of expression come under the criminal code."'
109. Freedom of association as well as the freedom not to join an association are guaranteed. In addition, the police must be informed, in advance, of public assemblies or demonstrations. 106
110. The right to education is guaranteed and primary school is compulsory "under penalties to be prescribed by law."' 07 In a nation with, at least, a 70% rate of illiteracy, one can only surmise what sort of penalties will be imposed. Higher education, i.e. post-primary school, is "open to all", it is not compulsory.' 08 It is not specified in the Constitution whether primary school is considered to comprise six or twelve years.
111. The right to work is guaranteed. The State guarantees workers equal working conditions, regardless of sex, and workers are entitled to a fair wage, to rest, to a paid annual vacation and to an annual bonus.109 The right to strike is recognized and may be limited by law.' 10
112. Private property is recognized and protected. Although nationalization and confiscation are prohibited, land reform is contemplated as an exception to this blanket prohibition. III The
landowner is also constitutionally obliged to protect the land against erosion, and failure to do so would make him subject to criminal penalties.112 The process of erosion of the Haitian arable lands has systematically destroyed the country's agricultural capacity and this constitutional provision attempts to deal with this deteriorating problem.
113. Personal security is constitutionally guaranteed and no Haitian may be deported or expelled "for any reason". In addition, no one may be deprived of his legal capacity or his nationality for political reasons. 1 1 3 Unlike the Duvalier era, Haitians no longer require a visa to leave or return to Haiti."' No search and seizure may be conducted except pursuant to law' is and correspondence and other forms of communication are inviolable. Communication may only be limited pursuant to judicial order. 116
114. Persons in detention are to be held separately from persons serving sentence' 1 7 and prisons must be run "in accordance with standards reflecting respect for human dignity according to the law on the subject."' 18
115. In addition, in recognition of the fact that both Creole and French are the official languages of Haiti,' 1 9 all laws, decrees, treaties, etc., except "information concerning national security" must be published by the State in both languages.120
b. Mechanisms established to protect individual
rights under the 1987 Constitution
116. Approximately one million Haitians fled from Haiti during the Duvalier regimes. 121 Many fled involuntarily to escape political repression whereas others fled voluntarily to seek a better life
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elsewhere. The 1987 Constitution takes into consideration the situation of these voluntary and involuntary expatriates in its various articles.
117. The Constitution provides that any Haitian who was the victim of the confiscation of his property during the Duvalier period may "recover his property before a court of competent jurisdiction."' 2 2 In addition, death sentences, detention, imprisonment or the loss of civil rights during this period "shall constitute no impediment to the exercise of civil and political rights."' 23
118. In addition, all laws and decrees "arbitrarily limiting the basic rights and liberties of citizens," are repealed,' 24 in particular:
a) The decree law of September 5, 11935 on superstitious
b) The law of August 2. 1977 establishing the Court of State
Security (Tribunal de la Siaret6 de 1'Etat);
.0 The law of July 28, 1975 placing the lands of the
Artibonite Valley in a special status; and
d) The law of April 29, 1969 condemning all imported doctrines.
119. Further, all international treaties, once ratified, become part of the legislation of Haiti and abrogate any laws in conflict with them."' This provision is extremely important for the purposes of this Report, in light of the fact that Haiti has ratified the American
Convention on Human Rights, and pursuant to this Constitutional provision, the Convention is incorporated into Haiti's domestic legislation.
120. The 1987 Constitution creates the position of Ombudsman, or the "Office of Citizen Protection," which is established to protect all individuals against any form of abuse by the Government. 1 2 6 The office is to be directed by a person chosen by consensus among the President, the President of the Senate and the President of the House of Deputies, for a seven year term. 1 2 7 His intervention, on behalf of any complainant (it need not be a citizen of Haiti) is without charge. 128
121. Other constitutional provisions designed to protect individual rights include the limitations and safeguards imposed on the Government as regards the declaration of a state of siege, and the separation of the Army and the Police.
122. A state of siege may only be declared in the event of civil war or foreign invasion.129 Consequently, it may not be declared to silence dissent or in the case of riots or demonstrations. The declaration of the state of siege must be made by an act of the President, countersigned by
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the Prime Minister, and "by all of the Ministers", and contain an
immediate convocation of the National Assembly to decide on the measure. 130 The state of siege is lifted if it is not renewed every fifteen days by a vote of the National Assembly, 1 3 1 and the National Assembly is required to remain in session for the entire duration of the state of siege.' 32
123. As regards the Armed Forces and the Police, the Constitution does not contemplate any other armed corps. In fact, it explicitly states that "No other armed corps may exist in the national territory,"' 3 3 which refers to the dissolution of the notorious Volunteers of National Security (Volontaires de Securit6 Nationale), popularly known as the "Tontons Macoutes."
124. The duties of the Armed Forces are to defend the State from external aggression, but they may be called upon to assist in disaster relief, in development work, or, "Upon the well founded request of the Executive, they may lend assistance to the police when the latter are unable to handle a situation. ,134
125. Military service is compulsory for all Haitians who have
attained the age of eighteen. 1 3 5, Haitians have the right to bear arms for use in self-defense, but only following expressed authorization from the Chief of Police, 1 3 6 and possession of a firearm must be reported to the PoliCe.137
126. The Police Force operates under the Ministry of Justice 1 3 8 and it is established "to investigate violations, offenses and crimes committed, in order to discover and arrest the perpetrators of them." 139
127. In addition, the 1987 Constitution establishes that members of the Armed Forces and the Police are subject to "civil and penal liability in the manner and under the conditions stipulated by the Constitution and by law. ,140
E. HAITI'S INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS IN THE FIELD OF HUMAN RIGHTS
128. Haiti is a member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, the Charters of which set forth respect for human rights.
129. On September 27, 1977, Haiti deposited its instrument of
accession to the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San Jose). The American Convention entered into force on July 18, 1978, and as a result Haiti is legally obligated to observe the rights and freedoms set forth in that Convention, and to guarantee to all persons within its jurisdiction the free and full exercise of their rights, without
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discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national origin or social position, economic situation, birth or any other social condition.
130. Article 276-2 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution (supra) provides that ratified treaties become part of the domestic legislation of Haiti."' Lt. Gen. Namphy in his first speech upon assuming power stated that all international treaties, agreements and accords would continue to be respected.
131. The American Convention on Human Rights (1969) is the only general human rights instrument to which Haiti is a party."' Haiti is a party, however, to the following issue-specific international human rights instruments concerning the prevention of discrimination: the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (1965), the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1978), the ILO Convention (No. 100) concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value (1951), and the ILO Convention (No. 111) concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (1958).
132. Haiti is also a party to specific human rights conventions which concern the following issues: 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 Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949), the ILO Convention (No. 29) concerning Forced Labor (1930), the ILO Convention (No. 105) concerning the Abolition of Forced Labor (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).
133. Haiti is a party to specific human rights instruments which relate to the protection of particular groups: ILO Convention (No. 87) concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (1948), ILO Convention (No. 98) concerning the Application of the
Principles of the Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively (1949), the UN Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952), the Inter-American Convention on the Granting of Political Rights to Women (1948) and the four Geneva Conventions (1949, 1950).
During the two-year transition period of the CNG, headed by Lt. Gen. Namphy, the most significant step towards democracy was taken on March 29, 1987, as the Haitian people expressed their sovereign will and
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overwhelmingly approved the 1987 Constitution. This expression of the national sovereignty is the standard against which any Haitian government's legitimacy will have to be measured. A military coup d'etat and the summary deportation of the head of state cannot be legitimized by the destruction of the nation's fundamental charter or by unsupportable claims, made under the threat of the use of force, that one is acting in the name of democracy and human rights.
It should be noted that the 1987 Constitution deprived the military of control over elections and subordinated the military to civilian rule, as is the case in all democratic constitutions in the world. Logically, a military government undermines the institutionalization of a democratic state, and having deported the President, suppressed the legislature and abrogated the Constitution, it can only claim to be acting in the name of "democracy", in an Orwellian reversal of meaning, where words signify the opposite of their accepted connotations.
The information set forth in this chapter leads to the inescapable conclusion that a system of representative democracy must be established in Haiti and the rule of law must be restored for fundamental human rights to be guaranteed.
POLITICAL RIGHTS 1
A. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
1 The constituent and human rights instruments devised by the inter-American system require that the political organization of the member States be based on the effective exercise of representative democracy
2. The Charter of the Organization of American States has
explicitly defined democracy to be the only acceptable form of political organization of the Member States in order for the aims of the Organization to be realized:
The solidarity of the American States and the high aims
which are sought through it require the political organization of those States on the basis of the effective exercise of
3. The Preamble of the OAS Charter also posits regional solidarity based on the consolidation of democratic forms of government. The
Confident that the true significance of American solidarity
and good neighborliness can only mean the consolidation on this continent, within the framework of democratic institutions, of a system of individual liberty and social justice based on respect
for the essential rights of man;
4. For its part, the Commission has maintained that within the alternative forms of government recognized under different constitutions. the framework of a democratic regime must be the fundamental structure to allow for the full exercise of human rights.
5. Article 23 of the American Convention on Human Rights sets forth the political rights guaranteed by this Convention: the right to take part in public affairs, the right to vote and to be elected, and the right to have access to public service.
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6. The Declaration of Santiago of 1959, adopted by the Fifth Meeting of Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, expressed the aspiration of the peoples of the Americas to live under democratic institutions "free from all intervention and all totalitarian influence. ,3 This historic document declared that the "existence of anti-democratic regimes constitutes a violation of the principles on which the Organization of American States is founded, and a danger to united and peaceful relationships in the hemisphere".
7. In order to contribute " to the eradication of forms of dictatorship, despotism or tyranny" the Meeting of Consultation
established certain "principles and attributes of the democratic system in the hemisphere" which would assist in a determination as to whether a certain government was democratic or not. These principles and attributes are the following:
1. The principle of the rule of law should be assured by the separation of powers, and by the control of the legality of
governmental acts by competent organs of the state.
2. The governments of the American republics should be the
result of free elections.
3. Perpetuation in power, or the exercise of power without a fixed term and with the manifest intent of perpetuation, is
incompatible with the effective exercise of democracy.
4. The governments of the American states should maintain a system of freedom for the individual and of social justice based
on respect for fundamental human rights.
5. The human rights incorporated into the legislation of the American states should be protected by effective judicial
6. The systematic use of political proscription is contrary to
American democratic order.
7. Freedom of the press, radio, and television, and, in
general, freedom of information and expression, are essential
conditions for the existence of a democratic regime.
8. The American states, in order to strengthen democratic institutions, should cooperate among themselves within the limits of their resources and the framework of their laws so as to strengthen and develop their economic structure, and achieve
just and humane living conditions for their peoples.
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8. In application of these principles, the OAS General Assembly, in its consideration of the reports presented to it by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, has repeatedly, in its resolutions, reiterated:
To those governments that have not yet reinstated the
democratic form of government that it is urgently necessary to implement the pertinent institutional machinery to restore such a system in the shortest possible space of time, through free and open elections, by secret ballot, since democracy is the best possible guarantee for the full exercise of human rights and is a firm support for solidarity between the states of the
9. In addition, the OAS General Assembly, at its Sixteenth Regular Session, held in Guatemala from November 11-15, 1986, adopted a resolution on Human Rights and Democracy,5 which states in its operative part:
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
1. To reaffirm the inalienable right of all the peoples of the Americas freely to determine their political, economic and
social system without outside interference, through a genuine democratic process and within a framework of social justice in which all sectors of the population will enjoy the guarantees necessary to participate freely and effectively through the
exercise of universal suffrage.
2. To urge the governments of the Americas whose societies have problems that call for reconciliation and national unity to undertake or continue a genuine dialogue, pursuant to their respective legislations, with all political and social sectors until they reach a political solution that will put an end to conflicts and contribute decisively to improving the human
rights situation and to strengthening the representative and
pluralist democratic system.
10. In the experience of the political organs of the OAS,
difficulties, at times, have arisen regarding the determination as to whether a certain matter is reserved to the internal jurisdiction of a State. Some states have taken the position that certain international obligations need not be complied with, arguing that these matters fall within the exclusive domestic jurisdiction of the State.
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11. These difficulties motivate the Commission to consider the
question of whether the principle of non-intervention, the cornerstone of the OAS Charter, is a bar to international examination of certain matters considered by some to be within the exclusive domestic jurisdiction of the State. In the Commission's view, as a matter of law, this is not the case where action is taken pursuant to a treaty to which the concerned State is a party.
12. Consequently, an issu& dealing with human rights is no longer specifically reserved to the domestic jurisdiction of the State once the State has become a party to a human rights treaty which deals with that issue. To invoke the argument that international examination of an action which was taken by a state with respect to its own citizens is barred by the principle of non-intervention is to reject the international
obligations assumed by the state when it became a party to the human rights instrument.
13. The issue of the use of force to support international law must be considered under the terms of Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter and this a separate question which the Commission will not examine at this time.
14. Pursuant to Article 23 of the American Convention, the
Commission now considers the problem of political rights as they have evolved in Haiti. The previous chapter examined efforts by the Duvalier family to maintain itself in power indefinitely by periodic manipulation of the Haitian Constitution. This chapter analyzes the emergence of demands for political rights during the waning years of Jean-Claude Duvalier's administration; the provisions of the 1987 Constitution as regards political rights; other decrees affecting the exercise of political rights; the creation and functioning of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP); the elections of November 29, 1987; the
dissolution of the CEP and the new elections of January 17, 1988; the installation of the Government of President Leslie Manigat on February 7.
1988, the coup d'etat on June 20, 1988 headed by Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, and the coup within the coup of September 17, 1988 which resulted in the installation of the current President, Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril.
a. The political situation in 1985
15. By 1985 President Jean-Claude Duvalier's Presidency-for-Life had become the single dominant political issue in Haiti. As early as April 19, 1985 three "political leaders" issued a declaration demanding, inter alia, "that the Constitution of August 27, 1983 be amended and the
Presidency-for-Life abolished. ,6
16. President Duvalier's reply was his April 22, 1985 speech in which he announced the fact that he had taken "the irrevocable decision to
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modernize the Haitian political system" by progressively putting in place the institutional structures which correspond to the norms of liberal democracy and "respect the particular characteristics of the Haitian people" .
17. The widespread disillusion with, and criticism of, the constitutional amendments which were approved by the Legislative Chamber on June 6, and the political parties law on June 9, led one political figure, Hubert De Ronceray, to launch his attack on the Presidency-for-Life.
18. De Ronceray stated that the political parties law could be
summarized in three points:
1. One can organize a political party but one does not have
the right to organize an opposition party to the Government
of Jean-Claude Duvalier.
2. No political party can aspire to take power by democratic
and constitutional means. The only elective offices are those of deputies (Congressmen), mayors and rural
3. A political party has no financial, ideological, doctrinal
or political autonomy. It depends exclusively on the
decisions of the Minister of Interior and National Defense which at any time can order the suspension of its
19. The result, stated de Ronceray, was that "the raison d'&tre and the purpose of a political party were denied and refused. One dressed
with other words a one party dictatorship."8
20. De Ronceray, by letter dated June 5, 1985 to the Minister of Interior and National Defense requested authorization to organize "in the name of the Haitian youth" a peaceful march, without arms, towards the National Palace for the purpose of calling for the abolition of the Presidency-for-Life, and for the organization of presidential elections by direct suffrage.
21. At 4:00 p.m. on June 17, 1985 the Haitian Government issued a communiqu6 prohibiting the demonstration and deployed 5,000 troops throughout Port-au-Prince to ensure that the demonstration not take place. The Haitian Government's communiqu69 prohibiting the march stated in relevant' part:
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The Government is obliged to refuse the requested
authorization and has decided to prohibit said march for the
1. violation of the constitutional order
2. violation of public order ("l'ordre public") 3. violation of police laws on public meetings
4. call for foreign involvement in the political life
of the State
The demonstration, which was to be held in front of the National Palace, would have been the first such challenge to the "Presidency-for-Life".
b. The Referendum of July 22, 1985
22. The political criticism leveled against President Duvalier's constitutional amendments and the law on political parties motivated Duvalier on June 27, 1985 to call a national referendum. The Haitian
people were asked to:
Please express your views through this Referendum on both
the amendments to the existing Constitution of 1983 and on the new law regulating the functioning of political parties. The
most significant of these changes include:
A. A Presidency-for-Life including the right to designate a
B. The creation of the post of Prime Minister.
C. An increase in legislative influence over the government.
D. An official encouraging of the development of political
Do you agree with this new political system?
23. The "political leaders", which had increased to five by this time, on July 1, 1985 united to produce a historic joint communique demanding that the July 22 vote become a national referendum on one question:1
ARE YOU YES OR NO FOR THE PRESIDENCY-FOR-LIFE?
24. The opposition leaders threatened to boycott if the Government ignored their demands.
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25. The Government claimed that 99.98% of the population had voted in favor of the political changes. The Government had sought to disarm
the "opposition", but, in fact, by announcing 2,375.011 YES votes and 448 NO votes in a nation of approximately 2,600,000 eligible voters, in a climate of what has been described as one of "massive apathy and abstention"s by foreign observers, the Government belied its own "triumph".'11 According to one foreign observers
Throughout the morning, packed buses were seen bringing
people to vote at City Hall and taking them away. Some
journalists followed one bus and said it stopped at three other
polling places and waited while the passengers voted. (.)
Voters were not required to give their names or show any kind of
identification and no list was kept of who voted.
26. The very fact of seeking public legitimacy for a de facto rule which had existed in 'Haiti for over two decades, placed the issue of legitimacy in the public arena. Mr. Jean-Marie Chanoine, Minister of
State for the Presidency, Information and Public Relations, stated on television, following the turnout of the referendum, that the opposition had two choices: either to leave the country or to support the Haitian Government.
C. Increasing demands for President Duvalier to step down
27. In spite of the formal and informal impediments to effective political opposition in Haiti, such opposition continued to mobilize throughout 1985 having created the issue that alone was able to unify it: the ouster of Duvalier. Gr6goire Eugene became the first candidate to
present his party's view of a new society in a book published July 22, 1985. 13His views inter alia called for an elected presidency, for a seven year term, without possibility of re-election.
28. On August 23, 1985, 117 former ministers, Congressmen, military figures and supporters of President Duvalier formed a political party based on "Jean-Claudisme". This party was named the National Progressive Party, and its "leaders" requested on September 5, 1985 its registration.
29. On September 2, 1985, a letter signed by 381 youths invited the 5 opposition leaders to travel to the provinces and meet with the population of L6ogane, Petit Go~ve, Miragoane, Aquin, Cavaillon, Cayes and Marigot in order to carry on a dialogue about the problems of Haiti. Mr.
Hubert de Ronceray, Rev. Sylvio Claude and Mr. Alexandre Lerouge responded that they would be favorably inclined to travel during the second week of September.
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30. In fact, when Mr. Hubert de Ronceray, embarked on his "tour" he, his wife and three other members of his group, when they reached Petit Goave, were placed under what the police termed "protective custody" effectively preventing him from speaking to his supporters. The following week he was again prevented from meeting his supporters as he attempted to travel to Jacmel.
d. Mr. Gr6goire Eugene's Defection
31. Following the arrest of Mr. Hubert de Ronceray as he attempted to travel to the provinces, Mr. Franqois Guillaumie the newly appointed Minister of Interior and National Defense, informed Gr6goire Eugene, by letter dated September 17, 1985, that if he wished to carry out political activities he should carry out the formalities required by the political parties law. Mr. Eugene responded, by letter dated September 25, 1985, that his attachment to "political pluralism, democratic convictions, his legalist vocation and his religious respect for the Constitution"
prohibited him from complying with the formalities imposed by the political parties' law. 14
32. Notwithstanding the above, on November 7, 1985, Mr. Gr~goire Eugene sought to register his party with the Ministry of the Interior. One of the reasons given for his change of mind was that, once having requested registration, Mr. Eugene could proceed to travel to the provinces and recruit members for his party.s
33. Gonaives, the fourth largest city in Haiti is known as the "City of Independence" because it was there that Jean-Jacques Dessalines
proclaimed independence from France on January 1, 1804 signaling the end to the independence struggle and the beginning of Haiti's future as the second independent nation in the Americas after the U.S. Gona'ives became the scene for two days of spontaneous student demonstrations which resulted in the deaths, on November 28, 1985, of three secondary school students.
34. As described by one foreign journalist:'
On that day 1,000 to 2,000 residents of the Raboteau
shanty-town surged into the streets shouting anti-government slogans and wielding small, crude signs proclaiming "Down with Misery", "Down with Dictatorship", "Down with the Constitution"
and "Long live the Army" - the latter an apparent call on the
Haitian military to move against Duvalier.
The next day, November 28, students demonstrated outside a
church-run Gona'ives high school. Soldiers, apparently at an
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officer's command, opened fire on the youths. Two died f rom
bullet wounds and a third reportedly was killed from blows with rifle butts. A fourth youth reportedly died elsewhere under
unclear circumstances. That death has not been confirmed.
News of the Gona~ves shootings, broadcast almost
immediately by Radio Soleil, incensed other communities and within 24 to 48 hours solidarity demonstrations erupted in Petit-Goave, Jeremie, Jacmel and Les Cayes - all along Haiti's
On December 4, police raided the home of prominent Haitian
opposition leader Hubert de Ronceray, a native of Petit-Goave
and a former Duvalier government social affairs minister.
De Ronceray was arrested on charges of having subversive
documents, but foreign diplomats believe the real reason may have been fear that he was planning a demonstration in Port-au-Prince. His wife, Marie Michelle, said police officers
were looking for arms. 1
35. The Government in an official communiqu6 lamented the deaths in Gonaives and placed the responsibility for the demonstrations on "professional agitators"'* *8 Opposition and church leaders criticized
what they termed the "overreaction" of the Government and the resultant deaths, and demonstrations, mostly organized by secondary school students,
continued throughout the country during the following weeks. On January
28, 1986, on the second day of rioting, the events of Gonaives repeated themselves, as three persons, including two children were killed and more than 30 persons wounded as security forces opened fire during one of the largest demonstrations against President Duvalier.' 19
36. On February 7, 1986 Jean-Claude Duvalier's Government collapsed as he departed into exile.
B. POLITICAL RIGHTS ACCORDING TO THE NEW LEGAL SYSTEM (1986-1987)
37. Article 31 of Haiti's 1987 Constitution specifically authorizes the formation of political parties. Political parties are expressly
allowed to function provided that they respect "the principles of national and democratic sovereignty." 20 The law is 'to determine the conditions for their recognition and operation, and the advantages and privileges reserved to them.',21
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a. Background to the Law Regulating the
Organization of Political Parties
38. Lt. General Henri Namphy, who assumed power on February 7, 1986, informed the Haitian people on that date that the Army had intervened because the country was "on the verge of an abyss," threatened both by an "attack on the integrity of the nation and by the terrible spectre of a civil war." 2 2 On February 10, 1986, Lt. Gen. Namphy promised constitutional elections which would permit first the election of a legislature resulting from free elections and then presidential elections
by direct universal suffrage .
39. As early as February 1986 several Haitian politicians declared themselves candidates in any future presidential election, in spite of the fact that no law had yet been decreed regulating the formation of political parties. By early March, more than 20 politicians, most of them with an extensive Duvalierist background, had announced their candidacies for the presidency of Haiti, although the CNG had not yet announced a date
for the elections . In addition there existed no legal infrastructure.
40. The legal system, such as it was, was a hold-over f rom the Duvalier era, and there was no legislature to pass laws which could be considered to reflect the will of the people. All power was in the hands of the CNG which unilaterally determined its mandate and enlarged it, from the original intent of simply leading the country to elections, to maintaining itself in power for two years and arrogating to itself the authority to determine how the constitution would be drafted as well as all other aspects of national and international affairs.
41. In early June 1986, five consecutive days of riots throughout Haiti brought the country, in Lt. Gen. Namphy's words, to the "verge of anarchy" and to "almost a civil war." 2 5 The demonstrators were demanding that the CNG remove one of its members, Col. Williams Regala, and also Finance Minister, Leslie Delatour, and Deputy Information
Minister, Aubelin Jolicoeur. In an attempt to quell the unrest, on June 8, 1986, Lt. Gen. Namphy announced that he would turn over power to a "freely elected" government on the second anniversary of Duvalier's departure - February 7, 1988.
42. The electoral timetable set by Lt. Gen. Namphy is the following: 26
TIMETABLE FOR THE ELECTIONS
June 1986: Decree creating the Council for the
Organization of the rural areas.
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Decree creating an independent body charged to receive views and opinions of all citizens.
Decree concerning the organization of political parties and the press.
Decree creating a Constituent Assembly for the writing of a new constitution.
Members of this constituent body will be elected by the people in every geographical department. Members of the Constituent Assembly work on the new constitution.
The Constitution is voted and proclaimed.
The Constitution is ratified by a referendum.
Decree concerning the elections.
Campaign for the election of Mayors as well as members of the Council for the administration of rural areas.
Elected Mayors and Members of the
Council for the administration of rural areas are sworn in.
Legislative and presidential elections begin.
The President and Members of the Legislative Chamber are elected.
The power of the Legislative corps is validated.
The elected President is sworn in.
the CNG issued a decree on the formation of
January 1987: February 1987:
May 1987: July 1987:
February 7, 1988:
43. On July 30, 1986 political parties.
b. The Decree Regulating the Organization of Political Partie S27
44. Pursuant to this decree, to be a founding member of a Haitian political party the following requirements, set forth in Article 5, had to be met:
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1 To be a Haitian, by origin, and never to have renounced
2. To be at least 18 years of age;
3. To exercise civil and political rights;
4.- To reside and have one's domicile in Haiti.
Nationalized Haitians were not considered Haitians "by origin" and, therefore, were not permitted to establish political parties.
45. To establish a political party one had to register it within 30 days of formation with the Ministry of Justice. A document establishing the formation of the party is to be presented, which contains the names of at least 20 founding members. The party organizers are also required by this decree to provide information regarding the goals and ideology of the party, a detailed statute which is required to set out in some detail how the party will function and other information regarding the party's official representatives and headquarters.
46. The Ministry of Justice is required to respond to the request for registration within 30 days of the submission of these documents. if the decision is favorable, the Minister will inform the Official
Representative that the party is authorized to function "provisionally." It then may disseminate its ideology and recruit members. If the request is denied, reasons must be specified by the Justice Minister, but the decree does not specify what kinds of political parties may not be formed.
47. In order to achieve "legal recognition" the provisionally formed party must return to the Ministry of Justice, within 6 months, with evidence that the party has a membership of at least 5,000 persons. The Ministry of Justice must then decide on the question of legal recognition within 30 days. If the decision is in the negative the party organizers may appeal the decision to the courts.
48. A legally established party is obliged to publish its program and the names of its organizers and leaders in a daily paper and may present candidates for public office pursuant to the Electoral Law which was scheduled to be decreed in March 1987. The candidates are entitled to a total of 2 hours of free television and radio time to be divided into 5-15 minute political commercials through the campaign. The law also
limits the amount of money the political parties are allowed to receive from any political or international source.
49. The first elections following Jean-Claude Duvalier's departure were held on October 19, 1986. The vote was to elect 41 members of a 61 member Constituent Assembly, one for each district, but very few people participated. Twenty other members of the Constituent Assembly were appointed directly by the CNG.
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50. On October 30, 1986 former followers of Duvalier announced the establishment of a political party to be known as the Party for National Reconciliation (PREN). Riots erupted as a reaction to the announcement of the formation of this party which continued for several days, in early November, throughout Haiti, and once again culminated in demands for the ouster of the CNG. Lt. Gen. Namphy, in light of the size of these demonstrations, which were estimated at about 50,000 people, addressed the nation on radio and television from the National Palace and for the first time repudiated Duvalierism. He announced that the CNG sought to put an end to the "arbitrary and repressive practices of the past," and to eliminate "once and for all the terrible spectre of Macoutism. ,28
Regarding a possible political return of the Duvalierists, Lt. Gen. Namphy stated that the CNG and the Army would not permit the "return to the country of the totalitarian and bloody plague. ,2 9 Consequently, the neo-Duvalierist party, in view of the heated climate, decided to dissolve shortly after it had been established, on November 12, 1986. 30
51. During the Commission's on-site visit in January 1987, it
received complaints from political leaders that the CNG had not consulted the political parties or the public regarding the terms of this decree. The leaders of the opposition movement to Duvalier charged that the CNG's attempt to govern by decree, even prior to the adoption of the Constitution, rendered it (the CNG) an authoritarian government with dictatorial tendencies. Due to the unwillingness of many political
leaders to subject the formation and membership of their parties to governmental scrutiny, few parties have complied with the requisites of this law.
52. In light of the work on the preparation of the 1987 Constitution the political parties law was soon overshadowed and, eventually ignored. Political parties continued to be established, and according to the U.S. based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, which played a role in sponsoring seminars for Haitian politicians on
"institution-building" and "party-building in a traditional democracy," in the 21 months following Jean-Claude Duvalier's departure, until the November 29, 1987 elections, "more than 70" political parties had
C. Background to the Creation of the
Provisional Electoral Council
53. Ironically, Jean-Claude Duvalier wanted to see himself as the founder of political democracy in Haiti. On September 22, 1979, he
I would like to present myself before the tribunal of
history as he who founded, in an irreversible manner, democracy
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Indeed, the Haitian people considered his departure the beginning of the democratization process.
54. Jean-Claude Duvalier claimed that political liberalization and democratization had become established patterns of his policies. It is
evident that Jean-Claude Duvalier considered "democratization" to be something other than what is commonly understood by this term. In a rare
interview given in 1983, he stated:
In the coming four months (February 1984), honest and open
parliamentary elections will be held throughout the nine
geographical departments of the country. But we cannot have
democracy like France or the United States. If we did have such
a system, we would have a very catastrophic situation, because illiteracy touches around 80% of our people. The people can
easily be influenced in one way or the other. We need a
democracy that accords with our personality as a people and with
our history and economic real ity.3
55. On September 22, 1983, then President-for-Life Jean-Claude
Duvalier, in an address on the 26th Anniversary of "Duvalierism" announced that "totally free, honest and impartial" legislative elections would be held in Haiti. The legislative elections were held on February 12, 1984. Of the 309 candidates who ran to fill the 59 seats of the Chambre L6gislative, no opposition (i.e., non-Duvalierist) candidates were allowed to participate.
56. For example, Rev. Sylvio Claude was detained on October 9, 1983 with members of his party and held incommunicado for the sixth time in f ive years. Rev. Claude's detention followed the announcement that his 5-year old party intended to participate in the 1984 elections. The price for political participation under President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier's "democratization" period is best described in Rev. Sylvio Claude's own words:
On January 27, 1984, it will have been five years since the
day I declared my candidacy for the elections of February 11, 1979. It will have been five years since I began to openly participate in the difficult and dangerous struggle to win freedom for all Haitians, regardless of their social condition, their political views, or their ideology. I have dedicated myself completely to this struggle, risking my own life and my family's, so that Haitians might be freed from oppression and so
that true democracy may be established once and for all.
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Since that time, I have believed that the best course of action to make that dream a reality would be to create a political organization in opposition to the ruling regime. Its ranks were to be composed of all nationalists, Haitian democrats both within and outside the country. I founded such an
organization on October 5, 1978 so as to create a monolithic block for a determined and effective fight against the powerful Duvalier regime. Despite the strong efforts of the regime to squelch it, the party has held firm. Nevertheless, we have
encountered so much apathy and lack of understanding among members of the traditional Haitian opposition that I could easily have become discouraged, had I not always been convinced that the Almighty had chosen me to carry out this difficult and sensitive task.
Despite the problems, from the beginning of this struggle my family and I, in addition to some members of the Party, have devoted ourselves to the cause completely, so as to win the trust of each and every individual and to prove the seriousness and the sincerity of our commitment. I think that everyone is aware of the dangers to which we are exposed. Personally, my life has been threatened - first because I have dared to oppose
this totalitarian regime which does not tolerate any opposition, be it legal or illegal, and to reject all the attempts to corrupt me, to recruit me as they have so many others, even those in the ranks of the opposition itself; and second, and more important, because I have refused to leave the country. I need not mention how many times members of the PDCH, members of
my family, and I have been arrested during these five years, or the torture and abuse that accompanied these arrests.
Nevertheless, I must tell you about the arrest of October 9, 1983, which I consider to be the most brutal of all my arrests.
On September 9, when a convoy of about ten vehicles arrived, driven by agents of the political police, their
intention was not to arrest me but to end my life under the cover of night. They intended to put an end, once and for all, to the "Sylvio Claude phenomenon," to cite the exact words of Colonel Albert Pierre who, as he said, came personally for this purpose. There was a prize on my head, and a small fortune had been set aside for whoever would report my whereabouts.
Fortunately, my Protector was looking after me. A militiaman had reported to the sergeant at Bon Repos - a small community some twenty kilometers from the capital - that I could be found on my small farm, where I have been raising goats for the past six years. But the Almighty intervened, and did not allow the sergeant to alert his commanding officer.
Accompanied by four VSN (Volontaires de la Securit6
Nationale), commonly known as Tontons Macoutes of Bon Repos, the
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sergeant placed me under arrest on Sunday, October 9, 1983, at about 9:00 a.m. With my two wrists bound behind my back, I suffered bitterly from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The all-powerful Duvalier henchman, Colonel Albert Pierre, who had been notified by phone of my arrest, came quickly to the Bon Repos police station to take me into his custody. He reprimanded the
sergeant for not having informed him of my presence in this out of the way place, where, he said, he would have had an ideal opportunity to put an end to what he called the "Sylvio Claude phenomenon."
Then, to conceal the arrest from the public, he gagged me with an orange and a piece of cloth and hid my face by putting a sack over it, carefully tying the sack to my pelvis. He threw me into the trunk of a car, just as if I were a bundle, and closed the trunk securely. After an intentional detour, I was taken to Croix-des-Bouquets (about twelve kilometers from Port-au-Prince). After passing about four hours in a small prison, kept bound as I was when I left the Bon Repos station, I shrewdly devised a strategy to prevent the beating that the torturers were planning for me. I led them to believe that they thought they could accomplish a dream they had had for five years: banishing me from Haiti. I easily persuaded them to take me to the Casernes Dessalines. There, at about 9:00 p.m., I was informed of the Government's definitive decision: "If you want to live, you must leave the country. This is your last chance; otherwise, you will not get out alive." There is no need to
describe the panic that seized me, after having suffered
terribly for twelve hours. Instead of better conditions, I was faced with a choice to which I had to answer at all costs.
I pretended to agree to the proposal of these men, who said that they were in a great hurry. I informed them that I had
intended to go to the United States and that, therefore, a visa request had been sent to the American Embassy on my behalf. it was then that the conditions of my imprisonment improved.
Fourteen days later, on Thursday, October 13, 1 was face-to-face with the political attach and Consul of the
American Embassy, who were there to convince me to leave Haiti. I had to be an absolute strategist to thwart their plans even temporarily. The political attach, having understood me very well and being a good diplomat, quickly invoked American law. He told Colonel Albert Pierre and Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Orcel that he would contact the State Department to find out if I qualified for a visa. Fifteen days later the Colonel, more determined than ever, summoned me to inform me that he had received no answer from the State Department, and that the Government could wait no longer. He told me also that the
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Ambassadors of France and of West Germany had expressed their desire to see me.
I was told that I had to choose one of these two countries to go to. After a few moments of indecision and reflection, I demanded to see the West German Ambassador with my wife and my daughter Jocelyne. I would not yield when he tried to convince me that it was not necessary for my family to see the Ambassador with me.
On November 4, the West German Ambassador came to see me. He was accompanied by the Interior Secretary, Mr. Roger Lafontant, but not by my wife and my daughter. I made it clear to the Ambassador that the decision I was about to make was of utmost importance, and would affect the life of all members of my family. Because of that, the decision would have to be made with my wife and my daughter Jocelyne. The Ambassador acquiesced. Finally, the day of decision arrived, the day when I came within a hair's breadth of death. It was on Monday, the 14th November. I met with Colonel Albert Pierre, Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Orcel, the- Ambassador of Germany, and my wife and daughter. The Ambassador asked me, "Mr. Claude, what can I do for you?" I responded:
"Mr. Ambassador, before explaining to you my tragic decision, I must bring to your attention the fact that I did not personally, on my own initiative, ask to see you. Since having been brought to the Casernes Dessalines, I learned that both you and the French Ambassador wanted to see me. So I am only
responding to your invitation. I had planned to travel to the United States to learn English when I was supposedly a free man. When I arrived here after my arrest on October 9, 1 was presented with a choice, a 'take it or leave it' situation. The choice was the following: 'Either you leave, or you will not get out of here alive. This is your last chance.'
"Since all men want to live, as life is sweet - unless it happens to be the day God has decided you are to leave this earth, in which case such a decision must be accepted, whether we like it or not. Faced with such a choice, Mr. Ambassador, you will understand why I chose to leave, under the one
condition that I would be released first so as to arrange my affairs before leaving. That was my decision and it still stands.
When I originally made the decision to travel, I was not forced to do so. No, I am forced to leave, with the threat of losing my life if I stay here. If the latter is God's will, so be it. If it is impossible for me to regain the freedom I lost
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more than three years ago - although I have been pardoned by the Head of State - may God's will be done, because when a man's soul is called he cannot escape divine will, no matter where he
Mr. Ambassador, I thank you for your efforts to help me
regain my freedom. I beg you also to thank your Government for the efforts it has made to free me. Unfortunately, this freedom
has so f ar been denied to me. Moreover, the worst is yet to
Immediately after my declaration and after the departure of
the Ambassador, I was taken to the torture room while my wife and daughter, under heavy pressure, were detained. They were held for five hours. Under orders from Colonel Albert Pierre, who was present, two torturers hoisted me up (in Creole: "djake"
a common form of torture in Haitian prisons, where the prisoner is hauled up to be beaten to a pulp) and began a beating that ended only when I lost consciousness. During the night, I
fainted again, and the guard on duty had difficulty finding a doctor. He thought that I was dying. On December 24, still in pain, I was taken to my home under heavy guard. The house was guarded by three soldiers posted in front, so that I could not leave the premises. I learned that the Haitian Government had assured the American Government that I would be freed so that I could participate in the legislative elections to be held on
February 12, 1984 .
57. In spite of the Haitian Government's reported assurances to the U.S. Embassy, Rev. Sylvio Claude was not permitted to participate in the February 1984 "elections".
58. Following his release, Rev. Sylvio Claude was kept under surveillance. His house was watched by three policemen: one in uniform and two in plainclothes. When he went anywhere, such as to Church, he was accompanied by an officer.
59. Mr. Gr6goire Eugene, head of the (at that time) only other opposition political party, had been expelled from Haiti on December 2, 1980. He was not permitted to return to Haiti until February 22, 1984, under an amnesty declared by President Duvalier, subsequent to the elections.
60. The only candidate of the 309 who participated in the legislative "elections" who did not belong to Jean-Claude Duvalier's party was Mr. Serge Beaulieu. The Government arrested the poll-watchers of Mr. Serge Beaulieu f 3 4 and he was defeated. After the "elections" Mr. Beaulieu was arrested. 35
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61. In summation, "elections" under the Duvalierists, and even under the so-called democratization and liberalization period of Jean-Claude Duvalier, signified elections under circumstances in which no opposition political party was allowed to participate. The few mavericks who attempted to form political parties and attempted to declare themselves candidates in these "open and free" elections were harassed, detained, subject to torture or, in some cases, summarily deported.
62. During the Commission's 1987 on-site visit, one political leader informed the Commission that Haiti's numerous political leaders and
candidates for the presidency reflected a phenomenon which was common to countries emerging from a long period of dictatorship. Multiple political parties were formed in the Dominican Republic after the departure of Trujillo, and similarly in Portugal ater Salazar's departure and, of course, in Spain after Franco.
63. The people are content, this politician insisted, they want to assert themselves, take initiatives but there are many crazies as well, who don't understand anything, at the beginning. In the second stage, the
formation of political parties and ideologies begins to occur. And in the third stage, three or four major currents emerge and it is at this time that democracy takes root. This political leader hoped that the same thing would happen in Haiti. He stated that the political parties in January 1987 were in the second stage, that is, that they were being formed and attempting to reach agreements among themselves. Ten political parties had reached agreement and signed a text calling on the CNG to form an independent electoral council.
64. The political parties called for the creation of an independent body to run the elections because they wanted the elections to be removed from the control of the Duvalierists who, for almost thirty years, had determined their outcome.
d. The Creation of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)
65. The 1987 Constitution provides for the creation of a Permanent Electoral Council to organize and control, "with complete independence," all electoral procedures throughout Haiti." The nine members of the
Permanent Electoral Council are to be designated as follows: (1) 3 by the Executive Branch; (2) 3 by the Supreme Court, and (3) 3 by the National Assembly. 3 7 In light of the fact that these institutions did not yet exist, the 1987 Constitution provided for a "Provisional Electoral Council" (CEP) of nine members who were to be designated by nine entities representing nine sectors of Haitian society (see p. 55 supra) .3 a
66. The draft Constitution contained a provision for the creation of a Provisional Electoral Commission, but the March 29, 1987 referendum on the Constitution was organized, as were the October 19, 1986 elections, by the Ministry of the Interior, which, it was charged, remained under the
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control of persons closely associated with Jean-Claude Duvalier. The
Provisional Electoral Council was created following the referendum which approved the Constitution.
67. On May 21, 1987 the members of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), were sworn in and officially assumed their functions . The
following nine persons were designated members of the CEP: Me. Napol6on EuqL-ne; M. Ernst Verdieu; M. Carlo Dupiton; Me. Pierre LabissiL-re; M. Emmanuel Ambroise; Dr. Charles Poisset Romain; Dr. Ernst Mirville; Rev. Sem Marseille and M. Philippe Jules.
68. On May 13, 1987 the CNG purported to issue a decree creating the CEP, an attempt which was repudiated by the CEP as soon as its members were installed and assumed their functions. By letter dated May 21, 1987, the members of the CEP criticized the CNG's decree of May 13th and reaffirmed the CEP's autonomy and independence. It surprised some
observers that the member of the CEP designated by the CNG, and the member designated by the Univer sity4 , who was also considered a government
loyalist, also signed the letter affirming the CEP's autonomy, and
therefore the CEP was able to take decisions by consensus. As had been
the case with the Constituent Assembly, the Provisional Electoral Council assumed, from its very beginning, an esprit de corps as a result of its empowerment by the Constitution and the popular support of the population.
69. In its May 21, 1987 letter to the CNG, the CEP affirmed that it had been created by the 1987 Constitution, and not by the decree of the CNG. Since the decree violated the spirit and the letter of the
Constitution, the CEP considered it unconstitutional and recommended that it be repealed. The CEP reaffirmed that it was mandated by the
Constitution to prepare the Electoral Law and not merely the draft of an Electoral Law. In its view, the document to be submitted to the CNG was to be the law which was not to be modified by the CNG, and which was to be submitted to the CNG solely for the formal act of promulgation.
70. Further, the Provisional Electoral Council stated that it alone was mandated by the Constitution to take a decision as regards the qualifications of an electoral candidate and that its decisions were final and not subject to judicial review. Underscoring its constitutional
supremacy in electoral matters, the Provisional Electoral Council stated that it, alone, was authorized to draw up its internal regulations and its method of voting since the Constitution declares it to be an independent institution. Therefore, the decree of the CNG, which provides that
two-thirds of the members must vote in favor in order for the CEP to take a decision, and states that decisions of the Provisional Electoral Council are appealable to a court, would deprive the CEP of its autonomous status. The CNG's decree, in the opinion of the Provisional Electoral Council, would place the Electoral Council at the level of a lower court in the hierarchy of the judicial branch of government which is not in conformity with the Constitution. This provision is particularly
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significant in light of Article 291 of the Constitution concerning the qualification or disqualification of former Duvalierists. According to
the Provisional Electoral Council, the CEP alone is empowered to determine who fulfills the requirements for candidacy for elections to public office.
71. On May 22, 1987, the members of the Provisional Electoral Council made public this letter to the CNG; and on May 30, 1987, the first half of the CEP's Electoral Law was published in the press to stimulate debate and suggestions from the public. The Electoral Law was submitted
by the Electoral Council to the Ministry of Justice on Friday, June 5, 1987.
72. On June 15, 1987, the members of the Provisional Electoral
Council called a press conference to express their concern regarding the silence on the part of the CNG concerning the promulgation of the Electoral Law submitted to the Minister of Justice on June 5, 1987, and to announce that in view of the delay the elections planned for July could not be carried out. The dispute over the control of the elections was well on its way to assuming crisis proportions.
73. On June 19, 1987, the Centrale autonome des travailleurs
ha~tiens (CATH) called a strike for June 22 and 23. The proposed CATH
strike had no immediate connection with the electoral crisis, however, that same day the CNG published its own Electoral Law and announced that municipal elections would be held on August 23. These acts undermined the independence of the CEP.
74. On June 22, 1987, the transport sector completely supported CATH in its call for a strike and Port-au-Prince was virtually paralyzed. By
decree dated June 23, the CNG dissolved CATH, destroyed its headquarters and arrested three of its leaders. The political parties and social organizations united in repudiation of the CNG's action and the CNG was called upon to repeal its electoral decree.
75. On June 29 and 30, 1987, the Coordination Committee of the Group of 57, a coaliti-on of grassroots organizations, called a strike for the abrogation of the CNG's decree and the dissolution of CATH. Four people
were killed and at least two dozen others injured in Cit6 Soleil in clashes between the Army and anti-Government demonstrators. This second
general strike again virtually paralyzed Port-au-Prince. The CNG's Electoral Law was criticized by opponents of the regime for placing supervision of the elections in the hands of the Ministry of the Interior, which had been in charge of the October elections and the March
referendum, and it relegated the CEP to the position of a "filing" office for the results of the municipal elections and the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in November.
76. The political and popular organizations joined forces against the CNG which they charged with acting as a dictatorship. The President
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of the CNG, Lt. Gen. Namphy, sought to allay those fears and in a televised speech he renewed his pledge to lead Haiti to democratic elections. Since Lt. Gen. Namphy did not restore the independence of the CEP, the opposition political leaders called for a renewal of the strikes and the focus shifted from the independence of the CEP to the larger issue of the ouster of the CNG.
77. On July 1, 1987, Port-au-Prince reportedly looked like a
battlefield after two days of a general strike marked by violent clashes between soldiers and demonstrators that resulted in the death of 10 persons, 57 injured and numerous arrests. The demonstrators demanded an end to the CNG. On July 1, 1987, the strike was suspended and the people stocked up on supplies. The next day the strike resumed, demonstrators burned barricades in the streets, the city of Port-au-Prince was again paralyzed and the violence continued to escalate with numerous dead and wounded.
78. As a consequence of these events, on July 2, 1987, the CNG annulled its decree whereby it had tried to seize control of the electoral process, and Information Minister Jacques Lorthe, who had taken a hard line position, was forced to resign. Two people were reported shot and killed by soldiers in a suburb of Port-au-Prince, however, the clashes throughout the country were said to be less severe than during the first two days of the strike. Following the CNG's restoration of control to the Electoral Council, the CEP immediately announced that it would begin drafting a new program for conducting elections.
79. Mr. Jean-Claude Bajeux, a leader of the Group of 57, stated on July 3, 1987, that the CNG should reorganize itself or resign. He said that the only solution would be a reorganized CNG consisting of two civilian and one military members but, as it stood, it was unacceptably dominated by the armed forces. Mr. Bajeux stated that protests would continue until Lt. Gen. Namphy and Gen. Williams Regala resign. In fact, the demonstrations did continue in Port-au-Prince, until soldiers shot straight into the crowds and killed seven demonstrators.
80. On July 4, 1987, the Provisional Electoral Council announced that it would suspend negotiations with the CNG due to the "barbaric acts" attributed to the army during the five days of demonstrations. The
suspension of negotiations between the CEP and the CNG further isolated the CNG as political, labor and civic organizations called for a strike to force the members of the CNG to resign.
81. On July 8, 1987 Haitians returned to work at the end of an 8 day anti-government strike. Soldiers had killed approximately 22 persons and wounded 135. The representatives of the Group of 57, who had organized the strike, called a press conference in which they decreed on July 9, 1987 a day of mourning for those who had been killed.
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82. On July 12, 1987, the Coordination Committee of the Group of 57 again proposed a "people's alternative" to the CNG, suggesting a replacement of the current members with representatives of the "democratic sectors" and a member of the Army's general staff. The Coordination
Committee stated that Monday and Tuesday, July 13 and 14, would be the days to organize the second phase of the battle against the CNG. The
Committee called on the people who represented the CNG - the prefects, magistrates, commissioners, information agents, members of the
Administrative Councils, - to resign and to come over to the side of the people.
83. Against this background of political and social upheaval, the Provisional Electoral Council on July 14 published its Electoral Decree and set November 29 as the date for the presidential elections. The CEP's
decree provides, in Article 88-2, for "Vigilance Brigades", the role of which is to remain neutral and to maintain order, to prevent the coercion of voters and to assist voters in finding their respective polling places.
84. On July 15, 1987, Haiti was again totally paralyzed by a new general strike called by the Group of 57 which continued to demand the resignation of the Government headed by Lt. Gen. Namphy. Bishop Romelus
of Jeremie joined the strike, took up the slogan Rache Manyok (lit. "uproot the manioc and move on") and openly called on Namphy to resign.
85. On July 24, 1987, the CNG, in an attempt to stop 4 weeks of violent anti-government protests and demonstrations, issued a decree
requiring that demonstrators obtain a 72-hour prior authorization to hold a demonstration and that the organizers of the strikes be identified.
86. Following the massacre of approximately 300 peasants in the locality of Jean Rabel, the Group of 57 again called upon its members to demonstrate against the Tontons Macoutes and the CNG.
87. After weeks of strikes which attempted to bring down the CNG, the Government finally promulgated the CEP's Electoral Law on August 10, 1987, and promised the CEP the finances required in its budget. November
29 was set as the date for the presidential and legislative elections, but no date was set for municipal and communal elections.
e. The Continuing Struggle between the CNG and the CEP
for Control of the November 29, 1987 Elections
88. As mentioned in the Commission's 1986-1987 Annual Report, acts of violence during the latter half of 1987 became routine daily occurrences.
89. By mid-October death squads and vigilante killers were operating with impunity on a nightly basis and speculation was rife that the army
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would use the violence as a pretext to cancel the elections. Bodies of
persons who had been killed were left on the streets to serve as a warning to others. In the face of this growing violence the members of the CEP publicly called upon the military government to provide security so that the elections could take place. The CNG replied that it would do
something about the violence if the CEP could identify those responsible. In a letter of October 16, 1987 the CNG claimed that administrative
assistance would violate the spirit of neutrality expected of the Government.
90. In mid-October the Duvalierists again declared themselves in the race for the presidency. On October 13, 1987, former Duvalier Finance
Minister, Clovis Desinor, and former Interior Minister and Chief of Staff, Claude Raymond, declared their candidacies for the presidency; they stated that the CEP questionnaire regarding a candidate's Duvalierist past was unjust and could lead to "civil war", "an outcome for which only the CEP would be responsible." The CNG, in spite of the express constitutional mandate of the CEP, ruled that all Duvalierists intending to run for the presidency be given a "discharge," a kind of amnesty, for any financial irregularities during their time of service to the Duvalier regimes.
91. On November 2, 1987 the CEP, pursuant to Article 291 of the Constitution, determined that twelve former associates of the Duvaliers were ineligible to run, among the 12 candidacies rejected were several former ministers under the Duvalier regime - Messrs. Clovis Desinor, Herve Boyer, Edouard Francisque - and two former Army chiefs of staff: retired Generals Jean Baptiste Hilaire and Claude Raymond .
92. That same night, in retaliation, twelve armed men blocked off Rue Pav6e at the former offices of the Minoterie d'Haiti where the headquarters of the CEP were located, they fired rounds of ammunition in the air to scare any bystanders, chiseled through heavy metal shutters to enter the premises and set fire to the building, destroying the headquarters and most of its records. According to reports, on the "first floor of the downtown council headquarters, fire consumed thousands of posters calling on Haitians to vote in the November 29 elections, copies of the election law, books, banners and leaflets.",42 This act of arson occurred within a few hundred yards of the police headquarters, yet the police conducted no investigation.
93. Another fire occurred in the intersection between Rue des
Casernes and Grand Rue at the "Continental Trading Company", a store belonging to Mr. Emmanuel Ambroise, a member of the CEP. In addition, the headquarters of Rev. Sylvio Claude's Haitian Christian Democratic Party (PDCG) were riddled by bullets fired by armed commandos. Rev. Claude
stated that there was no loss of life, but much damage was done since all the windows were shattered.
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94. Mr. Jean Robert Sabalat, the Director of the Departamental Electoral Office (BED) for the Department of the West, informed Col. Carl Nicolas that on November 2, a group of unidentified individuals fired on the BED/West's Office at Delmas 30, A. They wounded the night watchman, Andr6 Clemard, and damaged the building's main facade. Mr. Sabalat
requested Col. Nicolas to order security measures for the BED/West office and for the Communal Electoral Office (BECs).
95. Mr. Emmanuel Ambroise's home in Morne Hecules, Petionville, was attacked and destroyed by fire. Pursuant to reports, three unidentified individuals arrived in a jeep without license plates and tried to set fire to the CEP jeep parked in the yard of Mr. Emmanuel Ambroise's house. They then tried to break into the house but the people of Morne Hercules mobilized to stop them. Witnesses tried to call the police, the army barracks, and the Leopards and they were reportedly laughed at.
96. The "Imprimerie Natal" one of the three printing shops that was handling CEP orders for ballots, posters and other electoral materials was set ablaze destroying tons of ballot paper, voter registration cards, and voter education leaflets, and during the following days regional electoral offices around the country were attacked with machinegun fire.
97. The CEP announced on November 3, 1987, that the municipal elections and the elections for Administrative Councils for the Communal Sections (CASEC) would be postponed until December 20, 1987 due to
administrative difficulties and the climate of fear. Rev. Alain Rocourt, Chairman of the Methodist Church and the treasurer of the CEP stated that "We've written two letters to the National Governing Council asking for police security, since we have been receiving daily death threats. We've received no response."
98. The headquarters of the presidential candidates Sylvio Claude, Marc Bazin, Gr6goire Eugene and Leslie Manigat were reportedly sprayed with gunfire. On November 12, 1987, Mr. Louis Dejoie's headquarter's in St. Marc were set ablaze and the St. Marc offices of the candidates Marc Bazin, Leslie Manigat and Frangois Latortue were ransacked.
99. The CNG released a communique promising an investigation of the circumstances which resulted in the fire at the CEP headquarters. The
investigating committee was to be composed of Col. Morton Gousse, Lt. Col. Rene Mompoint and Ms. Anacita Duperval of the Ministry of Interior and National Defense. To the present, August 1988, no report has yet been issued.
100. Mr. Clovis Desinor was the first candidate to react to the rejection of his candidacy. Mr. Desinor stated that the CEP's decision constituted a flagrant violation of the Electoral Law of August 10, 1987 in that Article 62 of the law requires that the committee of the BEC or the BED will invite the contested candidate to come into the office to
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defend himself and to come up with proof to contradict the decision within 48 hours. Mr. Desinor stated that he never was allowed to defend himself and that he was notified of the decision over the air. He demanded that
the CEP inform him of the criteria used to judge his case, "especially since the decision was dictated by a foreign power and this constitutes meddling in the internal affairs of the country." 43
101. On November 6, 1987, Lt. Gen. Namphy proclaimed himself
Commander -in-Chie f of the Armed Forces for a period of three years, pursuant to new military regulations which reorganized the Haitian Armed Forces. The Haitian Constitution provides that the President is the
nominal head of the Armed Forces (Art. 143) and his only authority over the Army is his power to name a Commander-in-Chief (Art. 141). Lt. Gen.
Naxnphy's self -appointment as Commander-in-Chief effectively preempted the future President from appointing his own choice as Commander-in-Chief. On
November 12, 1987, Brigadier General Williams Regala was promoted to Major-General in the Haitian Armed Forces and Assistant
Commander-in-Chief. In addition, it was reported that the Haitian Army had grown from 6,500 to 10,000 men in 18 months.
102. Also on November 6, 1987, the Ambassadors from France, West Germany, the U.S. and Canada, in a written statement, reaffirmed their support for the electoral process and called upon the CNG to provide protection to the CEP. In response, the French Restaurant La Cascade in Petionville was burned down as was a U.S. factory under construction in Port-au-Prince.
103. On November 9, 1987, the OAS Secretary General, Joao Clemente Baena Soares, expressed by letter to Lt. Gen. Namphy the serious concern of the OAS Member States reagarding the "regrettable events" occurring in Haiti which might endanger the electoral process.
104. By November 8, 1987, the date voter registration closed, and in spite of the climate of violence, the CEP with the assistance of 30,000 volunteers had managed to register 2,246,000 voters, estimated at 73% of the electorate.
105. Two weeks before the elections the papers documented the daily toll of assassinations, disappearances and kidnappings. Le Nouvelliste on November 13, 1987, described the day's toll just prior to the elections as follows:
1. On the Mgr. Guilloux Street in Port-au-Prince a man was
killed at 6 a.m.
2. On the Remparts Street a young boy was found dead bathed in
his own blood the day before yesterday.
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3. On certain radio stations in the capital mothers and
fathers report the disappearance of a family member.
4. The last disappeared is named Samuel Noel, 20 years; he
left his home Friday November 6 and has not been seen since.
5. A curfew seems to have taken effect in Port-au-Prince as of
10 p.m. The streets are deserted.
6. The members of the Departmental and Communal Electoral
Bureaux (BED) (BEC) are subject to attacks even in their own private residences. The offices of the political
parties have been sacked, pillaged and burned.
7. Even the jeeps used by the BED have not been saved from
8. In Saint Marc it is reported that every night bursts of
gunfire are heard.
106. On November 13, 1987, the CNG, in its first offer of logistical support, announced that the public schools would be made available to be used as polling places, but it refused to provide government trucks, jeeps or helicopters, or to facilitate transportation of voting materials. Some efforts on the part of the CNG to provide security to presidential candidates were also noted, as for example, when Mr. Gerard Gourgue visited the locality of Jeremie, he was escorted by several soldiers.
107. Six days before the elections, on November 23, the Marche Salomon, one of Port-au-Prince's largest open air markets, was burned down during a twelve-hour rampage that killed at least two persons and left more than 30 injured. Reportedly, while uniformed soldiers and police stayed in their barracks, armed bands roamed through the streets for about two hours before dawn firing volleys into the air in a half-dozen areas of Port-au-Prince. It was also reported that the assailants shouted "Long live the Army" and "Down with the CEP" These slogans appeared in red
letters all over Port-au-Prince the following day.
108. On November 24, 1987, the body of an unidentified man was dumped in front of the home of the presidential candidate Gerard Gourgue.
109. In Gonaives, November 24, 1987 was considered "a dark night" due to the violence that occurred during the night. The shooting reportedly began at 1:00 a.m. with a blackout in two or three neighborhoods. The
first target attacked was the BED office located a few meters from the Toussaint Louverture Barracks. Some 35 bullets were fired at the BED.
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110. The second target, at approximately 1:45 a.m. was the residence of BED President, Luciano Pharaon, on rue Fabre Geffrard, where 18 bullets were fired. Bullets pierced the walls and entered the house as well as shattering the windows of his residence. Shooting continued all over town during the night.
111. On November 24, 1987, Dr. Ernst Mirville, addressed the Haitian people on Radio Soleil, in the name of the CEP:
In organizing these elections, pursuant to the Constitution
of 1987, the CEP and the Haitian people encountered many
difficulties because a small number of people have reached an understanding among themselves to prevent the people from going and voting and choosing its leaders democratically. Here are
some of the problems we have encountered. We need soldiers to guard all CEP offices. We need trucks to take materials out into the provinces. To this day, we have not received them. We asked for helicopters to help carry the ballots to places where the roads are very bad. We have not been given them. The CEP
has been wanting to address the population over national
television for a while now. The national television station
didn't give us a chance to do so. Today, 24 November, they told us they could receive us but that we had to pay them more than $2.080 for I hour of air time. We didn't think we would have to pay anything at all since the television station belongs to the
Haitian people and the elections are the people's business.
We have a problem of transportation. We need trucks and
other vehicles and we need guards for them, in order to get the ballots to the provinces. We need security for the polling
stations. A group of people with weapons are setting fires and
attacking the electoral offices and killing people in them.
We are asking the people to help us solve these problems.
The people in Carrefour Feuilles and in Lamentin 54 have risen up to prevent disorder. This is a beautiful example. We ask everyone to tell us what he can do and to get together with the
CEP everywhere .
112. The anti-election violence subsided as neighborhood defense
groups began to be formed to ensure that the elections would take place. On November 25, 1987, vigilante groups lynched four men suspected of anti-election terrorism.
113. On November 26, 1987, three days before the elections, the Army was brought out and eight dead bodies were found on the streets as a result of the nightly clashes. The Army, which had remained in its
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barracks as the anti-election terror campaign spread fear throughout Haiti, began to patrol the streets after the neighborhood defense groups took over the security function and lynched four people, two of whom were identified as plainclothes police officers.
114. General Regala issued a communique on November 25, 1987,
ordering the vigilance brigades to disband. He reminded the citizenry
that the Haitian Armed Forces had direct and exclusive responsibility for maintaining order and that no group or association that attempted to set itself up as a substitute to the Armed Forces would be tolerated. He
criticized the vigilance brigades for sowing confusion and thereby making the task of the security forces more difficult. In conclusion, Gen.
Regalia's communique called upon the population to remain calm and not to undertake any action which might obstruct, rather than facilitate, keeping order.
115. On November 28, 1987, Gen. Regalia suspended all firearm permits issued to date except for those in the hands of the Haitian Armed Forces, "to whom the law and the Constitution have entrusted the sacred mission of ensuring the integrity of the national territory and the security of lives 45
and property", according to the communique issued .
116. Having failed to receive governmental assistance to transport the voting materials, the CEP rented two helicopters in Miami to assist in the distribution of ballots to remote regions in Haiti. Gen. Regalia
refused to grant flight permits to the CEP's helicopters citing security reasons. In addition, despite an explicit request, the Army refused to intervene when, for a second day, a group of approximately 15 armed men blocked election vehicles at Freycineau, which was attempting to deliver ballots to the northern region of Haiti. As a consequence the CEP was
forced to postpone the elections in five towns to which ballots had not been delivered. The military government also refused to allow the CEP to explain election procedures on the radio, in spite of the fact that it allocated television time to the barred Duvalierist candidates who continued their campaigns and used the television time to assail the CEP.
C. THE NOVEMBER 29, 1987 ELECTION DAY MASSACRE AND THE DISSOLUTION OF THE CEP
a. The Failure of the Army to Maintain Security
117. Despite the communique of CNG member Maj. Gen. Williams Regala that keeping order is the "direct and exclusive" responsibility of the Haitian Armed Forces, what were supposed to be the first free elections in thirty years had to be called off because of the rampage of paramilitary forces, who, according to the official toll, had killed 34 persons and wounded 75, although unofficial reports were significantly higher.
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118. The Army failed to deploy any of its troops to ensure order, and the process of the derailment of the elections began approximately at one o'clock during the night of November 28-29, as bands of gunmen roamed the streets by car, shooting at random, and setting fire to three precinct electoral offices and a gas station. Reportedly, one giant blaze lit the sky in Port-au-Prince for almost an hour.
119. That night, a hand grenade ripped open the facade of Radio Haiti-Inter and a spray of bullets shattered the windows at Radio Antilles International. According to witnesses, 16 men in army uniforms destroyed the transmitter of Radio Soleil, the Roman Catholic radio station. Also, the home of Rev. Alain Rocourt, the head of the Methodist Church in Haiti and the CEP treasurer, was attacked by two jeep loads of soldiers who tossed 7-9 hand grenades into the house and whose machinegun fire resulted in 200 UZI shells being found the next morning around the house. The
attack began at approximately 3:30 in the morning and lasted approximately 20 minutes while members of the Rocourt family hid inside in terror. Witnesses testified that they saw twenty to thirty uniformed soldiers, and
when the family attempted to phone for help they found that the phone was dead, not from lines having been cut, but rather service had been cut off by the telephone company, evidence that the attack had been well planned beforehand.
120. Four churches were attacked, including the Cathedral, and in the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church several dozen people, who were
attending mass, were assaulted and beaten by gunmen. The Church courtyard had been designated a polling place.
121. The shootings intensified after the polls opened at 6 a.m. Six thousand polling stations were scheduled to accommodate 500 voters each. At the Argentine School on the ruelle Vaillant in downtown Port-au-Prince, about 100 voters were in line waiting to vote when they were attacked by a mob of 50-60 men with rifles and machetes who, according to the New York Times, "rushed the panicked voters" "hacking with machetes and firing guns 46
indiscriminately into the frenzied crowd" . Fifteen people were killed immediately. The voters fled into the school where several "were
dismembered with machetes or shot to death". The killers, according to witnesses, moved from classroom to classroom, killing their victims. Many were shot huddled together and others lay sprawled in pools of blood.
122. When journalists arrived they reported finding the courtyard awash with blood and 10 mutilated bodies piled in a corner. According to one journalist present, "a grey jeep carrying helmeted Army soldiers drove up to the door and the troops opened fire again into the polling place courtyard. ,47
123. At another polling place, also in a school, Dominican cameraman Carlos Grull6n was shot in the abdomen at close range, reportedly by
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soldiers, and died a few hours later. His colleagues and other witnesses testified that he stood with his hands raised, shouting that he was a journalist. A uniformed soldier reportedly shot him three times. British journalist Geoffrey Smith was shot in the leg and Swiss journalist Graba Thuller was wounded in the back.
124. Also, reportedly "target of deliberate attack from gunmen, some in Army uniform, was a U.S. television news team, three members of which were seriously wounded - a Haitian, a Mexican and a Salvadoran - and while they lay bleeding after being shot at point blank range, the gunmen returned and stripped them of their valuables, including their camera 48
equipment, and shot the Haitian again" .
125. It was reported that at least 34 persons were killed, although the Roman Catholic Primate of St. Lucia, Archbishop Kelvin Felix, present as an election observer, reported that the actual number might be as high as 200.
126. Despite the violence, many people succeeded in voting before the CEP called off the elections. Observers reported that the role of the Army varied in different parts of the country: "in Jacmel soldiers protected polling stations whereas in Port-au-Prince military units
passively or actively sided with the killer squads and roads to the north were blocked by military units, preventing delivery of ballot papers and other election material." In Gonaives, Haiti's third largest city, almost no one was permitted to make it to the polls: uniformed soldiers
reportedly drove through the streets shooting at residents and driving them back into their homes.
127. On the day of the elections, CEP members, Ernst Mirville (President), Rev. Alain Rocourt and Emmanuel Ambroise were forced into hiding. Another member, Pierre Labissiere left the country. He has since returned and is now head of the Haitian Bar Association. Mr. Mirville has described members of the CEP as "walking dead men." The electoral council 49
blamed the violence on the government . The CEP postponed the elections while thousands of Haitians were still waiting to vote. Their message to the Haitian people was expressed in the following communique:
In spite of the determined will of the people of different
social classes who have overwhelmingly participated in the presidential legislative elections scheduled for Sunday,
November 29, the CEP has decided to postpone the elections to a later date applicable to the whole national territory. This
action is motivated by the numerous acts of disturbances of all kinds perpetrated by criminals who visibly seem to be assured of immunity. The CEP asks the public not to continue to expose themselves to the barbarous Duvalierist acts and to remain within their homes, all the while jealously guarding their
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election cards, which are the principal weapon in the fight for democracy. The CEP emphasizes, to national as well as
international opinion, that it was unable to obtain from the competent authorities the general security conditions demanded and indispensable for honest and free elections to take place.
The CEP sympathizes with the wounded, and extends its
condolences to the relatives of the voters who were killed in a
b. The Dissolution of the Provisional Electoral Council
128. Although the CEP had only postponed the elections as a result of the rampage of violence, the CNG at 3 p.m. that same day dissolved the independent Electoral Council accusing it of having set itself up as a ,.supreme power" and inviting foreign powers to meddle "in the country's domestic affairs". Lt. Gen. Namphy announced that the CNG would organize another round of balloting and, as scheduled, would inaugurate a president by February 7, 1988.
129. Hundreds of foreign journalists and representatives of
governments and civic and human rights group were in Haiti to observe the elections. News of the election day massacre was broadcast and chronicled around the world.
130. The members of the CEP refused to accept Lt. Gen. Namphy's order to disband and from their clandestine redoubts the CEP members issued a communique which called the Government's action "illegal" and
"unconstitutional" and stated that any election organized without them would be "null and void". It was reported in the press that "a decree calling for the dissolution of the Electoral Council was prepared at the National Palace five days before the election".51
131. Rev. Sylvio Claude, one of the leading presidential candidates, in a cable addressed to the OAS and to the UN dated December 2, 1987, stated that he had obtained 90% of the votes cast during the two and a half hours of the elections, before they were "brutally suspended by the hideous carnage perpetrated by the CNG's arms against the Haitian people." 5 2 Rev. Claude called this a "usurpation" of his party's victory and an attack on the nascent Haitian democracy:
Who profits from this crime against the Haitian nation?
The CNG, the Duvalierists, the criminals who are guaranteed impunity by the CNG. Certain small groups of people, certain candidates rejected by the Haitian people want the CNG, guilty of criminal negligence, to reorganize the elections which failed because of their bad faith. We know very well that in Haiti the Armed Forces have too often falsified the election results in
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order to name the candidate or candidates of their choice. The
CNG had the radio stations blown up to impede the dissemination of the news .* even yesterday the Armed Forces troops in
vehicles of Henri Namphy and Williams Regala arrested and killed peaceful citizens, men and children, at Portail Leoqane,
132. Rev. Claude, fearing a "provisional CNG for life" called upon the international community to aid the Haitian people, "who are without arms and who are menaced by their own Government." He called upon the
United Nations and the OAS to "exercise the greatest pressure on the CNG in order that the three members of the CNG cede their positions to a new National Governing Council, with all deliberate speed." In addition, he
called for "a multinational force to protect the Haitian people against the CNG, and the Duvalierists and to guarantee free and fair elections in Haiti, until the time the new government democratically elected by the Haitian people, takes its oath of office."
133. Rev. Claude stated that "a neighbor who passes and sees a father, without faith, an outlaw, deliberately killing his wife and
children, has the right to intervene to save the life of the human beings in peril. The Haitian people intervened in the battle of Savannah in order to aid the U.S. in its struggle for independence. Today all the nations of the world, such as the U.S., France, Canada, together with Israel, pursue the Nazi criminals for the crime of genocide. Haitians
fought on the side of Simon Bolivar for the liberation of Venezuela. Why
do the democratic nations fail to assist the Haitian people in ridding themselves of the CNG and the Duvalierists?"
134. Lt. Gen. Namphy blamed the failure of the elections on the CEP, charging that it had overextended itself, violated the Constitution and invited foreign powers to interfere in internal Haitian affairs. This
reference to the meddling of foreign powers echoed Mr. Desinor's attack on the CEP (supra para. 46). Most of the population, however, blamed the
Tontons Macoutes for the violence, and reportedly several well-known macoutes had come out of hiding and were again walking around Port-au-Prince in broad daylight. A Haitian journalist was 53quoted as
observing that "[lTihe return of the Tontons Macoutes is total ."
C. The Election-day Aftermath
135. In reaction to the election day massacre, the U.S. Government, Haiti's largest aid donor, cancelled approximately 60 million dollars of proposed economic aid for 1988 as well as a small amount of proposed military aid. An additional 34 million dollars of economic assistance, which is distributed by private voluntary organizations and
non-governmental organizations, was not affected since it is not channeled through the Haitian government.
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136. Following the cancellation of the elections there were reports of continued violent abductions by death squads in some areas of Port-au-Prince. A woman from Carrefour Feuilles claimed that 46
prisoners, arrested in a sweep of her neighborhood, had been executed while in detention. The 46 were suspected of having participated in the self-defense vigilante groups.
137. On December 4, 1987 seven of Haiti's nine Catholic bishops
condemned as "atrocities" the violent crimes that led to the cancellation of Haiti's elections. The Bishops stated that Haiti is "for the first time" facing a campaign of "cleverly organized terror," and they accused Namphy's forces of abetting the burning of polling stations and ballots. They also rejected as "unjust" and "unconstitutional" the Government's abolition of the Provisional Electoral Council.
138. The corpse of a Haitian whose skull had been shattered by bullets was left on a sidewalk behind the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, apparently as a warning to the Bishops.
139. Despite evidence that the Haitian army was involved in the violence that forced the cancellation of the presidential elect-ions, the United States, Canada, the Organization of American States and CARICOM looked to the Haitian military, the Government in power, to get the elections back on track, and to take the necessary measures to ensure that the electoral process would have credibility with the Haitian people.
140. In an interview given to the French newspaper Lib6ration, Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy accused the CEP, the Church, and foreign countries for the troubles Haiti experienced and justified the role of the Army.54 Lt. Gen. Namphy denounced the Catholic Church's monopoly of education "which has rendered the Haitians "illiterate" and denounced the Church's interest in politics when they should be spreading the gospel. "I am Catholic," he stated, "but I no longer respect priests."
141. When asked about the foreign countries, without mentioning
names, Lt. Gen. Namphy stated that "the foreign countries financed the CEP's elections and that the CEP would fool the Americans by having a Leftist candidate win."
142. Regarding the killings at the Argentine School on the ruelle Vaillant which had been imputed to the neo-Duvalierists, Lt. Gen. Namphy replied that the CEP, the politicians, the Church and the vigilance brigades all contributed to putting a part of the country on the shelf, and when these people reacted everyone acted stunned and blamed the Army. Echoing Rev. Sylvio Claude, Lt. Gen. Namphy asked: Who profits from the
crime? But replied that the Army did not get involved "because they
didn't even know who was shooting at whom."
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143. Lt. Gen. Namphy placed the blame for the failure of the
elections on its civilian organizers, whom the Army refused to protect from attack, and he has excused the violence of November 29, 1987, as a justifiable reaction to a Leftist or a Communist threat. No foreign
diplomats, including the Americans, reportedly shared the view that such a threat existed.55
144. Mr. Philippe Jules, a member of the CEP, has responded to these charges.56 He stated that:
I wish to formally deny the charges of those persons who
say that the CEP refused to collaborate with the authorities.
In a letter dated May 21 addressed to the CNG, the members requested a meeting in order to discuss "the budget, the manner of collaborating with the organs of the State and the available electoral material. " This gesture was repeated several times, but it was necessary to await the appearance of the decree of June 19th and the political crisis created by it, for the CNG to
invite the CEP to sit at a table.
After having obtained the derogation of the decree
following three days of negotiations and at the cost of the loss of many lives (135 wounded, 21 dead) the CEP retired, pursuant to the Constitution, in order to follow its mission colegially and independently. The letters to the Ministers of the
Interior, Justice, Finance, National Education, the Armed Forces and the CNG are a manifestation of the CEP's will to collaborate
as regards its constitutional prerogatives.
The allegations regarding the invitation to foreign
intervention in the affairs of the country are without basis, given that the assistance of friendly governments to the
electoral process was channeled through the Haitian Government, be it assistance from the OAS, Canada, the US, China, Venezuela or France. As regards the journalists and observers invited to cover the elections, these invitations were in conformity with the international norms and conventions subscribed to by the
The dissolution of the CEP is only a new violation of our
fundamental charter. But the Haitian people must once again bend beneath the yoke of force, of institutionalized terrorism and arbitrariness. Can free, fair and democratic elections take place without the disarming of the duvalierists, the macoutes, certain high ranking retired officials who form the death squads and sow terror and desolation under the cover of the olive green
uniform or disguised as cagoulards?" 57
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d. The Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council on December 7, 1987
145. The Organization of American States tentatively scheduled an emergency meeting of its Permanent Council for Friday, December 4, 1987, to consider the recent events in Haiti but postponed this meeting, after the Haitian Government offered to send Col. Heard Abraham, the Haitian Foreign Minister, to Washington on Monday, December 7, 1987.
146. The Permanent Council met on December 7, 1987. Col. Heard
Abraham's speech before the Permanent Council placed the responsibility for the election day tragedy on the CEP, and his speech set forth the following criticism of the CEP:
1. that the CEP had "systematically and arbitrarily" excluded
certain candidates from the elections, thereby having
committed serious violations of the Constitution and the
electoral law which the CEP itself had drawn up;
2. the CEP had failed in the technical and material
organization of the elections - many polling stations had not received their ballots or other required electoral
3. the decision of the CEP to declare partial elections was a
fragrant violation of the electoral law, furthermore
massive fraud was denounced in some areas;
4. the CEP placed in peril the unity and sovereignty of the
nation by its involvement with foreigners.
147. During the 1987 OAS General Assembly in Washington, D.C., Mr. Reynold Leroy, the Charg6 d'Affairs of the Haitian Government before the OAS, invited the OAS to send observers to the November 29 elections. Two Colombian nationals were appointed by the OAS, Dr. Jaime Castro, a former Minister of the Interior and Justice and Dr. Jos6 Antonio G6mez, a parliamentarian. On the Thursday prior to the Sunday elections the
Haitian Government cancelled the arrangements stating that it was up to the CEP to cover the expenses of their transportation, hotel and security. The OAS, of course, has no relations with the CEP and the travel arrangements had to be cancelled.
148. At the Permanent Council meeting on December 7th, Col. Abraham announced that an independent Commission of Inquiry would be established to investigate the acts of violence that had occurred on November 29, 1987.
149. The Permanent Council approved a resolution which reaffirmed the OAS' longstanding principle of non-intervention and, notwithstanding the
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Army's complicity in the Election day violence, it called upon the CNG to organize a new round of elections. Resolution No. 489 "Solidarity with the People of Haiti" states in its operative part:
1. To deplore the acts of violence and disorder, and
especially the loss of life that has taken place in Haiti.
2. To express its conviction that it is necessary to resume
the democratic process, and to urge the National Council of Government of Haiti to adopt all necessary measures so that the people of Haiti may express their will through free
elections, without pressure or interference of any type.
3. To express its solidarity with the people of Haiti and to
reiterate its confidence that they will realize their
legitimate aspirations for peace, freedom, and democracy.
4. To reaffirm that states have the fundamental duty to
abstain from intervening, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any
other state, in accordance with Article 18 of the Charter.
5. To authorize the Secretary General, in accordance with the
terms of Resolution CP/RES. 441 (644/86), to provide to the Haitian people the fullest possible assistance of a
150. The military Government of Haiti, it should be noted, was in accord with this Resolution.
D. THE ELECTIONS OF JANUARY 17, 1988
a. The CNG's New Electoral Calendar
151. Following the December 7, 1987 OAS call on the Haitian military to organize new elections, a nationwide 8-hour general strike was called to protest the C.N.G's takeover of the electoral process and to demand that the military government return control of the electoral process to the constitutional CEP. In response, it was reported that truckloads of Army troops patrolled the streets with automatic rifles during the strike. Journalists noted that the high-profile military presence
contrasted sharply with the Election-day weekend when anti-election gunmen were permitted to cruise through the streets shooting voters and journalists with the few troops in sight ignoring or aiding the assaults.
152. On December 10, 1987, the CNG published the new political calendar:
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December 11, 1987 - new members of the CEP to be appointed;
December 12, 1987 - new CEP to be sworn in;
December 18, 1987 - new electoral decree to be published;
December 23, 1987 - decree calling the citizenry to elections;
January 17, 1988 - municipal, legislative and presidential elections to be held;
February 1, 1988 - the members of the legislature are to take office;
February 7, 1988 - the president-elect will take his oath of office
153. On December 11, 1987 the CNG announced the names of nine, largely unknown, new members of the CEP in spite of the fact that seven of the nine organizations, set forth in the Constitution, refused to
designate new members, thereby affirming and supporting the composition of the existing CEP. The CNG, in open defiance of the Constitution, named its own puppet Council.
154. The four leading presidential candidates, Marc Bazin, G6rard Gourgue, Louis Dejoie II, and Sylvio Claude in a joint communique
announced that they would not participate in a new election conducted under the auspices of the military government. The communique criticized the continued unconstitutional actions of the military government in publishing an electoral calendar even before the formation of a Provisional Electoral Council. The four political parties called upon the
CNG to resign immediately and announced that they had began talks to come up with an alternative government.
155. On December 12, 1987, the nine members of the new CEP were sworn in. The original CEP members stated that they were being made scapegoats for the failure of the elections and that their names had been put on a death list. They were still in hiding or had fled the country. Mr. Louis Dejoie II stated that there existed a death list circulating in Haiti with 152 names on it, including his own. 58
156. On December 17, 1987, the CNG promulgated the new Electoral Law of the new CEP. The law bars independent observers from the polling stations but not soldiers and permits the authorities to monitor every voter's ballot.
157. The Electoral Law provides for penalties of up to two years in prison and $200 in fines for anyone who urges people to abstain
"mistakenly" from voting. This measure clearly targeted the opposition which was calling for a massive boycott of the January 17, 1988
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elections. The law also provides for fines of up to $200 and 25-day prison sentences for "unjustified" challenges to a candidate's qualifications. This measure appears designed to prevent challenges against Duvalierist candidates. The new law also takes away the
"independence" of the CEP by making its decisions subject to judicial review by the military government's hand-picked Supreme Court.
158. The Electoral Law requires further that candidates print and distribute their own ballots, and on election day the voters present the ballots to the president of the precinct house. He inspects the ballots
to ensure that only one slip for each office is presented, thereby allowing election and government officials to monitor each voter's choice before the voter is allowed to go into the polling-booth to fold the ballot.
159. By mid-December the Armed Forces had arrested more than 50 Haitians suspected of participating in vigilance brigades that arose to protect the elections against anti-election violence. No arrests had been
reported in connection with the massacres on Election day or the other acts of violence which had been occurring during this period. The CNG's
Investigative Committee had not yet issued its report on the events of November 29, 1987.
b. The Boycott of the United Opposition Parties
160. On December 17, 1987, the four leading presidential candidates, who had united to form a Committee of Democratic Agreement (Comit6 d'Entente Democratique, "CED") to boycott the CNG's January 17, 1988
elections, issued a joint statement declaring that the CNG no longer had the moral or political authority to organize free elections. It termed
the November 29th decree dismissing the nine members of the CEP, an attempt at a coup d'etat against the people's sovereignty. It charged
that the CNG's electoral calendar, which gives the date on which the Electoral Law is to be published, constitutes an unconstitutional interference with the CEP's autonomy.
161. The political parties charged that all the acts which took place during November, including the massacre of voters at the polls, were carried out by macoute assassins supported by a macoute sector of the Army. The CNG has made no attempt to arrest the persons responsible for the crimes despite the fact that their identity is known.
162. The political parties also charged that the CNG's guarantees of November 25th and 27th regarding security for the elections falsely led the people to believe that the Army would protect them. In fact, the
politicians claimed, the recruiting of former macoutes into key units of the Armed Forces is a flagrant betrayal of the promises made by the CNG and is of such a nature as to destroy the honor of the Haitian military,