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LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Haiti: A Human Rights Nightmare
wiUNIVERSITY .~' LDELL BLVO.
GSV. LOUIS, MO 63106
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
330 Seventh Avenue, 10th floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 967-0916 (fax)
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 100 Maryland Avenue, N.E., Room 502
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 543-5999 (fax)
1992 Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
Since 1978 the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights has worked to promote international human rights and refugee law and legal procedures in the United States and abroad. The Chairman of the Lawyers Committee is Marvin E. Frankel; Tom A. Bernstein is its President; Michael H. Posner is its Executive Director; William G.
O'Neill is the Deputy Director; Arthur C. Helton is the Director of its Refugee Project; and Martha L. Doggett is the Coordinator
of its Americas Program.
:I- Copies of this report are available from:
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
330 Seventh Avenue, 10th Floor (41 New York, New York 10001
INTRODUCTION . I
1. Extrajudicial Executions . 9
Ii. Arbitrary Arrests and Illegal Detentions . 11
A. Targeting the Catholic Church
and Religious Workers . 12
B. Attacks on the Church
and Church Officials in the Artibonite Valley . 15
C. Attacks on Religious Figures in Les Cayes . 18 D. Arbitrary Arrests in Les Cayes . 19 E. Targeting Students and Teachers . 20
111. Repression of the Right of Free Expression . 26
A. Print and Broadcast Media . 27 B. Repression of Expression in Rural Areas . 30
IV. Freedom of Assembly and Association . 33
A. Repression of Church Activities . 34 B. Repression of Rural Organizations . 36 C. Repression of Assembly in Urban Areas . 38
V. Torture and Mistreatment of Detainees and Prisoners . 40
VI. Military Interference in the Judicial Process
A. Intimidation and Improper Influence
in the Case of Sister Clemencia .
B. Military Impunity and Harassment
The Case of Jean-Mario Paul .
C. Military Impunity and Intimidation
The Case of Manno Charlemagne .
D. Intimidation of Paul Yves Joseph .
. . . . . . . . 51
. 51 . 52 . . . 53 . I . 54
VIL Failure to Investigate and Prosecute
Human Rights Violations .
VIII. Recommendations . 59 Appendices . 63
The 21 months since the Lawyers Committee issued Paper Laws, Steel Bayonets: Breakdown of the Rule of Law in Haiti.' our report on the administration of justice in Haiti, have been emotionally wrenching for all who care about human rights in Haiti. The promise of a civil society that seemed imminent following the free, fair and peaceftil election of Jean Bertrand Aristide as President in December 1990 has given way to the return of authoritarian control and military domination after a bloody coup forced him from the country on September 30, 1991.
The military takeover has led to a clear deterioration in respect for human rights and the rule of law. Sadly, the conclusions and recommendations we offered 21 months ago in Paper Laws to aid the new civilian government in reforming the administration of justice and enhancing respect for human rights remain as relevant -- and even more urgent -- today as when first written.
The human rights situation in Haiti is worse than at any time since the Duvalier era. The military has executed, tortured and illegally arrested countless Haitians. Government harassment and intimidation of journalists, human rights monitors and lawyers, priests, nuns and grass-roots leaders is intense. Popular expressions of support for ousted President Aristide are routinely met with violent reprisals by the military. Repression of any perceived threat to military control has led the Haitian armed forces to place such stringent restrictions on the right of association that foreign development workers have been detained for meeting with the members of agricultural cooperatives. Even priests and nuns, who have historically enjoyed some special protection from illegal
'Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Paper Laws, Steel Bayonets. Breakdown of the Rule of Law in Haiti, (New York: 1990) [hereafter "Paper Laws"].
detention and arrest, have been targeted by military authorities. At the same time, government interference in the judicial process has, if anything, become more blatant.
Things were not expected to be this way. On December 16, 1990, Haitians turned out to vote in the first democratic presidential elections in the country's history. The results were astonishing. Popular support for the election of Jean Bertrand Aristide was overwhelming, giving him a historic mandate for reform unparalleled in modem Haitian history. In a crowded field of candidates, twothirds of Haitian voters chose Aristide, a priest who had been a fierce critic of the military and an outspoken advocate of reform.
The election process was equally remarkable. First, it represented the culmination of an extraordinary international effort to launch Haiti on the path of democratic reform. Both the Organization of American States and the United Nations actively participated in assisting Haitian election authorities to assure the security and integrity of the election process.
Second, voter turnout was an astounding 75%, despite formidable logistical challenges. The dirt roads and mountain paths of rural Haiti where 75 % of the population lives made the distribution of election materials -- registration cards, voting lists, ballot boxes and ballots -- treacherous and uncertain. 'Me high illiteracy rate among Haitians compounded the challenges of registering and voting. Yet despite these obstacles, approximately 3.2 million Haitians registered to vote and more than 2.4 million voted on election day.
Third, despite the logistical problems, virtually all observers who monitored the voting, both international and domestic, attested that the elections were free and fair and that voters experienced no threats, intimidation or harassment.
Finally and perhaps most remarkable was the military's peaceful role in the voting. Election Day 1990 was one of the most peaceful, non-violent, days in Haiti's recent past. Throughout the country, members of the Haitian armed forces, including rural section chiefs and their deputies, contributed to the success of the elections by patrolling polling places, controlling crowds with a minimum of force, and exhibiting support for the democratic elections. The military's positive role in the elections indicated the level of organization, discipline and control that exists in the Haitian armed
forces. This behavior contradicts past and present claims by apologists for the military that the army is nothing more than a loose coalition of competing gangs and that the military hierarchy is unable to control the actions of its subordinates.
Haiti's tenuous hold on democracy was first exposed on January 6, 1991, when Roger Lafontant, former Minister of the Interior and head of the Duvaliers' private militia, the Tontons Macoutes, attempted to seize control of the government and prevent the installation of Aristide as President. Though the coup attempt failed, it served as an ominous reminder of the powerful forces in Haiti that benefit from the absence of the rule of law and remain unalterably opposed to democratic reform.
Those forces combined to frustrate President Aristide following his formal inauguration on February 7, 1991, the fifth anniversary of the end of the Duvalier dynasty. Aristide's electoral mandate was not reflected in the new Haitian legislature. His late entry into the presidential race had prevented his supporters from fielding candidates in many of the races for deputy or senator. His supporters were forced to throw their support to candidates who seemed most favorable to Aristide. Consequently, only a minority of the newly elected National Assembly and Senate were committed to President Aristide or his program of reform.
Nevertheless, the Aristide government was able to take some important steps to improve respect for the rule of law in Haiti. In one of his first official acts at his inauguration, President Aristide announced the retirement of senior military officials who had either been implicated in past human rights violations or who had failed to punish those responsible. He later named several new public prosecutors, replacing corrupt officials who were often linked to the military. At the same time, President Aristide announced the creation of a human rights commission charged with investigating some of the most notorious human rights abuses committed in the past.
Perhaps the most important step taken by the Aristide government to improve respect for the rule of law was the dissolution of the institution of rural section chiefs accountable to military authority. As the Lawyers Committee documented in Paper Laws, section chiefs have been at the heart of human rights abuses in Haiti. Their unfettered authority over the lives of the peasants in the
communities under their control had led to systematic disregard for individual liberties and for legal protection of fundamental rights. As members of the military they enjoyed complete impunity from judicial or civilian authority.
President Aristide dissolved the section chief system and replaced it with a system of rural police under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. To emphasize that the differences between the new rural force and the old section chiefs were more than cosmetic, the Aristide government refused to simply transfer section chiefs and their staff to the new rural force; rather they appointed a new corps of rural agents, individuals untainted by the abuses of the old system.
The steps to improve the institutions charged with protecting human rights were sometimes accompanied by statements by President Aristide which undermined his campaign promises to bring justice to Haiti. On several occasions, President Aristide failed to condemn publicly mob violence and threats directed at his political opponents. His overwhelming electoral mandate provided a unique opportunity to exhort Haitians to respect the rule of law and not take justice into their own hands, an understandable sentiment given the deplorable state of Haiti's justice system. Regrettably, at certain key moments of his Presidency, Aristide failed to do so.
The trial of Roger Lafontant and his accomplices on July 29, 1991 took place under conditions which can only be categorized as intimidating. -Crowds ringed the courtroom and the courthouse, jeering at the defendants and calling for conviction and death. Many demonstrators carried tires, threatening to use them to "necklace" the defendants and their advocates. This practice, known as "PWre Lebrun" in Haiti, consists of placing a tire around the victim's neck and shoulders and then setting it ablaze.
In a speech to students on August 4, President Aristide acknowledged that the jury in Roger Lafontant's trial was intimidated by the crowd's threats of Pere Lebrun. He suggested that such threats helped explain the jury's decision to sentence Lafontant to life imprisonment, despite a legal maximum sentence of 15 years. Similarly, President Aristide failed to condemn the crowds who, again armed with tires, surrounded the National Assembly in early August
1991 and threatened legislators opposed to legislation introduced by the executive.2
If President Aristide's silence failed to quell unrest, his rhetoric sometimes inflamed public passions. On several widely publicized occasions, his public statements were interpreted as condoning mob violence. In an early September speech, President Aristide sent contradictory signals about his commitment to the rule of law -- pledging judicial independence while simultaneously urging the people to monitor vigilantly the administration of justice:
Meanwhile, the executive power will keep a close watch, without interfering in the judicial system. This does not mean we are shirking our responsibility; we are simply respecting the rules of democracy as required by the Constitution, rules which have their limitations because of the possibility of corruption within the judicial system. Matters cannot always be handled the way we the people would like them to be.
You have given me authority which I pass on to you.
This power entitles you to organize to defend your rights wherever, however and whenever necessary.'
Finally, upon his triumphant return on September 27, 1991 from a speech given to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Aristide declared on his arrival at Port-au-Prince's international airport:
'Infornmation Minister Marie-Laurence Lass~gue, however, issued a statement the next day calling on the population to respect one another's rights and extending the government's sympathy to the victims of the violence. "Government Urges Respect", Radio Mdtropole, Aug. 16, 1991, as reported in Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report (Latin America) [hereafter FB15], Aug. 22, 1991 at 6.
3"Aristide Addresses Current Domestic Issues," Radio Soleil, Sept. 12, 1991, as reported in FB15, Sept. 13, 1991 at 8.
Your tool is in your hand. Your instrument is in your hand. Your Constitution is in your hand. Don't
neglect to give him what he deserves.
Your equipment is in your hand. Your trowel is in your hand. Your pencil is in your hand. Your Constitution is in your hand. Don't neglect to give
him what he deserves.
Throughout the four corners of the country, we are watching, we are praying, we are watching, we are praying, when we catch one of them, don't neglect to
give him what he deserves.
What a beautiful tool! What a beautiful instrument!
What a beautiful appliance! It's beautiful, it's beautiful, it's pretty, it looks sharp! It's fashionable, it smells good and wherever you go you want to smell
it . .
While the speech explicitly mentioned the Constitution as a "tool", it arguably condoned the use of P~re Lebrun or other acts of vigilante justice. This ambiguous message was quickly seized on by the Haitian armed forces and their civilian allies as further proof of President Aristide's selective belief in human rights.5 To be sure, President Aristide also made speeches praising the rule of law and urged his followers to turn over suspected criminals and Tontons Macoutes to the police. But instead of communicating clear and consistent support for the rule of law, his message remained equivocal and inconsistent.
Two days after his return from New York, the military overthrew President Aristide, citing his inflammatory rhetoric as
'Translation by the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees, Americas Watch and Caribbean Rights of a transcript of the speech which appeared in Hafti Observateur, Oct. 2-9, 199 1, in The Aristide Governmtent's Human Rights Record, at 24-5 (Nov. 199 1).
'Some observers have stated that President Aristide knew at the time of this speech that the army was planning a coup and that he was extremely frustrated and wanted to warn his followers of the impending crisis.
evidence of his betrayal of human rights and incitement of tensions among Haitians. Yet the military's newfound concern for human rights was merely a pretext; the army killed, tortured and illegally arrested an untold number of Haitians in a spasm of violence the likes of which has not been seen since the deadliest days under the Duvaliers. No one knows exactly how many Haitians were killed by the army in the violence that followed the ouster of Aristide. Some of the most brutal violence took place in rural areas, far from the prying eyes of the international community or foreign journalists. The number of casualties in these regions, where most Haitians live, is even harder to gauge.
The military promptly took steps to consolidate power. A civilian government was named, including an interim President, to complicate any sudden return of President Aristide. Systemic changes introduced by the Aristide government were quickly reversed. Many of the prosecutors and judicial officials appointed by Aristide were fired or forced to flee. Prisoners, including some who had been convicted during Aristide's tenure for human rights violations committed during previous regimes, were freed. The National Penitentiary was virtually emptied in the first few days following the coup. The new system of rural police accountability to civilian authority was eliminated, and the old section chief structure was restored. Many section chiefs, including many known for committing human rights abuses, were returned to power; they enlisted their old private armies of dozens of deputies and reasserted their control over the countryside.
This report examines the human rights situation in the country since the coup, with particular focus on events in May, June and July 1992. Information about most of the cases described in this report comes from a 10-day fact-finding mission to Haiti in May conducted by William G. O'Neill, Deputy Director of the Lawyers Committee, and Elliot J. Schrage, a consultant to the Committee. During their mission, Lawyers Committee representatives interviewed dozens of victims of human rights abuses, human rights lawyers and monitors, journalists, priests, nuns, US embassy officials and representatives of the de facto government in Port-au-Prince. In most cases, those interviewed requested that their names not be published, fearing reprisals by the Haitian armed forces or their civilian allies.
The report exposes as a sham the human rights rationale used to justify the removal of President Aristide. His ouster has meant the reversal of judicial reforms and resulted in the return of widespread, systematic human rights violations far exceeding any of the abuses that occurred during the tenure of the Aristide government. Extrajudicial executions, torture and mistreatment of detainees have again become routine while illegal arrests occur with numbing frequency.
To assure their hold over the country, Haiti's military leaders and their civilian allies have imposed greater restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association than Haiti has known since the end of the Duvalier dictatorship. Haiti is a human rights nightmare where the most fundamental freedoms are violated and where the violators enjoy virtual impunity.
1. Extrajudicial Executions
International law binding on Haiti contains absolute, non6
derogable prohibitions against summary or arbitrary executions. Nevertheless, since the military's coup d'dtat on September 29, 1991, the Haitian armed forces and their civilian agents have executed a large but unknown number of Haitians.
The number of those killed since the coup by the Haitian armed forces -- including the army, police and their civilian allies -is impossible to verify, but based on reports from people who have been able to visit the morgue and hospital in Port-au-Prince and other reliable sources, the figure is at least 1,000 and could be significantly higher.' An official from the U.S. Consulate who visited the main morgue in Port-au-Prince and morgues in private funeral homes in the first half of October told the Lawyers Committee that each time he went to the central morgue it was full to its capacity of 200, and most of the bodies had bullet wounds.
The primary reason that the exact number of executions is not known is because the Haitian armed forces have prohibited journalists, human rights monitors and medical personnel from doing their jobs. For example, in early October, the army threatened two U.S. journalists, destroyed their notes and said they would kill the journalists' interpreter during an investigation in Carrefour of an alleged massacre of civilians by the army.
"Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights provides in relevant part: "Everyone has the right to have his life respected. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life." Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."
'La Plate-Fornw des Organisnws Haltiens de Difense des Droits Hwwins (the
Platform of Haitian Organizations for the Defense of Human Rights) has documented 1,021 cases of extrajudicial executions from October 1991 to August 1992 and estimates that the number of cases could be as high as 3,000. "Memorandum to the OAS Mission to Haiti," Aug. 17, 1992 at 3.
In the early days of the coup, the executions were numerous and always appeared to have a political purpose. Soldiers intentionally entered neighborhoods known as Aristide strongholds and executed countless people. As their reign of terror took hold, the military targeted their victims with more precision, but one overriding characteristic has remained constant: anyone known or suspected of being an Aristide supporter or even member of a group promoting goals consistent with Aristide's program, is at significant risk.
Executions have continued throughout the post-coup period. A full accounting is beyond the scope of this report and will have to await a fundamental change in conditions in Haiti allowing for proper investigation.' Yet an upsurge in executions in mid-1992 must be noted.
For example, May saw a sharp increase in the number of extrajudicial executions throughout the country. According to the Platform of Haitian Organizations for the Defense of Human Rights, 24 people were killed in the month of May in circumstances suggesting extrajudicial executions. Moreover, dozens of corpses were found throughout the country, most in the Port-au-Prince area and in particular, in the poorer sections of Citd Soleil and in Carrefour.9 On May 19, one day after a plane had flown over Portau-Prince and dropped leaflets with President Aristide's picture, five bodies were found on the street with bullet wounds."0 And on August 19, the bodies of three young men who had been putting up posters of President Aristide in preparation for an up-coming visit by the Organization of American States were found in the Port-au-Prince
'Attached as Appendix A is one of a series of letters from the Lawyers Committee to the UN Special Rapporteur on Summary or Arbitrary Executions, dated Aug. 10, 1992, with details of certain cases and a request for action by the Special Rapporteur. The cases in the letter are a small sample of those awaiting further investigation.
"Platform of Haitian Organizations for the Defense of Human Rights, "Haiti: Situation Report for the Month of May 1992" (Rapport de Situation: Moi de May 1992). Pub. No. 9, July 17, 1992 at App. 2.
'0Hafti: Risistance & Dirnocratie, Bulletin No. 105, at 3, May 20, 1992.
morgue." The men had been arrested on August 18 by unknown members of the Haitian security forces. One was 25-year-old Matine Rdmilien, a co-founder of a new political party called "Open the Gates" whose purpose is to work for the return of President Aristide.
11. Arbitrary Arrests and Illegal Detentions
The Haitian army and police, which remain one and the same in violation of Article 263 of the 1987 Constitution," have illegally and arbitrarily arrested and detained thousands of people since the September coup. Although Haitian law requires a written warrant for all arrests and prohibits arrests from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., except when the army or police witness a crime being committed," Haitian security forces have made countless illegal, warrantless arrests since the September 1991 coup. The Constitution also requires that anyone arrested be brought before a judge within 48 hours of arrest to determine the legality of the arrest and the detention."' Yet
detainees are routinely kept for days, weeks, even months without charge or the constitutionally-mandated hearing."
These practices also violate Article 7(3) of the American Convention on Human Rights which states: "No one shall be subject
"Lawyers Committee telephone interview with Haitian human rights monitor [name withheld on request], Aug. 19, 1992.
"Article 263 of the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti, 1987, [hereafter Constitution] states: "The Corps insuring public order shall be composed of two distinct bodies: 1) The Armed Forces of Haiti; 2) The Police Force" (Lawyers Committee translation).
"Id. at art. 24. "All arrests and detentions, except in the case offlagrant dflit, must be made on the basis of a written warrant from the competent legal officer." Article 24-3(d) provides "Except in cases of flagrant dRit, no arrest or search can take place between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m." (Lawyers Committee Translation).
141d. at art. 26.
"For additional information on the legal criteria for arrest and detention and proper judicial procedure, see Paper Laws, at 65-78.
to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment" and Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provides in relevant part that "Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. " Haiti has ratified both the American Convention and the International Covenant.
The Haitian armed forces have targeted anyone suspected of supporting President Aristide and have illegally, but far from arbitrarily or haphazardly, arrested students, journalists, human rights advocates, priests, nuns, rural and urban local community leaders, and anyone else capable of organizing or participating in opposition activities or of expressing dissent. Those who monitor rights violations and defend people who have criticized the coup are most at risk.
According to a local human rights monitor, between September 30, 1991 and April 30, 1992 there were 295 confirmed cases of arbitrary arrest in the Gonalives region alone." The actual number of arbitrary arrests is undoubtedly much higher, since the severe repression makes gathering information in the region extremely dangerous and difficult.
The Lawyers Committee has documented numerous cases of illegal and arbitrary arrests and during the course of our mission interviewed several victims of this practice.
A. Targeting the Catholic Church and Religious Workers
The Haitian military has singled out priests and nuns who work in rural areas and with local grass-roots organizations in the cities. This segment of the Haitian church has adamantly opposed the coup and supported Aristide, sometimes opposing positions taken by the Haitian bishops and the church hierarchy. Priests and nuns, often the only source of information and an important, sometimes moderating presence in the isolated countryside and teeming urban slums, have been arrested, beaten and forced to abandon their assignments.
"Lawyers Committee interview with human rights monitor [name withheld on request], Gonalves, May 5, 1992, [hereafter "GonaYves Interview"].
Sister Clemencia Ascanio. Sister Clemencia is a 30-year-old Venezuelan nun in the order of the Dominicans of the Presentation. She has worked in a rural section of the Artibonite Valley for two years. Because of medical problems, she must make frequent visits to the Dominican Republic for treatment.17 On April 27, 1992 Sister Clemencia boarded a bus in the Dominican Republic for her return trip to Haiti following her most recent medical treatments. At Jimani, a town near the border with Haiti, someone Sister Clemencia knew asked her to take three packages back to Haiti.
Haitian soldiers stopped and searched the bus after it crossed the Dominican-Haitian border at Malepasse at about 5:00 p.m. They opened the packages that had been given to Sister Clemencia and found copies of a calendar with President Aristide's picture and the words (in Crdole) "We have stumbled but we have not fallen."18 The soldiers, without a warrant, promptly arrested all 18 passengers on the bus, though no crime had been committed according to the Haitian penal code. All the passengers were led to the military barracks in Croix des Bouquets, the nearest large town.
All were detained overnight in the prison at Croix des Bouquets. At 9:00 a.m. the next morning (April 28), soldiers released all the passengers except for Sister Clemencia, the driver of the bus and another passenger. The soldiers seemed particularly incensed by the calendars and Sister Clemencia's Venezuelan citizenship, calling her a "subversive" and part of an "international plot."19 They apparently linked Sister Clemencia's nationality to the fact that President Aristide had been staying in Venezuela since the coup and that Carlos Andres Perez, Venezuela's President, is a strong Aristide supporter.
"7While in Haiti in May 1992, the Lawyers Committee delegation examined numerous recent prescriptions from Dominican doctors and results of various medical exams given to Sister Clemencia in the Dominican Republic.
"A copy of this calendar can be found in Appendix B.
9Lawyers Committee interview with Sister Clemencia Ascanio, Port-au-Prince, May 4, 1992.
Major Claudy Josephat, the military commander in Croix des Bouquets, interrogated Sister Clemencia; he asked, "Do you know Aristide? Do you like him? Who is supposed to receive these boxes? Who was supposed to receive these calendars? Who else is in on the plot?""0 He also tolerated the intimidating tactics of the soldiers under his command who verbally abused her and threatened to beat or kill her.
On Wednesday, April 29, soldiers took Sister Clemencia to the prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince. Another member of her order, Sister Oliva Zapata, a 50-year-old Colombian nun who has lived in rural Haiti for 12 years, had waited there for two hours to give Sister Clemencia medicine she is required to take. An army officer told Sister Oliva, "It is too serious. A nun involved in politics. She is going to the prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince. There is nothing you can do.",21
At the prosecutor's office, the soldiers not only refused to permit Sister Oliva to give her colleague medicine but arrested her for trying -- and for "talking to her." They called here "an accomplice in the plot. "122 Some soldiers pushed rifles into Sister Oliva's back while others grabbed her around the neck and wrists. They forced her into a police truck which took her to the Service d'Investigation et de Recherches Anti-Gang (Anti-Gang Investigation Service)(" AntiGang"), a police station in Port-au-Prince long known for its harsh treatment of detainees. Sister Oliva was detained there for five hours before being released without explanation.
Sister Clemencia was also taken to Anti-Gang. Soldiers handcuffed her and hit her with their rifle butts as she climbed into the police pick-up truck. When she arrived, Captain Joanis, the commanding officer, interrogated her personally. In a threatening manner, he asked her: "What do you feel when someone is burned?
2'Lawyers Committee interview with Sister Oliva Zapata, Port-au-Prince, May 4, 1992.
Do you share Aristide's attitude on inciting people to burn others?""3 Sister Clemencia and the two others from the bus spent the night in a crowded cell in Anti-Gang where they slept on the floor and were continually threatened and insulted by soldiers.
On Thursday, April 30, after another session at the prosecutor's office, the three detainees were transferred to the National Penitentiary where they were held until Saturday, May 2. Conditions were marginally better at the Penitentiary where they could receive visitors, food and medicine.
The following Saturday, the prosecutor told them that they would all be expelled from Haiti. In fact, as the result of the intervention of two bishops, all three were simply released. During her five days in detention, Sister Clemencia never appeared before a judge and was never charged with a crime.
B. Attacks on the Church and Church Officials in
the Artibonite Valley
A segment of the Haitian Catholic church known as the TR Legliz (Crdole for "little church") has been closely identified with President Aristide and has been particularly active in rural areas, especially in the fertile Artibonite valley north of Port-au-Prince. The region has long been a hotbed of political activity and consequent repression. In the longstanding conflicts between absentee landlords and peasant farmers, the church has contributed greatly to informing the region's residents about their legal rights. Peasant farmers constituted perhaps the most concentrated base of support for the Aristide presidential campaign; if anything, the coup has only strengthened that base. Throughout rural Haiti, the military has systematically targeted church officials or lay activists for arrest and detention in order to diminish the power of the church and discredit church leaders in their communities.
"3Sister Cleniencia interview, supra note 19.
Haitian Catechism Students and Father Gilles Danroc. Father Gilles Danroc is a French priest who has lived and worked in Haiti for 10 years. From his home parish in Verrettes, a large town in the Artibonite Valley, Father Danroc frequently travels to isolated outlying areas to say Mass. His status as a foreigner and an outspoken critic of military abuses of human rights in Haiti made him a natural target for the military.
At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, 1992, Father Danroc held a special catechism class in the small town of La Chapelle to prepare for Pentecost Sunday which was the following day. In compliance with military regulations, Father Danroc had gone to the local government official in charge of the town the previous day to inform him of the time and place of the class. He was aware that the army had banned all meetings in the area and wanted to insure that the catechism class would not be disrupted."4
Just after the class began, two soldiers armed with rifles and revolvers burst into the class and informed Father Danroc that he was holding an "illegal"- meeting; they announced that the priest and his 14 Haitian students -- including one pregnant 17-year-old -- were under arrest. The soldiers, Corporal Claude and a colleague named Fanfan, had no arrest warrants."5 They handcuffed Father Danroc and the students and led the group to the army barracks in La Chapelle. Mound 5:00 p.m., after about seven hours' detention, eight of those arrested, including Father Danroc, were taken to the barracks in the larger town of Verrettes. The other seven detainees remained in La Chapelle until the following afternoon when they were also brought to Verrettes.
In Verrettes, the four male detainees were kept in a small dark cell with five other men. They shared a cell measuring only 1.7 by 3.5 meters. The head of the military garrison in Verrettes questioned
"4See Part IV infra for discussion on restrictions on the right of assembly.
"5Lawyers Committee interview with Father Gilles Danroc, Paris, June 13, 1992.
the French priest and the students beginning around midnight; he also threatened them and called them "subversives. ,26
As news of the arrests spread, a large gathering of townspeople assembled in front of the barracks. A French priest brought some food for the detainees who in turn gave some to the prisoners who were already in the cell who apparently had not eaten in several days.27
At approximately 5:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 7, the detainees were taken in two separate public trucks, commandeered by the army from their owners, to the prison in St. Marc. They were further questioned and harangued by the St. Marc military authorities who called them "communists" and "Lavalas supporters. "28 Soldiers then beat the seven students who were taken from Verrettes to St. Marc with Father Danroc, including the pregnant 17-year-old, Georgette Redasse-Dant~s.29
In the early afternoon on Sunday, June 7, Father Danroc was released without ever being brought before a judge or charged with a crime. The seven students were released a few hours later. The other seven students who had remained in Verrettes until they were finally brought to St. Marc on Sunday evening, were not released until Monday afternoon. Like Father Danroc, none of the students ever appeared before a judge or was ever charged with a crime.
Father Danroc left Haiti for France on Tuesday, June 9, uncertain about when or whether he would return.
2"Lavalas is the Cr6ole word for an intense tropical rain that washes away all that stands in its way and is the label Aristide chose for his supporters during the 1990 presidential election.
29The names of the other six students who were beaten are: Luckner Simeus, Guerda Exinor, Janise Laroche, Mutheren Elusma, Marie-Gurlande Mond6sir, and Sixto Dant~s.
Fran~ois Distan. Verrettes has been a particular target of military repression. On Sunday, November 17, 1991, the military conducted warrantless searches in the homes of people active in parish activities. This harassment was viewed by residents as particularly threatening since exactly one week earlier two soldiers had arrested Frangois Distan, a member of the Youth Association for the Liturgy. In that case, the soldiers took Distan away from his home without a warrant.
Distan's mistreatment was a signal to the community. He was kept for eight days in the Verrettes prison where he was beaten and tortured by the "djack" method."0 Soldiers subjected him to intense questioning on the activities of the Catholic Church in the area and on those of the local parish priest. Distan was then transported to the prison at St. Marc where he remained until December 2. He spent 23 days in arbitrary. and illegal detention without ever appearing before a judge or participating in any judicial proceeding.3"
C. Attacks on Religious Figures in Les Cayes
The Lawyers Committee interviewed Father Denis Verdier, a 58 year-old Haitian priest who lives in the city of Les Cayes, who described numerous arbitrary arrests and illegal searches of houses by soldiers in the region. He noted that the arrests and searches were particularly directed against grass roots organizations in both the city and surrounding rural sections. Student groups were also targeted.
Father Verdier has himself been the target of military abuse as a result of his leadership of the region's Commission on Justice and Peace. In October 1991 his house was illegally searched by
~'T'he "djack" technique is perhaps the most serious form of torture employed by the Haitian military to interrogate prisoners. Soldiers tie a victim's wrists to his ankles, insert a pole underneath his chest and then lift the victim until he is suspended helplessly in the air.
31Gonaives Justice and Peace Commission Report "Repression Against the Clergy," No. CD192-4, at 5, March 22, 1992, thereafter "Repression Against Clergy Report"].
soldiers. At the time Father Verdier was at the Les Cayes Cathedral when a friend telephoned to warn him that soldiers were waiting at his home to arrest him when he returned."2 Father Verdier left the Cathedral and went directly to a safe house, where he was still resident at the time of the Lawyers Committee interview.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on June 1, 1992, army officers arrested Father Verdier and several others as they were travelling to visit a local CARITAS project. At the same time, soldiers arrested several priests who work on projects run by CARITAS in Les Cayes. All those arrested were taken to the military barracks in the center of the city." On June 2, soldiers broke into the Bishop's residence and reportedly arrested and beat four priests who had sought refuge there.3" Father Verdier was held for one week without ever being charged with a crime and without having access to a lawyer. He was reportedly shoved and hit on his feet and back, but apparently was not tortured.
D. Arbitrary Arrests in Les Cayes
Sunday, May 31 was Mother's Day in Haiti, and as the congregation finished morning mass in the small town of Port Salut, Lieutenant Duffet, from the military barracks in Les Cayes, arrived in a jeep with four other soldiers. Other soldiers from the military post in Port Salut joined them to search for people they expected had returned home for the Mothers' Day celebration:
Myrzil Jean Claude, the Mayor and a teacher at a school in Port Salut. When the soldiers could not find Jean Claude,
they arrested his wife and his three-month old child;
"2Lawyers Committee interview with Father Denis Verdier, Les Cayes, May 9, 1992.
"Lawyers Committee telephone interview with human rights monitor, [name withheld on request] Port-au-Prince, June 1, 1992.
" Emmanuel Felix, a local government official and teacher, who was able to flee;
" Gilbert Louis, who was arrested;
" Benel Louis, a former employee at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince under President Aristide; he was also able to
flee after being warned by a friendly soldier;
" Juneau Dorvil, a well-known Aristide supporter who remained
politically active following the coup; he was also able to flee;
" Jean Hubert Feuille, a former Aristide bodyguard, who was
also able to flee."
E. Targeting Students and Teachers
Haitian youth have been an important catalyst of change in Haiti since the fall of Duvalier and, not surprisingly, the military has targeted student leaders and student organizations for particularly fierce treatment. Students have led the few peaceful protests attempted since the coup. The army and police have usually reacted quickly and violently to student marches or meetings. Soldiers have prohibited student meetings, arrested and detained student leaders and brutally beaten and in some cases tortured suspected student activists. Meetings have been disrupted and schools forced to close for extended periods.
The Haitian armed forces have continued to target students throughout the spring and summer of 1992. On May 13, 1992 men in civilian clothes and military uniforms beat a number of students at the Faculty of Sciences Building at the University of Haiti in
"Letter received via telecopy from lawyer in Haiti [name withheld on request], June 6, 1992.
downtown Port-au-Prince."6 On the evening of June 19, 1992, dozens of soldiers surrounded the Ecole Normale Supdrieure (Teachers' College) where approximately 250 students were meeting to protest the inauguration of Marc Bazin as de facto prime minister. Soldiers threatened the students and a tense stand-off ensued.
At the outset, the soldiers confiscated the keys to the building, making the students prisoners in their own school. At around 10:30 p.m. armed civilians started to throw rocks at the building. Most of the windows were broken. The 250 students and the four professors trapped inside refused to leave while it was still dark because they feared the soldiers and armed civilians who remained outside. It was not until dawn on Saturday, June 20 that they were able to leave under the protection of a priest who acted as an intermediary to ensure that they were not harmed on their way out.3"
On July 15, 1992, at least 60 police officers in uniform rushed into a meeting of students at the medical school of the University of Port-au-Prince. The meeting had followed a peaceful march through the streets early that morning. A foreign diplomat attending the meeting stated that soldiers fired their weapons but he could not determine whether anyone had been hit. Reporters who examined the scene afterwards saw blood stains on the floor.3 Eyewitnesses stated that the police beat students and even curious by-standers from the neighborhood. At least 20 students were arrested and were reportedly taken to Anti-Gang, where they were detained for several days without being charged.39
Some specific examples of illegal arrest and detention of students and teachers follow.
36Halti: Risistance & D46mocratie, Bulletin No. 103, at 4, May 15, 1992.
"Lawyers Committee telephone interview with human rights monitors [names withheld on request] June 19 and 20, 1992.
"8"Police Disperse Students in Haiti," Washington Post, July 16, 1992 at A18.
"9Lawyers Committee telephone interview with human rights monitors [names withheld on request] July 16, 1992.
April 1992 Arrest of Cantave Gerson in Port-au-Prince.On April 29, 1992, students at the Ecole Normale Supdrieure called for a meeting to discuss the political crisis. At 10:00 a.m., just as the meeting was about to begin, five men, some in police uniform, disrupted the meeting and arrested Cantave Gerson, a student at the school. He was arrested without a warrant and taken away in a police car.
Gerson reported that the police who arrested him beat him and kicked him in the head. They took him to Anti-Gang where other police hit him with their weapons. After a short detention, Gerson was released without being charged with any criminal offense; indeed, police never even told him why he had been targeted in the first place. According to students who visited Gerson after his release, soldiers had beaten him so severely that he required immediate
University of Haiti: November 1991 Illegal Arrests. In response to the coup, the University Students Federation scheduled a meeting at the Faculty of Sciences building at the University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince for November 12, 1991 at 10:00 a.m. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the University's position following the coup and the possible reopening of the University.
Around 8:30 a.m. students started to arrive to assure themselves of a place in the 150-seat auditorium. At approximately 8:45 a.m., 15 police entered the auditorium and positioned themselves at the front. A few minutes later another police unit of approximately 10 officers took up positions on a side street. One of the policemen then asked a student leader to state the purpose of the meeting and the topics to be discussed .41 After receiving the student's explanation, the police departed.
The meeting finally began at 10:30 a.m. While a student leader was reading the agenda, the audience suddenly heard heavy
'Lawyers Committee interview with student leader [name withheld on request], Port-au-Prince, May 6, 1992.
4 1 Id.
regular blows being struck on the gate of the passageway leading to the auditorium. A police unit was smashing the gate. When neighbors came out of their homes to see what was going on, the police threw rocks at them, forcing them to return to their homes. After the police succeeded in smashing in the gate, about 20 police, all heavily armed, invaded the auditorium. They attacked students in the audience, beating them with batons, revolvers and their fists and destroyed equipment of several journalists attending the meeting. Approximately 100 students were illegally arrested at the auditorium. An additional unknown number were arrested over the next few days.
One student leader interviewed by the Lawyers Committee was taken by the police to Anti-Gang where he was beaten by uniformed policemen and armed men in civilian clothes. He was kicked on the neck and head and was beaten bloody." He saw another arrested student, a woman, whose arm had been broken by the police. The guards at Anti-Gang shouted threats at them and called them "communists and trouble makers." After 45 minutes, most of the students were taken to the National Penitentiary; a few remained at Anti-Gang. As they entered the prison, the transferred students were once again beaten by men in military uniform. Soldiers hit them with helmets and rifle butts to the groin.
The students who evaded arrest at the auditorium did not escape severe treatment. Many of those arrested in the "second wave" were taken to a prison in Lamentin in the southwestern part of Port-au-Prince. Several girls in this group were beaten severely and
two later said they were raped.
Fifty-four students were released in a well publicized manner a few days later, 36 on November 16 and another 18 students on November 20. Their release was as politically motivated as was their arrest. One student leader confirmed that Yvelie Honorat, the wife of the then de facto Prime Minister and head of the Haitian Center for Human Rights (CHADEL), ordered all the students to state that they
-.1 L b
r 77 rQ,7-r
had not been mistreated as a condition of their release.' According to the students' lawyer, Camille Leblanc, Mine Honorat insisted that the students sign a document saying that CHADEL was responsible for securing their release.4
Arrest of Lochard Murat In Port-de-Paix. At
approximately 11:00 a.m. on April 28, 1992, Lochard Murat, a student at the University of Haiti, was arrested in the northwestern city of Port-de-Paix. The soldiers who arrested him did not have a warrant. They stopped Murat as he was walking to the local high school where he taught. The soldiers took him to the military barracks where a justice of the peace later issued a warrant for his arrest. He was charged with setting fires that had erupted on April 11 at the local tax bureau and also at the Bishop's House.
Substantial evidence suggests that Murat's arrest was politically motivated. Before the coup, Murat had served as a local representative of President Aristide in Port-de-Paix. Like many other prominent Aristide supporters, he had gone into hiding for several months following the military coup in September 1991; he had only returned to Port-de-Paix in early February. At the time he was charged, Murat was also accused of having "photos of President Aristide and money" which the soldiers alleged he had received to set the fires."6 Since Murat's arrest, five or six other arrest warrants have been issued for his friends, also well-known Aristide supporters. Recognizing the political nature of the accusation, schools in Port-dePaix went on strike following his arrest.
Others also acknowledged the political importance of Murat's arrest. Lawyers in both Port-de-Paix and Port-au-Prince refused
"'Lawyers Committee interview with Camille Leblanc, Port-au-Prince, May 2, 1992.
"Lawyers Committee interview with leader of Haitian University students' association [name withheld on request], Port-au-Prince, May 4, 1992.
requests to represent Murat, asserting that the case was "too dangerous. "47
Haitian authorities repeatedly violated Murat's rights during his detention. When soldiers searched his house, they did so without a warrant in violation of Article 43 of the Constitution which requires a warrant for all searches. Murat was detained from April 28 to May 4. He was not brought before a judge within the constitutionally mandated period of 48 hours following his arrest. For the first three days, he was not allowed visits from his lawyer or even his family. He received no food. Reportedly, his clothes were confiscated and he was forced to remain in the nude and handcuffed. On April 29, Murat was transferred from the army barracks to the prison in Portde-Paix. Only after four days did military authorities permit Murat's mother to visit her son and bring him some food.4
Harassment of Other Student Leaders in Port-de-Paix.
The Lawyers Committee interviewed another student leader who is afraid to return to Port-de-Paix because of his work organizing students. This leader requested that his name not be published for fear that he and his family would be placed in greater jeopardy. On May 2, friends from Port-de-Paix had told him that the military authorities hold him responsible for sending pro-Aristide tracts and photos of Aristide to the city. "I can't go back to Port-de-Paix. My friends have told me not to come back. I don't know if it is true, but this is what they tell me.",49 It must be emphasized that these activities are not crimes under Haitian law, and whether or not the student engaged in them should not be a matter of military -- or judicial -- concern.
March 1992 Arrests of High School Students in Gonaives.
In early March, students at a high school in Gona~ves held a rally at the entry to the city. Shortly after the rally began, Haitian soldiers arrived, broke it up and illegally arrested approximately 40 student demonstrators. The arrests were illegal not only because they took place without warrants, but because they attempted to criminalize Haitians' constitutionally protected right of free assembly.50 Other students were arrested in early April for "spreading tracts" on behalf of a local priest; three of them were severely beaten. Less than one month later, on April 9, soldiers arrested and beat Georges Afred, professor at a local school."1
Arrest of Suifrid Jeune Exim6 in rural Gros Morne. At 7:00 p.m. on April 25, 1992, soldiers in Gros Morne arrested Sulfrid Jeune Eximd, a local high school teacher, for "passing out tracts. "152 The arrest occurred without a warrant. The soldiers took Eximd directly to the prison; he was not brought before a judge within the constitutionally required period of 48 hours.
Eximd was later transferred to the prison in GonaYves. As of May 5, the date the Lawyers Committee interviewed local human rights monitors in the city, he had still not been brought before a judge to determine the legality of his arrest and continuing detention.
1II. Repression of the Right of Free Expression
The success of the coup against President Aristide has resulted in the most severe repression of free expression in Haiti since the Duvalier era. At all levels of society, communication of information and the expression of opinions has become a potentially lifethreatening activity, endangering both the speaker as well as any listener. Such restrictions violate guarantees included in the Haitian
-5Constitution, art. 31.
51Gonaives Interview, supra note 16.
Constitution," the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,' and the American Convention on Human Rights." The arrest and detention of Sister Clemencia Ascanio for transporting calendars bearing the picture of President Aristide demonstrates the .extremes to which the military will go to dominate the flow of ideas and opinions."
A. Print and Broadcast Media
The military has exerted strong control over both the print and broadcast media. Following the coup almost all of the independent radio stations that reported news ceased broadcasting. When a few stations came back on the air, most did not broadcast news. Even ostensibly apolitical communication has been controlled. On February 2, 1992, for example, soldiers in civilian clothes burst into a mass being celebrated for the patron saint of the town of Gros-Morne to prevent the retransmission of a religious sermon on the radio by the Voice of America."
Print and broadcast journalists who report critically on the de facto government or the military have been particular victims of brutality. The following cases represent only a small sample of the widescale repression of the media."
514 Art. 19(2).
'See text accompanying notes 17 to 23, supra.
'Repression Against Clergy Report, supra note 3 1, at 10.
"'For additional recent examples, see Kim Brice, "The Long Shadow of Papa Doc," Index on Censorship, at 23-26, July 1992.
Guy Delva. Guy Delva is a correspondent for the Voice of America who has worked for several Haitian radio stations. Before the coup, Delva lived with his family in the Delmas section of Portau-Prince. After the coup, he began to receive anonymous phone calls threatening him because of his reporting. Callers told him that "we'll kill you unless you stop. If in two days you are still reporting, we will beat you. "" As a precaution, Delva started sleeping in different locations each night. In December 1991 soldiers came to his family's neighborhood twice looking for him. He continued his reporting but moved from his family's home.
Delva has reported extensively on Les Cayes, his native city, providing key information on the torture and resulting death of Jean Claude Museau by the military in January 1992. This reporting also brought threats and recriminations.
A few months later, Delva organized a trip for representatives of Amnesty International and some journalists to visit Jean-Mario Paul, a Haitian journalist imprisoned by the military in Petit GoAve. Even though they had a court order authorizing their prison visit, the soldier in charge refused them entry. He told them that only the commandant could authorize such a visit. Since the commandant was not there, the group was not allowed to see Paul.
When the group returned to Port-au-Prince, several gave interviews on other radio stations describing the incident. Subsequently, Delva received further threats, including one from a soldier who told him "you are a trouble maker. You have sold the country to foreigners. "'
The escalating threats and phone calls forced Delva to move to the relative security of the Holiday Inn in downtown Port-auPrince, where he currently lives. His contacts with journalists outside Haiti and his work for the Voice of America provide him a limited form of protection.
Nonetheless, he remains exposed to the constant dangers confronting all journalists working in Haiti. On May 22, 1992, he
"9Lawyers Committee interview with Guy Delva, Port-au-Prince, May 4, 1992.
drove to the Lycde des Jeunes Filles in Port-au-Prince to cover a demonstration by students at the girls' high school. Soldiers surrounded the school and took up key locations in the neighborhood. Delva was arrested in front of the school. As soon as he got out of his car a soldier hit him with the butt of his rifle. Hie was severely beaten by soldiers and men in civilian clothes. They confiscated all his journalist's equipment, including his tape recorder, cassettes, short-wave radio and notebook.6
Merle-India Augustine. On May 7, 1992, Merle India Augustine, a 25-year-old part-time journalist, accompanied a colleague from the United States to the prosecutor's office. The U.S. journalist wanted to interview the prosecutor about the Sister Clemencia case (described above) and asked Augustine to act as interpreter.
The prosecutor reacted angrily when Augustine approached him, telling her that he "hates white people."162 The prosecutor also directed his anger at Augustine, threatening her "I can throw you in prison. " When Augustine responded that he could only imprison her if she committed a crime, the prosecutor took offense. He ordered the soldiers in his office to arrest her and left the building.
Soldiers placed Augustine in a holding cell in the building where the prosecutor's office is located where she was held for approximately 3 1/2 hours. It was only the intervention of an influential friend that led to her release. She was never charged with a crime.
Sony Est~us. Sony Est6us, ajournalist for Radio Tropic FM, was arrested and badly beaten on April 12, 1992. The police who arrested him broke both his arms and several ribs. They charged Estdus with distributing "anti-government tracts" earlier that day near a church in Port-au-Prince.
61Halfti: RNsistance & Dinwcratie, Bulletin No. 106, at 6, May 22, 1992.
'2Lawyers Committee interview with U.S. journalist [name withheld on request], Port-au-Prince, May 7, 1992.
Three plainclothes police officers from Anti-Gang beat Est us until he agreed to confess to the charges. He was held for six hours, never charged with a crime and upon his release required hospitalization." Estdus described his torture to a reporter:
After several hard blows (with 3-foot long clubs] Estdus said, he tried to cover part of his back with his left arm, but another blow broke his arm. The middle finger on his left hand is also broken. Six days after the beating, his right wrist was badly sprained and
The violence against Est6us was part of a larger campaign to intimidate Radio Tropic news coverage. According to the Index on Censorship, the government radio station, Radio Nationale d'HaYti, started a campaign against Radio Tropic and its news director, Henry Alphonse; and on April 14 army personnel gave a "courteous warning" to journalists at the station. Local news broadcasts were
B. Repression of Expression in Rural Areas
Military repression of the organized media in urban areas has been matched by section chiefs in rural areas. Repression in rural areas is so intense that even possessing or circulating pictures of President Aristide usually triggers an arrest. In a number of cases, the military has brutally punished entire communities where such
""Haitian Reporter Reports Own Beating," Newsday, April 23, 1992 at 15.
"Id. A journalist who knows Est6us well was interviewed by the Lawyers Committee and confirmed the arrest and the injuries. He showed members of the delegation photo documentation of the extent of Est6us' injuries. Lawyers Committee interview with journalist [name withheld on request], Port-au-Prince, May 2, 1992. The Lawyers Committee delegation attempted to interview Mr. Est6us but was unsuccessful since he was in hiding.
"Index on Censorship at 36, July 1992.
pictures -- or pictures accompanied by a brief text calling for the return of President Aristide -- have appeared.
Harassment in the Central Plateau. At about the same time as President Aristide was forced from Haiti on September 30 October 1, a detachment of 25 soldiers came from a nearby barracks in Mirebalais to the commune of Sarazin in the Lower Plateau region of central Haiti. They began shooting randomly into the homes of residents, terrorizing the peasant farmers and their families. Ten people were wounded and two were killed, including a pregnant woman.66
When the military government reestablished the section chief system several weeks later, Marcel Mathurin, Sarazin's former section chief, returned and enlisted about 300 deputies, each of whom paid approximately $70 for the position. About half of them are armed.
Several months later, on May 2, 1992, section chief Mathurin arrived in Mirebalais at about 10:00 a.m. accompanied by about 30 armed soldiers in uniform. For four hours they terrorized the community, arresting and beating residents, shooting into homes, killing animals. They beat people with their fists and with sticks. They targeted people who had supported President Aristide. Yves Dubuisson was killed by Sovenay Gentil, a soldier from Sarazin who had been stationed with the 33rd military company at the National Palace since the coup but returned to the region to assist his colleagues.
At about 2:00 p.m. the section chief and the soldiers split into two groups. One, consisting of about 12 soldiers, took some prisoners and headed out of town. The prisoners were cattle-tied, with their arms pulled behind them and ropes around their hands. The prisoners included Yves Theofil and Jean Daniel, both members
"Lawyers Committee interviews, Port-au-Prince, May 6, 1992 with Rodrigue Paul, farmer and Coordinator of Projet Agricole de Dvilopment Communal de Sarazin (Agricultural and Development Project for the Commune of Sarazin)("PADCS"), age 24; Flaubert Dubuisson, farmer and Secretary of PADCS, age 30; and Marcel Fleurcil, farmer, age 42.
of Comitg de Deffense des Planteurs du Monde Pierres (Defense Committee of the Farmers of Monde Pierres).
The soldiers told the peasants that they had been arrested because members of the community were distributing "tracts." The "tracts" reportedly asserted that Aristide ought to return to complete his term of office. The objectionable document consisted of one sheet, a photo of Aristide and some text. Most of the prisoners escaped or were permitted to flee; many of those who were not arrested also fled the region. Many believe that if they return to the community the soldiers will come back for them. Representatives of PADCS presented the Lawyers Committee delegation with a document listing residents who are afraid to return to their homes and detailing their experiences."7
Repression in Pouly. On May 1, 1992 a number of leaflets calling for the return of President Aristide appeared in the small community of Pouly, located in the second section of Lascahobas in the Lower Plateau. The leaflets, printed in different colors, consisted of one sheet of paper, which included President Aristide's picture and a brief text.
Between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. on May 2, 1992, section chief Roland Vuyet, along with five armed soldiers and approximately 1012 deputies, arrived in the community. As one victim described:
[TIhey started roughing up residents, beating and shooting into their homes. After a short time, one of them whistled and another 25 or so deputies who had been hiding on the outskirts of the community appeared. I was in my farm working the field when they arrested and beat me. The deputies holding me told me that if I paid them they would free me. I gave them $10 and ran away. They burned my home and probably others as well. They killed 5 pigs of
mine and my neighbor's.
My friend, who is secretary of OMPP, Organisation Mouvement des Paysans Pouly [Pouly Peasants' Movement], sent me a list of the residents of Pouly
who were forced to flee.6
IV. Freedom of Assembly and Association
Haitian security forces and their agents have forbidden groups from meeting and have persecuted certain individuals solely because of their membership in groups perceived to be supportive of President Aristide. The Haitian armed forces have illegally arrested and detained people based on their affiliation -- real or suspected -- with pro-Aristide groups, particularly students and members of the clergy.6 These restrictions directly contradict the freedoms enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights,"0 the
"'Lawyers Committee interview with a member of OMPP [name withheld on request], Port-au-Prince, May 6, 1992.
"'See discussion of illegal arrests and detention in Part HL supra.
'Article 15 of the American Convention stipulates that: The right of peaceful assembly, without arms, is recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security, public safety or public order ."Article 16 states:
(1) Everyone has the right to associate freely for ideological, religious, political, economic, labor, social, cultural, sports or
(2) The exercise of this right shall be subject only to such restrictions established by law as may be necessary in a democratic society, in the interest of national security, public
safety or public order.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" and Haiti's own Constitution."
When they have disrupted peaceful meetings, prohibited groups from meeting at all or destroyed the property and goods of organizations, the Lawyers Committee knows of no instance in which the Haitian armed forces and their civilian allies have cited and relied upon the exceptions provided by law -- the need to preserve national security, public safety, or public order -- to justify their extralegal actions. While the church has been a prominent target for repression, the military has systematically disrupted the operation of small-scale self-help organizations promoting agricultural projects, literacy or neighborhood improvements. Members of these organizations have been forced into hiding; many thousands have sought escape on the high seas or have fled to the Dominican Republic. A number of examples follow.
A. Repression of Church Activities
Since the coup, the military has sought to make an example of the church in order to crush peasant opposition to military control. The Justice and Peace Commission for the GonSives diocese described the tactics used to control the church and their consequences for the rights of association and assembly.
[T]he diocese has thirty priests covering its parishes; yet only about half remain in their parishes to confront in one way or another the military repression; [those who remain] have become the objects of spies and strict surveillance in their pastoral activities. Since the military coup d'etat, all activities of the church such as CARITAS, Justice and Peace, literacy campaigns, church grassroots organizations and others
"Articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provide in pertinent part that the right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized and that everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others.
'r2Constitution, art. 31.
have been suspended due to the blind and savage
In numerous parishes, even mass has had to be suspended for certain times. A sophisticated spy network covering religious ceremonies and masses has been put in place by the army by putting in civilian spies who, by their simple presence, prevent a free
and effective worship.
Finally, for the first time, the army has gone so far as to shoot inside a cathedral in the presence of the Bishop which happened on Monday, November 4, 1991. The Army proceeded to arrest numerous
Monsignor Emmanuel Constant, the Bishop of Gona'ves, sharply condemned the pervasive repression within his diocese in a speech on June 9, 1992. He stated that he had "come to speak the truth in all that is going on in the Gonaives diocese because there are no journalists in GonaYves . . . [T]hey have all gone to the bush to hide out.,,74
Harassment of Religious Leaders in Petite-Rivi~re de l'Artibonite. On Friday, May 15, 1992 Father Max Leroy Mdsidor of Petite-Rivi~re de l'Artibonite discovered pamphlets in his parish church and at the Catholic high school. The pamphlets called on the priest to leave the area within 24 hours because he had spoken ill of the army and of the coup.75 Father Mdsidor refused to leave his post.
73Repression Against Clergy Report, supra note 31 , at 4.
', "GonaYves Bishop Condemns Tortures, Repressions," Radio Soleil, June 9, 1992, as reported in FBIS, June 10, 1992 at 14.
"Commission of Justice and Peace, Gonaives, Haiti Report No. PR/1-92, at 1, May 27, 1992.
Five days later, on May 20, 1992, another series of pamphlets appeared. These renewed criticism of the priest and also targeted the nuns from the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis who teach at the school. The pamphlets reiterated the warning to leave town within 24 hours. All the religious workers stayed.
At 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 24, the lights and power for the rectory and the convent went out when electricity was mysteriously cut. At the same time, soldiers began firing rifles near the rectory. At about 9:30 p.m., a group of men began stoning the rectory, aiming at Father Mdsidor's room. After about 30 minutes, the group of men moved to the convent and began to throw stones at it.
Though the military barracks of Petite Rivi~re is within 50 yards of the rectory and convent, soldiers made no effort to investigate the disturbance, let alone intervene to protect the church officials. The next morning Father Mdsidor and Sisters Marjorie August, Josette Jeunes and Elza Lec were forced to flee the parish. All schools in the town were forced to close as a result.7
This was not the first such incident in Petite Rivi~re. On Sunday, October 6, 1991, at approximately 3:00 p.m., soldiers from the barracks at Petite Rivi~re illegally entered the school run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis and broke up a meeting that the nuns were having with their lay techrs
B. Repression of Rural Organizations
Repression of Assembly in Northeast Haiti. Virtually all peasant groups in northeastern Haiti have ceased meeting. A member of one summed up the situation: "We are not free to do what we want to do. We are not free to meet. ,7' A soldier in St. Marc in the Artibonite echoed the rationale used all over rural Haiti for this
'Repression Against the Clergy Report, supra note 31 at 2.
"8Lawyers Committee interview [name withheld on request], Port-au-Prince,May 3, 1992.
blanket banning of meetings, saying: "Peasants have no role in politics, they have no business having meetings. " To underscore this message, on April 28 and 29, soldiers in the Artibonite Valley town of Desarmes held an unknown number of residents under house arrest because the local commanding officer had not received notice of a
In another community, the army killed three members of a peasant agricultural cooperative and destroyed their meeting place in October 1991. Following that incident, local military authorities informed community residents that they would have to give the nearby barracks three days' advance notice of any meeting; in addition, a soldier must be permitted to attend any such meeting.10 The soldier in charge of the region told them that his superiors in the departmental capital had set this policy. The combination of the new policy and the previous violence led the group to suspend meetings with their all members; they continued to hold their regular weekly staff meetings without alerting the army."
In early January 1991, at approximately 8:45 a.m., soldiers in uniform forced their way into the weekly staff meeting. The soldiers were heavily armed and demanded to know why there had been a meeting without prior notice being given to the army. Soldiers blocked both doors to the meeting room and began to fire shots into the air as they marched the 11 participants to the military barracks. All were detained, the men in a small cell. Soldiers threatened and insulted them until finally, at about 1:30 p.m., a 500 gourde ($60) bribe was paid to the soldiers and all were released.
News of the meeting reached military headquarters in the departmental capital and the local commander was furious. He
'A copy of the letter announcing this policy is attached as Appendix C to this report.
"Lawyers Committee interview [namewithheld on request], Port-au-Prince, May 3, 1992.
immediately forbade all meetings, saying "you may be having political meetings, I don't know what you are doing up there."182
Peasants Movement of Papeye. The military has effectively destroyed the ability of the Peasants Movement of Papeye (PMP) to operate. The PMP is a peasant self-help group that has been active in development projects in the Central Plateau area of Haiti since the end of the Duvalier dynasty. The military cracked down severely on the PMP after the September coup and forced its leaders into hiding. The PMP issued a detailed report in late January 1992 from a secret location confirming information received previously by the Lawyers Committee about systematic and targeted attacks on Aristide supporters in the Haitian countryside."3 This report documents numerous cases where soldiers conducted illegal house searches looking for members of pro-Aristide groups.
C. Repression of Assembly in Urban Areas
The rights of assembly and association are also at risk in urban areas. A recent incident occurred on the morning of July 15 when students gathered at the University of Haiti's medical school for a peaceful meeting and march to protest the installation of Marc Bazin as Prime Minister and his cabinet as Haiti's second de facto government since the September 1991 coup. Approximately 60 police surrounded the medical school and reportedly fired their weapons in the air; according to one eyewitness, they also fired on the students as the meeting began.' According to other eyewitnesses, soldiers beat a number of students, including: Roosevelt Millard, Ronald Leon, Claude Lucien, Ddsir Rosette, Canez Prdvault and Esner
"3Peasants' Movement of Papeye, "Summary of Military Repression between December 12 and 30, 199 1." Feb. 12, 1992 (Lawyers Committee Translation; on file at the Lawyers Committee).
"'Lawyers Committee telephone interview with human rights monitor [name withheld on request], July 15, 1992.
Blaise.85 The National Federation of Haitian students reported that at least 20 students were taken to Anti-Gang by the police."6
Other examples of the security forces's violation of the right of assembly include:
-_ On February 14, 1992, a meeting at the Holiday Inn in downtown Port-au-Prince of two pro-Aristide groups was broken up when a contingent of heavily armed soldiers surrounded the hotel. After the intervention of several foreign diplomats, soldiers allowed the participants to leave the hotel.
Port-au-Prince mayor Evans Paul, who attended the meeting, declared that the military was clearly out to intimidate those
attending who included major political figures.87
-- On December 11, 1991, Haitian soldiers violently
dispersed a funeral procession filing through the St. Martin section of Port-au-Prince, believing it to be a demonstration
in support of President Aristide.88
-- Soldiers opened fire on parishioners leaving the Gonaifves cathedral following a Mass celebrated by Bishop Constant on November 4, 1991, after several people started shouting proAristide slogans. Soldiers also shot directly into the cathedral. They subsequently arrested several people
including one priest who was mistreated in detention."8
'5Hafdi: Risistance et D~nwcratie, Special Edition, July 15, 1992.
"Id. Bulletin No. 126, at 4, July 16, 1992.
'Lawyers Committee telephone interview with human rights monitor [name withheld on request] Feb. 14, 1992.
"8Lawyers Committee telephone interview with human rights monitor [name withheld on request] Dec. 11, 199 1.
"Gonaives Interview, supra note 16.
-- On October 15, 1991, human rights lawyer Jean-Claude Nord was illegally arrested and detained for several hours by soldiers who suspected him of organizing a meeting of
V. Torture and Mistreatment of Detainees and Prisoners
The Haitian armed forces and their civilian allies have violated the prohibition against torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment specified in Article 5 of the American Convention and Article 7 of the International Covenant." Security forces, including the section chiefs and their deputies, have tortured or mistreated an untold number of Haitians since the coup. The armed forces routinely beat detainees upon arrest. Those known or suspected of being supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide are particularly at risk.
We interviewed several people tortured by the army who described torture techniques previously identified in Paper Laws, including the djack, beating on both sides of the head simultaneously called Kalott Marasso in Cr6ole, and severe beatings on the back and the buttocks.
The following cases are only a sampling of the unknown number of Haitians tortured or subjected to cruel, unusual or
'Lawyers Committee interview with Jean-Claude Nord, New York, Nov. 12, 1991.
"'Article 5 of the American Convention on Human Rights is non-derogable and provides in relevant part:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the
Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights can never be derogated from and provides that:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.
degrading treatment or punishment since the September 1991 military coup:
Jean-Mario Paul is a 25-year-old journalist who worked for Radio Antilles. He reported from Grand Golve on events following the overthrow of President Aristide, covering several demonstrations and the burning of a police station outside the city. After receiving numerous threats, he left his home and went in hiding -- sleeping at the homes of friends.
One day Paul was told that soldiers from the neighboring town of Petit Go~ve had burned his house and were looking to kill him.' He immediately fled to Port-au-Prince and hid in a friend's house for one month. His family also left Petit Godve.
On Saturday, November 9, 1991 Paul travelled to a friend's home in Port-au-Prince in search of information about his family. While there, soldiers in civilian clothes entered the residence and identified him. They started to beat him and eight of the soldiers hit him with their weapons.
After the beating, the soldiers handcuffed Paul and took him to Anti-Gang. They placed him in a cell with 35 to 40 other people. The cell measured approximately 20 square meters and had no beds, toilets, water or windows. Paul spent three days in this cell. On November 11, at approximately 5 p.m., he was transferred from Portau-Prince to the military barracks in Petit Godve.
On his arrival in Petit Godve, Paul's mistreatment continued. Soldiers hit and slapped him as he entered the barracks. An officer at the barracks, a Captain Lulo, ordered that Paul's head be shaved. Israel Pierre-Fils (nicknamed "Ti-rache" which means "little hatchet" in Crdole), the commander of the military subdistrict, also was present. Calling journalists "garbage and subversives, " he swore at Paul and gave soldiers orders to "beat him.""3 He was placed in a cell approximately 20 square meters with 30-35 prisoners. Like the
'Lawyers Committee interview with Jean-Mario Paul, Port-au-Prince, May 6, 1992 [hereafter "Paul Interview"].
cell in Anti-Gang, the cell in Petit Go~ve had no windows, water, beds or toilets.
On November 12, 12 soldiers brought Paul to Commander Pierre-Fils and Captain Lulo for interrogation in the Commander's office. Commander Pierre-Fils ordered that Paul's hands be tied and that he be placed in the "djack" position. During the ensuing interrogation, Paul was beaten with batons by the soldiers. He was told that he had been arrested because he had broadcast false information about the commander and had reported information that the military was corrupt; this, they charged, had incited the population to burn the police post. Paul lost consciousness three times during this interrogation, which lasted approximately three hours. Soldiers beat him at least 250 times on the stomach, back and kidneys.'
As a result of the torture, Paul was unable to stand or walk for the next 15 days. He received no medical treatment and was forced to crawl on his hands and knees to move around his cell. After several appeals by his attorney, Camille Leblanc, the army relented and allowed Paul to go to see a doctor; doctors were afraid to admit him to the hospital because of pressure exerted on them by soldiers. At the same time, Paul was finally brought before a judge, well beyond the two-day limit specified in the Haitian constitution.
On November 25, Paul was finally admitted to the hospital. His treatment was hardly conducive to a full recovery. His arms and legs were tied to his bed. After six days' stay, soldiers who believed he was faking his injuries threatened to shoot him. Dr. Saint-Fermd, who was attempting to treat him, was also threatened and intimidated by soldiers; he was forced to release Paul to the prison on December 2, 1991. Paul spent the next four months there before finally being transferred to the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince on April 2, after numerous efforts by Camille Leblanc.95
95See discussion on military interference with the judiciary in Part VI infra.
When he was brought to the National Penitentiary, soldiers beat Paul with their fists and batons on his back and stomach." Soldiers shouted at him that they had received orders from the prison's commanding officer to beat him for "spreading false information about the army and their commander and for inciting the population of Grand Goftve." On April 29, 1992, the Court of Appeals in Port-au-Prince dismissed all charges against Paul and ordered his release.9
Octalouis Desnoyer. Octalouis Desnoyer, a 38-year-old mason, was arrested by soldiers on October 10, 1991 near his home in Grand Godve. He, along with Jean-Mario Paul was charged with setting fire to the police station and justice of peace's court in Grand Goave, illegal possession of weapons and ransacking a soldier's house.98 When it freed Paul the Court of Appeals in Port-au-Prince also dismissed the charges against Desnoyer and directed that he be released.99 But in the intervening months, the Haitian army tortured Desnoyer on at least six separate occasions.
Desnoyer remembers with great clarity each torture session and the people who tortured him. The first session followed his arrest and lasted for almost two hours. Soldiers beat him with batons and rifle butts, demanding to know who else had participated in setting the fires and the attack on a soldier's house."~ The second torture session took place on October 12 and lasted for about one hour. Once again, soldiers beat him with batons.
"Paul Interview, supra note 92.
'Order of the Port-au-Prince Court of Appeal, April 29, 1992 (on file at the Lawyers Committee).
"OQrder of Investigating Judge Napoleon Eug~ne, Petit-GoAve Civil Court, undated (on file at the Lawyers Committee).
"Order of the Port-au-Prince Court of Appeal, April 29, 1992 (on file at the Lawyers Committee).
"~Lawyers Committee interview with Qctalouis Desnoyer, Port-au-Prince, May 6, 1992.
The third session occurred the next day. Three soldiers sat on a window sill behind him and three were in front of him. They hit him on the back, head and arms with their batons. The beatings lasted for more than one hour.
The fourth session took place under the direction of the commander of the Petit Gove barracks, the infamous "Ti-rache." The officer ordered Desnoyer to lie down on the ground and hit him repeatedly with a baton that he derisively called "democracy." Tirache also brutally kicked Desnoyer in the back with his boots.101
On October 20, Desnoyer was tortured for the fifth time. The session lasted three hours. It began when a Haitian army sergeant, Hillaire Frantz, held a .45 calibre pistol behind Desnoyer's head and led him to Captain Lulo's office. The soldiers hit him on both sides of the head around his ears 40-50 times. This type of torture, called "Kalott Marasso," is common in Haitian army barracks and prisons. The sergeant accused him of ransacking his house. The captain then gave the order to put Desnoyer in the "djack" position. His ears were bleeding this whole time. The soldiers interrogated Desnoyer about a Canadian priest who supported Aristide, Father Ren6 Poirier, and Jacques Sim6on, another well-known Aristide supporter. When Desnoyer answered he knew nothing about these two men, the soldiers would beat him.
At one point Ti-Rache entered the room and ordered the soldiers "to tie his arms tighter. Get his arms well secured behind his back in the djack. "1 0 Ti-Rache himself then beat Desnoyer on his feet. Desnoyer could not walk for several days following this beating.
On April 2, 1992, Desnoyer was transferred to the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. His last beating took place soon after he arrived at the prison.
Aland Chatelain. Aland Chatelain, a 29-year-old resident of Gona'ives, was illegally arrested and savagely beaten by the Haitian military. According to human rights monitors who interviewed him a week after his release, the evidence of Chatelain's beating was still visible. Chatelain was held for 15 days in the Gona'ves military barracks without ever being charged with a crime or brought before a judge.
Chatelain was arrested on May 13, following a student demonstration at several schools in the slum districts in Gonaives. Military presence was heavy and Chatelain happened to leave one of these slum districts to return to his house. As he was walking along the street, a patrol of soldiers stopped Chatelain and two other men.
Soldiers beat Chatelain on the way to the barracks where he was put into a small crowded cell. Chatelain told human rights monitors that there were 62 people in the cell.13 Children, 13 and 14 years old, were mixed with adults in this prison, a blatant violation of international standards.1ï¿½4
Chatelain stated that he was hit 84 times with a baton on his ribs, and was beaten with a rifle on his left shoulder and on the back. He was also hit on the left ear and behind the right ear, the Kalott Marasso torture. He said he lost consciousness at one point. Soldiers accused him of being involved in politics and of criticizing the army captain in charge of the military district covering Gonaives. He did not receive any medical care during his detention, nor did he ever appear in court.
On June 4, 23 days after his beating, the Catholic Church's Commission of Justice and Peace examined Chatelain and saw that he could walk only with great difficulty and observed that traces from
ï¿½ Commission of Justice and Peace, Report No. GO-92/5, Gonaives, Haiti, June 4, 1992.
"04UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by the First UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders (1955) and approved by the Economic and Social Council (1957 and 1977). Rule 8(d) states "Young prisoners shall be kept separate from adults."
the wounds inflicted during the beating were still visible and swelling was evident on parts of his body.
Preslay Pr~vilus. Preslay Prdvilus, a 28-year-old native of GonaYves, was arrested on Tuesday, May 26, 1992. Prdvilus gave his deposition to the Commission of Justice and Peace of Gona'ives on June 4, 1992.
Prdvilus told the Commission that one night a local government official came to his home and told Prdvilus that he was wanted in the nearby military barracks in the slum section of Raboteau. The official told Prdvilus that he was suspected of burning tires in this neighborhood, a well-known Aristide stronghold.
At about 8:00 a.m. on May 26, Pr6vilus arrived at the army station where soldiers immediately began to slap him. Pr6vilus tried to run away but they caught him and threw him on the ground and continued to kick him. They brought him back to the barracks and placed him in the "djack" position, beating him 70 times with a baton. 105
After this beating, the soldiers took Pr6vilus to the principal army barracks at the center of the city. Though the beating had injured his legs, soldiers forced Pr6vilus to walk and hit him throughout the journey. At the central barracks, soldiers there again accused him of setting fire to tires. He was hit four times on the face and on the right ear causing it to bleed.
Four days after his illegal arrest and detention, Prdvilus was released. He was never formally charged with a crime and was never formally presented before a judge as required by law. Despite the severity of his beatings, Pr6vilus never received any medical attention throughout his detention.
On June 4, 10 days after the beating, representatives of the Commission of Justice and Peace examined Pr6vilus and could observe evidence of his beating, in particular the traces of rope that
"OSCommission of Justice and Peace, Report Number GO-92/6, Gonaives, Haiti, June 4, 1992.
had tied his hands as part of the "djack' torture.U6 The
Commission representatives could also see that his ear had been damaged and continued to exude fluid.
Altide Louisdor. Mere possession of materials showing support for President Aristide continues to evoke brutal treatment from the army. On June 7, 1992, Altide Louisdor, a member of a local organization of peasants in the central plateau region was arrested and brutalized by soldiers under the command of Major Jos~le Charles. Mrs. Louisdor had been in hiding in Port-au-Prince for several months following the coup and had only recently returned to her native Hinche because she could no longer support herself in Port-au-Prince. She was arrested on the very day she returned. Soldiers searched her house without a warrant and found photos of President Aristide and also copies of an underground newspaper that is pro-Aristide. Upon finding these materials, the soldiers severely beat her and took her to the prison in Hinche where she remained in very poor health.107 She was not released until the first week of July; she thus spent nearly a month in prison and was never brought before a judge the entire time.10'
While soldiers routinely torture and beat prisoners and detainees in prisons and detention centers throughout Haiti, conditions in Haitian prisons are also life-threatening. In our 1990 report Paper Laws, Steel Bayonets, we noted:
The conditions of detention in prisons constitute severe and systematic violations of both Haitian law and international standards relating to the treatment of prisoners and detainees.
1"Hafti: R~sisrance & D~mocrafie, Bulletin No. 116, at 4, June 15, 1992.
"I8d. Bulletin No. 123, at 5, July 6, 1992.
Overcrowding, poor food, and lack of access to water, medical care and legal counsel characterize Haitian
The prison in St. Marc provides a particularly vivid example of the deep-rooted problems and how the coup has exacerbated an already appalling situation.
On August 2, 1989 Robert Duval, then Executive Director of the Haitian League of Former Political Prisoners and Moyse Sdnatus, then director of the Haitian Lawyers Committee and now de facto Minister of Justice, visited the prison in St. Marc, a city approximately 90 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince and the gateway to the southern Artibonite Valley. They found that conditions were inhuman: disease was widespread, overcrowding severe and beatings routine. The Lawyers Committee visited this prison nearly one year later in June 1990 and interviewed several dozen prisoners. The Lawyers Committee at that time found that beatings were common, most prisoners had been arrested without a warrant and most had no idea why they were in prison. Conditions were abominable, including deficient food, horrendous sanitary problems, serious overcrowding in cells and lack of any clean water or medical care.
The Catholic Church's Commission of Justice and Peace for the Diocese of Gona1ves issued a report on February 16, 1992 describing interviews it conducted with recently released prisoners from the St. Marc prison. Based on these interviews, it appears that the situation in St. Marc has not improved at all. In particular, the prisoners described a pervasive system of corruption where detainees must constantly bribe prison guards to avoid ill-treatment and to obtain the barest necessities for survival.
One prisoner described how he had to pay a guard on entering the prison so that the guard would not beat him.
As soon as you enter the door of the prison, to avoid being beaten -- you have to understand how the prison works -- you have time to speak to the head prisoner
"Paper Laws at 17.
and give him and the other soldiers money. The head prisoner is one of the oldest prisoners appointed by the military to extort money from the other prisoners and to monitor them. You have to give about $30 to avoid being beaten and to receive slightly better
treatment than the others. "110
Other prisoners described how they had to pay so that their heads would not be shaved, a common fate usually reserved for political prisoners as a way to humiliate them. Former detainees in the St. Marc prison also told how they had to pay to get out of the " internal cell, " the worst cell in the prison, without windows or light, with suffocating heat and odors that contains between 75 and 100 prisoners while measuring 75 by 15 feet. Detainees also must pay $5 for family visits and must pay to avoid being tortured during interrogations; the prisoner's family usually must pay between $60 and $100, according to one prisoner, to avoid torture."'
Released prisoners recounted that since the coup the justice system in St. Marc has been completely paralyzed and that the only way to obtain one's release from prison is to buy it. These prisoners told the Commission of Justice and Peace representatives:
There is a "lawyer" who is in fact a retired soldier who has good relations with the soldiers on duty. It is this pseudo-lawyer that you and your family must contact to be released. At that moment, you are brought before a judge, distribute the money, and if everything goes well, he will give you a paper calling for your release. This costs a lot more for political
"oCommission of Justice and Peace, Gonalves, "Witnesses to the Conditions, St. Marc Prison: Hell," , at 7, Feb. 16, 1992 (Lawyers Committee translation, on file at the Lawyers Committee).
According to this former detainee, the price varies between $1,500 to $3,000. Another detainee told how he had paid a real lawyer to seek his release and that this was a complete waste of money. "The lawyers at this time of oppression cannot do anything, even if you pay them." In effect, during this time, the only way a political prisoner can be freed "is to take care of the situation not in the courts but in the military barracks. It is the army that decides everything, the prosecutor has no power. It is not the law that rules, it is force and money. When the army wants you to be free then you are free.""'
Corruption and Private Prisons. Corruption continues to permeate Haiti's judicial system. Lawyer Camille Leblanc noted that the present system only serves to "finance arbitrariness and encourages ftirther corruption and interference. " If a lawyer can intervene early on, the repression and abuses usually will stop temporarily. Most people know that peasants especially cannot afford a lawyer, so abuses and arbitrary arrests followed by demands for payments for release or not to beat detainees are common practice in the countryside. Peasants thus unwittingly finance this systematic and all-pervasive repression.
Leblanc often travels to the Haitian countryside to try to help peasants who suffer severe abuses at the hands of the recently restored section chiefs. He recently traveled to St. Michel d'Attalaye in the central part of Haiti. Several peasants there had been arrested by the section chief and held for 10 days. They were being kept in the section chief's own personal prison which was a small room of four square meters. This is completely illegal under Haitian law and under international law which prohibits secret detention centers."' The section chief was demanding $50 from each of the peasants for their release. On Leblanc's intervention, the local prosecutor was
""See UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted without a vote by the General Assembly (1988). Principle 12(d) states "There shall be duly recorded. precise information concerning the place of custody."
able to secure their release. Leblanc has performed similar services in southern Haiti and in the central plateau."1'
VI. Military Interference in the Judicial Process
Outside interference in Haiti's justice system has always been the rule."'6 Such interference has intensified since the military's coup in September 1991. In particular, lawyers attempting to defend Aristide supporters, or those seeking to promote human rights, have faced intensified repression including death threats. Lawyers Camille Leblanc and Rend Julien, leading members of the Amicale de Juristes (Lawyers' Society), a group of young lawyers dedicated to promoting human rights and the rule of law, have been especially targeted.
A. Intimidation and Improper Influence
in the Case of Sister Clemencia
In the case of the illegal arrest and detention of Sister Clemencia described above, soldiers threatened Rend Julien when he attempted to speak with the nun. When he came to the prosecutor's office to meet with his client, Sister Clemencia, after she arrived from the provinces on April 29, he was told by a government official that "1you cannot defend partisans of Aristide. "I" Soldiers in the office even wanted to handcuff Julien because he was "defending Aristide, so he must be an 'accomplice'. " One soldier shouted "he's the lawyer for the nun who is supporting Aristide, we must arrest him.""' Soldiers actually approached Julien with handcuffs before the prosecutor intervened and stopped them. The prosecutor,
"'Lawyers Committee interview with Camille Leblanc, Port-au-Prince, May 2, 1992.
"'See Paper Laws at 43-61 and 144-158.
1"Lawyers Committee interview with Ren6 Julien, Port-au-Prince, May 6, 1992.
however, made little effort to control the 20 or so people in his office who continued shouting threats at Julien. The prosecutor reftised to let Julien consult with his client and after a brief hearing he ordered her back to the police station.
On the following day, the atmosphere was calmer. At the outset, Leblanc, who took over the case from Julien, was able to consult with Sister Clemencia and at one point the prosecutor told him to start drawing up papers allowing for her immediate release. However, after the prosecutor received a phone call, his tone changed completely. The prosecutor said that he had heard from the Prime Minister that Sister Clemencia was a "terrorist" who is being sought by the Dominican Republic. He stated that as an officer of the government he was obliged to follow the directions of his superiors. "I cannot do anything about this." 120
Leblanc responded incredulously "what crime has she committed? Having calendars with Aristide's picture is not a crime and she cannot be imprisoned or expelled for this." The prosecutor responded he was there to execute the government's orders, saying "I cannot do anything. 11121
B. Military Impunity and Harassment -The Case of Jean-Mario Paul
In the case of Jean-Mario Paul, Camille Leblanc received a court order on two different occasions authorizing him to visit his client in the Petit Goftve prison. Each time he was turned away. The military asserted that they were in charge of the prison and they did not recognize a judge's order. 121 While representing Paul, Leblanc received numerous threats over the phone. He also noted that men in civilian clothes were often in front of the courthouse and he is certain that he was being followed. Leblanc began to take certain
"Lawyers Committee interview with Camille Leblanc, Port-au-Prince, May 2, 1992.
precautions. He told the Lawyers Committee that he virtually never goes out at night; he merely goes to his office and comes directly home.
C. Military Impunity and Intimidation -The Case of Manno Charlemagne
Camille Leblanc was also the lawyer for Manno Charlemagne. Charlemagne, a popular singer and a staunch Aristide supporter, went into hiding immediately after the coup but was arrested on October 11 when someone pointed out his hiding place to a military patrol. Charlemagne's songs are so influential that Haitian army General Williams Regala once reportedly offered him $25,000 not to sing a song he had written criticizing Regala. General Regala is one of the alleged masterminds of the November 1987 election day massacre where soldiers and Tontons Macoutes killed more than 30 people waiting to vote.
Leblanc was able to get an order calling for Charlemagne's release from the National Penitentiary a week later. On October 18, Leblanc went to the prison and, in a rare example of the judicial process working, was able to get the order enforced. He and his client left the prison at about 3:00 p.m.
As they left the main entrance, they were immediately surrounded by policemen in civilian clothes and several in uniform. The police insisted they had just received an order to arrest Charlemagne. Leblanc demanded to see this new arrest order and stated he was Charlemagne's lawyer." One of the men took out his revolver and said "I am not interested in lawyer's discussions." The men took Charlemagne away in a car; he was in fact re-arrested and was held in detention for another week before he was finally released and fled from Haiti.
Leblanc told the Lawyers Committee that after this intervention he received many threats. His partner, Rend Julien, received a call from someone who said they were from army headquarters and that they had decided to silence Leblanc.12' Anonymous phone calls continued to pour into their law office, some from people pretending to be friends who told Leblanc "they have decided to eliminate you. Pay attention. Get out of the country."
Leblanc faced similar obstacles and received identical threats for his work in getting the university students released in late November 1991. Leblanc went to the civil court in Port-au-Prince and asked to have all the students freed, most importantly, even those students whose names had not been placed on any list of inmates. Leblanc had the names of only about 75 students, but most people believe that at least 200 were arrested.
D. Intimidation of Paul Yves Joseph
Lawyer Paul Yves Joseph of Les Cayes has long been active in teaching human rights and basic legal issues to paralegals in southwestern Haiti. He is also an educator with his own school and a teacher at Les Cayes' main high school. Because of his educational work, President Aristide named him director of education for the region in 1991.
Joseph was legal counsel for Jean Claude Museau, the young man in Les Cayes who had been arrested, tortured and who ultimately died from his torture in January 1992. Joseph said that because of his role as Museau's lawyer, he received anonymous threats. He believes that he is a marked man because he gives free legal help to the poor. He has represented people who have been illegally arrested and he noted that it is extremely rare that anyone is ever arrested with a warrant.
On May 5, 1992, between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m., two heavily armed soldiers came to the front gate of Joseph's house which also serves as his law office and school. The soldiers had grenades, one rifle, a revolver, a baton and tear gas canisters. The soldiers called
to him from the street saying "come here.""' He believes the soldiers names were Lorcey and Eliscard.
Joseph promptly closed the gate and the soldiers became angry, asking why he reftised to come when the police called him. He responded "if the police need me, that's no problem. Leave your arms and grenades outside and I'll be happy to receive you.""' The soldiers became very agitated and threatened him, brandishing their arms. Joseph immediately went to the telephone to call colleagues in Port-au-Prince to let them know what was happening.
Other soldiers were waiting nearby watching all that happened. In a further exchange with Lorcey and Eliscard, Joseph asked them if they had a warrant to search his house. Though the soldiers responded "yes", they never presented him with a warrant. The stalemate lasted for about 15 or 20 minutes, and then the soldiers departed.
Joseph was extremely frightened by the incident. He had not left his house from the time of the military visit to the time he was interviewed by Lawyers Committee representatives four days later. He did not go into town to teach his classes at the Lycde Philippe Guerrier for the next three days because he was afraid of being arrested or worse. His fears increased when a law student, Olivier Zamor, who had been recently released from detention in the police station in Les Cayes said he had seen a list of people to be arrested and that Joseph's name was listed first."'
Soldiers returned to Joseph's house on Saturday morning, May 30. This time their visit did not end so peacefully. Joseph and his family were out shopping at the time. The soldiers broke into the house and ransacked it thoroughly. Papers from his law office and school were destroyed or thrown into the street. Neighbors warned Joseph that the army had come to his house and that he should not
'"Lawyers Committee interview with Paul Yves Joseph, Les Cayes, May 9, 1992.
return home. 121 Joseph's wife and two children immediately went into hiding. 121 Joseph went up into the nearby hills where he remained in hiding until he was able to make his way to Port-auPrince where he now is in hiding."'0
VII. Failure to Investigate and Prosecute
Human Rights Violations
Each of the post-coup de facto governments has violated its obligation under international law to prosecute those responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights. Despite the
thousands of human rights violations committed by the Haitian security forces and their civilian agents, the Lawyers Comm-ittee is aware of only a single person who has been brought to justice for a human rights violation."3' Yet this report alone has identified a number of people .who should be the subject of criminal investigations.
This failure to investigate violations and prosecute human rights violators is a blatant violation of international law as specified in the American Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 25(l) of the American Convention
'Lawyers Committee telephone interview with human rights monitor [name withheld on request], Port-au-Prince, June 1, 1992.
'29Lawyers Committee telephone interview with Mrs. Paul Yves Joseph [location withheld on request], June 1, 1992.
"~Lawyers Committee telephone interview with Paul Yves Joseph, Port-auPrince, June 16, 1992.
"'On July 18, 1992, a jury in Grande Rivi~re du Nord convicted section chief Iliome Pierre for the December 15, 1991 murder of Astrel Charles, the elected deputy for the region in Haiti's National Parliament. "Murderer of Deputy Charles Sentenced to Life," Radio Tropic FM, July 21, 1992, as reported in FlMS, July 22, 1992 at 6.
provides for the right to a remedy for rights violations. "I The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, charged with interpreting the American Convention, has found that the Convention's "right to a remedy" creates a duty binding on the State Party to investigate and prosecute."' Moreover, the Inter-American Court has held that a State Party has the affirmative obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish violations of human rights based on language in Article 1 requiring States Parties to "respect and ensure" rights. 114
Similarly, Article 2(3) of the International Covenant defines the right to a remedy."' The Human Rights Committee, charged with interpreting the International Covenant, held in a landmark case of illegal arrest and detention of a Uruguayan national that the Uruguayan government had a duty to
take effective steps (i) to establish what has happened to Eduardo Bleier since October 1975; to bring to justice any
"'"Everyone has a right to simple and prompt recourse . against acts that violate his fundamental rights recognized by the constitution or laws of the state concerned or by this Convention." American Convention, Article 25(l).
. See Roht-Arriaza, "State Responsibility to Investigate and Prosecute Grave Human Rights Violations in International Law," 78 Cal. L. Rev. 451, 478 (1990).
""Velasquez Rodriguez Case, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. 35, OAS/ser. L/V/111 19, doc. 13, app. VI (1988).
"'Article 2(3) of the Covenant states that "Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:
(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein
recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;
(b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have
his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial
(c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such
remedies when granted."
persons found to be responsible for his death, disappearance or ill-treatment; and to pay compensation to him or his family for any injury which he has suffered; and (ii) to ensure that
similar violations do not occur in the future. 136
Haiti's de facto authorities have failed to investigate, prosecute or punish those responsible for the executions, "disappearances," torture, mistreatment, arbitrary arrest and detention of an untold number of Haitian citizens. A climate of impunity reigns where those who commit violations are only encouraged to commit further abuses, thereby endangering the lives and well-being of all Haitians.
136Irene Bleier Lewenhoff & Rosa Valino de Bleier v. Uruguay, UN Hum. Rts. Comm. No. 30/1978, para. 15, U.N. Doe. CCPR/C/OP/1 (1985) (emphasis added).
To the Haitian Authorities:
1. Haitian authorities must insure that the procedures for
arrest and detention specified in the Haitian Constitution and in the Haitian Code of Criminal Procedure be strictly followed by the armed forces. Haitian criminal procedure governing criminal investigations must also be observed.
2. The Haitian police must be separated from the army
as required by the 1987 Haitian Constitution. The police must be put under the control of the Minister of Justice. Rural section chiefs and their assistants, currently under the army's command, must also be placed under the control of the Ministry of Justice. Section chiefs must have no more than two deputies as specified by Haitian law and they must act in strict conformity with the law which requires them to protect, not persecute, the inhabitants in their respective sections. All members of the police should receive ongoing training that includes specialized courses on their obligations toward protecting the rights of all Haitians.
3. Prisons and detention centers must also be placed
under the control of the Ministry of Justice. Food, water and access to medical attention and legal counsel must be assured to all prisoners and detainees as required under Haitian law and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Judicial proceedings must be brought against any official who violates the rights of prisoners. ne International Committee of the Red Cross should have free access to all prisons and detention centers. All prisons and detention centers must keep a register with the name, date and reasons for arrest for every prisoner; a Justice Ministry official must make regular inspections in every prison and every detention center. Secret prisons must be abolished immediately.
4. Judges must be appointed in a way that guarantees
their independence and ensures their impartiality; judicial salaries and working conditions should be adjusted to enhance this independence and impartiality.
5. The independence of the judiciary from the military
and other branches of government must be guaranteed. Any
interference by the military or any other branch of government in judicial matters should be subject to clearly defined -- and enforced
6. The Haitian government must develop a comprehensive
training program for judges. It is important that investigating judges in particular receive thorough and complete training in the techniques necessary to investigate crimes.
7. Investigations of human rights violations must be
pursued. Those found responsible for abuses must be brought to justice. The authorities must provide those in the Justice Ministry responsible for such investigations and prosecutions all necessary assurances and adopt all necessary measures to fulfill their duties and to ensure their safety.
8. Lawyers must have the freedom necessary to fulfill
their professional functions. Lawyers must be able to represent any client, even in politically sensitive cases, without fear of reprisals. Lawyers must be able to communicate freely with their clients and other lawyers and must have access to their clients in prisons as provided under Haitian and international law.
9. Military personnel should be tried in military courts
only in those instances specified in Article 42-2 of the Haitian Constitution. In all other cases, the military must be subject to the jurisdiction of the civilian courts. The military should no longer shield its enlisted men and officers in cases that properly belong before the civilian courts under the Haitian Constitution.
10. Haitian law governing criminal investigations must be revised to become consistent with modem reform efforts in other civil law countries. The law must clearly assign responsibility to investigate abuses and crimes and establish penalties for delay or inaction in performing these duties.
To the United States Government:
1. 'ne Bush administration should immediately freeze all the assets in the United States of those Haitians identified by former U.S. Ambassador Alvin Adams as having supported the military coup financially and by other means.
2. In addition to the 20 or so already cancelled, the Bush
administration should cancel the visas of all those Haitians both military and civilians who have participated in or supported the coup.
3. Given the systematic and gross human rights violations
documented in this report, the Bush administration should immediately revoke the President's May 24, 1992 Executive Order which requires the U.S. Coast Guard to return all Haitian asylumseekers picked up on the high seas without first attempting to determine whether any person has a plausible claim for political asylum. This policy is a blatant violation by the U.S. of binding international law as well as U.S. domestic law that prohibits the return of refugees to places of persecution.
To the United Nations:
1 . Members of the Security Council should discuss and consider the adoption and implementation of an immediate and universal embargo on all trade with Haiti -- including arms and oil -that is binding on all UN member states. This would send a clear message to the Haitian military that the United Nations, at the highest level, has taken up the issue.
2. The Security Council should demand full and
immediate access to Haiti for international humanitarian organizations and obtain the consent of the Haitian authorities to the deployment of a team of United Nations-sponsored human rights monitors who would remain in Haiti until the human rights situation has dramatically improved.
for Human Rights
Michael H. Posner, Executive Director William G. O'Neill, Deputy Director Arthur C. Helton, Director. Refugee Project
330 Seventh Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, New York 10001 Telephone: (212) 629-6170
FAX: (212) 967-0916
August 10, 1992
Board of Directors VIA TELECOPY
Marvin E. Frankel. Chairman
Tom A. Bernstein, President
Bacre Waly Ndiaye
M, Bernard Aidinoff
Susan Berkwitt-Malefakis Special Rapporteur Robert L. Bernstein on Summary or Arbitrary Executions
Charles R. Breyer Human Rights Centre
Alice L. Brown United Nations
Michael I. Davis
Drew S. Days, III Palais des Nations
Adrian W. DeWind CH-1211
Norman Dorsen Geneva 10
Fr. Robert F Drinan
A Whitney Ellsworth Switzerland
Kenneth R. Feinberg
Stephen J. Friedman Dear Mr. Ndiaye:
R. Scott Greathead
Deborah M. Greenberg Extrajudicial executions continue to plague Haiti. The sheer number of
Harold R. Handler executions since May 1992 has increased at an alarming rate. The following is only a
Louis Henkin sample of those executions the Lawyers Committee has been able to confirm:
Robert D, Joffe
Robert E. Juceam
Lewis B. Kaden Georges Izmery was executed on May 26, 1992 at approximately 6:00
Rhoda H. Karpatkin p.m. Mr. Izmery was leaving his office and walking to his car when
Kerry Kennedy Cuomo he was shot two times in the back in front of hundreds of witnesses
Philip A. Lacovara less than 200 feet from a major police station in downtown Port-auJo R. Backer Laird Prince. Mr. lzmery'd brother Antoine is a well known supporter of
R. Todd Lang President Aristide and he has received death threats.
Charles E. Lister
Charles McC. Mathias Six cadavers of young men who had been executed were discovered at
Bernard W. Nussbaum Morne Carbrit, about 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince on June 24,
Bruce Rabb 1992. Their bodies were in an advanced state of decay. Each showed
Barbara A. Schatz bullet wounds.
Steven R. Shapiro
Jerome J. Shestack On June 24, 1992, Gary Janty, 23 years old, from Santos was
James R. Silkenat assassinated by a sergeant in the Haitian army nicknamed nTaye
Rose Styron assasinReport indicaeat the sergean as la ed bta e
Jay Topkis PWI". Reports indicate that the sergeant was later arrested but we
George A. Vradenburg, Ill have no details on whether he has been charged or whether he remains
Sigourney Weaver in detention,
William D. Zabel On May 19, 1992, five bodies were found on the Delmas road to the
Selig Zises Port-au-Prince suburb of Pdtionville. All five bodies had bullet
Washington, D.C. Office: wounds. The executions occurred one day after a plane had flown
too Maryland Avenue, NE., Suite 502 over Port-au-Prince and dropped leaflets with President Aristide's Washington, D.C. 20002 picture.
Telephone: (202) 547-5692
FAX: (202) 543-5999
The Lawyers Committee has formal relations with the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity and the Organization of American States.
on Summary or Arbitrary Executions Page 2
August 10, 1992
In Anse-d'Hainault, in southwestern Haiti, a soldier named Tourbeck
arrested and beat to death an unnamed young man approximately 20
years old. 71is young man had been detained in prison and had
vomited blood for several hours and received no medical attention
On July 9, in the industrial zone near the Port-au-Prince airport, three workers, two women and one man, were executed by armed civilians
who jumped out of a jeep and shot them. Ilis occurred at
approximately 2:00 p.m. on the road to the airport.
On July 15, 1992, at approximately 4:00 a.m. an armed civilian shot and killed a young man named Wilfred who was putting up photos of President Aristide on walls in the Cit6 Soliel section of Port-au-Prince.
The body was not taken away until 7:00 p.m. the same day.
On August 3, 1992, Mr. Robinson Joseph, former director of the
Protestant Church radio station, Radio Lumi4e, was shot and killed
by soldiers in downtown Port-au-Prince. The soldiers were in the process of searching all houses and cars in this section of Port-auPrince following an attack the previous day on a police station.
Soldiers allege that they thought Mr. Robinson was trying to avoid the
search and shot him twice in the head killing him. Numerous other
rounds were fired into his car. Even if true, the use of deadly force
by the Haitian armed forces seems completely unwarranted and illegal
under international law. Ile Lawyers Committee has been informed
that the Haitian army has begun an investigation into the killing.
The Lawyers Committee is trying to obtain more information about an
extremely disturbing report. On July 19, 1992, a group of 86 Haitians attempted to leave the country on an overcrowded boat from the area called Sources Puantes, approximately 20 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince. After paying approximately $500 each to the owner of the boat, the boat began its departure at approximately 5:00 a.m. The boat had barely left the dock when it is reported that a truckload of soldiers arrived and began firing on the boat. Several bodies were later recovered reportedly with bullet wounds and some also showed signs of having been strangled. As of Wednesday, July 22, it is reported that 35 corpses had been recovered. Because of the danger of doing follow up human rights work in Haiti, various human rights
Special Rapporteur on Summary or Arbitrary Executions Page 3
August 10, 1992
organizations around the country have only been able to compile a partial list of names. Once further information is obtained, I will send you details about this incident.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information. The situation in Haiti has reached alarming proportions. Whatever emergency measures are available to the Special Rapporteur should be undertaken as quickly as possible.
-f 24 olk
William G. O'Neill Deputy Director
CC: Mr. Marco Tulio Bruni-Celli
Gen. Raoul Cedras
Mr. Marc Bazin
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FORCES ARMEES D'HAITI
QUARTIEIR:-C;-11EER:L DU DIT ICT P E OUANA !ITEE
Ou.n:.nii tho, pR6publique d'Haiti Lc 24 pevrier 1992.
11 m'et unc obl-i actionn do vous accuscr la reception de votre lettre dat6o du 23 Jarnvier 1992 dans laauelle vous m'avez parl6 de l'intordiction do certaincc rounions.Cot @ffice a pour devoir de vous donner uno plcine et ontiero autorisation pour continuer ses travaux tout en avisanrt la police Cinu Jours avant la date fixde pour la reunion et l'agent de Police rurvle de la Zone aurait du present a cette fin. J'ai recu votro lettre le 23 Fevrior 1992 a 2:20 P-M.
Recoves, M'onsiour mes salutations distingudes.
Lieutenant Forces Armees d'Haiti Commandant du District de Ouanaminthe et chef de la Police
[Lawyers Commnittee translation of letter from Haitian Army Officer)
Armed Forces of Haiti Ouanaminthe District Headquarters ouanaminthe, Haiti February 24, 1992
I am responding to your letter dated January 28 in which you discuss the prohibition of certain meetings. This office authorizes you to continue your work as long as you notify the police five days in advance of the date of your meeting so that an officer of the rural police can be present at the meeting.I received your letter on February 23 at 2:20 p.m.
s/Gerard Surin Lieutenant, Armed Forces of Haiti
Commander of Ouananinthe District and Chief of Police
LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Marvin E. Frankel, Chairman
M. Bernard Aidinoff Susan Berkwitt-Malefakis
Robert L. Bernstein Tom A. Bernstein Charles R. Breyer
Alice L. Brown Michael I. Davis Drew S. Days, III Adrian W. DeWind
Norman Dorsen Fr. Robert F. Drinan A. Whitney Ellsworth Kenneth R. Feinberg Stephen J. Friedman R. Scott Greathead Deborah M. Greenberg
Harold R. Handler
Louis Henkin Robert D. Joffe Robert E. Juceam Lewis B. Kaden Rhoda H. Karpatkin
Kerry Kennedy Cuomo Nancy Kuhn
Philip A. Lacovara Jo R. Backer Laird
R. Todd Lang
Charles E. Lister Stanley Mailman
Charles McC. Mathias Bernard W. Nussbaum Bruce Rabb
Barbara A. Schatz Steven R. Shapiro Jerome J. Shestack James R. Silkenat
Rose B. Styron
George A. Vradenburg, III
Sigourney Weaver Ruth Wedgwood
William D. Zabel
LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
MICHAEL H. POSNER ARTHUR C. HELTON
Executive Director Director, Refugee Project
WILLIAM G. O'NEILL MARGARET NICHOLSON
Deputy Director Director of Operations/
LAURA ADJANGBA, Program Assistant
PATRICIA ARMSTRONG, Pro Bono Projects
NICK ASCHEIM, Legal Assistant
JOHN ASSADI, Staff Attorney, part-time
LILI BROWN, Development Director
LISA BROWN, Reception
JEFFREY CHASE, Staff Attorney, part-time TINA CHRISTOPULOS, Program Assistant
SANDRA COLE, Finance & Personnel
MARTHA DOGGETT, Latin America & the Caribbean
JOSEPH ELDRIDGE, Director, Washington Office
ZAIRA FLORES, Program Assistant ERIC HACKWORTH, Office Services NEIL HICKS, Middle East/North Africa
MARY HOLLAND, Europe/Eurasia
ANNE HOYT, Development Coordinator
ANNA LING, Legal Assistant
VIRGINIA PETERS MANN, Executive Assistant
STEPHANIE MARKS, Asylum Representation Program
-JtNEEN M. MASIH, Lawyer-to-Lawyer Network
ELISA C. MASSIMINO, Staff Attorney, Washington Office
LISA Z. MONTRONE, Administrative Assistant, Development
BINAIFER NOWROJEE, Africa
ANNETTE O'DONNELL, Executive Assistant
COURTNAY PETERS, Program Assistant JAMES D. ROSS, Asia DEBORAH STEWART, Reception
RACHEL WALDSTEIN, Office Administrator, Washington Office WALTER WEISS, Staff Attorney, part-time EMILY WHITFIELD, Executive Assistant
Since 1978, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights has worked to protect and promote fundamental human rights. Its work is impartial, holding each government to the standards affirmed in the International Bill of Human Rights, including
the right to be free from torture, summary execution, abduction
the right to be free from arbitrary arrest, imprisonment without
charge or trial, and indefinite incommunicado detention; and
the right to due process and a fair trial before an independent
The Committee conducts fact-finding missions and publishes reports which serve as a starting point for sustained follow-up work in three areas: with locally-based human rights lawyers and activists; with policymakers involved in formulating U.S. foreign policy; and with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the Organization of African Unity.
The Committee's Refugee Project seeks to provide legal protection for refugees including the right to dignified treatment and a permanent home. It provides legal representation, without charge, to indigent refugees in the United States in flight from political persecution. With the assistance of hundreds of volunteer attorneys, the Project's staff also undertakes broader efforts -- including participation in lawsuits of potential national significance -- to protect the right to seek political asylum as guaranteed by U.S. and international law.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE A COPY OF THE COMMITTEE'S 1991 ANNUAL REPORT OR A REPORT ON OUR FIRST 10 YEARS, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT:
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SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY~ LAW LIBRARY
xliii jc599.H2 H34 1992
HE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN
T HAITI IS WORSE THAN AT ANY TIME
SINCE THE DUVALIER ERA. THE MILITARY HAS EXECUTED, TORTURED AND ILLEGALLY ARRESTED COUNTLESS HAITIANS. GOVERNMENT HARASSMENT AND INTIMIDATION OF JOURNALISTS, HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORS AND LAWYERS, PRIESTS, NUNS. AND GRASS-ROOTS LEADERS IS INTENSE. POPULAR EXPRESSIONS OF SUPPORT FOR OUSTED PRESIDENT ARISTIDE ARE ROU-, TINELY MET WITH VIOLENT REPRISALS BY THE MILITARY. REPRESSION OF ANY PERCEIVED THREAT TO MILITARY CONTROL HAS LED THE HAITIAN ARMED FORCES TO PLACE SUCH STRINGENT RESTRICTIONS ON THE RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION THAT FOREIGN DEVELOPMENT WORKERS HAVE BEEN DETAINED FOR MEETING4 WITH THE MEMBERS OF AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVES. EVEN PRIESTS AND NUNS, WHO HAVE HISTORICALLY ENJOYED SOME SPECIAL PROTECTION FROM ILLEGAL DETENTION AND ARREST, HAVE BEEN TARGETED BY MILITARY AUTHORITIES. THIS BEHAVIOR CONTRADICTS PAST AND PRESENT CLAIMS BY APOLOGISTS FOR THE MILITARY THAT THE ARMY IS NOTHING MORE THAN A LOOSE COALITION OF COMPETING GANGS AN-D THAT THE MILITARY HIERARCHY IS UNABLE TO CONTROL THE ACTIONS OF ITS SUBORDINATES.
COVERh DESIGN: LISA DOUGLIS