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17869: erzilidanto: Arrest of Dupreval/mobilization for arrest to Toto Constant (fwd)
1. Note from attorney Brian Concannon on arrest of former army commander
2. Newsday article on mobilization for the arrest of FRAPH leader, Toto
1. Note from Brian Concannon, Jr., attorney with the Bureau des Avocats
Yesterday, January 14 2003, US Immigration officials arrested Jean-Claude
Duperval, the Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Haitian army during most of the
bloody 1991-1994 military dictatorship. Duperval was convicted in absentia
of murder in November 2000, in the Raboteau trial, Haiti's best human rights
trial ever. Duperval is the highest ranked of four high command members arrested
in the last few years in Florida, two of whom have been returned to Haiti
(see Miami Herald story).
The arrest is a historic victory for those fighting for justice in Haiti, and
for the effort to ensure that the U.S. is not a safe haven for human rights
violators. Credit is due in Haiti to the Raboteau victims, who courageously
pursued their case in the face of danger and frustration, and to the Haitian
justice system that ensured a fair trial for the defendants and victims alike.
Credit is also due to those who have pursued Duperval in the U.S., including
lawyers and investigators at the Department of Homeland Security in Florida, and
NGO's such as International Educational Missions in Florida and Amnesty
International/USA that made sure Duperval's case was not forgotten. Extraordinary
persistence was needed in this case, because Duperval had initially been
awarded US residency, raising the bar.
Although the news has not hit the airwaves in Haiti, victims of the
dictatorship who pass through the office find out, and are elated. The idea that
someone who had so much power would face justice is such a pleasant surprise, it
makes their day.
Next on the agenda should be Emmanuel Constant, also convicted of murder in
the Raboteau trial, who was ordered deported in 1995 for heading the FRAPH
death squad. That deportation order has never been executed.
Brian Concannon Jr.
Bureau des Avocats Internationaux
2. Article in New York's Newsday on Toto Constant
To Some, He's Haiti's Most Wanted
By Ron Howell
January 16, 2004
A day after U.S. agents arrested an ex-Haitian general wanted for political
killings in Haiti, human rights advocates said yesterday that another man
should be behind bars, too: Emmanuel Constant of Laurelton, Queens.
Constant, convicted in absentia in connection with a 1994 massacre in Haiti,
has been keeping a low profile since the summer of 2000, when a coalition of
human rights groups staged protests outside his home.
Critics of U.S. foreign policy have suggested Constant is being allowed to
stay in the United States because he once had strong ties to U.S. intelligence
agents in Haiti.
Some analysts suspect U.S. diplomats covertly backed Haiti's 1991 military
coup, which toppled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and led to a reign of
terror by right-wing paramilitary groups, including Constant's Front for the
Advancement and Progress of Haiti.
Constant and his organization had been a dimming memory for many Haitians.
But Wednesday morning in Orlando, Fla., U.S. immigration officials arrested
Jean-Claude Duperval, a former army major general accused of involvement in the
so-called Raboteau massacre of 1994, named after a town north of Port-au-Prince
where two dozen people were killed.
"Next on the agenda should be Emmanuel Constant, also convicted of murder in
the Raboteau trial," Brian Concannon Jr., a human rights attorney based in
Haiti, wrote in an e-mail to journalists yesterday.
Like Duperval, Constant came to the United States after Aristide was restored
to power in October 1994. Aristide was protected by American troops sent to
restore order in Haiti.
While in New York in 1995, Constant was arrested by U.S. immigration
officials and was eventually ordered deported to Haiti. But the deportation was
indefinitely postponed as U.S. officials cited doubts he could get a fair trial in
At Constant's home yesterday, a woman who answered the phone said, "He is not
here for the moment."
Customs officials yesterday said they had no information on Constant or his
whereabouts. As for Duperval, a Customs spokeswoman said he is bound for Haiti.
Copyright (c) 2004, Newsday, Inc.