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28329: Esser: (news) Canada, the UN and "Judicial Reform" in Haiti (fwd)
from: D. Esser
ZNet | Haiti
April 19, 2006
The Politics of Finger Wagging
Canada, the UN and "Judicial Reform" in Haiti
by Stuart Neatby
Both Paul Raymond and his wife had been living in the Dominican
Republic in exile for several months.
In the months following the removal of elected Haitian President Jean
Bertrand Aristide in February of 2004, a removal which was carried
out by US Marines and Canadian Joint Task Force 2 troops as US-armed
and trained rebels closed in upon Haiti's capital, hundreds of
political activists and former government officials were arrested and
jailed. Many were killed. Paul Raymond, a well-known Lavalas
political activist and coordinator of the literacy and feeding
programs of the St-Jean Bosco Parish in Port-au-Prince, had opted for
exile in hopes of avoiding this fate.
According to Raymond's wife, who introduced herself only as Mme.
Raymond, on July 21st of 2005 Dominican Police, Haitian Police, and
police of other nationalities came to their house, demanding to see
her husband's passport. He was then arrested.
"They ransacked the house completely, they cleaned it out," she told us.
Raymond would later be extradited to Haiti and would be charged with
"association with malefactors" and "arson." Haitian authorities
claimed that he had been implicated in a December 5th, 2003 attack
against the National University of Haiti. At that time, Mme. Raymond
insisted that her husband was out of the country, in Cuba.
We accompanied Mme. Raymond on March 8th when she, like hundreds of
other family members of detainees in the National Penitentiary,
visited her jailed husband. Like every other week, the two were given
only 10 minutes of contact.
"The reason I am in jail is for political reasons, to fight against
all violations of human rights," Raymond told us, insisting that
there were many others who had been imprisoned for political reasons.
Yvon "Zap Zap" Antoine, whose wife we had met at a demonstration of
family members of prisoners the previous day, had been imprisoned in
the National Penitentiary for more than two years. The musician and
grassroots activist is known throughout the country as a member of
the popular and radical band Raram.
"I have suffered total abuse. I have been here for two years, and I
haven't seen a judge in all that time," he told us.
Both men were cut short from giving us further details. A synthesized
rendition of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On, began playing out of
a portable loudspeaker carried by a watchful prison guard. Everyone
else recognized this signal; Visit time was over.
The cases of Raymond and Zap Zap are not unique.
In recent days, Haiti's judicial and prison system has come under
fire from members of the United Nations, whose previous silence on
such human rights abuses committed by the Latortue government has
effectively amounted to a stance of outright support. On March 31st,
UN spokesperson David Wimhurst publicly denounced the state of
Haiti's prisons, decrying the fact that, of the estimated 4,034
people imprisoned nationwide, only 450 inmates had been convicted of
any crime. During the same press conference, Thierry Fagart, head of
the UN Human Rights Commission would state that the judicial system
was "failing at all levels." These statements followed the recent
release of a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(IACHR) which was criticized Haiti's justice system for maintaining
the majority of its detainees in prison without having the chance to
see a judge, often for up to two years.(1)
Although this recognition of the brutal conditions within Haiti's
prisons is perhaps a positive step, the UN continues to ignore the
direct role that its own personnel have played in maintaining a state
of judicial impunity for Haiti's elite and members of the former
military, while allowing the apparatus of the justice system to be
used as a means of blanket repression and incarceration against
government critics and residents of poor neighbourhoods. Similarly,
the attempts of international donors, lead by the Canadian
government, to facilitate a role for "civil society" in "judicial
reform" has effectively amounted to a hand-out of millions of "aid"
dollars to the same elites who have shown an almost total contempt
for constitutional law, and for human rights.
Such "democracy promotion" programs are far more than just an
enormous waste of money within the poorest country of the Western
Hemisphere; They have allowed the targeted abuses against Haiti's
poor majority to be obscured and forgotten. After the recent
electoral victory of President-elect Rene Preval, whose support is
largely found amongst Haiti's poor, these efforts may also allow
Haiti's small elite to maintain control of the judiciary after Preval
assumes the Presidency.
Targeted Brutality and Targeted Impunity
Both Antoine and Raymond are likely kept inside a wing of the
National Penitentiary reserved for political activists, known as "the
According to Evel Fanfan, the director of the Association of
University Graduates Motivated for a Haiti with Rights (AUMOHD),
conditions within the brig are particularly brutal. Detainees are
often beaten by prison guards during recreation times, are kept in
over-crowded cells without lighting or ventilation, and are sometimes
barred access to washroom facilities. Prisoners in solitary
confinement spend whole days in darkness. Further to this, what
lavatory facilities that do exist within this area are close to the
prison's water wells, raising concern about the contamination of
Mario Michele, who was released from detainment shortly before we met
him, told us that he had witnessed a coordinated beating of detainees
in the brig on February 7th. The detainees had planned a small
celebration in expectation of the February 7th election, which
frontrunner and former elected president Rene Preval was expected to
win. As they began singing "Vent Virait," ("The Wind Will Turn
Around") in their cells, 4 separate teams of guards, consisting of
approximately 50 in total, entered the Brig and began severely
beating the detainees. Detainees were reportedly passed between the
four teams, and beaten sequentially by each one.
Michele, who witnessed this attack from a nearby cell, stated that
the guards "broke sticks [while beating] them, hit them with their
guns, stepped on them with their boots, and kicked them. They treated
them very very badly."
Details of the February 7th prison beating were made public in a
press conference held by AUMOHD in late March, days before the 19th
anniversary of the establishment of Haiti's 1987 Constitution. The
Collectif Fanmi Prisonniers (Prisoners Family Collective) and other
Haitian and international organizations had been calling for the
release of the thousands of political prisoners and illegally
detained poor Haitians currently held in Haiti's jails by this date.
It was hoped that a release of unlawfully detained prisoners might
serve as a show of good faith that members of the interim government
were committed to working to improve Haiti's failing judicial system.
The date passed without a single prisoner being released. Regardless
of this, since January, members of the Prisoners Family Collective
have been staging weekly protests outside of the Palais de Justice in
the middle of downtown Port-au-Prince.
Yet for those close to the interim government, Haiti's justice system
has worked quite well. In May of 2005, Haiti's Supreme Court
overturned the trial by jury conviction of former paramilitary Louis
Jodel-Chamblain, as well as 14 other individuals, who were convicted
by Jury of carrying out the 1994 Raboteau massacre. Many human rights
organization, including Amnesty International, have criticized the
acquittal of Chamblain as an indication of the climate of impunity
that pervades Haiti's justice system.(2) The 2000 Raboteau conviction
had been seen internationally as a landmark victory for human rights
in Haiti. On March 10th, police command Carlo Lochard and six other
officers, who were among the twelve officers charged in connection
with the August 20, 2005 massacre of several civilians during a
soccer match in Gran Ravine, were released and the charges against
them were dropped. Their arrest had marked one of the few cases in
which members of the Haitian National Police were detained in
connection with one of the many human rights abuses that have been
carried out by their officers since February 2004. (3)
Haiti's Prisons and the International Community
All UN official interviewed during our recent visit to Haiti were
quick to point out the deficiencies of Haiti's prison system. Thierry
Fagart, the director of the UN's Human Rights Commission told us that
more than 90% of detainees in Haiti's prisons were in pre-trial
detention, and that many had been in jail for more than two years
without seeing a judge.(4) Haiti's constitution requires that
detainees see a judge within 48 hours of their arrest. When
interviewed, UN spokesperson David Wimhurst stated that Haiti's
judicial system was "totally chaotic," adding that "it doesn't
work."(5) Michelle Deslaurier, the Canadian Chief of the Corrections
Unit within the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
(MINUSTAH) stated that the number of pre-trial detainees in Haiti's
prisons was so high that, as of the end of March, he had been
informed by the director of the National Penitentiary that it could
not handle any more prisoners.(6)
Yet, the growing statements of concern issued by members of the UN
and the OAS surrounding Haiti's prisons have almost completely
avoided any mention of the political and class character of such
widespread imprisonment. The UN's March 31st press release(7)
includes no mention of the many high-profile political prisoners
still imprisoned on illegitimate charges such as former Lavalas Prime
Minister Yvon Neptune, folksinger So Anne Auguste, and former
interior minister Jocelerme Privert. The recent report of the
Organization of American State's Inter-American Commssion on Human
Rights (IACHR) attributed the high rates of pre-trial detention to
the inadequate salaries and working conditions of judicial
magistrates, as well as the "outdated nature of many of Haiti's laws,
lack of effective access to legal assistance, and the failure of
police to execute judicial orders."(8) Although such factors
certainly contribute to the dysfunction of Haiti's judicial system,
the propensity for this system to jail Lavalas activists, supporters,
and politicians went completely unmentioned in the report. The IACHR
report includes only a brief, one-paragraph mention of "concern" for
Neptune's imprisonment, and completely omits any mention of the
politicians and cabinet ministers of the deposed government of
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as well as the untold number of Lavalas
political activists and sympathizers such as Yvon Antoine and Paul
Raymond, who remain imprisoned based upon baseless charges or even no
charges at all. (9)
Reached in Port-au-Prince, Deslaurier stated that politically
motivated detention was "not the main problem" of Haiti's criminal
justice system. Paradoxically, he claimed that the majority of those
currently imprisoned were poor and as a result had no access to legal
representation. Despite this acknowledgement, the viewpoint that poor
neighborhoods in Haiti's capital were targets for
politically-motivated imprisonment was certainly not popular amongst
any UN officials we spoke to. (10)
However, it is clear that the high degree imprisonment of poor
Haitians is no coincidence, nor is the UN exempt from responsibility
for Haiti's overcrowded prisons. Poor neighborhoods have been the
target of systematic raids, checkpoints, and searches by UN forces,
as well as by the UN/Canadian-trained Haitian National Police, over
the last 26 months. These neighborhoods, such as Cite Soleil, Bel
Air, La Saline, Pele, and Solino have been stigmatized due to the
fact that support for the deposed Lavalas government of Aristide has
remained strong within them. Such neighborhoods have been
consistently deemed "gang" or "criminal" neighborhoods in Haiti's
elite-owned radio stations and newspapers, and influential members of
Haiti's business community have maintained strong pressure on the UN
to "clean up" such neighborhoods. The resulting raids have resulted
in uncounted numbers of civilian deaths at the hands of UN forces and
the Haitian National Police, as documented in reports conducted by
the Miami Centre for the Study of Human Rights, the Harvard School of
Law, and Amnesty International.(11)
UN forces have also detained an uncounted number of Haitian civilians
without charge, and have then handed them over to the Haitian police,
exacerbating the crisis within Haiti's packed jails. Interviewed on
Flashpoints Radio in Berkeley, journalist Lyn Duff reported that an
uncounted number of children have been pre-emptively arrested in poor
neighborhoods by the UN and Haitian police.
"Some of these kids are as young as 7, 8, 9 years old…Many have been
arrested and are being held in preventive detention, which is when
they arrest the child because there is the assumption that the child
is from a poor neighborhood and therefore may be a criminal sometime
in the future."(12)
Our own interviews and testimony collected from several family
members of prisoners in Cite Soleil and Pele supports this account.
Most stated that their relatives, some as young as 12 years old had
been detained by Brazilian UN troops, and had been imprisoned for
several months. Some, particularly in Pele, had resorted to paying
bribes to prison officials in the hopes of obtaining a release of
their relatives. Most claimed their relatives had simply been charged
with "Association with Malefactors."
The role of MINUSTAH and the UN Development Program (UNDP) within
Haiti's prisons has been ostensibly focused upon offering training to
prison supervisors and wardens, offering technical advising in the
design of training modules for prison officials, and offering a
security presence at all prisons in Haiti. In response to the
February 19th, 2005 prison break, where 481 prisoners were released
after armed men entered the prison through the front doors, the
Canadian government and MINUSTAH have developed a special training
seminar to "strengthen the capacity" of prison guards to deal with
such issues of security. Outside of the National Penitentiary, large
UN Armored Personnel Carriers and Jordanian UN troops guard the front
entrance, while a smaller UN security force is present at all 16
other prisons throughout Haiti.
Despite these new "capacity-building" measures, the lack of response
from the UN to abuse within Haiti's prisons, such as the coordinated
prison beating of Lavalas activists on February 7th, as well as the
accounts of special, punitive status for political activists within
prison, indicates that their determination of the value of the rights
of prisoners is a low priority at best.
The UN has also been harshly criticized for failing to investigate
several well-known cases of prison beatings and killings that have
been carried out by prison guards. The most well known case occurred
on December 1st, 2004 when guards shot and killed between 12 and 60
un-armed prisoners after a brawl broke out in the National
Penitentiary. Although the UN has stated that it has carried out an
investigation of the killings, more than a year and a half after the
incident, the findings have not been made public.(13)
"Democracy Promotion" and Haiti's Judiciary
Since the appointment of the interim government of Gerard Latortue in
March of 2004, Haiti's Judicial Branch has inarguably been
subordinate to its Executive Branch. Yet tensions arose between the
Haitian Justice Ministry and the Supreme Court on December 9th, 2005
after President Gerard Latortue dismissed five Supreme Court judges
and replaced them with his own appointees. The dismissed judges had
ruled against Latortue in his attempts to disqualify Texan
businessman Dumarsais Simeus from running in the upcoming
Presidential election, on the grounds that Simeus was not a Haitian
citizen. In response, the Haitian Judges Association (ANAMAH), whose
membership comprises 500 of Haiti's 750 judges held a five-day
strike. Although the legal validity of both positions in this dispute
was questionable (the Haitian Constitution does require Presidential
candidates to have lived in the country for five years, but prohibits
the politically-motivated dismissal of Supreme Court Judges by a
sitting President), the UN Human Rights Commission and the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued statements
condemning the dismissal,(14) effectively supporting the ANAMAH
ANAMAH has been viewed as a key partner in the efforts of the UN to
promote independence of Haiti's judiciary, perhaps not surprisingly
as it was created by the International Federation of Electoral
Systems (IFES) an organization funded by US and Canadian aid
agencies.(15) In a report prepared for MINUSTAH, the International
Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC), an association of legal experts
from around the world, identified ANAMAH as a key candidate for
financial support for Judicial Reform projects aimed at bringing
about "judicial independence."(16) ANAMAH is known to have received
funding from UNDP programs, as well as the US Agency for
Despite ANAMAH's intransigence with the Latortue government in
December, the organization has never raised any objection to the many
violations of Haiti's Constitution or to the rights of its citizens
that have occurred within Haiti's prison system, within Haiti's
courts, or at the hands of the Haitian National Police. ANAMAH issued
no response after the Haitian Supreme Court overturned the 1994
Raboteau massacre convictions, nor did it speak out in the fall of
2004 when then-Minister of Justice Bernard Gousse dismissed Judge
Fleury after he ordered the release of detained opponents of the
Latortue government, citing lack of evidence in support of their
In addition, the record of ANAMAH's current President, Jean Peres
Paul, has been one of total disregard for due process and human
rights in Haiti. Peres Paul has been presiding for over a year upon
the case of slain Radio Haiti Inter journalist Jean Dominique, who
was murdered outside of his radio station on the morning of April
3rd, 2000, and has been singularly responsible for bringing the case
to a state of legal limbo.(17) Peres Paul, active in the anti-Lavalas
political opposition before the removal of elected Aristide, was also
responsible for the six-month detention of Catholic Priest and
Lavalas activist Father Gerard Jean-Juste, whose life was placed in
immediate danger after he developed leukemia in prison. September
2005, Peres Paul personally ordered the arrest of journalists Kevin
Pina and Jean Ristil, yelling "terrorist" and "white bandit" at Pina
after the two began filming a police raid of the Parish of Father
Gerard Jean-Juste.(18) Pina and Ristil were released several days
later after an international outcry. On December 30th, 2005, Peres
Paul ordered the release of four individuals (Stantley Handal,
Wilfrid Francois, Sony Lambert, and Rénald Cinéus) who were
implicated in a kidnapping ring. Three were police officers; the
fourth, Handal, was a member of one of Haiti's wealthiest families
and a supporter of the 2004 coup against Aristide.
Most recently, on March 7th, Peres Paul released the 7 police
officers, including former Division Commander Carlo Lochard, who were
arrested in connection with the Gran Ravine massacre of August 2005.
Witnesses claimed that as many as 20 police officers, and members of
a gang known as the Lame Ti Machete (Little Machete Army) walked into
a crowded soccer stadium and began picking off individuals accused of
association with Lavalas, shooting and hacking them with machetes.
Between 12 and 50 individuals are believed to have been killed.(19)
Beyond the support received by ANAMAH, the UNDP claims to offer
support for building an arena for dialogue between government and
civil society, geared towards creating judicial reform. The main
coordinator of this effort is known as the Citizen's Forum (Forum
Citoyen), which is a member of the coordinating committee of the
rabidly anti-Lavalas "civil society" coalition, the Group 184.(20)
Jean Lavoie, the Coordinator of Projects for the UNDP noted that the
Forum Citoyen is to serve as the key coordinator of programming aimed
at strengthening civil society's ability to advocate for judicial
reform.(21) The Group 184 was established by the US government-funded
Haiti Democracy Project as a "civil society" organization opposed to
Aristide's government in December of 2002. Such an organization is
hardly an impartial observer within the operation of Haiti's
judiciary for certain individuals.
The Group 184's leader Andre Apaid is a wealthy owner of Alpha
industries, a collection of large cheap labour export assembly
factories. In a human rights report conducted by the Miami Centre for
the Study of Human Rights, investigator Thomas Griffin heard from
various sources that Apaid had paid a Cite Soleil gang leader named
Labanye to kill Lavalas supporters. Apaid would later admit to the
investigators that he had ordered the police in the capital not to
In the lead-up to the Presidential elections last February, Apaid and
the Group 184 consistently pressured UN forces to "clean up" poor
neighborhoods such as Cite Soleil. As a result of this pressure, UN
raids in Cite Soleil resulted in an uncounted number of civilian
deaths. The largest toll occurred on July 6th when a UN raid resulted
in 23 deaths in total, many of whom were women and children.(23)
Apaid may have played a role in the suicide of UN General Urano
Bacellar. Bacellar apparently killed himself on the night of January
7th after a tense argument with Apaid and industrialist and media
mogul Reginald Boulos. Bacellar apparently disagreed with the high
degree of civilian casualties that were the result of UN operations
in Cite Soleil.(24)
The Group 184 does, of course, already hold a large sway over Haiti's
legal system. In some respects, it seems likely that the dispute over
Simeus represented a beginning of a tug of war for control of Haiti's
judiciary between members of Haiti's interim government, and the
Group 184 in advance of Rene Preval's installation as President in
May. Recently, on April 10th, Latortue installed 6 of 8 members of
the Superior Council of the Judiciary, tasked with overseeing the
"independent" functioning of the judicial system. Latortue claimed
that the Superior Council would also be tasked with investigating
allegations of corruption amongst judges. This act was criticized by
Gervais Charles, head of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association and
lawyer for the Group 184, who described the Council as a "clique of
friends" of Latortue's government.(25) Both the Forum Citoyen and the
Federation of Haitian Bar Associations, also lead by Group 184 member
Jacques Sanno, chimed in with criticism of this appointment.(26)
Canada has a dominant role within the UN's prison and judiciary
branches. UN Human Rights Commissioner Thierry Faggart spelled this
fact out for us in an interview:
"Canadians in particular are very involved in the prisons area. Both
at the UNDP and MINUSTAH, the guys who are in charge are all
Canadian personnel also command the UN Civil Police force, which is
mandated to train, vet, and provide operational support to the brutal
Haitian National Police.
Canada was identified by UNDP director of programming Jean Lavoie as
a key source of funding for correctional programs, along with Sweden
and the European Union.
Much of the funding for the UNDP and MINUSTAH's correctional and
judicial programs has come from the Canadian International
Development Agency's (CIDA) "Justice and Human Rights Support Fund
Phase II". This program, valued at approximately $3 million, has
provided funding for a number of Haitian NGO's and "civil society"
organizations that form the Group 184's coordinating committee,
including the Forum Citoyen and the Catholic Church's Justice and
Peace Commission, according to Lavoie.
The first phase of the "Justice and Human Rights Support Fund"
provided steady funding for the National Coalition for Haitian Rights
(NCHR), recently renamed the Reseau National du Defense des Droits
Haitien (RNDDH). NCHR/RNDDH has been criticized and discredited to
the point of changing its name due to its continued insistence that
jailed Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune was responsible for a
massacre that occurred in La Scierie in February of 2004. As
explained to us by Thierry Fagart, evidence indicates that what
occurred at La Scierie was a battle between pro- and anti-Aristide
military groups, as well as the Haitian National Police. There is no
evidence linking Neptune to the events that took place in La
Scierie.(27) Regardless, Neptune has remained imprisoned for almost
two years. NCHR received $100,000 from CIDA in February of 2004
shortly after it made its accusations against Neptune.(28)
In addition, as of late February, CIDA also approved a $5 million
"Democracy and Peace Fund," designed to "build capacity" and
strengthen "good governance principles" for Haitian-based civil
society organizations and NGO's over a period of four years.
According to Jean Lavoie, the key player in this new initiative will
be the Forum Citoyen, which will be ostensibly geared towards
building a civil society dialogue with the Haitian government in
order to bring about judicial reform. ANAMAH is expected to receive a
portion of the funding from this program as well, distributed through
The Canadian organization Rights and Democracy is also playing a
significant role in this process. Rights and Democracy was initially
created by an act of Canada's parliament in 1988. Ed Broadbent,
former leader of the New Democratic Party, Canada's left-leaning
social democratic political party, has been among previous leaders of
Rights and Democracy. Although a significant amount of R&D's budget
originates from CIDA, the organization has previously been associated
with progressive politics, and has often been a critic of neoliberal
Under the "Phase II" fund, however, R & D has begun a $415,000
project in which they have contracted both Forum Citoyen and the
National Coordination for Advocacy on Women's Rights (CONAP), an
anti-Lavalas women's organization lead by Danielle Magloire, to
design a training module for Haitian civil society organizations.(29)
Magloire, also the director of the women's organization ENFOFANM, was
appointed to the "Council of the Wise Men" by the US, Canadian, and
French governments after Aristide was deposed. This Council later
appointed Gerard Latortue as the interim Prime Minister of Haiti.
Both CONAP and ENFOFANM received substantial funding from CIDA during
the years 2000-2004, along with numerous other anti-Lavalas political
organizations, despite the fact that Haiti's government was under an
aid embargo at the time.(30) An official reached at R&D's head office
in Montreal informed me that other partners involved in this training
program have included Justice and Peace, and Haiti Solidarity
International, two more organizations who sit on the coordinating
committee of the Group 184.
In addition to its role as a major funding agency of "civil society"
organizations aligned with Haiti's wealthy elite, Canadian aid
dollars have also been used to pay the salary of officials within
Haiti's Ministry of Justice. In the Griffin report, Deputy Minister
of Justice Philippe Vixamar admitted to investigators that he was
appointed to his position by the Canadian government, and that his
salary was paid by the Canadian International Development Agency.
Vixamar also denied that there were human rights abuses and
constitutional abuses within Haiti's criminal justice system.(31)
Vixamar, interviewed by Griffin in November of 2004, remained on the
payroll of CIDA through the summer of 2005. Dilia Lemaire, a woman
with a long record of employment with CIDA, now commands the same
position held by Vixamar within Haiti's Justice Ministry. It is
unknown as to whether she is also on the payroll of CIDA.
Given its lead role in both overseeing the international community's
training within prisons, its authority over the UNPOL training and
vetting of the Haitian police (the director of UNPOL is Canadian), as
well as its lead role in providing "democracy promotion" assistance
to civil society organizations aligned with Haiti's elite, the
Canadian government bears much responsibility for the continued state
of impunity that prevails over the judicial and prison systems in
Haiti. Sadly, such efforts fall within the pattern of Canada's
unquestioning support of Haiti's interim government, as well as its
military support for the US-orchestrated removal of elected President
Aristide in February of 2004.
As of now, Canada's official position regarding politically motivated
jailings in Haiti remains, in the words of former Canadian Prime
Minister Paul Martin, that "there are no political prisoners in
The international community's efforts in Haiti have served, without
fail, to buttress the illegal government of Gerard Latortue,
regardless of the consequences of this unquestioning support upon
such stated development goals as "good governance" and "judicial
Judicial reform is certainly a process of great importance in Haiti.
Haiti's prisons are packed with wrongfully imprisoned individuals and
activists, and prison employees continue to ignore basic human rights
of prisoners. Haiti's judiciary is still far from independent from
the government's justice ministry as well as powerful lobby groups,
and is often staffed with judges who have inadequate working
conditions and salaries. Many of these difficulties have been carried
over from the Duvalier years, and have continued on through the
1990's under the Preval and Aristide governments.
But the international community's partners in "reform" have
consistently been those who have continuously violated Haiti's
constitution at almost every turn since the removal of the elected
government in February of 2004. In relying solely upon civil society
organizations rooted within Haiti's elite, it is clear that the
United Nation's, and particularly Canada's, continued support of
these forces have ensured that the justice system has operated as a
tool used to suppress and imprison Haiti's poor majority. Both Canada
and the United Nations seem bent upon aiding the Group 184's efforts
to dominate Haiti's judiciary, which is sure to undercut the incoming
government of Rene Preval.
In addition, the prominent role played by ANAMAH director Jean Perez
Paul in reform plans geared towards promoting "judicial independence"
is outrageous. Perez Paul has shown utter contempt for human rights
in Haiti, for the welfare of detainees in Haiti's prisons, and for
the very notion of due process. Although the international community
has resorted to what amounts to finger wagging in recent weeks in
response to the issue of pre-trial detention, the continued instances
of warrantless arrest still carried out by MINUSTAH troops in poor
neighbourhoods undercuts any credibility that such expressions of
"concern" might otherwise have. Stuart Neatby recently spent several
weeks in Haiti as part of a small delegation of independent
* * *
1. "Haiti: Failed Justice or the Rule of Law," OAS Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights, March 2006, Pg 68.
2. "Haiti: Obliterating justice, overturning of sentences for
Raboteau massacre by Supreme Court is a huge step backwards." Amnesty
International, May 26, 2005.
3. "Libération de 7 des hauts cadres et policiers accusés
d'implication dans le massacre de Grand Ravine," Agence Haitienne de
Press, March 10, 2006.
4. Interview, March 17, 2006.
5. Interview, March 9, 2006.
6. Interview, April 5, 2006.
7. "Communiqué de la MINUSTAH sur la situation des prisons,"
MINUSTAH, March 31st, 2006. http://www.minustah.org/compress.html
8. "Haiti: Failed Justice or the Rule of Law," OAS Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights, March 2006, Pg v-vi.
9. The work of Thierry Faggart has been the notable exception to
this. He told us outright that his investigation had found that there
was little evidence of involvement of imprisoned Prime Minister Yvon
Neptune in a massacre at La Scierie and that he should be released
immediately. The charge had been initially leveled against Neptune by
the US and Canadian-funded "human rights organization," the National
Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR). Fagart has even gone so far as
to publicly call Haiti's human rights situation a "disaster" and has
recently called for the release of pre-trial detainees in Haiti's
prisons, a constitutional option that has been summarily ignored by
the rest of the international community. The Haitian Judges
Association, ANAMAH, was heavily consulted by the OAS investigators
in their report "Haiti: Failed Justice or the Rule of Law."
Accordingly, many of their recommendations concern improving the
working conditions of magistrates. By contrast, the possibility of
releasing detainees who remain imprisoned without charge was not
discussed in the report.
10. The officials interviewed include Graham Muir, head of UNPOL,
Thierry Faggart, director of UNHRC, David Wimhurst, MINUSTAH
spokesperson, Michelle Deslaurier, MINUSTAH's director of
Corrections, Barry Macleod, MINUSTAH's head of election security,
Jacques Dyotte, UNDP director of Corrections, and Jean-Marie Lavoie,
UNDP chief of programs. With the exception of Faggart, all the
officials mentioned above were Canadians.
11. See: "Keeping the Peace in Haiti?" Harvard School of Law. March
"Haiti: Disarmament Delayed, Justice Denied." Amnesty International.
July 28, 2005.
"Haiti: Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004." Center for
the Study of Human Rights in Miami. January 2005.
12. Interviewed on Flashpoints Radio, March 23, 2006.
www.flashpoints.net 13. See
14. "Haiti: Failed Justice or the Rule of Law," p 15-16.
15. "Haiti: Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004" Center
for the Study of Human Rights in Miami. January 2005.
16. "ILAC Report: Haiti, January 2005." ILAC. Pg 7-9.
17. "How Important is Jean Dominique?" Michele Montas and Jan
Dominique. April 3, 2006.
18. See <http://www.haitiaction.net/News/HIP/9_30_5/9_30_5.html>
19. Graham Muir of UN Civil Police stated that 12 individuals were
killed, while Evel Fanfan, director of AUMOHD, has claimed that 50
individuals were killed.
20. "ILAC Report: Haiti, January 2005." Pg 24.
21. Interview, April 7, 2006.
22. "Haiti: Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004" Center
for the Study of Human Rights in Miami, p 27.
23. "UN Troops Accused in Death of Haiti Residents," by Joseph Guyler
Delva. Reuters. July 15, 2005.
24. "Elite in Haiti Pressure UN." Aaron Lankoff and Leslie Bagg w/t
the Haiti Information Project. Jan 18, 2006.
25. " Installation of the Judiciary's Superior Council in the absence
of the interim President, the Prime Minister, and the Diplomatic
Body." Agence Haitienne De Presse. April 10th, 2006.
26. "Haïti : les premières réactions fusent après l'investiture ce
lundi du Conseil Supérieur du Pouvoir Judiciaire Haïtien." Radio
Signal FM, April 11, 2006.
27. Interview, March 17, 2006.
28. "Faking Genocide in Haiti: Canada's Role in the Persecution of
Yvon Neptune." Kevin Skerrett. Znet, June 23, 2005.
30. "Canada's Growing Role in Haiti's Affairs" by Anthony Fenton,
March 21, 2005. Znet.
31. "Haiti: Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004," p. 24.
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