Date: Thu, 27 Aug 98 11:53:56 CDT
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Haiti Briefing No. 29 August 1998
Article: 42007
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** reg.carib: 214.0 **/
** Topic: Haiti Briefing No. 29 August 1998 **
** Written 4:12 AM Aug 21, 1998 by gn:haitisupport in cdp:reg.carib **

US makes a mockery of justice

Extracts from Haiti Briefing, Haiti Support Group, London, No. 29, August 1998

In a July interview with the US magazine, Emerge, Emmanuel Constant, the leader of the FRAPH death squad that murdered hundreds of Haitians in 1993-4, claims that his organisation is still operating in Haiti, and that, together with former soldiers, he is planning to engineer the return to power of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. Meanwhile, in Haiti at the end of July, police arrested 10 people on suspicion of taking part in a plot against the government. The alleged ringleader, a former army colonel, remained at large.

July also saw the publication of the latest Amnesty International report on human rights in Haiti. The report notes that perpetrators of human rights violations committed while the military were in power remain largely free and unpunished, and that the failure to address the question of impunity for past human rights abuses, compounded by the failure to make speedy progress on the question of judicial reform...has created an atmosphere in which human rights violations continue to flourish. It concludes that the future of human rights in Haiti is on the edge of a dangerous precipice.

Much of the blame for the parlous state of justice and the continuing climate of impunity in Haiti must be laid at the door of the Haitian government. As Father Daniel Roussi�re of the Gona�ves Justice and Peace Commission told Haiti Info, If there were a World Cup for impunity, I think that the Minister of Justice and the Haitian authorities would at least get to the quarter-finals, without a doubt to the semi-finals and maybe they would even win the World Cup of Impunity.

However, the bragging of FRAPH leader, Constant, and the suggestion that members of the former military are still politically active and dangerous, focuses attention once more on the cynical double game being played by the United States. In 1995, the US began funding a five- year $18 million programme to reform the judicial system, yet, at the same time, Washington is blatantly obstructing the very process of Haitian justice.

Constant, the acknowledged former CIA employee, faces charges of murder, torture and arson in Haiti, and the Haitian government has asked for his extradition from his current home in New York. But the US suspended a deportation order, and then agreed that Constant could remain in the US with a work permit and self-deport at any time to a third country of his choice, effectively allowing him to escape justice. The US decision flouts its commitment under the United Nations torture convention to extradite or bring to trial suspected torturers.

Then there are the 160,000 pages of documents taken from the Haitian Army and FRAPH offices by US troops in 1994. Washington insists they will be returned only after the names of US citizens have been excised, apparently for the illegitimate purpose of covering up US complicity in political murder and other abuses. The former US Ambassador to Haiti has stated that information identifying US citizens has already been removed from 113 pages. The Haitian government has asked for the return, in their entirety, of the documents, which contain important evidence needed for the prosecution of cases against the military and paramilitary leaders.

The Haiti Support Group joins Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch/Americas, and the independent expert of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, in demanding the immediate and unconditional return of the documents.

A new judicial system cannot be built while past crimes remain unpunished. Violence and instability will continue while human rights violators remain at large.