From Fri Apr 16 10:45:14 2004
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 20:53:35 -0500 (CDT)
From: Melinda Miles <>
Subject: [Haitireport] Haiti Report for April 15, 2004
Article: 177691
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Haiti Report for April 15, 2004

Prepared by Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center

The interim Haitian government

Haitis interim government was announced March 16 and installed March 17. Although we were led to believe that the interim government would be broad-based and inclusive, it does appear to represent rather a narrow sector of society. Interim PM Latortue has said that his cabinet doesnt include any representatives of political parties, implying that the Lavalas Family party has not been discriminated against. However, we are obliged to point out that interim Foreign Affairs Minister, Yvon Simeon, was the Democratic Convergences representative in Europe. The interim Minister of Justice, Bernard Gousse is described by Radio Metropole as an active member of the Group of 184. Our greatest concern surrounds the nomination of ex-General Herard Abraham, former head of the Armed Forces of Haiti (FADH) as interim Minister of the Interior. Abraham has already publicly declared his position in favor of the re-instatement of the Haitian army. (Haiti Support Group press release, 3/17)

A new board of directors was installed on April 1 at the head of the Central Bank (BRH) by interim Prime Minister Latortue. The members of the new board are Raymond Magloire governor, Philippe Lahens vice-governor, Charles Castel general director, Remy Montas and Georges Henri Junoir, members. This team wasn't ratified by the Senate of the Republic and it replaces the board directed by Venel Joseph, whose mandate will end in five months. Latortue gave his insurance that he will work closely with the new board of directors to avoid a budget deficit and to redress the national economy. Latortue expressed the wish that the board helps the country to implement institutional infrastructures and to walk in the path of modernity while respecting the rules of globalization. He also promised that his new board of directors will have all the autonomy needed to do its job. (AHP, 4/1)

Jean Evens Charles is named general director at the National Port Authority (APN), Edouard Vales Jean Laurent, at the Customs General Administration, Jean Michel Boisrond at CONATEL, Alphonse Pascal at the EPPLS, Dr. Alex Lasen at the OFATMA. At the Ministry of Justice, citizen Max Jadotte is named general director, Myna Narcisse Thedore, general director for the Women's Situation and Women's Rights, Pierre Jean Felix, director of Tourism and Winer Cadet, at the Ministry of Interior and National Security. Jean Frantz Richard is named general director at the DGI and Robert Joseph, assistant director at DGI. The Government's Minister without Portfolio, Robert Ulysse, announced that a new judge will soon be named at the Court of Cassation to replace provisional President Boniface Alexandre. (AHP, 4/8)

Reprisal attacks and repression of Lavalas supporters

The Fanmi Lavalas (FL) political organization spoke out on March 22 against what it termed a campaign of systematic repression orchestrated against its supporters in several regions of the country, particularly in the vicinity of Cap-Haitien, in the Artibonite region, in Trou du Nord and in the Central Plateau. In a news release copied to AHP, FL spokesperson Gilvert Angervil indicated that many supporters of the party have been killed or reported disappeared. According to him, the government was formed in violation of the constitution, as well as the proposal for resolving the crisis proposed by CARICOM which foresaw, he said, the formation of a government of national unity. FL pointed out that the formula for putting in place this government cannot in any way reassure party supporters who are the object of extremely serious persecution. Nor can it lead to peace and national reconciliation, said Angervil. (Agence Haitienne de Presse, or AHP, 3/22)

Lorgeat Claude, a young professor who belongs to FL, criticized on 3/22 the physical abuses he suffered at the hands of members of the Army of the North, who abducted him, he said, during the night of March 12. In an interview with AHP, Claude explained that these men, who were hooded and wearing camouflage clothing, had fired rounds of machine gun fire at his home, at the entrance to Cap-Haitien, before kidnapping him and taking him to a torture center set up in a customs all in the city. He states that his abductors were angry about his political affiliation and accused him of possessing illegal weapons. Claude also explained that due to this campaign of repression, many residents of Cap-Haitien are starting to leave the city to take refuge elsewhere in order to escape the fury of the armed men. They say they fear for their security despite the deployment in the region of French military forces who, they say, are co-habiting with the men of the army of the north, who they say remain very active on the ground. (AHP, 3/22)

Five police officers including a municipal commission assigned to the Cafeteria police station are accused of having arrested and then summarily executed five young members of Fanmi Lavalas in the populist district of Fort Touron in La Saline. The young victims ranged in age from 17 to 24. A director for the National Coalition of Haitian Rights (NCHR) pointed an accusing finger at the municipal police commissioner, Dauphin Michel Ange, Inspector Maxime Louissaint and level 4 officers Alien Jeudi, Franckel Belot and Jean Claude Lajeune. According to NCHR, the parents of the victims have accused the police of having executed their children because they belonged to Lavalas. (AHP)

Nearly a month since Aristide left Haiti, many of his followers say theyre being harassed, threatened and even killed. This week, bodies of five people who backed the ousted president were found dumped in the capital some say as part of a brutal crackdown against those faithful to the fallen leader. Among them was Joel Lafrance, 21, whose body was photographed at the morgue splattered in blood, wrists bound with steel wire. His face was completely ripped apart. I was only able to recognize him from a birthmark on his foot, said Marie Carmelle Saint-Hilaire in the teeming La Saline slum. Five police officers are being held on suspicion of killing Lafrance and the four others, though no charges have been filed according to NCHR. Amid the uncertainty, dozens of members of Fanmi Lavalas have reportedly gone into hiding, including Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who has said he intends to stay in the country despite receiving threats. The people that are in power say they are not involved in a witch hunt but it seems to me that is what they are participating in, Neptune said (AP, 3/27)

The judge who conducted the Raboteau massacre trial from September to November 2000, Napela Saintil, was severely beaten on 3/31 in his home by unknown heavily armed individuals. The judge also received death threats from those individuals who reproach him for condemning former number one of the paramilitary organization FRAPH, Louis Jodel Chamblain, in his absence. The magistrate was saved by a police patrol. A NCHR leader, Yolene Gilles, who claimed she had spokes to Saintil, confirmed this info. Gilles deplores that such acts continue to take place in the country and invites governmental authorities to work to put back in prison almost 3000 prisoners who escaped in the movements that came before or after President Aristide's departure. Most of them are ex-prisoners or deportees from American and Canadian prisons. For his part, the director of studies at the school of magistracy, Judge Jean Senat Fleury, declares he is worried for his life since he participated in the Raboteau massacre trial. Fleury calls the authorities to work to out back in prison the condemned people so they serve their sentence. (AHP, 4/1)

Lawyer Leslie Jean-Louis was left with blood welling in the corner of his eye and bruises across his face when he was beaten up and almost lynched because he supports Haitis ousted president. Walking home from his office in the rural city of Leogane, around 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince, he was jumped by opponent of Aristide on March 31 and kicked and punched to the ground. A month after Aristide went into exile his followers still face reprisals in what they call a witch hunt against his democratically elected Fanmi Lavalas party. (Reuters, 4/1)

The Famni Lavalas expressed its worries about the deleterious climate presently in the country on 4/2. In answer to a letter from Latortue on 3/25 asking the organization to name its representative to the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), the political organization pointed out that a savage and blind campaign was orchestrated to persecute, kill its members and supporters. In all departments, heavily armed men terrorize the population, invade police stations, make arbitrary arrests, while they clearly show that they want to systematically eliminate the organization FL, the letter underlines. However, FL declares that political murders, persecutions, illegal arrests must stop, effective measures must be adopted to stop this unacceptable situation and re-establish security conditions in the entire country. It is also pointed out in the letter signed by President of the Senate Yvon Feuille that these dispositions will allow leaders and members of the political organization to meet and dialogue calmly in order to choose their representative for the CEP. Many organizations have already named their representatives for the new CEP that will organize elections. The Democratic Convergence hopes that they will be organized this year, but its main partner among the former opposition platform, the Group of 184, demands two years for the Latortue government. (AHP, 4/2)

Arrest and detention of Haitian National Police and Fanmi Lavalas elected officials

A divisional police inspector, Jean Michel Gaspard, was arrested on 3/27 in Port-au-Prince. He is accused in connection with the violence committed on March 7 during a demonstration by supporters of the current interim government. Six people including a Spanish journalists were killed by bullets during this demo, held to celebrate the departure of President Aristide. (AHP, 3/29)

The Minister of the Interior of the Aristide government, Jocelerme Privert, was arrested during the night of April 5 in Port-au-Prince. He is presently incarcerated at the National Penitentiary. Latortue government Minister of Justice Bernard Gousse said that Privert is accused of involvement in the lethal incidents that took place in Syrie after the St Marc police headquarters was captured by rebels. An arrest warrant was issued against Privert, Gousse claimed, by the investigating judge of St Marc. Accused of practicing a selective policy, Gousse retorted that if that were the case you would see mass arrests and mass dismissals. Such is not the case, he said. However Gousse did not wish to comment on the cases of two convicted individuals who are presently walking the streets, Louis Jodel Chamblain and Jean Tatoune. Gousse had recently raised the possibility of a second trial for Chamblain, who was convicted in absentia for abuses committed during the time of the coup d'etat of 1991, and had also suggested that the convict Jean Tatoune might possibly be pardoned for his participation in the Raboteau massacre in April 1994. (AHP, 4/6)

Although Privert allegedly conspired to kill several people in St. marc, officials did not say how many people were killed, nor did they provide the names of those allegedly slain. Privert was being held at the national penitentiary. Law requires that he hear the charges against him within 48 hours. Penitentiary Inspector Olimaille Bien-Aime said Priverts cell was being guarded by US Marines who are part of the peacekeeping force. But US Embassy spokeswoman Mara Tekach-Bell denied the claim, saying, hes not in our hands. Earlier this year, the US canceled Priverts US tourist visa but did not explain why. (AP, 4/6)

Haitis jailed former Interior Minister denied he coordinated a massacre during a bloody revolt and said he was a scapegoat. It is political persecutionwhere is the proof? I have nothing to do with a massacre in St. Marc, Privert told Reuters in an interview in his Port-au-Prince cell as US Marines armed with m-16s looked on. Human rights organizations have not been able to verify reports in local media of a large-scale massacre of up to 50 people in St. Marc after the suspected massacre, which has been taken as fact by the new government. Priverts arrest warrant does not say how many people were killed. Foreign reporters who visited St. Marc after the suspected massacre found up to five bodies. (Reuters, 4/8)

Conference of Haitian Pastors condemns human rights violations

The Conference of Haitian Pastors (COPAH) executive secretary, Fr. Ernst Pierre Vincent, condemned the police and judicial authorities inertia concerning the numerous cases of human rights violations over the past few weeks everywhere in the country. In an interview with AHP, Vincent felt the human rights situation in Haiti was more troubled than ever with cases of cold-blooded or extrajudicial murders, random or illegal arrests. There can be no reconciliation without justice. The state cannot be built on lies and impunity, Vincent said, regretting the biased politics of some local and foreign human rights organizations in their management of the Haitian case. Vincent noted the arrest of St. Marcs former deputy, Amanus Maillet, who is accused of being involved in condemnable acts. The police must also arrest, he said, the armed men who killed many among St. Marcs population during the raid on this citys police station in Feburary. Many citizens of St. Marc said police officers and presumed FL supporters were killed or burned in the city right after Aristides departure. The police, with justices approval, must also punish the individuals who were involved in the murders that took place during the Sept. 199 coup detat, COPAH said. (3/25)

Rebels commit violent acts and spread terror; hand over some guns; US detains two

A leader of the armed front of the opposition in Gonaives, Butteur Metayer, handed over 13 firearms on 3/20 to the new police authorities under a disarmament campaign launched in the country since the departure of Aristide. This hand over of weapons took place on the occasion of the visit of the newly-designated Prime Minister to the city. The Minister of Interior, General Herard Abraham and the Minister of Justicce, Bernard Gousse, said that the information available on the members of the front will be examined scrupulously with a view to deciding whether or not they can be integrated into the Haitian National Police (PNH). (AHP, 3/22)

The northeast Haitian town of Fort Liberte lives up to its name for 150 murderers, rapists and thieves freed from the local jail. They run the place. Most of Fort Liberte, near Cap Haitien, is in the hands of escaped convicts, the UN said on March 23. Stores are shuttered and the streets are empty. Far to the southwest, in the seaside town of Les Cayes, armed rebels who helped oust Haitis first democratically elected leader carry out public executions, unchallenged by police or foreign troops. In the main square every morning, they shoot accused thieves before an expectant crowd, according to reports sent to the UN from nongovernmental organizations. In Cap-Haitien, armed rebels, some in stolen police gear or military fatigues, 200 French legionnaires and a 50-member deployment of PNH share the same turf in a fragile ditente. Neither the French soldiers nor the police have taken any action to free Aristide supporters illegally detained by rebels, or to confiscate weapons. (Reuters, 3/23)

Angry civilians protested the rebel handover of two police station to officers accused of abuses, underscoring difficulties facing a new government that has praised the rebels as liberators but also ordered them to disarm. The handovers came as rebel commander Louis Jodel Chamblain discussed surrendering power to police in Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second city of 500,000 people, and other northern strongholds. Chamblain, whose fighters still control much of northern Haiti, also vowed to kill President Aristide if he returns from exile. Rebels outnumber and are better armed than police. At one police station which seven rebels turned over on 3/29 to five officers armed only with three handguns, one officer admitted they were afraid of reprisals. Psychologically the fear is still here, but we have a job to do. (AP, 3/29)

The rebels from the North have announced that they have turned over the Cap-Haitien police station to the PNH. This police station had been set on fire by the rebels at the moment they took the city. At the same time, in several communities of the Northwest, including Ouanaminthe, the rebel armed forces of the North are continuing to enforce the law in every area of activities. (AHP, 3/30)

Former police chief Guy Philippe assured the rebels based in Cap-Haitien that they will be able to join the National Police. Philippe visited the rebels and told them that the procedures are multiplying for them to advance in a legal framework for the Haitian population's benefit. According to Philippe, these rebels could be hired in a reforestation campaign and make the Haitian-Dominican border more secure. He also announced that many of them will join the specialized forces of the PNH.

One of the leaders of the Opposition Front in Gonaives, Winter Etienne, named himself the mayor of the city on 4/1. He said he made the decision because the authorities were too slow to name a new mayor after President Aristide's departure. This front had already named a mayor in December to lead the city instead of the elected Lavalas mayor, Stephen Taupa Moise. (AHP, 4/1)

A US-led multinational force trying to bring stability to Haiti helped detain two top rebel figures, officials said, the first time peacekeepers moved against the leaders of the rebellion that drove Aristide from power. Wilford Ferdinand, a former rebel commander who had been accused of kidnapping a Haitian police officer, was detained briefly on 4/7 by French troops and Haitian police. Also, US and French forces on April 3 helped Haitian police arrest Jean Robert, a rebel sympathizer and gang leader accused of terrorizing supporters of President Haiti in northeast Haiti. The detentions marked an increased involvement by some 3,600 troops under the US-led multinational force, which previously was limited to patrols and trying to disarm dozens of militants. Ferdinand was detained at a hotel in Gonaives until four hours later when he was released at the request of police in Port-au-Prince. No reason was given for his release. (AP, 4/9)

Justice Minister Bernard Gousse says it will be months before rebels brought to justice

It will be months before Haitis crippled police and judiciary will be ready to deal with rebels accused of rights abuses who still roam free weeks after a bloody rebellion, new Justice Minister Bernard Gousse said on April 2. With the police force in disarray and court houses in ruins after the ouster of President Aristide, Haiti must first restore order and rebuild its justice system before going after its public enemies, he said. The justice system is not very healthy It will take some months to rebuild, Gousse told Reuters in an interview at the rundown Ministry of Justice in Port-au-Prince. You can see the derelict situation in which the police is, the justice system is, even the buildings. With figures like notorious former paramilitary leader Louis Jodel Chamblain, a convicted murderer still holding sway in the north, Gousse says he had to tread a fine line. Going after heavily armed rebels with depleted, ill-equipped police and the court system in disarray could spark off the fire again, he warned. (Reuters, 4/2)

Investigation into US training of rebels in the Dominican Republic

An independent Haiti Commission of Inquiry, at a media conference in the Dominican Republic (DR) has charged that Washington armed and trained commando forces inside that country which were then used to overthrow Haitian President Aristide. The Commission was created in 1991 by former US Atty General Ramsey Clark after the first US-backed coup against Aristide. The commission report states, Two hundred US Special Forces soldiers came to the DR as part of 'Operation Jaded Task,' with special authorization from President Hipolito Mejia. We have received many repots that this operation was used to train Haitian rebels. We have received many consistent reports of Haitian rebel training centers at or near Dominican military facilities. We have received many consistent reports of guns transported from the DR to Haiti, some across the land border, and others shipped by sea. Kim Ives from Haiti Progres told the media, In the course of our investigation there, we met with many Haitians who were forced to flee Haiti following the coup d'etat of Feb. 29. Their testimony gave very concrete names and faces to the stories of violence which we have heard that the so-called rebels, trained and assembled in the DR, have carried out in Haiti over the past month. We were also touched by the tears of refugees who told us of how they are apprehensive over the fate of their loved ones left behind in Haiti. (Workers World News Service, 4/8)

US soldiers headquartered in university in Tabarre

Academic activities are gradually resuming this week at several branches of the State University of Haiti, however classes are yet to resume at the University of Peace of the Aristide Foundation for Democracy in Tabarre. This university was sacked following the departure of Aristide. Shortly thereafter, soldiers from the multinational force arrived to set up their command center in the university buildings. The Secretary General of the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH), Eliphete St. Pierre, denounced the occupation as a violation of the space of this university by the American military personnel. It is a grave violation of the right to an education for the students of this university who cannot continue their classes, St. Pierre said, and he called for the immediate liberation of the University of Peace. (AHP, 3/24)

The 247 scholarship students enrolled as medical students at the University of Peace of the Aristide Foundation for Democracy continue to call on the Latortue government to explain the occupation of the university campus by the international forces. Concerned for their future, the students set up a committee tasked with carrying out actions designed to bring about a resumption of classes. In an interview with the AHP, two of the students, Pierre Jumeau and Auguste Bertin, indicated that they have written to the Minister for National Education, Pierre Buteau, to ask him to take a position on the question. More than a week after, we have not received any response from Mr. Buteau, said the students, who say they have also had no contact with their dean, Dr. Yves Polynice. Classes should have resumed on March 8. Bertin and Jumeau declared they did not understand the lax attitude of the authorities in dealing with this question. They pointed out that they have received scholarships from the Haitian State and based on the continuity of the State there should be no difficulties in their continuing their studies, which are part of a six-year program. Brig. Gen. Ronald Coleman, commander of the multinational interim force in Haiti, said that the buildings inside the university campus of the Aristide Foundation for Democracy have placed at the force's disposal by the Latortue government to be used as a military base. (AHP, 3/31)


Residents of the Artibonite Department called governmental authorities to help them with the new upsurge of insecurity acts in the area. In Gonaives, armed individuals take advantage of the black outs and spread terror despite the presence of French military in the area. Insecurity is at its height in Petite Riviere de lArtibonite and in all neighboring towns. Armed bandits kill peaceful citizens and rape young girls while other plunder the good of small peasants. These crimes are committed by many individuals who own illegal weapons and bandits who were released from prison after many police stations of the area were taken last February. (AHP, 3/26)

The residents of several regions of the country, notably in the Grande Anse and in the vicinity of Arcahaie, declared on March 30 that as soon as night falls, armed individuals terrorize the populations of these regions. The residents are asking the current authorities to assume their responsibilities. (AHP, 3/30)

Heavily-armed individuals burglarized several several homes in the Plaine du Cul-de-sac particularly in the district of Santo. The burglars also raped the occupants of one of the homes, including an elderly woman. Dressed in military fatigues similar to those worn by members of the former army, they traveled aboard a truck into which they loaded items of value that they took from the homes being burglarized. (AHP, 3/31)

National Lawyers Guild Report

In general, the delegation found the human rights situation grave. The conditions are especially precarious and evidence little hope for improvement due to the almost total lack of knowledge about, and media attention to, the human rights abuses taking place. Layered upon the gravity, there is a general sense in the people of insecurity due to, among other things, (i) killings, (ii) curfews, (iii) the lack of police or any form of working judicial system, (iv) patrols of private, heavily-armed militias, (v) the doubling or tripling of food and fuel prices, (vi) the fall of the Haitian currency against the U.S. dollar, (vii) an abnormal lack of electricity in the cities, and (vii) the unauthorized return of the uniformed and armed soldiers of Haitian Army that President Aristide had decommissioned in 1994 for its historical oppression of Haitis poor. Although a 3,600 member multinational military force (U.S., French, and Canadian marines) is present, its patrols are confined to the city of Port-au-Prince and, within Port-au-Prince, it is generally seen only in the poorest of the crowded slum neighborhoods (e.g., Cite Soleil, Bel Aire, La Saline). Finally, the delegation found overwhelming evidence that the victims of the threats and violence have been supporters of the elected government of President Aristide and the Fanmi Lavalas party, elected and appointed officials in that government or party, or employees of the government, including police. Many are in hiding in the mountains or in Port-au-Prince, others have been beaten and or killed. Many of their homes have been selectively destroyed, mostly by arson. (National Lawyers Guild, 4/11 to request the full preliminary report, email

Human Rights Watch Report

French military forces must work with the PNH to quickly retake control of Haitis northern region, HRW said on March 22. A large number of journalists and government officials from the region have gone into hiding out of fear for their safety. Two HRW representatives just returned from an assessment mission to the north of Haiti, during which they interviewed several journalists and government officials who described their lack of security. One former official, parliamentary deputy Gabriel Ducatel of Port-Margot, was being illegally detained in Cap-Haitien by the so-called Armed Forces of the North. The lack of a police presence is evident all over the north of Haiti. In Trou du Nord, a town located between Cap-Haitien and the Dominican border, an armed group that calls itself the Kosovo Army is acting as the de facto security force. When the two HRW representatives visited the area on March 19, they found Sinais Ambroise, one of the towns deputy mayors, in illegal detention there. In Cap-Haitien rebel forces had 16 prisoners in their custody as of March 20. Among the prisoners that HRW say that day were former deputy Gabriel Ducatel, of the ESCAMP party, who represented the Borgne and Port-Margot district, and Augustin Joseph, an employee of the radio station Peasant Voice of Milot. The HRW reps also heard credible testimonies describing situation of great insecurity in the northern towns of Fort Liberte and St. Rafael. HRW also interviewed a number of radio journalists in Cap-Haitien, including journalists from Radio National, who had gone into hiding. They described the lack of security and resulting fears for their safety. The vast majority of political reps from the party are also in hiding: nearly all the local mayors, CASECs, and municipal officials linked to the party of former President Aristide. (HRW, 3/22)

US Secretary of State Colin Powell should press the interim Haitian government to pursue justice for abusive rebel leaders as well as members of the deposed government, HRW said on April 5. Secretary Powells one-day mission to Haiti is the first such visit by a US Secretary of State since Madeline Albright went in 1998. Vowing to end impunity, Haitian justice officials have promised to prosecute abusive former members of the government of Preisdent Aristide, but have shown little interest in pursuing abusive leaders of the rebel forces. Last week, Justice Minister Bernard Gousse raised the possibility of pardoning Jean Tatoune (whose real name is Jean Pierre Baptiste), a rebel leader who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for his role in a 1994 massacre of Aristide supporters. The contrast between the Haitian governments eagerness to prosecute former Aristide officials and its indifference to the abusive record of certain rebel leaders could not be more stark, said Joanne Mariner, deputy director of Americas Division for HRW. Secretary Powell should remind Haitian officials that, if justice is not evenhanded, its little more than politics. HRW called on US forces to arrest human rights criminal such as Tatoune and Chamblain and bring them to justice. To allow them to move about freely, under the eyes of US troops, is likely to further destabilize the country and result in continued violence, said Mariner. (HRW, 4/5)

Amnesty International Report

Haiti is mired in human rights abuses, political vengeance and fear, some of it caused by the interim government, AI said on April 7. Wrapping up a 15-day fact-finding mission, representatives of the human rights group said that the organization was deeply concerned for the safety of the countrys civilian population. AI found evidence of intimidation and rights abuses across the political spectrum, despite the presence of a multinational peacekeeping force. But the group was pointedly critical of the interim government, led by Prime Minister Gerard Latortue. Since coming to power, the interim government has swiftly moved to arrest members of former President Aristides Lavalas Family party suspected of acts of political violence or corruption, said Yvonne Terlingen, AIs representative to the UN. However, it has failed to act against a number of known perpetrators of grave human rights violations. The delegation interviewed Haitians from across the political and social spectrum, Terlingen continued. All expressed a profound sense of insecurity and fear for their own safety from one or the other of the armed elements currently at large. She said members of those armed elements include thugs, armed pro-Aristide gangs, nonpolitical armed gangs, ex-military authorities, former rural police chiefs responsible for past abuses and individuals who participated in the 1991 coup that removed Aristide. AI is particularly concerned for the safety of judges, criminal investigators, prosecutors, victims, witnesses and human rights defenders involved in prosecutions relating to past human rights abuses, she said. (AI, 4/8)

Haiti Support Group on current situation

In the month since the demise of the Aristide/Neptune government, we have seen the persistence of certain negative developments and reactionary trends, and even though the voice of the popular, democratic sector has remained strangely muted on these matters, we cannot stay silent. The Haiti Support Group has observed with growing alarm the following:

NCHR on possible pardon of Jean Tatoune

The National Coalition for Haitian Rights declared on 4/5 that it is scandalized by the statements made by interim Minister of Justice Bernard Gousse that the government of Latortue is studying the possibility of pardoning the fugitive from justice, Jean Tatoune. Tatoune was sentenced in September 2000 by a Haitian court for his participation in the Raboteau massacre perpetrated in April 1994. The NCHR director, Pierre Esperance said he sees, through this step, the government's desire to reward those who took up arms against President Aristide. He said he is also afraid that this step will be considered as a commitment to impunity such as is enjoyed by the authors of many crimes in society. (AHP. 4/5)

General Abraham, Minister of Interior and National Security, brings resurgent military and rebels into Haitian National Police (PNH)

Haiti's new interior minister said on 3/23 that he plans to integrate rebels who helped oust President Aristide into the police, but will keep out those accused of human rights abuses. Former General Herard Abraham also made clear in an interview he wanted to re-establish Haiti's army a rebel demand opposed by rights activists and others who feel the impoverished country, which can barely feed itself, has higher priorities. In comments that may trouble some international supporters of the new government, Abraham said he had set up a committee to restructure the armed forces. The Americans have a different opinion, but General Abraham thinks Haiti needs an army. The police can't fight terrorism and drug trafficking, Abraham said. (Reuters, 3/23)

The interim Minister of the Interior and National Security, Herard Abraham, announced on 3/30 that new measures have been adopted to make the Haitian-Dominican border secure. Stating that this issue is among the most urgent in the view of the Latortue government, Abraham declared that only 40% of the border line is guarded by the PNH. He said he is counting on the likely inclusion of former members of the demobilized Haitian army to help address the personnel shortage now facing the PNH. According to the interim minister, those who prove to be guilty of crimes or other abuses will not in any case be able to become part of the PNH. (AHP, 3/31)

The leader of the rebels held talks on March 31 about how the commandos could be integrated into Haiti's hapless police force. French peacekeeping troops observed the closed-door talks between rebel leader Guy Philippe and Renan Etienne, the new police chief for northern Haiti, who said afterward that he was willing to accept some rebels into his force but not without a screening process. The talks were aimed at finding a place for rebels until the new interim government determines whether to restor the army that Aristide disbanded years after being overthrown in a 1991 coup, said Guy Philippe, leader of the rebels. We gave the list of [1,500] soldiers who have no criminal record and weren't involved in any wrongdoing to the new interior minister, Philippe said as he left the Hotel Mont Joli in Cap-Haitien, which the rebels have frequented since taking the city. Whether they are integrated into the policy or army, the name doesn't matter as long as they can enforce security. (AP, 3/31)

Resurgent military

Former members of the Haitian armed forces seized control on March 23 of the Mirebalais police station in the Central Plateau, installing their own commander, a former soldier named Philippe. Police were disarmed, and new officials were installed. (AHP, 3/24)

It didnt take long for the new order in Haiti to reveal itself. The day after President Aristide left for exile, 34 union members at the Ouanaminthe garment assembly factory run by the Dominican Grupo M company, were fired. The next morning, when the 600-strong workforce decided to strike, a group of armed men launched a violent attack. Some unionists were handcuffed, many others were beaten up, and the workers were forced back inside the factory. The aggressors were members of the so-called rebel force, fresh from their victory over the government. They said they had been called to the factory by management, to deal with workers causing trouble. As in so many Haitian towns, the Ouanaminthe insurgents had taken over from the police. Their leaders say they are former members of the Haitian Army, the FAdH, a force demobilized by Aristide in 1995. Some, such as Guy Philippe and Gilbert Dragon, were tainted by the US in Ecuador and flown home to senior positions in the new Haitian police force in the mid-1990s. Continued violence and instability in Haiti, will increase the pressure to re-instate the FADH. Foreign governments that have committed to peacekeeping troops want their forces out as soon as possible, and the political parties that control the interim government are beholden to the forces that enthroned them. Behind the scenes, members of the countrys tiny elite, especially the assembly sector businessmen who bankroll the political parties, want the FADH back to guarantee the established order. (Counterpunch, Arthur, 4/1)

Election Agreement and new Provisional Electoral Council; US on elections

Controversy continues regarding the opportunity for new elections this year. The Democratic Convergence is seeking new elections this year to enable a constitutional president to accede to power. The political coalition, which had joined the Group of 184 in the context of the Anti-Aristide political platform, chose to engineer Rosemond Pradel to represent it on the electoral council that is now being formed. The so-called non-aligned parties have for their part designated Rosny Durand. The Catholic, Protestant and Episcopal Churches, as well as the business community and the human rights sector, which together comprise the civil society sector, had under the Aristide government communicated the names of their representatives to the electoral council however they did not authorize them to be sworn in. Security conditions were not appropriate, they had said. It is not known whether the Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization will retain the choice that it had previously made. Several sectors of civil society have indicated that in their view the necessary conditions have not been establishes for holding elections. Some of them have said that one must first think about providing food for people rather than thinking about elections this year. Others are calling for the interim government to have two years in order to do a good job of preparing for elections. The Haitian Constitution requires that under the present circumstances elections be held within 90 days. (AHP, 3/30)

The Alexandre/Latortue government and several political sectors of the government connected to the ex-Platform of the opposition and to a portion of the so-called non-aligned parties signed a political agreement on 4/6 relating to the process of transition. In this document, consensus on political transition, the interim government declared its commitment to fighting insecurity by disarming the illegal armed groups and to improving the system of organization of the PNH. The authorities also committed themselves to begin discussion with the US on the status of the multinational force in Haiti and the peacekeeping mission that is to succeed this force. The government affirmed its determination to combat impunity by opening serious investigations into cases of killings, theft and rape committed against the populations. The authorities also promised to work to integrate the rebels into national life and to create conditions favorable to reflecting in a substantive way on the holding of a national conference and on a new social contract. Elections will be held for every elected office, from the CASECs to the presidency. Several political parties including Fanmi Lavalas were not asked to participate in the consultations that led to the signing of the agreement presented April 6 at the National Palace. (AHP, 4/6)

US Ambassador to Haiti, James Foley, stated on 4/6 that an accord on the transition process reached between the Latortue government and elements of the ex-opposition coalition will facilitate the holding of good elections in the country. Foley asked the other political parties including the Fanmi Lavalas to sign the document because the next elections will be open to all parties. The US ambassador also welcomed the fact that the political parties came to an agreement, he said, to hold these elections in 2005. These elections constitute an element of stability and confidence for the country, he observed. Foley promised technical and financial support from the US towards the organization of elections. (AHP, 4/7)

Democratic Platform calls for the dissolution of the Haitian Senate

A spokesperson for the political Platform of the former opposition, Paul Denis, appealed to the new government on March 23 to take a political decision to dissolve the Senate. According to Denis, if nothing is done on this matter, no sector close to the Platform will take place in the next elections. After the statement was made, Sen. Dany Toussaint, a member of the Platform, resigned. After Toussaints resignation, 14 senators remain in office. Two of them, Myrlande Liberus and Jean-Claude Delice have been abroad since the departure of President Aristide on 2/29. (AHP, 3/23)

New aid for Haiti

During a press conference, the new government's spokesman Robert Ulysse claimed that the government looked at the issue of the resumption of relations between Haiti and the international financial institutions (IFIs), among which are the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the European Union (EU). According to him, the leaders of the EU are presently thinking of raising the sanctions imposed on Haiti after the controversy of the May 2000 elections. An expert from the World Bank was in Port-au-Prince to looks at the probably reopening of the offices in the country, and the same is true for the IMF, according to Ulysse. The Latortue is working on an emergency program to present to the international sponsors in a meeting at the end of April. (AHP, 4/1)

These specific initiatives, announced during Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's April 5 visit to Haiti, underscore the U.S. commitment and rapid response to helping Haiti s security, economic recovery and national reconciliation.


The U.S. plans immediately to deploy a seven-member team to advise the Interim Government on security issues, consisting of:

Urgent Employment Generation

In addition to an ongoing $52 million economic development and humanitarian assistance program, the U.S. will begin an urgent three-year jobs program, which will provide tens of thousands of jobs to improve municipal infrastructure and create jobs in Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien, Gonaives and other locations as needed. The project will rehabilitate schools and public buildings destroyed by rioting and burning; build or rehabilitate roads; and, improve community water supplies. Democracy and Human Rights: The United States will allocate $9 million for elections and democracy building to support activities of the OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti, which is in addition to the special voluntary contribution of $4.9 million recently given to the Special Mission. Other activities may include:


$500,000 will be provided for public education programs to prepare for elections, conduct public opinion polling and conduct training for political parties to develop candidates. Technical Advice and Recovery of Assets: The U.S. Treasury Department will send an assessment team in mid-April to determine the technical assistance needed by the Ministry of Finance of the Haitian government. The United States is prepared to assists Haitian authorities in the recovery of assets that may have been illicitly diverted. Humanitarian Assistance: The U.S. will seek to expand our humanitarian development programs the largest in Haiti to ensure that the medical and nutritional needs of Haiti s most disadvantaged people are met. Since the latest crisis began to unfold in February, the U.S. has responded quickly with an additional $3 million to provide badly needed medical and food supplies. (4/5)

Dealing directly with Haiti on aid issues for the first time since 2000, the US and other international donors meet later this month to discuss how to ease poverty in Haiti, officials said Monday, April 12. The meeting will be chaired by the World Bank. International donors will look for ways to give the government of Haiti and other local organizations a greater say in deciding how aid is to be spent. We have a donors conference scheduled in Haiti on April 22, said Adolfo Franco of USAID. Following the February 29 departure of Aristide the security situation had improved dramatically allowing aid work to resume, although a strong government presence was lacking in the countryside, Franco said. A spokesman for USAID said coordination of work had already begun with the new administration of Latortue, but the government was not getting any money just yet. Besides the World Bank, the EU, France, Canada and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will take part in the 4/22 meeting. (Reuters, 4/12)

Brazil will take command of UN peacekeeping mission for six months

Brazil is prepared to take command of the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti for six months starting in July, the countrys defense minister has announced. Brazil plans to send a total of 1470 army, navy and air force troops to Haiti for six months, defense minister Jose Viegas told journalists in the Brazilian capital late April 8 after discussing the issue with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Other Latin American countries such as Peru, Chile and Argentina indicated they could contribute troops to the peacekeeping forces, the defense minister said. (AP, 4/9)

UN calls for long term assistance; doesnt address Aristide issue at CARICOM

Haiti will need 18 months to organize elections a UN Envoy Reginald Dumas said after a ten day visit. He also said the UN Security Council accepted that countries needed to get away from the stop-start cycle on aid to Haiti and give it sustained, long-term assistance. Dumas suggested a long term commitment and said, And by long term, Im personally thinking of a period of not less than 20 years. Annan himself has said that efforts to help rebuild Haitis police, judiciary and other major institutions would take 10 years or more. (Reuters, 3/30)

Louise Frechette, the UN deputy secretary general, avoided the embarrassing removal of Haitis constitutionally elected president, Jean-Betrand Aristide, during the opening meeting of CARICOM representatives. In spite of it being a grave issue that is still pending, Frechette only alluded to the countrys crisis in relation to a projected UN peacekeeping force. The upcoming deployment was authorized by the UN Security Council which likewise has ignored a CARICOM call, shared by the African Union, for an investigation of the circumstances under which Aristide was removed from office. (PL, 4/13)

National Conference of Black Lawyers calls for investigation into war crimes in kidnapping of President Aristide

National Conference of Black Lawyers requests that Bush Administration officials be investigated for war crimes in the kidnapping of Haitian President in the International Criminal Court. Although the US is not subject to the ICCs jurisdiction, and the Bush Administration demonstrated its utter contempt for the rule of law by retracting initial US approval of the court, NCBL has pointed out to the prosecutor that the Central African Republic, where Aristide was detained against his will, is subject to the courts jurisdiction, and there should be a determination of whether that fact gives the court the right to hold US officials accountable for recent events in Haiti. (NCBL press release, 3/27)

US Secretary of State Colin Powell visits Haiti and announces new bilateral aid, rejects call for an investigation of US role and confirms US investigation into Aristide

Secretary Powell gave Washingtons strong backing on April 5 to Haitis interim leaders, offering rhetorical support and new aid to smooth the countrys return to constitutional rule. At a news conference with Powell, interim Prime Minister Latortue announced that the countrys civic groups have agreed to elections next year. He did not give a date. During the five hour visit, Powell rejected the call by CAIRCOM for a UN investigation into the departure of Pres. Aristide. I dont think any purpose would be served by such an inquiry. The facts are very well known, said Powell. It was only six weeks ago that Haiti was on the verge of a total security collapse. We prevented a bloodbath and a coup from taking place. Powell also confirmed that US law enforcement officials are investigating Aristide to see if he received money from drug traffickers in connection with the movement of cocaine through Haiti, though he declined to give details. (Miami Herald, 4/6)

CARICOM refuses to recognize new Haitian government and calls for a probe into US role; US pressures Caribbean to drop call for probe: Caribbean leaders demanded a UN probe on March 25 into allegations that the US forced President Aristide from Haiti. Conference officials said the 15-nation regional bloc wants the General Assembly to investigate rather than the Security Council. (AP, 3/26)

The 15-nation Caribbean Community withheld recognition from Haitis US-backed interim government on March 27 as leaders closed a summit renewing calls for a UN investigation into the ouster of President Aristide. Leaders said they would take up the issue of whether to recognize the government again at a summit in July in Grenada. Several officials said the regional bloc was under enormous US pressure to recognize the new government, which was appointed. (AP, 3/27)

The US and France have intimidated Caribbean countries into delaying an official request for a probe into the murky circumstances under which Aristide was ousted. The two veto-wielding permanent members of the 15-nation Security Council have signaled to Caribbean nations that they do not want a UN probe of Aristides ouster. Any attempts to bring the issue or even introduce a resolution before the Security Council will either be blocked or vetoed by both countries, council sources told IPS. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who has been caught in the middle of the dispute, says he is unable to act unless he has a formal request to do so either by the Security Council or the 15-members CARICOM, of which Haiti is a member. (IPS, 4/13)

President Aristide to take asylum in South Africa

Ousted Haitian president will take permanent asylum in South Africa after general elections there, Jamaican officials said on March 25. The 53-member African union criticized the unconstitutional way Aristide was forced fro power and urged its members to help him. (AP, 3/25)

Interim Haitian government plans to seek Aristides extradition: Haitis US-backed interim government plans to seek the extradition of ousted Aristide on charges of corruption and rights abuses, the justice minister said on April 1. In coming weeks, Haitian authorities will appoint an independent body to investigate allegations of embezzlement and assassinations under Aristide, Justice Minister Bernard Gousse told the Associated Press in an interview. (AP, 4/1)