Joint Action/Statement: Amidst calls for Duvalier’s prosecution, lawyer blasts Canada’s role in “impunity” in Haiti

CMAQ via Mic, Vendredi, Janvier 21, 2011 - 21:17

MONTREAL, JANUARY 21--Days after former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Haiti, a leading Haitian human rights lawyer blasted the Canadian government’s role in what he criticized as a climate of “impunity” in Haiti.

In a Montreal press conference on January 21, Mario Joseph—who the New York Times has referred to as “Haiti’s most prominent human rights lawyer”—spoke about the legal case for the prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier for crimes against humanity.

Also : Joint Action/Statement on prosecuting Jean-Claude Duvalier
- by many human rights organisations, January 20, 2011

Joseph is the manager of the Port-au-Prince-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), which, along with the Institute for Justice and Democracy In Haiti, has compiled extensive evidence of Duvalier’s abuses--available at

In 2000, Joseph spearheaded the prosecution of Haiti’s Raboteau Massacre trial, which was one of the most significant human rights cases anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. And at today’s press conference, he announced that the BAI is ready to accept testimony from victims of Duvalier’s regime—including those living in Quebec and Canada—who he urged to come forward as witnesses to Duvalier's abuses.

Joseph stated that he wants to see a “rupture from impunity” in Haiti. Part of the underlying problem, according to Joseph, has been the role of the international community, including the Canadian government, which has been heavily involved in recent years in Haiti’s justice system.

He criticized Canada and other governments for helping bring about the current political crisis in Haiti, by backing an election before Haiti’s electoral list had been revised to account for the deaths of more than two thousand people following the January 12, 2010 earthquake. In the context of President Rene Preval’s hand-selected electoral council’s decision to bar twelve political parties from participation in the election, and the cholera epidemic, Joseph and many other human rights advocates had called for the November 28, 2010 Haitian elections to be put off.

“Canada understands democratic values, but why would it support a government that does not respect the constitution?” he stated.

He also cited Canada, the U.S., and France’s role in a 2004 coup d’etat against a democratically elected Haitian government that had made some progress in prosecutions of human rights offenders as a contributing factor in the present climate of impunity in Haiti.

Fifty human rights groups from around the world yesterday joined BAI’s calls for justice for Duvalier’s victims, issuing a joint statement urging the Haitian government to investigate and prosecute “Baby Doc” (pasted below, and also available at: )

The press conference was organized by the Montreal-Haiti Solidarity Committee, a group founded after the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti to build solidarity with the Haitian grassroots organizations who are pushing for more inclusive, accountable and democratic recovery efforts.

Joint Action/Statement on prosecuting Jean-Claude Duvalier

January 20, 2011

As organizations concerned with human rights in Haiti, we call on the Government of Haiti to immediately take steps to investigate and prosecute Jean-Claude Duvalier for human rights violations committed during his 1971-86 rule of Haiti. Scores of human rights investigations, legal cases, victim testimonies, and in-depth reports provide ample evidence to commence formal proceedings against Jean-Claude Duvalier. While the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute Duvalier rests squarely with the Government of Haiti, we call on the international community to provide all needed assistance to enable Haiti to fully and promptly investigate and prosecute him. Given the fragile state of Haiti’s infrastructure following the January 12, 2010 earthquake and the current cholera and electoral crises, significant international assistance may be needed.

During Jean-Claude Duvalier’s regime, systematic killings, “disappearances,” torture, and other ill-treatment were widespread. These crimes were often carried out by the infamous paramilitary force known as the Tontons Macoutes (or officially as the Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale), as well as special units of the armed forces of Haiti and local authorities empowered with brutal force. The crimes left many thousands dead, wounded, or in exile and amounted to crimes against humanity. Under international law, Haiti is obligated to investigate and prosecute such acts, which are not subject to otherwise relevant statutes of limitation.

Jean-Claude Duvalier’s arrival in Port-au-Prince on January 16 provides the Government of Haiti an unprecedented opportunity to right the wrongs of the past through the rule of law. By thoroughly investigating and effectively prosecuting these crimes, the Government of Haiti would finally end the impunity that Duvalier has enjoyed since he fled into exile in France in 1986. It would also provide well-deserved hope to those who have waited decades for their persecutors to be brought to justice. And–at a crucial moment in the country’s political process—it will demonstrate that while the constitution may be paper, it can be mightier than the bayonet.


Signatories’ List

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law
Meg Satterthwaite

Partners in Health
Dr. Paul Farmer

Center for Constitutional Rights
Bill Quigley

Allan K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School
James Silk

Human Rights Clinic University of Miami School of Law
Caroline Bettinger-López

Asociación Nacional de Centros (ANC)
Francisco Soberón Garrido

International Human Rights Law Clinic and Human Rights Program, University of Virginia School of Law
Deena R. Hurwitz

Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic, University of Minnesota Law School
Jennifer M. Green

International Action Ties
Mark Snyder

Friends of the Earth – Amigos de la Tierra
Gustavo Castro Soto

Comisión de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH)
Miguel Huerta Barrón

Immigration Clinic, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada
Fatma E. Marouf

Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, Fordham Las School
Martin S. Flaherty

Other Worlds
Beverly Bell

Lamp for Haiti Foundation
Thomas M. Griffin

Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Bert Lockwood

Refugio del Rio Grande, Inc.
Lisa S. Brodyaga

Immigrant Rights Project, University of Tulsa College of Law
Elizabeth McCormick

Immigration Law Clinic, University of California Davis School of Law
Holly Cooper

Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)
Marco Antonio Velázquez Navarrete

Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos (AMAP)
Marco Antonio Velázquez Navarrete

Center for Justice& Accountability
Kathy Roberts

Brennan Bollman

Canada Haiti Action Network/Reseau de solidarite Canada-Haiti
Roger Annis

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, University of California Hastings College of the Law
Karen Musalo

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Brian Concannon

Haitian National Coalition for the Environment (KNAA)
Isaac Cherestal

Haiti Dream Keeper Archives
Michelle Karshan

Center for Social Justice, Seton Hall University School of Law
Lori A. Nessel

Beyond Borders
David Diggs

Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye
Etant Dupain

Let Haiti Live
Melinda Miles

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Haiti
Alexis Erkert Depp

Physicians for Haiti
Rishi Rattan

International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
Jeanne Mirer

Diana Duarte

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE)
Robin Alexander

Instituto Peruano de Educacion en Derechos Humas y la Paz (IPDEDEHP)
Pablo Zavala

St. Boniface Haiti Foundation
Linda Canniff

Montreal-Haiti Solidarity Committee
Darren Ell

School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch)
Nico Udu-Gama

UCF Haitian Sutdies Project
Kevin Meehan

All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)
Bob Brown

Paloma Institute
Guy R. Knudsen

Global Exchange
Tom Miller

Green Cities Fund, Inc.
Tom Miller

Institute of Redress & Recovery at Santa Clara University
Beth Van Schaack

Alliance for Global Justice
Chuck Kaufman

Central American Legal Assistance
Anne Pilsbury

Nicaragua Center for Community Action (NICCA)
Diana Bohn

St Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America
Marilyn Lorenz

The National Lawyers Guild Internaitonal committee
Charlotte Kates

Amy Fotta

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
Rudy Arredondo

Kentucky Interfaith Taskforce on Latin America and the Caribbean (KITLAC)
Stephen Bartlett

Essex Transitional Justice Network, University of Essex
Diana Morales-Lourido

National Lawyers Guild Task Force on the Americas
Judy Somberg

American Association of Jurists (AAJ)
Vanessa Ramos

Article du journal Le Devoir au sujet de ce communiqué

The governing system of Jean
AkishaW (non vérifié)
Ven, 2011-01-21 23:19

The governing system of Jean Claude Duvalier is not good because of the stated crimes in this article. And now, after more than two decades in exile, he made good on a promise to return to Haiti. Duvalier, who's called “ Baby Doc,” inherited a brutal authoritarian regime from his dad, Francois Duvalier or “Papa Doc,” and continued a reign of terror in Haiti. Though some crowds turned out to cheer his come back, he will very likely be put on trial for his crimes.

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