Open Letter Against the Trivialization of Duvalier in Haiti

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Wednesday, 25 January 2012 09:02

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ( - A coalition of social organizations and influential persons have written an open letter to Haitian President Michel Martelly to urge him to take the legacy of the Duvalier dictatorship seriously.

Port-au-Prince, January 23, 2012
Mr. Joseph Michel Martelly
President of the Republic of Haiti
National Palace
Subject: Record of the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier
Mr. President,

We, the signatories of this open letter, estimate of the utmost importance that in the name of truth and justice the nation is informed of the action of setting in motion the prosecution against the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, returned, after 25 years to the devastated the country, having been forced by a popular revolt to take refuge in France.

Just days after his return, several complaints were filed by victims of the dictatorial regime. The floor of the Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince was quick to send them to the office of instruction, without trying, as the law requires him to conduct preliminary investigations to identify the perpetrators, co-authors and accomplices of all wrongdoing indexed. The office of instruction, except the hearing of the plaintiffs-es, no investigation has taken place.

We want to remind that it is the responsibility of the State to take all necessary steps to establish the facts relating to crimes committed under the responsibility of the former President for Life Jean-Claude Duvalier, who had proclaimed himself supreme chief, and observance of Armed Forces of Haiti the Volunteers of National Security (VSN) (aka Tonton Macoutes) who reigned supreme. To do this, it is essential to demonstrate absolute firmness, first by giving the magistrate the human and material resources to conduct a thorough investigation and then, using the expertise available to the government and the Haitian justice by authoritative bodies, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH).
,br> We recall that the crimes against humanity are defined both in number and nature of their systematic brutality and inhumanity of their execution. The crimes committed under Jean-Claude Duvalier respond well to this definition, according to the practice of international law, which Haiti is submitted. Contrary to the claims of supporters of former dictator, the systematic and serious crimes are imprescriptible and Haitian courts have jurisdiction to try them. We note with concern and indignation, after one year, Jean-Claude Duvalier, has not been disturbed, even though he is being prosecuted by the state and complaints from victims. Co-authors and accomplices of these crimes are not worried. The case has not progressed satisfactorily in terms of the need for justice.

We object in the most formal manner this tendency to normalize the dictatorship, against the disregard of the legitimate claims of justice from people who have suffered and continue to suffer in silence in the face of arrogance and threats from those for that the law is only fantasy. Who ordered to hand over Jean-Claude Duvalier assets acquired by the price of blood of Haitians and Haitian? How do I accept that he be paid a pension as if he had been a good president who served their country with honor and integrity?

Mr. President, the state authorities can not continue to play Pontius Pilate. The role of the executive and Parliament, it is precisely to ensure that adequate resources are made ​​available to the court so that it can fulfill its fundamental mission: Let the truth be made. Reconciliation with the nation itself, as expected and desired, necessarily involves also the truth about this slice of our history which has so lasting impact society. We, the sons and daughters of Haiti, protest against all these affronts to repeatedly suffered by direct and indirect victims of the Duvalier regime. After the provocation of "sponsorship to promote the School of Law and Economics of Gonaives," it is intolerable to see Jean-Claude Duvalier in Titanyen with President of the Republic.

Mr. President, the presence of Jean- Claude Duvalier in Titanyen, may be regarded as an act of desecration and complicity. This is an unspeakable insult to the nation and an insult that we can not accept. Can we forget that, like Fort Dimanche, Titanyen is the grave of thousands of Haitians and Haitian, tortured by the henchmen of the Duvalier father and son, dehumanized and whose bodies were delivered as food to the dogs?

Mr. President, during your election campaign and in the government program that you run with the Prime Minister, Mr. Garry Conille, you promised to get on with the establishment of the rule of law in our suffering country. Impunity and the rule of law can not coexist in any way. There can be no reconciliation without justice. To meet the promises made ​​must be in accordance with our constitutional rights, engage citizens to resolutely turn its back on old practices to favor the application of the law without bias, without exception.

Jean-Claude Duvalier must be tried for crimes against humanity he has committed and for the embezzlement scandal and recognized by a court in Switzerland. This is the message as expected, unequivocal, commitment to end impunity, a sine qua non for the overhaul / national reconstruction.

Receive, Mr President, our patriotic salutations.

Signatory organizations and individuals (open list):

1. Collective against Impunity (structure involving plaintiffs-es and human rights organizations)
2. Ecumenical Centre for Human Rights (ECHR)
3. Centre Petion Bolivar
4. Centre for Research and Training for Economic and Social Development (CRESFED)
5. Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace (JILAP)
6. Support Group for Returnees and Refugees (GARR)
7. Research Group Education Alternative (GRIEAL)
9. Haitian Women's Movement for Education and Development (MOUFHED)
lO.Plateforme of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH)
l.Réseau the national human rights (RNDDH)
l3.Jean Max CALVIN
l4. Carlo CANTAVE
l5.Bernac CELESTIN
l6.Eddy Chapoteau
17.Paul A. Corbanese
20.Patrick LEMOINE
2l.Michèle MONTAS
22.Raoul PECK
23.Dr Eider F. THEBAUD

For authentication:
Sylvie W. BAJEUX, director of the ECHR
HOPE Pierre, executive director of RNDDH