Haiti: Presidency Now says No Pardon for Duvalier

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Saturday, 28 January 2012 04:25

DUBLIN, Ireland (defend.ht) – On Friday, President Michel Martelly said he “never proposed to pardon” former President-for-life Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier and that his comments in Davos, Switzerland, which would have suggested that, were misunderstood by The Associated Press.

President Martelly said in an AP interview in Switzerland when asked about Duvalier, “my way of thinking is to create a situation where we rally everyone together and create peace and pardon people, to not forget about the past — because we need to learn from it — but to mainly think about the future… you cannot forget those who suffered in that time, but I do believe that we need that reconciliation in Haiti."

And along with the AP interview in Switzerland, back in April, the then-President-elect, Michel Martelly, had suggested that a pardon, amnesty or clemency would be his leaning in terms of dealing with Duvalier.

”…we do not hasten to make decisions, but the trend is that I lean on the side of the amnesty and clemency, so that we can think about tomorrow and not the past,” said Martelly in a question concerning both the return of Jean Claude Duvalier and former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti.

It was in a radio interview in Dublin, Ireland on Friday that the president was asked why he would pardon Duvalier. Martelly responded, “when I mentioned reconciliation it has nothing to do with Duvalier… Duvalier is a case where only the justice (system) can decide on it.”

In Ireland, Martelly explained that "the problem is the Haitian people fighting among themselves. So I mentioned my will to reconcile the Haitian people, not pardon Duvalier."

The AP writes that following the Switzerland report, Presidential Adviser Damian Merlo faulted the tone of the article but not the content, saying by email that he “just wish you [AP] would have focused on the positive aspects of the interview and not make such a big deal about Duvalier.”

Asked about the matter on Friday, Merlo told the AP that “a Duvalier pardon is not part of the agenda.”

The Martelly-Conille government has been criticized for being very sympathetic towards Duvalier as many members of the government include people who worked in the administration of the former dictator and his family members.

A judge is expected to decide before the end of the month whether prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier is possible.