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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: AMR 36/053/2004 (Public)

Post by » Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:19 am

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE
AI Index: AMR 36/053/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 205
16 August 2004

Haiti: Chamblain and Joanis overnight trials are an insult to justice

The Haitian interim government failed to ensure justice and to demonstrate its willingness to tackle impunity effectively, said Amnesty International as Louis Jodel Chamblain and Jackson Joanis have been acquitted of the 1993 murder of Antoine Izmery, a pro-democracy activist and business man. The trial has been hastily set up in a special session of the criminal court in Port-au-Prince and the verdict was reached within a day of the hearing.

"There are a number of reasons why we can label this re-trial as a mockery: it was set up without proper instruction and investigation from the Prosecutor (Commissaire du Gouvernement), most of the e
vidence used in the first trial has been destroyed or is missing since the last armed rebellion, false witnesses have been called to testify and no serious efforts have been made to find the genuine witnesses and ensure their security. Said Amnesty International "Key witnesses are in hiding for fear for their lives. Also no effort has been made to arrest the other twelve paramilitary members prosecuted in absentia in the first Izmery trial in 1995."

"After all the efforts made previously on their original trials, it is an insult to the victims to have undergone such a high-profile re-trial in one day," Amnesty International said, "this is a very sad record in the history of Haiti."

Amnesty International has consistently demanded justice for unpunished crimes committed by former Haitian military and paramilitary members and campaigned for the re-trial of Louis Jodel Chamblain. However, the organization expressed serious concerns about the weakness of the Haitian judicial system and its willingn
ess to vigorously prosecute perpetrators of serious human rights violations and meet international standards of fairness guaranteeing the rights of the victims as well as the defendants.

Background information
Louis Jodel Chamblain was second in command of the paramilitary organisation FRAPH, formed by military authorities who were the de facto leaders of the country following the 1991 coup against then-President Jean-Bertand Aristide. FRAPH members were responsible for numerous human rights violations before the 1994 restoration of democratic governance.

In September 1995, Louis Jodel Chamblain, along with 13 other military, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to forced labour for life for the murder of Antoine Izméry in 1993, a well-know pro-democracy activist, and for his implication in the 1994 Raboteau massacre. Chamblain went into exile to the Dominican Republic to avoid prosecution. He crossed the border back into Haiti in January 2004 to lead the armed rebellion that ousted forme
r President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Following international pressure, on 22 April, he turned himself into Police custody.

Military police captain, Jackson Joanis, was convicted in absentia for the execution of Antoine Izméry, and sentenced to forced labour for life. He was deported from the United States in 2002 to serve his sentence. During the rebellion against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, he escaped prison but turned himself into the police on 9 August 2004.

According to Haitian law, Chamblain and Joanis have the right for a re-trial with no assumption of guilty holding over from the previous one.



Public Document
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For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: http://www.amnesty.org

For latest human rights news view http://news.amnesty.org

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: AMR 36/054/2004 (Public)

Post by » Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:27 am

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Public Statement

AI Index: AMR 36/054/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 250
8 October 2004

Haiti: Unbridled violence must end
Amnesty International is extremely concerned at and condemns the recent outbreak of violence between police forces and armed civilians that has been rocking the Haitian capital since 30 September.

Amnesty International condemns in the strongest terms the beheading of National Police officers, supposedly by Lavalas supporters.

Over the past week, dozens of civilians and ten policemen have been killed by gunfire in clashes between alleged Lavalas Party supporters and security forces. Acts of looting and vandalism have also been reported in different areas of the capital. Most of the victims lived in deprived areas of the capital such as Bel-Air, Cité Soleil and Martissant, all considered pro-Lavalas strongholds. Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the disregard for the lives and safety of the people in impoverished neighbourhoods of Port au Prince shown in these incidents.

Amnesty International recognizes the grave security threat posed by the armed groups but urges the government to adopt a strategy to ensure the protection of fundamental rights to life, safety, due legal process and political participation. The organization reiterates its demand to the transitional government to implement a comprehensive disarmament program.

In order to ensure that all sectors of Haitian society receive adequate protection from abuse and threats to life, Amnesty International makes the following recommendations to the Haitian transitional government:
  • Send a clear public message to the national police force and armed civilians that unlawful killings are not acceptable and that those responsible will be prosecuted. [/*:m]
  • Ensure that all suspicious deaths are promptly, effectively, independently, and impartially investigated, regardless of the social status of the victim. [/*:m]
  • Ensure that witnesses and their families receive protection if they provide information. [/*:m]
  • Ensure that the police only use force when strictly necessary and only to the minimum extent required under the circumstances. Lethal force should not be used except when strictly unavoidable and only in order to protect life. [/*:m]
  • Initiate a comprehensive training programme for all police officers on international human rights standards, including the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 17 December 1979). [/*:m]
  • Form an independent committee to establish a dialogue with Lavalas supporters and mediate a peaceful solution to the political crisis.[/*:m]
Amnesty International calls upon the Lavalas party to:
  • Strongly and publicly condemn acts of violence perpetrated by its supporters. [/*:m]
  • Take all possible steps to end violence by its supporters. [/*:m]
  • Seek solutions to the crisis that are grounded in full respect for human rights and the rule of law, including entering into a dialogue with the authorities and other political actors. [/*:m]
  • Cooperate with the transitional government and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in the implementation of a disarmament programme.[/*:m]
Amnesty International calls upon members of the international community to:
  • Assist the government of Haiti to provide full training on human rights standards for all its security forces. [/*:m]
  • Assist the government of Haiti to establish a dialogue with representatives from local Lavalas organizations and establish an action plan towards the suppression of political violence. [/*:m]
  • Take steps for a full and prompt deployment of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in accordance with the UN Security Council's resolution 1542 of 30 April 2004, in order to fulfil its mandate to establish the rule of law, public safety and public order in Haiti. [/*:m]
  • Assist the transitional government to urgently implement a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme of all armed groups.[/*:m]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: AMR 36/060/2004 (Public)

Post by » Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:29 am

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE

AI Index: AMR 36/060/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 284
11 November 2004

Haiti: Amnesty International calls on the transitional government to set up an independent commission of enquiry into summary executions attributed to members of the Haitian National Police

Published


- Tuesday, 26 October, Fort National, Port-au-Prince. Individuals reported to be members of the police burst into a house and kill at least seven people;

- Wednesday, 27 October, Carrefour Péan, Port-au-Prince. Four young men are killed in the street in broad daylight by individuals wearing black uniforms and balaclavas. Witnesses identify their vehicles as police patrol cars.

- Martissant, October. A 13-year-old street child is arrested near the National Theatre by the naval police. At the police station, he is questioned about the hiding places being used by the "chimères" (armed groups said to be supporters of former President Aristide) are hiding and brutally beaten by police while handcuffed and blindfolded.

- Martissant, 20 October. A man is arrested in front of witnesses by individuals wearing black uniforms and balaclavas. They put a plastic bag over his head before brutally beating him. He is being detained at a police station in the capital.

At the end of an 18-day visit to the country during which a delegation headed by Javier Zúñiga, Special Adviser to the organization's Secretary General, went to Port-au-Prince, Mirebalais, Hinche, Cap-Haitien, Gonaives and Petit-Goâve, Amnesty International has concluded that there are serious problems with the functioning of the justice system in general and the functioning of the police in particular. These problems must be addressed urgently by the transitional government.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned at reports obtained from independent sources of serious human rights violations such as arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment in detention centres and extrajudicial executions carried out by members of the Haitian National Police (Police Nationale d'Haiti).

The organization has received detailed reports of incidents in which individuals dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and travelling in cars with National Police markings have been implicated in killings which have cost the lives of at least 11 people over the past two weeks.

Javier Zúñiga said that only an independent, impartial and transparent investigation carried out under the direction of the International Civilian Police would restore the population's confidence in those responsible for law enforcement and in the work of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

This request, together with other Amnesty International concerns, was presented to the Prime Minister of Haiti, Gerard Latortue, during a meeting which was also attended, at his request, by the Minister of Justice, Bernard Gousse, the Minister of the Interior, Hérard Abraham, and the Director General of the National Police, Léon Charles, as well as the United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative, Juan Gabriel Valdés, his deputy, Adama Guindo, the head of the International Civilian Police, David Lee, and other members of the interim government and MINUSTAH.

Amnesty International recognizes the difficulties currently facing the transitional government, many of which are the legacy of the actions of the previous government of Jean Bertrand Aristide. However, the organization believes that none of these difficulties can be used by state officials to justify the carrying out of human rights violations with complete impunity.

Amnesty International also reminded the government of its absolute and unreserved condemnation of the killing of police officers and other abuses committed by irregular armed groups, regardless of their political affili
ation, as contained in a public statement issued on 8 October 2004 which said that "Amnesty International condemns in the strongest terms the beheading of National Police officers, supposedly by Lavalas supporters" (AMR 36/054/2004).

As far as the justice system is concerned, Amnesty International expressed concern to the Prime Minister about the situation of illegality created by the fact that several police stations have been occupied by demobilized members of the military who are discharging de facto judicial duties by acting on arrest warrants issued by magistrates (juges de paix), examining magistrates (juges d'instruction) and government commissioners (commissaires du gouvernement). The holding of individuals in custody in buildings controlled by demobilized soldiers is also unlawful and increases the vulnerability of the detainees concerned. Amnesty International calls on the transitional government to put an immediate end to this state of affairs which, in some cases, has been taking place in close proximity to MINUSTAH positions.

Amnesty International is also surprised at the increasing number of people who the National Police are holding without following legal procedures. The fact that several of those arrested have been held for long periods without charge therefore makes such arrests unlawful.

Amnesty International believes that the lack of an effective disarmament programme throughout the country is a major cause of the current crisis and reiterates its request to the interim government and MINUSTAH to assume their responsibilities in this respect.

Lastly, Javier Zúñiga warned the interim government of the impending humanitarian crisis developping in Cité Soleil in the absence of any state authorities. Cité Soleil is under complete control of politically- and criminally-motivated rival armed groups. The population of Cité Soleil reportedly has no freedom of movement. The rights to health, food, education and physical integrity of the inhabitants of this area of the capital are violated on a daily basis as a result of the closure of the hospital and schools and the difficulties in distributing food aid. Amnesty International has also received eyewitness accounts of the gang rape of women by armed individuals. As well as suffering physical and psychological abuse, the victims of such abuses have no access to medical attention or legal advice.

Amnesty International believes that the mandate of MINUSTAH, as described in United Nations Security Council resolution 1542 of 30 April 2004, which includes a mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, should be implemented in Cité Soleil.

Following this visit, Amnesty International will prepare a detailed report containing its most important conclusions and recommendations to the interim government, MINUSTAH and representatives of the political forces within the country as well as to the armed groups who also bear responsibility for the critical human rights situation in Haiti.




Public Document

****************************************

For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566

Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: http://www.amnesty.org


For latest human rights news view http://news.amnesty.org

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