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Can France and U.S. be held accountable in a court of Law?
Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:41 am
I am really concerned about the situation in Haiti. Real people are dying, and the country seems to be in complete chaos. I have been so much involved in my "personal life" that I have not been paying attention to what has been happening in the motherland and the recent events caught me completely off guard. The situation is complicated, and the actors have many faces (some of them wear masks). It is difficult for me to intricate the truth from such a mess.
My take from the information I have digested so far: 1) the population back home is quite polarized with no real dialogue between opposing poles; 2) Big business here and in Haiti have played a significant role in creating this polarization (taking advantage of the proverbial intransigeance of Haitian politicians) and convinced the republican government to somewhat intervene; 3) the net result of such an intervention was the i
llegal removal of the constitutional Haitian government and the death of multiple civilians in Haiti.
If my analysis is correct, our elected officials have been breaking the law of this land and should be held accountable. I think that the government of Lybia has been succesfully sued in US courts for providing monetary and logistical support to similar acts against British and American subjects. I think we should seriously consider the establishment of a legal fund to pursue such an issue. I am ready to put my money where my mouth is.
Aristide targets US, France
Posted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:43 am
News24 [South Africa]
Aristide targets US, France
Roissy, France - Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's legal team is preparing cases accusing authorities in the United States and France of abducting him and forcing him into exile.
Aristide believes he is still president of Haiti and will use the courts during his fight to return home, US lawyer Brian Concannon said on Wednesday in Paris after meeting Aristide in exile in Central African Republic.
In the United States, "there are preparations for a kidnapping case against the American authorities," Concannon said, without providing further details.
Another US lawyer for Aristide, Ira Kurzban, has sent a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft asking the US justice department to investigate the circumstances of Aristide's departure on February 29.
While US authori
ties say Aristide fled of his own will as his government collapsed and rebels advanced on Port-au-Prince, Aristide's lawyers claim that US authorities forced him to board a 20-hour flight out of the country.
"He was not free to leave the plane," Concannon said. "He was not free to decide the plane's direction. He did not even know where the plane was going."
Concannon also said that French and US authorities threatened Aristide before he signed a letter of resignation and fled.
"The ambassadors of France and the US told him that he would be killed, his family would be killed and his supporters would be killed if he did not leave right away," Concannon said.
In France, a lawyer is preparing a complaint for "complicity in abduction" against four people connected with the Foreign Ministry, Concannon said.
He identified them as: Thierry Burkard, France's ambassador to Haiti; Yves Gaudel, the former ambassador; Regis Debray, president of a commission on French-Haiti relations;
and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's sister, Veronique. She and Debray visited Aristide in December to demand his resignation, according to his French lawyer, Gilbert Collard.
Collard said he will file a legal complaint in France as soon as he receives clearance from Aristide. But he would not name the targets of the complaint.
"At the very least, France was an accomplice," Collard said.
French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Herve Ladsous said he had no comment on the lawyers' plans.
US officials strongly deny claims that Aristide was abducted. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said they acted at Aristide's request and probably saved his life.
Re: Aristide targets US, France
Posted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 4:47 pm
It is OK for Aristide to have his lawyers look at the legal implications of the actions of the French and American governments in the recent events in Haiti, and their consequences for his family and for the country. I was thinking mostly about legal actions by ordinary Haitian civilians who have lost loved ones and property as a result of the reckless behavior of our elected officials here in the US (in conjuntion with their counterparts in France). Governments financing and providing intelligence, and tactical support to mercenaries (or terrorists), in my eyes (and in the eyes of previous US jury), are as guilty as those mercenaries. I would appreciate the input of any lawyer on the subject.
Posted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:53 pm
I absolutely agree with you. I posted this new article from News24 South Africa (I am not at all familiar with this news media), because I received it in my inbox just this morning, and thought that it would lend to discussion. When I post news articles or other people's opinions, it's not necessarily because I agree with them but I do so because I think they contain elements that forum members might wish to comment on.
I am not a lawyer, but I have great interest in legal issues. I observe with a certain amazement the quickness displayed by Aristide's lawyers in bringing a suit against France and the U.S. But who is the principal victim of the coup? Is it Aristide or is it the Haitian people? I think it is foremost the people that have been killed during the long period of destabilization of the Aristide government before its fall. That did not start with the killing of Amiot M
etayer either. Remember that over the last two years, there were several incursions, several strikes from terrorists into Haiti from across the Dominican border. Do you remember the security guards that were killed while at their post at the Peligre hydro-electric dam? There is a long list of similar incidents. It would be great if someone compiled them into a document.
Whenever foreign nations get involved in a process of destabilization of an elected government, they engage in a criminal process in which ultimately hundreds, perhaps thousands of people will suffer or lose their lives. I believe that legal pressure could be brought to bear on governments that engage in such adventurism. Unfortunately, the U.S. government believes that it has a mandate to destabilize any other government that it does not like.
If the object of the lawsuit is to bring Jean-Bertrand Aristide back to the presidency of Haiti, I'll be quite honest and offer my opinion that it ain't going to happen. Furthermo
re, any legal action that would be centered on the person of Jean-Bertrand Aristide is ill-advised at this time of excessive polarization of feelings and opinions among the Haitian people. We need to find common ground, and we may find it on the issue of national sovereignty. I would like to see the plight of THE PEOPLE of Haiti come to the attention of a U.S. or International Court. This could prevent this plight being revisited on Haiti, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba. Long shot, but it's worth the struggle.
The irony in all of this is that the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide was very slow in making use of the FRAPH/FADH papers until Aristide threatened to use them in only the last few days of his presidency, when he saw that he was about to lose power. The government lawyers were also very slow, in fact it would seem that they never embarked in bringing a suit against the Inter-American Development Bank for not respecting the terms of their contract with the Haitian government, resulting in dea
th, malnutrition, and illness to the people for lack of development funds. Aristide's lawyers worked on all sorts of spins rather than do the work that was truly needed to fully expose the illegality of the loan withholdings. President Aristide did not seem to be greatly interested in appealing to Haitian Law or to International Law, believing that he could work out all of his problems with political lobbyists. Matters of Justice did not seem to reach a high level of priority... until now. However, as you said, it is OK for Aristide to seek legal redress. I just believe that from now on, the focus should be ON THE HAITIAN PEOPLE, and on ordinary citizens that bore the brunt of the coups both in 1991 and 2004.
There are a number of bright Haitian lawyers. I hope that they can begin to discover the workings of the Law for affairs of the Haitian State. For this, they would have my full support.