Court order on Feb. 7 that Jean-Claude Duvalier appear in court is another victory for the victims
Guest article by Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Feb. 8, 2013
The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI--Office of International Lawyers, partner office of IJDH), in its mission to defend Haiti's poor and the inalienable rights inherent to all human beings, considers the appellate court's reiteration on February 7, 2013, of the summons to Jean-Claude Duvalier to personally appear in court another victory for his victims.
Additionally, this was the first time that the Court recognized Jean-Claude Duvalier's status as the accused, so his personnel appearance at a hearing set for February 21, 2013, will be required or he risks arrest. According to lawyer Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, one of the victim's lawyers, "the Court's order is also a victory for the victims claiming civil damages because the Court also confirmed our standing as civil claimants despite efforts from the lawyers for the accused to derail the process. Their strategy was to block Duvalier from appearing before the court to be questioned."
The lawyers note that this victory comes in the midst of a very difficult context for a fair hearing. Haiti's President, Michel Martelly, has publicly supported Mr. Duvalier and his top officials include many children of top Duvalier regime officials. The Martelly government's largest supporters, especially the United States, France and MINUSTAH, have declined to publicly recognize the Haitian government's international law obligation to pursue the crimes against humanity claims against Mr. Duvalier.
According to Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, "every human rights organization that has addressed the issue - from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the FIDH - has concluded that Duvalier's victims should get their day in court. By refusing to speak up in favor of financial accountability and against political violence, the Martelly regime's supporters are placing friendship over the long-term stability and prosperity of Haiti. It is especially disappointing that the current U.S. State Department, which boasts some of the world's top human rights lawyers and speaks out boldly for human rights elsewhere, is letting Duvalier's victims down."
* Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), Mario@ijdh.org, +011 509 2943 2106/07 (in Haiti, speaks French and Kreyol)
* Nicole Phillips, Esq., Staff attorney, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Nicole@ijdh.org, +011 509 4730 3359 (in Haiti, speaks English and French)
* Brian Concannon Jr., Esq., Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, email@example.com, +1 541 263 0029 (in the U.S., speaks English, French and Kreyol
Related news story:
Haiti court postpones Duvalier appeals hearing
Associated Press, February 08, 2013
Thank you for reading this story...
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.
If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.
We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.