Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Press Reports of NCHR Statements on December 1, 2004 Prison Killings

Footnote 1:

Press Reports of NCHR Statements on December 1, 2004 Prison Killings

Haiti: Highlights of Metropole radio news 1145 gmt 03 Dec 04

BBC Monitoring Service – United Kingdom; Dec 05, 2004

Figures in brackets indicate length of time of each item

1. Headlines (5 min)

2. The situation is calm now at the National Penitentiary Administration, APENA, following Wednesday’s riot that resulted in seven deaths. (5 min)

3. The National Coalition for Haitian Rights, NCHR, confirms the death of seven prisoners in Wednesday’s riot. According to NCHR official Yolene Gilles, who visited the prison yesterday, numerous prisoners and some guards were injured during the revolt. The NCHR deplores the fact that the authorities did not provide the guards with appropriate means so that they could avoid using extreme force to control the prisoners. Gilles said, “//What happened in the APENA is not an isolated action. So, the authorities could have taken preventive measures to prevent it from happening. According to our report, seven prisoners are dead and 50 others injured. There are 14 of them that are seriously injured by bullets. Some of the people injured were stabbed by other prisoners.//” She added, “//There are some prison guards too among the victims. Some were either hit in the head, in the chest, and so on. We hope that the authorities will take rapid measures to prevent this situation from being repeated in the prison.//” (3 min)

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Anger and indignation in Port-au-Prince following the murder by police agents of about ten detainees who protested their conditions of imprisonment

Port-au-Prince, December 2, 2004 (AHP)- Several sectors reacted Thursday to the murder the day before of about ten detainees at the national penitentiary, the largest prison of the country.

Several parents got all worked up as they arrived to bring food to their relatives in prison and organized an improvised sit-in. They demanded from the interim government that it publishes the list of the people who were murdered and that it accelerates as soon as possible the hearing of citizens who have been held in preventive detention for several months.

According to an APENA officer who asked to remain anonymous, the violence began when some angry detainees started protesting their conditions of imprisonment as well as the fact that they have been held for months without being brought before a judge as required by the law. Reporters who were at the central prison at the time accused police officers from the CIMO specialized unit and from APENA of shooting at the detainees.

Authorities still hadn’t officially reacted to this slaughter at noon today.

The NCHR, National Coalition for Haitians Rights (often accused of being close to the interim government), had tried to explain earlier in the morning, through Marie Yolène Gilles, the policemen’s violence with the fact that the prisoners had aggressed them and had used toothbrushes and other instruments to destroy the penitentiary and stab the policemen.

Footnote 3:

Reuters, “Human Rights Problems in Haiti Worry UN’s Annan,” November 20, 2004:

http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_ijdh-human-rights_alert_nov20.html

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Amnesty International, “ 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,” November 11, 2004;

http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_ijdh-human-rights_alert_nov11.html

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Haiti Accompaniment Project, “Human Rights Conditions in Haiti’s Prisons, July 30 – August 16, 2004,” November 2004;

http://www.haitiaction.net/News/HAP/8_16_4.html

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Amnesty International, “ Haiti: Illegal and arbitrary arrests continue — Human rights hampered amid political violence,” October 19, 2004; (also post this one under “Other Human Rights Reports, Titled : Amnesty International, “Illegal and Arbitrary Arrests Continue,” October 19, 2004

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Public Statement

AI Index: AMR 36/056/2004 (Public)

News Service No: 260

19 October 2004

Haiti: Illegal and arbitrary arrests continue — Human rights hampered amid political violence

Amnesty International is concerned that Reverend Gérard Jean-Juste may be a prisoner of conscience as he is being detained in Pétionville’s Police station. He may be detained solely for his political views and his political affiliation.

Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste was arrested at Sainte Claire’s church, in Petite Place Cazeau, a poor neighbourhood of Delmas, a suburb of Port-au-Prince. On Wednesday 13 October, around 2:30 PM, Haitian National Police officers, in uniform and civil clothes, some wearing masks, erupted into the presbytery where Rev. Jean-Juste provides food, twice a week, to some 250 children and dozens of adults from the neighbourhood. According to testimonies gathered by Amnesty International, Rev. Jean-Juste has been punched while being dragged out of the presbytery by Police officers, resulting in injuries to one arm and foot.

His arrest is said to be connected with the outbreak of violence that has purportedly caused more than 40 dead in the country’s capital since 30 September. During the operation, according to his lawyer, Haitian police officers failed to show a written mandate of arrest issued by the appropriate authorities. According to Haitian constitution, no one may be arrested or detained other than by written order of a legally competent official except where the perpetrator of a crime is caught in the act.

Following his arrest, the authorities are reported to have stated that the arrest was a pre-emptive action based on intelligence they possessed linking Rev. Jean-Juste to armed gangs supporting Aristide but so far, no evidence has been produced. Amnesty International considers that if this arrest is politically motivated for Rev. Jean-Juste being a vocal supporter of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Amnesty International would consider him a prisoner of conscience.

Indefinite detention without charge or trial, as a rule too often applied in Haiti, contravenes to fundamental human rights and to the country’s main legislation. Amnesty International urges the Haitian authorities to abide by the rule of law in conformity with the Constitution of the Republic and fully respect Rev. Jean-Juste’s basic rights.

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Pax Christi USA, “Report of Pax Christi USA Human Rights Mission to Haiti,” October 12, 2004. (Also post this under “other hr reports”, titled: “Pax Christi USA, “Report of Pax Christi USA Human Rights Mission to Haiti,” October 12, 2004)

http://www.paxchristiusa.org/news_events_more.asp?id=943

Footnote 5:

Toronto Star, “Massacre in the Titanic,” December 20, 2004;

http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_recent_news_titanic.htm

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Agence Haïtienne de Presse, “56 th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: CARLI claims that the human rights situation is darker than ever the NCHR says it is ‘filled with dismay,’” December 9, 2004;

AHP News December 9, 2004

English translation (Unofficial)

56 th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Human Rights Declaration: the CARLI claims that the human rights situation is darker than ever the NCHR says it is “filled with dismay”

Port-au-Prince, December 9, 2004 (AHP)- The Lawyers Committee for the Respect of Individual Freedoms (CARLI) considered Thursday that the human rights situation has nothing to make one happy as, it said, the general picture is darker than ever.

In a document sent to AHP on the occasion on December 10 th of the 56 th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, the CARLI considered that it would be more appropriate to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Human Rights Declaration than the declaration itself. The stipulations guaranteed by the Universal Human Rights Declaration which were written in the 1987 Constitution in its title III of the citizen’s fundamental rights and duties, are not respected, the CARLI declared.

The arrests and detentions are done outside of constitutional standards and stipulations of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, recalling that no arrest with warrant, no search can be done between 6 PM and 6 AM, except when the person is caught on the crime, and that no one can be held in detention if he or she hasn’t been heard by a judge who will make a decision on his or her arrest within the first 48 hours following his or her arrest, the CARLI underlines.

As for the right to security, the CARLI considers that it is more and more threatened, as the authorities concerned become more and more unable to guarantee all individuals’ security in accordance with article 19 of the 1987 constitution. The human rights organization also mentioned the violation of rights of the most vulnerable social classes and the non-respect of the population’s social and economic rights.

The CARLI pleads for the blind violence in Haiti to stop as it is taking more and more alarming proportions, for impunity to end and for all actors who violate human rights to be pursued. The organization calls to take into account all human rights for all individuals without distinction with special attention for the most vulnerable categories.

For its part, the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) declares it is filled with dismay with the way Haitian authorities are constantly despising human rights. The NCHR says it considers that the struggle for the promotion and defense of human rights is becoming harder and harder and it condemns the violations of human rights throughout the country.

The organization mentioned the intensification of violence of al kinds, the demobilized soldiers who continue to challenge the State’s authority, thousands of prisoners on the run who enjoy the public powers’ indulgence, the intensification of situations of custody, cases of arbitrary arrests and unemployment.

On this occasion, the NCHR calls everyone to think with French Professor René Jean Dupuy about these three things: peace, development and human rights.

For its part, the platform of Haitian human rights organizations declared that nothing has changed in the country 9 months after President Aristide’s departure. An official from the organization , Maxime Rony, declared that arbitrary arrest, extensive custody and impunity continue to reign over the country.

AHP December 9, 2004 4:00 PM

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Agence Haïtienne de Press,Human Rights Organizations denounce the interim government’s double standards policy in regards to justice,” December 3, 2004;

Human Rights Organizations denounce the interim government’s double standards policy in regards to justice

Port-au-Prince, December 3, 2004 (AHP)- Haitian human rights organizations once again demanded Friday the arrest of Ferdinand Wilort alias Ti Will for murdering a 6 year-old girl, Francesca Gabriel, almost a month ago in Gonaïves.

Leader of the Lawyers Committee for the Respect of Individual Freedoms (CARLI), Renan Hédouville, declared he was shocked to see the high level of bias in the Haitian justice, he said, seeing that almost a month after the girl’s murder, the guilty party is still running the streets. Renan Hédouville deplored that the interim authorities who always show their eagerness to arrest people who are suspected to be involved in acts of violence, remain indifferent to the odious crime committed by the former rebel leader.

For his part, executive director of the National Coalition for Haitians Rights (NCHR) Pierre Espérance, denounced what he calls the carelessness shown, he said, by interim authorities in the country. He invited the authorities in place to take a clear position regarding the matter of Ti Will who should already be in prison, he declared.

In Gonaïves, several people denounced the indifference shown by many sectors of the capital who are always ready to target the people who must be arrested.

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Haiti Accompaniment Project, “Human Rights Conditions in Haiti’s Prisons, July 30 – August 16, 2004,” November 2004 (see note 3);

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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, “Human Rights Alert: Illegal Arrest of Political Leaders,” October 5, 2004;

http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_ijdh-human-rights_alert_october-2.html

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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, “Human Rights Update,” July 26, 2004.

http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_ijdh-human-rights_update-july-26-04_outline.html

Footnote 6:

Reuters, “Human Rights Problems in Haiti Worry UN’s Annan,” November 20, 2004. (See note 3)

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