Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti: Gov’t Pressure on Justice Officials to Protect Duvalier, says Human Rights Groups

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ( – Two leaders of human rights organizations have denounced pressure that is being put on justice officials handling the case of former President Jean-Claude Duvalier. The organizations say that those in power are trying to protect the former dictator who is accused of crimes against humanity by preventing the normal outcome of the investigation of his case.

The Executive Director of the National Network of Human Rights (RNDDH), Pierre Esperance, on Saturday denounced the pressure on the court by those in power to prevent the natural outcome of the investigation of the former dictator Jean Claude Duvalier’s case. The head of the RNDDH expresses doubts about the will of President Michel Martelly, to establish the rule of law in Haiti.

To Esperance, the very proof is that since his accession to the presidency, Martelly has strengthened the protection of the former dictator. In addition, the president invited Duvalier to official ceremonies, as he did for the January 12 commemoration of the second anniversary of the earthquake of January 12, 2010, “with the clear intention to rehabilitate him in the eyes of victims of the dictatorship.”

Mr. Esperance claims to have found that the President Martelly does not respect his promises made to fight impunity during the election campaign.

At last, the executive director of RNDDH is surprised that only since January 20, after many trips by the dictator throughout the country, that the investigating judge, Carves Jean, has decided to remind him of his house arrest.

On his side, the Head of the Platform of Haitian Organizations in Human Rights (POHDH), Anthonal Mortime, agrees with Mr. Esperance. Denouncing the fact that the deadline for issuance of the order of the judge is well over, he stressed that the protection given to the former dictator by the Martelly team has clearly impacted the work of Judge Jean.

Back in Haiti since January 16, 2011, Duvalier has since been placed on house arrest.

During his recent visit to Jacmel (Southeast), he even thanked the people for submitting to him some grievances, promising soon to meet their expectations.

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