Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti Appeals Court Reinstates Crimes Against Humanity Charges Against Baby Doc Duvalier

The Center for Justice & Accountability sent a celebratory letter to their supporters about the Appeals Court reinstatement of human rights charges against Duvalier.

Center for Justice & Accountability
February 21, 2014

Dear Friends,

Yesterday brought historic news! Jean-Claude

After nearly a year of deliberation, the Court of Appeals of Port-au-Prince reinstated crimes against humanity charges in the prosecution of former Haitian dictatorJean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. One of the most notorious dictators of the 20th Century, Duvalier ruled Haiti as “President for Life” from 1971-1986. During his reign he oversaw torture, extrajudicial killings, and forced disappearances on a massive scale.

As a result of yesterday’s ruling, the victims and survivors of this brutal regime can hope – finally – to see Baby Doc held accountable for his crimes in a court of law. The appeals court applied international law, ruling that there is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity and that therefore Duvalier could be held responsible as the commander of the notorious paramilitary force that terrorized Haiti under Baby Doc’s rule, the Tonton Macoutes.

Baby Doc’s attorney, Frizto Canton, announced that he would appeal to Haiti’s Supreme Court because “the judges were swayed by international rights groups.” Indeed, the Court’s landmark decision echoed the international law arguments that CJA submitted to the court last year in an amicus brief. Twenty-seven other human rights and torture treatment organizations from around the world signed onto CJA’s brief.

Click here for a summary of the brief and the French and English versions.

Mario Joseph, who represents three survivors in the proceedings, announced with a smile that the court’s ruling was a “total victory.” CJA applauds the tireless efforts of our partners in Haiti, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and the Bureau of International Attorneys. Their work made the Duvalier case possible.

Yesterday’s decision is an important win, but much work remains.

With your support, CJA will continue to contribute to the efforts of victims and prosecutors in Haiti to ensure that Baby Doc Duvalier answers for his crimes.


Pamela Merchant
Executive Director

PS: CJA relies on contributions from individuals like you to continue our work. Please consider making a donation today. To donate securely online, click here.

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