Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Will impunity for violent Haitian mayor continue?

Last month, three plaintiffs sued former Haitian mayor Jean Morose Viliena for human rights violations in Haiti, including an attack on a radio station that caused one of them, Nissage Martyr, to have a leg amputated. Viliena was appointed mayor of Les Irois by ex-president Michel Martelly despite an open case against him in Haitian courts. Now that a case has been opened against Viliena in U.S. courts, and an investigation is underway for the mysterious death of Martyr after the suit was filed, many are looking to see whether the new Haitian president will continue this pattern of impunity. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Haiti’s Violent Politics Are Taken to Court. In Boston Frances Robles, The New York Times April 1, 2017 A mysterious death, a decade-old murder and a human rights lawsuit in federal […]

Will victims of former Haitian mayor find justice?

The former mayor of Les Irois in Haiti led murderous mobs against political dissidents.  Seven years after he fled to Malden to avoid charges against him there, three plaintiffs were able to sue the ex-mayor, Viliena, under the Torture Victim Protection Act. The day after the suit was made public, one of the plaintiffs died suddenly, so his death is now under investigation as well. IJDH’s Nicole Phillips and Center for Justice and Accountability’s Scott Gilmore comment on this case that they are leading against Viliena. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Accused in Haiti, Malden man is latest to face lawsuit here Nestor Ramos, The Boston Globe March 31, 2017 As the mayor of a remote Haitian coastal town, Jean-Morose Viliena was above the law, according to those who say they suffered his wrath. He incited mobs […]

Haitian Seeking Justice Against Criminal Ex-Mayor Dies Suddenly

One of the three plaintiffs in the case against a former Haitian mayor who engaged in political repression and murder has died suddenly in Haiti. The plaintiff, Nissage Martyr, had had a leg amputated after Viliena (the former Mayor)’s gang beat at and shot at him for his involvement in a community radio station. Martyr received repeated threats from Viliena’s associates but, unable to find justice in the Haitian legal system, he and the other plaintiffs were able to begin the legal process in Massachusetts where Viliena was hiding. Now, Martyr’s lawyers are calling for an investigation into his sudden death. Plaintiff in Boston Lawsuit Against Former Haitian Mayor Dies Reuters, The New York Times March 25, 2017 (Reuters) – One of three Haitian men who recently sued the former mayor of their village accusing him in Boston federal court of […]

Former Haitian Mayor Hiding in Massachusetts Sued for Human Rights Violations

Jean Morose Viliena fled Haiti when he was indicted on murder, battery and property destruction charges by Haitian courts in 2009. Since then, he has apparently been working as a licensed school bus driver and an Uber driver in Massachusetts, despite his history of silencing political dissidents in the town he oversaw. Instead of being prosecuted for his crimes, the Martelly government appointed Viliena mayor of Les Irois in 2012. Now that there is a case against Viliena in the U.S., this will be a test for Haiti’s new government to see whether it will allow human rights abusers to continue getting away with their crimes. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Boston bus driver and former mayor in Haiti sued for human rights abuses in U.S. court Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald March 23, 2017 A […]

Human Rights Group Congratulate Victims on their Victory in Historic Murder Trial

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:                Mario Joseph, Av., 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, +001 510 715 2855 (in U.S., speaks English and French) Human Rights Group Congratulate Victims on their Victory in Historic Murder Trial After Seven Years of Persistent Struggle, Victims Force Haitian Courts to Award Justice  (PORT-AU-PRINCE, August 3, 2015) — Two human rights groups—the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Haiti and the U.S.-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) — congratulate courageous citizens of Les Irois Haiti for their landmark victory against former Haitian Mayor, Jean Morose Viliena, and 15 of his accomplices. Thanks to the fearless work of victims David Boniface, Nissage Martyr and Juders Yseme, five […]

Americas Program Report

Americas Program Report  Brian Concannon Jr. | January 3, 2006 Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP) Haiti’s election dates have now been reset for the fourth time in the last five months. The Interim Government of Haiti will now miss the February 7, 2005 deadline for transferring power that it had promised to meet for 21 months. These delays, and the logistical problems underlying them, are a cause for concern. But the logistical defects should not obscure the more fundamental problems that will prevent the elections, whenever held, from helping Haiti to break from its brutal history of political instability. The delays show a disturbing lack of organizational competence on behalf of both the government and the Provisional Electoral Commission (CEP), which has the responsibility to run the voting. Every step of the process has been completed late, because […]

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