International

Haiti: UN Human Rights Expert Concerned about Duvalier Ruling

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Michael Forst, expresses his concerns following announcements according to which only financial crimes have been retained by the examining magistrate Jean Carves in the case of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.

"If the information on Jean-Claude Duvalier are confirmed, then this would a very serious blow to the credibility of the process of judicial reform in Haiti," said Michael Forst arriving this January 31 in Port-au-Prince.

The independent expert is in Haiti for a mission of eight days to assess progress in the field of human rights in Haiti and the question of the fight against impunity is one of its priorities, says it.

"The existence of crimes committed by the Duvalier regime is well established and has been confirmed, on many occasions including the annual reports of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights from 1970 to 1986," said the expert.

"The families of victims who have complained since the return of Jean-Claude Duvalier in Haiti (January 2011) provided to judicial authorities the information necessary to return the former president before the Criminal Court for trial under the charges of crimes of murder, kidnapping, illegal detention and torture," said Forst.

On May 17, 2011 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a statement on the duty of the Haitian State to investigate serious violations of human rights committed under Jean-Claude Duvalier, recalling in particular as torture, extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances committed during the regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier constitute crimes against humanity.

The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti said that the invocation of Article 466 of the Criminal Code on Haitian prescription does not preclude prosecution, since international law prohibits the amnesty or application of the prescription for those accused of crimes against humanity.

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