- Three previous articles relate to this one, accessed
through the following links:
- On January 20, Al Jazeera headlined, "Baby Doc wants
Haiti presidency," saying:
- Despite his 15-year reign of terror and current corruption,
embezzlement, money laundering, and perhaps assassination charges, he "retains
ambitions of returning to the presidency," according to one of his
lawyers, Reynold George saying:
- "He is a political man. Every political man has
political ambitions." Asked if he wishes to return to power, George
replied, "That is right. Because under this new constitution, and
let me tell you I am one of the persons who wrote that constitution, he
has the right to do so (under) two mandates. Two!"
- When asked about charges against Duvalier, George cited
the statute of limitations expiring in 2006, saying:
- "I am a lawyer, not a racketeer. I have to go by
the law. And I have just told you what the law says about accusations.
You have to make them in due time. After ten years? Shut up!"
- He added that Duvalier "has no intention of leaving
Haiti. We want to answer all the requisitions of justice because we want
to be cleared."
- On January 20, Gervais Charles, another Duvalier lawyer,
told Radio Canada that charges of crimes against humanity were invalid
because "it is a principle that does not exist" in Haitian law.
He also stressed that in 25 years of exile, no complaints were lodged against
- Asked about Duvalier's arrest, Master Ronald Charles,
Dean of the Bar of Jacmel, said doing so is illegal and arbitrary. Legal
procedures weren't followed. "(G)overnment commissioner of Port-au-Prince,
Master Augustus Aristides, after all the tests, had to issue a warrant
before his arrest," adding that Haiti's 1987 Constitution doesn't
recognize Duvalier's exile.
- If so, it's also true for Aristide, but Charles stopped
short of explaining. However, he said it's possible for Haitian authorities
to issue proper complaints.
- The Collaborative Haiti (CPH), a group of Quebec organizations
and individual members in solidarity with Haiti's people denounced Duvalier's
return, citing specific concerns including:
- -- Haiti's lack of separation of powers;
- -- poor security for judges, commissioners, police officers,
victims, and witnesses; and
- -- massive corruption infecting the entire state apparatus,
besides others compromising Haiti's judicial system.
- As a result, CPH wants a special independent tribunal
established to try Duvalier, among other charges, for crimes against humanity
for which he's indisputably guilty, regardless of what complicit lawyers
- Prosecutions of Nazi, Japanese, and more recent war and
crimes against humanity offenders weren't constrained by sovereign laws.
Under international law, universal principles take precedence, especially
for murder, genocide, and crimes or war and against humanity under the
Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes
and Crimes Against Humanity.
- In addition, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal
Court's (ICC) Article 29 states crimes of war and against humanity "shall
not be subject to any statute of limitations." Moreover, all crimes
considered exceptionally grievous are included, including murder, and capital
or first-degree murder (killing with intent or malice).
- Clearly Duvalier's lawyers haven't checked the laws or
don't wish to for obvious reasons. However, anyone can read and understand
- Does Duvalier, in Fact, Seek Power?
- On January 20, Miami Herald writer Jacqueline Charles
headlined, "Duvalier: I have no presidential ambitions," saying:
- He "disputed reports by one of his lawyers and a
former government functionary (claiming) he had presidential ambitions."
In a prepared statement, he said, "I formally deny all political statements,
vague or otherwise that are attributed to me," stopping short of specifically
denying he'll run for president, apparently permitted under Haiti's Constitution
even for a former despot.
- What's ahead is anyone's guess, but some issues are clear.
Duvalier faces no serious prosecution threat. At most, he'll be hand-slapped,
perhaps agree to return pennies on the dollars he stole, but be able to
stay or leave as he wishes and remain free in luxury until all issues against
him are resolved.
- In a January 21 email, Law Professor Francis Boyle commented
on his arrival, saying:
- "No way Baby Doc could have returned without connivance/permission
by Obama and Sarkozy. Obviously, they plan to reinstall (him) as Dictator
and Front-Man. And Obama/Sarkozy have denied the right of President Aristide
to return. But I am confident that the Haitians have such a great revolutionary
tradition that they will find another Toussaint L'Overture to throw out
Baby Doc/Obama/Sarkozy - just as they threw out Napoleon supported by Thomas
Jefferson, the slave-owner. In that regard, Obama is a 'worthy' successor
to Jefferson - denying the Haitians their Right to Self-Determination"
as he did by refusing recognition, fearing US slaves also might seek freedom.
- Other Developments
- Al Jazeera reports that four Haitians, including a former
UN spokeswoman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Michele Montas, filed
criminal charges of torture and other abuses against Duvalier with a Port-au-Prince
- According to Montas:
- "We have lodged lawsuits for arbitrary detention,
exile, destruction of private property, torture and moral violation of
civil and political rights. There are grounds not only to judge him for
economic crimes but also for human rights abuses."
- According to Amnesty International (AI):
- "If true justice is to be done in Haiti, the Haitian
authorities need to open a criminal investigation into Duvalier's responsibility
for the multitude of human rights abuses that were committed under his
rule including torture, arbitrary detentions, rape, enforced disappearances
and extrajudicial executions."
- However, chances for that are virtually nil. Boyle is
right. Duvalier's arrival wasn't happenstance. It was arranged by allies
in high places, notably in Washington with French complicity, for what
precisely will unfold ahead. The rhetoric about charges lodged will mostly
disappear. Duvalier came for a purpose relating to power politics, not
to visit or be charged.
- As for Aristide's returning, State Department spokesman
PJ Crowley said it's the "last thing Haiti needs (with) its hands
full dealing with the current ongoing election process. And we do not think
that any actions by an individual at this point that can only bring divisiveness
to Haitian society is helping Haiti move forward - expressly because the
Haitian people need the emergence of a new government that they believe,
and have confidence, can lead Haiti to a more prosperous future."
- Acting Deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner said
focus should be on Haiti's future and resolving its election. Aristide
"is not really part of that equation."
- Of course, America fears Aristide's inspirational and
stabilizing threat to destructive power, headquartered in Washington, using
local and international satraps for enforcement.
- Wishing only to return for health reasons and to help
as a private citizen, his arrival would seem like the second coming for
most Haitians who revere him and want him back. That's precisely why Washington
prevented it since ousting him in February 2004.
- Mid-January released WikiLeaks cables showed pressure
exerted on Brazil in June 2005 to keep Aristide out. Then and now it headed
the hated Blue Helmet occupiers Haitians want removed. Access the documents
through the following links:
- One portion showed President Lula da Silva's complicity,
- After US officials expressed "concerns" (read
demands), "GOB (government of Brazil) officials made clear continued
resolve to keep Aristide from returning to the country or exerting political
influence, and reiterated Brazil's strategy that security, assistance and
political dialogue should move in tandem as priorities in the international
- In other words, former President Lula, a supposed left
of center leader and one time union leader, conspired against democracy
for repressive occupation and denying Aristide his legal right of return
as a Haitian citizen.
- Washington pointedly "insiste(d) that all efforts
must be made to keep (him) from returning to Haiti or influencing the political
process...." Brazil agreed to help, Antonio de Agular Patriota, Under
Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the Ministry of External Relations
- "(T)he mere fact of Aristide's existence will always
be problematic in terms of his influence on some elements of Haitian society,
however much the international community works to isolate him. That said,
the GOB had been encouraged by recent South African Government commitments
to Brazil that the GSA would not allow Aristide to use his exile there
to undertake political efforts. It always remains important to include
in political dialogue those elements of Lavalas that are willing to 'leave
Aristide behind them.' "
- Obama embraces the same Bush agenda, flaunting international
and US law, denying Haitians democratic freedoms, Aristide his right to
return, and if Boyle is right, conspiring with France to reestablish Duvalier
despotism, exacerbating Haiti's many other problems.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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