In the News: Haiti’s ‘Baby Doc’ summoned to court after no-show

by the Associated Press. Originally posted in the Boston Herald

Jean Claude Duvalier

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti–A Haitian judge on Thursday summoned Jean-Claude Duvalier to appear in court after the former dictator defied an order to attend a hearing to determine whether he should again face charges for human rights abuses committed during the nearly 15 years of his brutal regime. A prosecutor said the judge’s order requires Duvalier to appear in court next Thursday.

In an airless courtroom filled with human rights activists, journalists and other observers, magistrate Jean Joseph Lebrun also dismissed an appeal filed by the defense team that sought to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The rulings in Haiti’s Court of Appeal provided some hope to a group of plaintiffs who are seeking to have the former dictator better known as “Baby Doc” prosecutor for alleged rights abuses. “Today’s decision is an important victory for Duvalier’s victims who never gave up hope of seeing him in court, and for the Haitian people who have the right to know what happened during the dark years of the Duvalier dictatorship,” said Reed Brody, counsel and a spokesman for Human Rights Watch. “It’s now up to the authorities to make sure that this summons is swiftly executed.”

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Press Release: Court’s Order That Jean-Claude Duvalier Appear In Court Is Another Victory For The Victims

Press release from the IJDH.

Court’s order that Jean-Claude Duva­lier appear in court is another vic­tory for the victims

Baby Doc Duvalier returns to HaitiThe Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (BAI), in its mis­sion to defend Haiti’s poor and the inalien­able rights inher­ent to all human beings, con­sid­ers the appel­late court’s reit­er­a­tion on Feb­ru­ary 7, 2013, of the sum­mons to Jean-Claude Duva­lier to per­son­ally appear in court another vic­tory for his victims.

Addi­tion­ally, this was the first time that the Court rec­og­nized Jean-Claude Duvalier’s sta­tus as the accused, so his per­son­nel appear­ance at a hear set for Feb­ru­ary 21, 2013, will be required or he risks arrest. Accord­ing to lawyer Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux, one of the victim’s lawyers, “the Court’s order is also a vic­tory for the vic­tims claim­ing civil dam­ages because the Court also con­firmed our stand­ing as civil claimants despite efforts from the lawyers for the accused to derail the process. Their strat­egy was to block Duva­lier from appear­ing before the court to be questioned.”

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In the News: Canadian officer on Haiti mission accused of assault

A Canadian police officer serving with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti has been accused of sexual assault.

The RCMP says a Haitian woman complained to Haitian National Police that a Canadian police officer sexually and physically assaulted her.

Spokesman Vincenzo Pugliese, confirmed the UN is currently investigating the alleged incident.

The RCMP says the officer returned to Canada on his own without authorization from Canadian or UN authorities.

A spokesperson for Canada’s foreign affairs minister John Baird responded to the allegations in an email.

He said the government is taking the allegations very seriously, and said Canada would co-operate with any potential investigations.

More than 80 Canadian police officers are working with the UN mission in Haiti.

Nigel Fisher Named New Head of UN’s Haiti Peacekeeping Mission

by Alexander Britell, originally posted at The Caribbean Journal

Nigel Fisher has been named the new head of the UN’s MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission in Haiti, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced Friday.

New MINUSTAH Chief Nigel Fisher (UN Photo/Victoria Hazou)
New MINUSTAH Chief Nigel Fisher (UN Photo/Victoria Hazou)

Fisher, a native of Canada, has served since 2010 as the Deputy Special Representative, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiit.

He has also been named as Bans’ Acting Special Representative for Haiti, succeeding Chile’s Mariano Fernandez in both roles. Fernandez’ 20-month term ended on Thursday.

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In the News: Lavalas Masses Rise up Against Aristide’s Political Persecution

by Isabelle Papillon. Originally posted at Haïti Liberté

When Lucmane Délille, Port-au-Prince’s district attorney, summoned former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to appear before him on Wednesday, Jan. 9 to answer patently frivolous complaints, it caused a great awakening of the Lavalas masses, alarming those in Haiti and abroad who thought it was time to behead Aristide’s party, the Lavalas Family.

Indeed, tensions ran high that day when thousands of Aristide’s supporters massed outside the courthouse where Aristide was summoned to appear before Délille at 10 a.m.. Similar outpourings took place in Haiti’s major cities like Cap Haïtien, Gonaïves, and Jérémie. However, when the prosecutor saw the crowds, he decided, at the urging of Aristide’s lawyers, to go meet with the former head of state at his home in Tabarre, on the northern outskirts of the capital.

When the crowd heard that news, the thousand of demonstrators marched, jogged, and ran from the courthouse to Aristide’s home, about four miles away.

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In the News: Still waiting for recovery

Originally posted at The Economist

Three years after a devastating earthquake, the “Republic of NGOs” has become the country of the unemployed

“HAITI is open for business”, Michel Martelly, the country’s president since May 2011, likes to proclaim. His government has backed up this talk by making it easier for foreigners to own property and by setting as a goal that Haiti climb into the top 50 countries in the World Bank’s ranking for ease of doing business (it now comes 174th out of 185). In November the president opened a gleaming arrivals hall at Toussaint Louverture airport. Mr Martelly himself is in such constant motion abroad—courting donors and investors, he says—that his peregrinations and the per diems alleged to be associated with them have become a source of mordant jokes.

But gangbuster growth, hoped for as the country rebuilds itself after the earthquake of January 12th 2010 that wrecked the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed tens of thousands of people, has failed to materialise. In the 12 months to the end of September the economy expanded by a modest 2.5%. It was the second year of dashed expectations: the IMF had forecast growth of 8% in both 2011 and 2012.
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