University of Minnesota

Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, Inter-Am. C.H.R., OEA/Ser.L/II.85, Doc. 28 rev. (1994).





A. Background

i) The December 16, 1990 elections

98. The election campaign officially began on November 7, 1990 in a calm atmosphere under the reinforced supervision of the Army. This situation changed, however, on December 6 when a bomb exploded during an election meeting in Pétionville. Six people died and 52 were wounded. They were among the supporters of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the candidate presented by the National Front for Change and Democracy [Front national pour le changement et la démocratie] (FNCD). Aristide accused the Union for National Reconciliation [Union pour la réconciliation nationale] of planting the bomb and called for the arrest of its leader, Roger Lafontant. A few days earlier, Lafontant announced that there was a conpiracy afoot which involved murder and other acts of political terrorism. He had also on previous occasions, publicly threatened the pro-democracy camp.

99. The general elections were held peacefully in the presence of international observers from the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations (ONUVEH), and representatives of the following nongovernmental organizations: the Carter Center, the Socialist International and the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America (COPPAL). The observers reported a few minor irregularities, due to disorganization or to certain fiscal inadequacies experienced by the Electoral Council, but they declared that the elections had indeed been free and democratic.

100. On December 23, the Electoral Council officially proclaimed that Jean-Bertrand Aristide had been elected president of Haiti, having obtained the absolute majority of votes. The former Roman Catholic priest garnered 67.39 percent of the votes cast at the December 16 ballot, in which 75 percent of the electorate had participated.

ii) Attempted coup d'etat

101. One month before the President-elect was to take office, an attempted coup d'etat occurred in the early hours of January 7. Neo-Duvalierist leader Roger Lafontant, supported by a segment of the Army, forced provisional president Ertha Pascal Trouillot to step down and proclaimed himself president of the country on national radio, announcing that he "had joined with the armed forces and the police to take power in order to defend the interests of the common fatherland, to guide it along the path to true democracy" and to "reveal to the world the errors and outright failure of international communism."

102. The attempted coup was preceded by sustained shooting in the area of the President's Office and Dessalines barracks, adjacent to the Palace. The Tontons-Macoutes patrolled in armored vehicles shooting at passers-by to intimidate the population, which immediately reacted by taking to the streets and raising barricades with burning tires in various areas of the city to prevent the former Duvalierist militia from circulating and to demand that the outcome of the elections be respected.

103. The Chief of the Armed Forces, General Abrahams, crushed the coup led by Lafontant to prevent Aristide from taking office. Lafontant and 15 followers, both military and nonmilitary, were taken to the general headquarters of the armed forces where they were detained pending trial.

104. The international community condemned the attempt to overthrow the government in Haiti. On the very day of the coup, the Permanent Council of the OAS held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Haiti and decided to support the provisional government

of President Ertha Pascal Trouillot and the democratic process through which Jean-Bertrand Aristide had been elected president by the unquestionable will of the people./

105. Some 75 people lost their lives and over 150 were wounded during the violence that broke out in Port-au-Prince on January 7. Most of the victims, Tontons-Macoutes or associates of Lafontant, were lynched by the mob. The Government of Haiti established a curfew because of the continued assaults on persons suspected of being linked to the January 7 coup. Meanwhile, President Aristide appealed to his supporters and to the public at large for peace and discipline so that calm could be restored in the country and lamented the violence that church property had suffered.

1O6. Despite the climate of terror and intimidation maintained by rumors of another attempted coup d'etat by the neo-Duvalierists, on February 7, 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide took office as the new president.

107. On that occasion, the Commission expressed its satisfaction with the four years of democratization concentrated on turning power over to a civilian government through the election held on December 16, 1990 - a true reflection of the will of the people. The efforts undertaken by the provisional government and the armed forces had been decisive for the election to take place in conditions of security that allowed the entire political spectrum to participate and the Haitian population at large to express itself freely in the election process. The Commission stated also that the presence of international observers from the Organization of American States and the United Nations had contributed towards instilling a climate of greater confidence in the Haitian population, while highlighting the international community's concern about a democratic and peaceful outcome to the elections.

108. The December 16th, 1990 presidential elections marked a new stage in the political history of Haiti. President Aristide's assumption of power embodied the hopes of the Haitian people, who sought a democracy based on grassroots participation and social and economic justice.

iii) The government of President Aristide

109. While in power, President Aristide had to cope with a number of problems and pressure from such segments as the conservatives, Duvalierists, politicians and the military, who perceived the sweeping changes and social reforms as a threat to their interests.

110. At the beginning of his term, President Aristide committed himself to adopting concrete measures to ensure respect for human rights. One of the first steps taken by his government was thus to ask the Commander of the Armed Forces, General Abrahams, to remove six Army generals and one colonel and replace them with some of the colonels who had supervised the presidential elections. Colonel Raoul Cédras, who headed the Electoral Security Committee, was promoted to Major General, and a few months later was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In addition, President Aristide ordered that a number of officers who were known for human rights violations be transferred to remote areas of the country and in their stead, officers and privates who had suffered abuses during the rule of General Avril were to be promoted. These measures were not well received by the Armed Forces.

111. Another initiative taken by the new Aristide government was to prohibit certain officials of the previous government from leaving the country. One such official was the former provisional President Ertha Pascal Trouillot, who was associated with the January 7 attempted coup.

112. Violence continued during the first few months of the Aristide government, with several cases of "street justice." One incident in particular took place on March 19, in Montrouis in the Artibonite region, when two policemen killed 14-year-old Phanos Mérantus for refusing to give them 150 dollars. Upon learning of the incident, the townspeople stormed the local police station where they found the two officers and killed them using the "Père Lebrun" torture, which consists of placing a tire around the victim's neck and setting it on fire.

113. To address the crimes and human rights violations perpetrated by the previous governments, on February 25, 1991, a Special Commission was established to review known cases, such as the Rabel, Danti and Labadie massacres. The commission consisted of the Ministers of Justice; Social Affairs; Agriculture and Planning. A second commission was later set up to investigate human rights abuses committed during the period from 1986 to 1990. This second commission was made up of prominent independent individuals such as Necker Dessables, a member of the Justice and Peace Commission; Jean-Claude Bajeux, Director of the Ecumenical Human Rights Center; Lucien Pardo, an Artibonite statesman and Patrick Henry and Georges Moises, members of grassroots organizations.

114. In mid-March, the Aristide government discovered a conspiracy instigated by certain persons. On March 26, 1991, Anthony Virginie Saint-Pierre, former Minister of Information under the General Avril government, and André Isidore Pongnon, former Commander of Fort Dimanche, were arrested and indicted for conspiracy against state security.

115. Among the persons wanted by the new government were General Williams Regalá, former Minister of Defense under the Namphy government, for allegedly organizing the massacres committed during the 1987 elections, and the former Mayor of Port-au-Prince, Frank Romain, accused of having organized the massacre of the San Juan Bosco Church in 1988.

116. In the context of these arrests, on April 4, 1991, a second summons was served on Ertha Pascal Trouillot for a hearing on her alleged complicity in the January 7, 1991 coup. Trouillot spent one night in jail and was then ordered under house arrest, which was suspended on April 10th.

117. The violence and abuse of authority committed in rural areas of the country led the Aristide government to seek to eliminate the `section chief'/ system. A press release dated April 4, 1991 announced the dismissal of all section chiefs and the transfer of their duties from the Armed Forces to the Ministry of Justice. The section chiefs relinquished their weapons to the Army and new rural officials were appointed by the Justices of the Peace. Despite the government's good intentions, however, many problems arose. First, although it had indeed been decided to eliminate the section chief system, a proper selection procedure for the appointment of new officials had not been instituted, and in many localities, the population could not agree on the persons to be appointed, given their lack of capacity and experience. In addition, it was very difficult for the new rural officials to fight crime since they were no longer armed, and violence proliferated to the point where criminals could act with total impunity. At the same time, the military continued to operate in rural areas, hindering law enforcement.

118. In June 1991, grassroots organizations demonstrated in both the capital and the provinces to protest the measures taken by Prime Minister René Préval to increase the prices of food staples. The economic crisis was compounded by the mass expulsion of Haitians who had been working in the Dominican Republic./

119. In the midst of this climate of violence and discontent due to the serious economic crisis, relations between the Executive and Parliament deteriorated even further. According to various statements, this conflict arose when President Aristide, pursuant to Article 295 of the Constitution, appointed René Preval Prime Minister without consulting Parliament. According to Article 158 of the Constitution, the Prime Minister must present his declaration of general policy to Parliament and therefrom, obtain a vote of confidence. Ultimately, however, the Prime Minister was later approved by Parliament on February 14, 1991.

120. In March, as reported to the Commission, tension rose between the Executive and Parliament when the President appointed Supreme Court justices without advising the Senate, which thereafter responded by declaring the appointments null and void according to Article 175 of the Constitution. The justices nevertheless held office until October. Subsequently, President Aristide again, without consulting the Senate, appointed ambassadors and members of the Official Auditing Office and the Administrative Court.

121. Political tension was also present between the members of the National Front for Change and Democracy (FNCD) alliance of parties, which had supported Aristide's candidacy, and the members of the Lavalas Movement. FNCD leaders criticized appointments of persons with little political experience to key positions, while the Lavalas leaders accused the FNCD of seeking government appointments so that they could distribute administrative positions among their supporters. The conflict actually stemmed from differences in their concepts of democracy.

122. During the last few days of July 1991, Roger Lafontant and his accomplices were tried for the January 7, 1991 coup d'etat. The government had to appoint public defenders for the accused, since most of the attorneys interviewed by the families of the defendants refused to represent them after receiving death threats. Lafontant refused to be represented by the public defender. The trial took place in a tense atmosphere, with crowds gathered outside the courthouse clamoring for the defendants to be submitted to the "Père Lebrun" torture. The defendants were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, even though the maximum sentence for crimes against state security is only 10 to 15 years according to the Penal Code. Only one of the defendants was allowed to appeal. The trial was perceived by the Haitian people as the end of Duvalierism and the Tonton-Macoute system.

123. Despite the problems which faced the Aristide government, attempts were made to carry out social reforms and to help meet the basic needs of the Haitian people. For example, efforts were made to reform the judiciary and the penitentiary system and a bill which would have established separation of the armed forces and the police was never passed by Parliament. In addition, efforts were also made to eliminate the section chief system. While a Human Rights Committee was established in the Senate and a Special Committee to investigate human rights violations was created, these too were short lived due to chronic problems such as: inadequate judicial resources leading to a climate of insecurity among the people, compelling some of them to take the law into their own hands; police dependance on the Armed Forces; land ownership; the existence in practice of the section chief system; serious economic problems and the conflicts among the different branches of government. Such inherent difficulties prevented the effective implementation and enforcement of human rights from being carried out.

iv) The September 29, 1991 coup d'etat

124. On September 29, 1991, the Armed Forces of Haiti overthrew the democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in a coup d'etat. After a shootout in his home, Artistide fled to the National Palace, along with 150 soldiers and policemen who remained loyal to him, but the loyal forces were overcome and the Chief of the Presidential Guard was assassinated. The President was forced to leave the National Palace and was taken to the military headquarters, where he was compelled to resign. Later, through mediation by the Ambassadors of France, the United States and Venezuela to Haiti, President Aristide was given safe-conduct to travel to Venezuela, along with certain officials from his government.

125. A military junta made up of General Raoul Cédras, Commander-in-Chief of the Haitian Armed Forces, Colonel Alix Sylva, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, and Colonel Henri Robert Marc Charles, former member of the military assigned to Washington, declared that it had taken control of the government.

126. Upon learning of the coup, the Haitian population took to the streets and raised barricades in certain areas of Port-au-Prince. Some organizations called for general strikes and demonstrations, but the military violently repressed any street protests with random shooting, thus preventing the population from organizing a mass uprising, as had occurred during the January 7, 1991 attempted coup. A number of sources reported to the Commission that hundreds of people had been killed and wounded during the first few days of fighting, especially in the poor neighborhoods of the capital.

127. The first week of October 1991, the Haitian Parliament pursuant to Article 149 of the Constitution, named Justice Joseph Nérette, President of the Supreme Court, as Provisional President to replace ousted President Aristide. Article 149 provides that a member of the Supreme Court may temporarily act as Chief of State should the position become vacant. The procedure took place after a detachment of soldiers had surrounded Parliament and fired on the building.

128. The provisional President was to appoint a new cabinet and to thereafter organize elections within a period of 45 to 90 days. The founder and director of the Haitian Center for Human Rights and Freedoms (CHADEL), Jean-Jacques Honorat, was appointed Prime Minister of the provisional government.

B. Political developments and steps taken by the OAS and the UN to facilitate dialogue

129. Throughout the political crisis in Haiti, the Organization of American States and the United Nations have played a crucial role in seeking to promote political negotiations between the various parties concerned, in order to restore democracy to the Republic of Haiti.

130. As noted earlier, the military coup that overthrew President Aristide on September 29, 1991 was immediately condemned by the Organization of American States: the Permanent Council held an emergency meeting on September 30 and voiced its most energetic condemnation of the events and demanded that the democratically elected President be restored to power./ It denounced the loss of lives and called for the punishment of those responsible in accordance with strictly observed international laws.

131. In a press release issued on October 1, 1991, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed its grave concern over the events in Haiti, which had cost so many lives. It pointed out that the coup was an obvious violation of the political rights and other basic rights and freedoms recognized by the American Convention on Human Rights./

132. Because of the gravity of the events in Haiti, the Secretary General, exercising the authority conferred upon him pursuant to Resolution 1080 and the "Santiago Commitment," convened an Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which was held in Washington on October 2nd, 1991. At that meeting, a resolution entitled "Support for the Democratic Government of Haiti" (MRE/RES. 1/91) was adopted and the following resolved: "To urge the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in response to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's request, to take immediately all measures within its competence to protect and defend human rights in Haiti and to report thereon to the Permanent Council of the Organization."

133. On October 4, 1991, an OAS Delegation headed by Secretary General, Ambassador João Baena Soares, and comprising six Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the member countries, traveled to Port-au-Prince to undertake negotiations for the restoration of democracy in Haiti. The Haitian military refused to negotiate and the Delegation immediately returned to Washington.

134. On October 8, the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs urged the member states of the OAS to freeze the assets of the Haitian State and to level a trade embargo against Haiti. It created a Civilian Mission (OEA/DEMOC) to reestablish and strengthen democratic institutions (MRE/RES.2/91). On December 10th, 1991, the Permanent Council of the OAS issued a resolution entitled "Program to support the promotion of democracy."/

135. On November 9, the OAS Civilian Mission, headed by Augusto Ramírez Ocampo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, who had been appointed by the Secretary General of the OAS, began discussions which would later be continued in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (November 21st to 23rd, 1991). Unfortunately, these discussions did not result in any agreement.

136. During the second week of December 1991, Ramírez Ocampo returned to Haiti to resume the negotiations that had been suspended since the Cartagena meeting. On that occasion, three names were mentioned as possible candidates for prime minister: Victor Benoit, Secretary General of the National Committee of the Congress of Democratic Movements (KONAKOM), whom President Aristide supported; Marc Bazin, former presidential candidate and leader of the Movement to Establish Haitian Democracy (MIDH); and René Théodore, Secretary General of the Haitian Communist Party (PUCH) which was subsequently intergrated into called the National Reconstruction Movement (MRN). Near the end of December, Théodore agreed to be a consensus candidate and by mid-February, the Chamber of Deputies of Haiti publicly announced its support for his appointment as Prime Minister.

137. Taking into consideration Resolution MRE/RES.1/91 and the many complaints of human rights violations, the Commission, as previously indicated, conducted an exploratory mission to Haiti on December 5 to 7, 1991. The Chairman of the IACHR, Patrick Robinson, and its Vice Chairman, Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, presented their findings to the Permanent Council of the OAS on January 9th, 1992./ After hearing the report of the Secretary General, on January 22, the Permanent Council approved Resolution CP/RES 575 885/92, establishing a Special Commission to observe enforcement of the embargo.

i) The Washington Agreements

138. Because the timing seemed right to undertake further negotiations, the Organization of American States sought to sponsor a January meeting in Washington. This meeting never eventualized because the negotiating parties could not reach an agreement. In an effort to work out a comprise in forumlating a political solution to the Haitian situation, on February 23rd - 25th, the OAS sponsored yet another meeting. Participating in this meeting were deposed President Aristide, who was accompanied by Mayor of Port-au-Prince Evans Paul; Prime Minister-designate, René Théodore and a parliamentary delegation headed by the respective presidents of the two houses of Parliament, Senator Déjean Bélizaire and Deputy Alexandre Médard.

139. At the close of that meeting, the negotiating parties signed the Washington Protocol of Agreement, whereby they agreed to guarantee civil liberties and allow political parties and civic organizations to operate freely in Haiti in accordance with the Haitian Constitution.

140. The Protocol acknowledged the need to: ensure the return of President Aristide and to restore him to his functions in government; to draft and enact laws which would implement the institutions provided for under the Constitution. These would include the law on local communities, the law on the separation of the police from the Armed Forces, and the law governing the Office of Citizens' Protection. The accord also called for an agreement on the fostering through laws and regulations, the implementation of a policy of social harmony and economic recovery.

141. The parties acknowledged the need to declare a general amnesty, save for common criminals, and to request the OAS and the international community to provide urgent and substantial assistance to the national consensus government. Such assistance would allow for the rejuvenation of the Haitian economy, the promotion of social welfare, transformation of the Armed Forces and the police into professional institutions and the strengthening of democratic institutions. At that meeting, a Protocol of Agreement was also signed between President Aristide and the Prime Minister-designate, René Théodore, who pledged to create the conditions necessary for President Aristide's return.

142. Though the international community reacted very favorably to the Protocols of Washington, problems surfaced and hampered their acceptance in the Haitian Parliament. In a television interview some days later, President Aristide reiterated that he was opposed to the amnesty for the military involved in the coup d'etat and noted that the accords did not specify an exact date for his return.

143. Moreover, while the Protocols represented an enormous effort to find a political solution to the Haitian situation, it was very difficult to translate the agreements into practice. First, the fact that the military and those exercising power in Haiti were not parties to the Agreements suggested from the onset that they would not be accepted and the army would be opposed to any type of investigation into the human rights violations that had occurred during and after the coup d'etat. Furthermore, Parliament was unable to ratify the accords due to both Houses not having the requisite number of members present for that purpose. Later, those who exercised power in Haiti submitted the Washington Accords to the Supreme Court for an opinion on their legality, and the Court ruled them unconstitutional and without legal foundation. According to statements presented to the Commission of Human Rights, the decision did not seem to correspond with the Court's jurisdiction.

ii) The Villa d'Accueil Agreement

144. The authorities exercising power in Haiti did not recognize the Washington Agreements and decided instead to create a Tripartite Commission in which they were represented by their appointed Prime Minister, Mr. Jean-Jacques Honorat; the House of Parliament was represented by Senate President Déjean Bélizaire and Chamber of Deputies by its President Alexandre Médard. Representing the Armed Forces was their Commander-in-Chief Raoul Cédras. At this session however, President Aristide and his supporters were excluded.

145. The negotiations culminated on May 8, 1992, with the so-called Tripartite Agreement of Villa d'Accueil, which, as one might expect, did not recognize President Aristide as the constitutional President. Under the Agreement, a consensus government was to be established for the purpose of negotiating the lifting of the embargo and resuming negotiations with the Organization of American States. Later, Mr. Nérette, who had subsequently been appointed President by those who exercised power, resigned his post. Marc Bazin was designated Prime Minister, with the approval of the military and a questionable Senate majority. These negotiations and the Prime Minister's designation were in direct contravention of the resolutions adopted by the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MRE/RES 2/91 and MRE/RES 3/92).

146. On the occasion of the OAS General Assembly, held in Nassau, The Bahamas, May 18th through 22nd, 1992, the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted a resolution entitled "Restoration of Democracy in Haiti" (MRE/RES. 3/92), wherein it reiterated the previous resolutions and urged the member states to adopt additional measures to extend and step up enforcement of the trade embargo against Haiti and increase the humanitarian relief targeting the poorest segments of the Haitian population. The member states were also urged either not to grant or to revoke, as the case may be, any entry visas extended to the authors of the coup d'etat and their supporters and to freeze their assets. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs again asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to continue to monitor closely the situation in Haiti and to keep the Ad Hoc Meeting informed by way of the Permanent Council.

iii) The Florida Declaration

147. After the Washington Agreements were abandoned and changes occurred on the political scene in Haiti, President Aristide launched a new negotiating campaign and called a meeting, which was held in Miami on June 26th through 29th, 1992. Present were a number of political leaders who supported the restoration of democracy in Haiti. At the end of the meeting, a document entitled "Towards a National Consensus" was adopted. Also known as the "Florida Declaration," it reasserted the need to find a negotiated political solution and, to that end, the assistance of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States and the Secretary-General of the United Nations was requested. The Declaration reiterated the request that the OAS send a Civilian Mission to resume the political dialogue in Haiti.

iv) Steps towards establishment of the Civilian Mission

148. In an effort to determine new opportunities and to set the stage for the resumption of political negotiations, the Organization of American States sent a mission to Haiti August 18th through 21st, 1992, headed by Secretary General Ambassador Joâo Clemente Baena Soares. The Mission comprised several Ambassadors, including the Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, and representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the United Nations (UN) and the European Economic Community (EEC). This mission represented the first step towards the subsequent establishment of the Civilian Mission.

149. The mission's efforts led to a new round of talks at the OAS on September 1st between Father Antoine Adrien, President Aristide's envoy and Mr. François Benoit who represented Mr. Marc Bazin who had been appointed Prime Minister by those exercising power in Haiti. There it was decided that an 18-man mission would be sent to help reduce the violence in general and to encourage respect for human rights. The team was further to cooperate in the distribution of humanitarian aid and the assessment of progress made toward a political solution to the Haitian crisis. The Civilian Mission, in which former Prime Minister of Jamaica Michael Manley participated, began its work in mid-September 1992.

150. Even though the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had authorized the arrival of the 18 OAS observers to be deployed throughout the country's geographic departments, after three months, officials in Port-au-Prince told the civilian delegation that their presence "had no legal grounds" and that "there was no way their safety and their freedom of movement in the country's interior could be guaranteed."

151. Through a resolution passed on November 10, 1992 (CP/RES. 594 923/92), the Permanent Council of the OAS decided to urge the member states of the United Nations to renew their support by adopting measures that were consistent with the previous resolutions approved by the OAS. It also urged the member states of the OAS and the United Nations to increase their humanitarian assistance to the Haitian people and asked the United Nations to participate in the OAS Civilian Mission to bring about a peaceful solution to the crisis.

152. In the face of human rights violations persisting and worsening in Haiti attendant with the repercussions arising with thousands of Haitians seeking refuge in neighboring member countries, the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted resolution (MRE/RES. 4/92) dated December 13th. This Resolution reaffirmed earlier resolutions and instructed the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Meeting and the Secretary General of the OAS to make an additional effort with all Haitian interests as a matter of urgency and in close cooperation with the United Nations Secretary-General, to facilitate political dialogue among them to restore democratic institutions in Haiti. The objective of this effort should initially be to bring about, as soon as possible, a substantial increase in the OAS civilian presence. The OAS Secretary General was given a mandate to explore, in conjunction with the UN Secretary-General, the possibility and advisability of bringing the Haitian situation to the attention of the United Nations Security Council as a means of bringing about global application of the trade embargo recommended by the OAS. In that resolution the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Meeting and the Secretary General of the OAS were also instructed to "cooperate in the efforts of the Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in light of the serious and continuing human rights violations in Haiti and the refusal those exercising power in Haiti to allow the Commission to conduct an on-site visit as soon as possible."

153. From the onset of the Haitian crisis, the United Nations had condemned the coup d'etat and recognized President Aristide's government as the legitimate one. Cooperation between the OAS the UN led to the strengthening of the Civilian Mission. In December, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, appointed former Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs Dante Caputo as his Special Envoy. Caputo immediately flew to Haiti on an exploratory mission to seek a solution to the crisis. On January 13, 1993, the OAS Secretary General, Baena Soares, announced to the Permanent Council that Caputo had been appointed as his personal representative.

154. In late January, complications arose in the OAS/UN representative's efforts to reach an agreement on acceptance of a Civilian Mission of some 400 observers. Mr. Marc Bazin objected to the mission by declaring that although those who exercised power, i.e., the Army and Parliament had accepted that a mission would be sent and a solution to the Haitian crisis would be negotiated, in his opinion, the proposed arrangement represented "a risk of international subjugation."

155. In early February 1993, agreement was reached between those who exercised power in Haiti and the Special Envoy of the OAS Secretary General to allow the deployment of the OAS/UN Civilian Mission in Haiti. The main purpose of the mission was to help ensure respect for human rights, thereby creating a suitable climate in which a political solution for the restoration of democratic constitutional government in Haiti could be achieved. If the situation improved, the Civilian Mission was additionally to assist in institutional strengthening and modernization, particularly with respect to the reform of the judicial system reform, modernization of the armed forces, establishment of a specialized police force and the resumption of international technical cooperation, as set forth in the respective resolutions adopted by the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

156. Ambassador Colin Granderson was appointed head of the OAS/UN Mission, with the collaboration of a team of human rights experts headed by Ian Martin, former Secretary General of Amnesty International. Both organizations increased the number of observers in the Mission, who by the end of March had been set up in the nine departments of Haiti.

157. During the first three months of 1993, the Special Envoy, Dante Caputo, made several trips to Haiti and met with certain authorities appointed by those exercising power, General Cédras, various church representatives and with the Presidential Commission. In late March, Caputo suggested a six months deadline for the return of President Aristide, but the military hardened their position in response, with Prime Minister Bazin accusing the OAS and the UN of interference in domestic affairs. Caputo initiated new negotiations and in May announced his plan which called for the deployment of an international police force. The plan was subject to consent by all parties involved and to approval by the UN Security Council, prior to the return of President Aristide to the country. The plan also called for the appointment of a new Prime Minister to be designated by President Aristide and approved by Parliament. Not only that, but amnesty and guarantees for the military, along with a financial aid package of one billion dollars to be disbursed over a five-year period under programs to be prepared by a mission of experts from the World Bank, IDB, IMF and UNDP, were included.

158. During the following three months, those who exercised power in Haiti proved unwilling to reach an agreement on the political crisis. On June 23, Caputo indicated that if there was no dialogue with the representatives of the democratic government, then the sanctions called for under Article VIII of the United Nations Charter would be instituted. That day the embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council (Res. 841) entered into effect. The shipment of oil and weapons to Haiti was banned and foreign assets of those who exercised power in Haiti and their supporters were frozen. The pressure from the Security Council left the authorities who exercised power in Haiti with a total dearth of fuel, and led to negotiations at the highest level — albeit indirect — between President Aristide and the Chief of the Armed Forces, General Cédras, at Governors Island in New York.

v) The Governors Island Agreement

159. On July 3, 1993, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Haitian Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces General Raoul Cédras signed the Governors Island Agreement in New York. In the accord, the parties agreed to take the measures necessary to resolve the Haitian crisis. To this end, they pledged to reach a solution by means of political dialogue, consolidation of democratic institutions, the separation of state powers, the freedom of action for political parties and the restoration of President Aristide to his legitimate office, thus creating the conditions for his return to take place on October 30, 1993.

160. Other important points of the agreement included: allowing Parliament to play an active part by enacting laws to ensure the transition; appointment of a new Prime Minister by President Aristide; the promulgation of an amnesty-related law; suspension of the embargo; early retirement of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces; continued involvement of the international community to help rebuild the economy; establishment of a new police force; professionalization of the armed forces; and monitoring of implementation of the agreement by the United Nations and the Organization of American States./

vi) The New York Agreement

161. One of the initial steps for implementation of the Governors Island Agreement was a political dialogue between representatives of the Haitian political parties in order to reach a committment which would pave the way for an institutional democratic framework. That dialogue took place on July 13, 1993 in New York. Representing President Aristide were the members of the Presidential Commission: Father Antoine Adrien, Fred Joseph, Jean Molière, Chavanne Jean Baptiste, Wesner Emmanuel, Micha Gaillard and Georgette Omero. The following political parties were represented: FNCD, PANPRA and Socialist Group, the Alliance for Parliamentary Cohesion and the Constitutional Bloc. Parliament was represented by presidents of the two Houses who were linked to the military, Deputy Antoine Joseph and Senator Thomas Dupiton, and by constitutionally elected presidents of the House of Deputies, Deputy Alexandre Médard and Senator Firmin Jean Louis.

162. On July 16, 1993, after intensive negotiations, the representatives of the Haitian political forces approved the New York Agreement,/ whereby a six-month political truce would be observed in order to guarantee a stable, peaceful transition period. The agreement also included the following: (a) the Armed Forces of Haiti would respect the Governors Island Agreement; (b) Parliament would not be obstructed and the members elected in the controversial January 18 elections would voluntarily abstain from meeting in Parliament until the constitutionally established institution to which the case had been referred had ruled on the matter; (c) the necessary measures would be taken to protect the full exercise of human rights;

(d) reform of the judicial system would be undertaken immediately; (e) President Aristide would designate a new Prime Minister, approval of whom would be ensured as soon as possible; (f) amnesty-related laws would be enacted under an emergency procedure; (g) a new police force would be established and begin operation and that paramilitary forces would be abolished.

vii) The new government of Prime Minister Malval

163. Shortly after the New York Agreement was concluded, President Aristide designated Robert Malval as Prime Minister. Malval is a prominent 50-year-old businessman with political science degrees from the United States and France, and is considered a close advisor of President Aristide. He had been very active in the election campaign, and, through his connections with the business community, had organized a "Haitian Summit" in Miami on July 22 and 23, 1993, to establish contacts between the Haitian private sector and American investors.

164. Six weeks after the Governors Island Agreement was signed and after numerous discussions had been held on the conditions established in the 1987 Constitution for candidates for Prime Minister -particularly on Malval's status as a "native Haitian" - on August 25, 1993, the National Assembly approved his designation as Prime Minister. Malval immediately submitted his general policy statement to the two Houses, and pointed out his intention of remaining in office until December 15, 1993 for essentially "personal and professional" reasons.

165. While the Prime Minister was being ratified by Parliament, the Organization of American States recommended to its member states that the sanctions imposed on those who exercised power in Haiti on October 8, 1991 in Resolution 841 be lifted. On August 27, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the Resolution, immediately suspending the sanctions imposed on June 16, 1993. It warned however, that the sanctions would be reinstated if all the provisions of the Governors Island Agreement, including President Aristide's return, were not fully complied with. The United States Department of State advised that it had decided to lift the ban against entry into the United States it had imposed on 112 leaders and supporters of those who exercised power in the Haitian government.

166. Malval traveled to Washington to be sworn in by President Aristide, to whom the United States Government had granted political asylum in 1993. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Haitian Embassy in Washington on August 30, 1993. That same day, Prime Minister Malval attended a special meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS where he pledged to help reestablish democracy in his country.

167. The cabinet of the new government was made up of the following ministers:

Claudette Werleigh: Foreign Affairs
Hervé Denis: Information and Culture
Berthony Berri: Social Affairs
Louis Déjoie, Jr.: Trade and Industry
General Jean Béliotte: Defense
Colonel René Prosper: Interior
Jean-Marie Chérestal: Planning, External Affairs and Civil Service
Agronome F. Séverin: Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development
Guy-François Malary: Justice
Jean Molière: Public Health
Victor Benoit: Education, Youth and Sports
Marie-Michèle Rey: Finance and Economic Affairs
Rosemond Pradel: Public Works, Transportation and Communications

168. The Presidential Commission set up in July 1992 by President Aristide to conduct the political negotiations was dissolved on August 31, having regard to the fact that its raison d'etre no longer existed.

169. Human rights in Haiti however, continued to be systematically violated, even more so after the signing of the Governors Island Agreement. Despite the measures taken by the international community to lift the embargo, the situation continued to deteriorate, becoming critical in September 1993. The acts of violence were designed to prevent the new government from taking office and functioning. Thus, on September 8, Mayor Evans Paul resumed his post amidst demonstrations and death threats. Leaving the Mayor's Office, Minister of Information Hervé Denis and his bodyguard were assaulted and wounded by civilian gunmen while policemen at the scene stood by passively. Disturbances that day left five dead and 15 wounded. Many ministers in the new government were forced to flee their homes after receiving death threats. Certain recently appointed officials were unable to take over their offices. Even Prime Minister Malval worked from his home for security reasons. In a statement on September 8, 1993, the Permanent Council of the OAS condemned the increase in human rights violations.

170. While these disturbances were taking place, Dante Caputo arrived in Port-au-Prince with 30 experts to begin a series of meetings with Prime Minister Malval and General Cédras. The experts were to assess the situation in Haiti before the technical mission was sent to modernize the armed forces and establish a separate new police force.

171. One of the first steps taken by the new Malval government was to suspend state radio and television broadcasts and to promise far-reaching changes in all government controlled media, which were still in the hands of officials loyal to those who had exercised power before Prime Minister Malval's appointment. This led to the occupation of the national radio and television facilities by gunmen trying to prevent the new directors from taking over.

172. During this wave of repression, Antoine Izméry was killed on September 11, 1993 by the civilian gunmen know as attachés. Izméry was a personal friend of President Aristide and founder of the Hand-in-Hand Committee for the Blossoming of Truth (KOMEVEB), which supported the restoration of democracy in Haiti. Dozens of other murders were also committed in the neighborhoods of Canapé Vert, Delmas, Musseau and Carrefour. The climate of terror in the wake of these attacks led to the imposition of a curfew beginning at dusk by those who exercised power. Another factor increasing fear on the part of the population was the return of Duvalierists who had fled to the Dominican Republic, including former generals Henry Namphy and Prosper Avril and former Port-au-Prince mayor Franck Romain, accused of leading the assault groups responsible for the 1988 San Juan Bosco massacre.

173. In mid-September, at President Aristide's request, Parliament held a meeting in which it was to vote on a number of items, including the laws separating the Army and the police; budgetary matters; the dismantling of armed groups and the administration of local communities. This session of Parliament was suspended because of a lack of a quorum. Parliament was in fact paralyzed due to the dilatory measures being taken by the pro-military Deputies and the lack of security for pro-Aristide legislators.

174. As a result of the hardening of the military's position, President Aristide warned that if there was no decrease in the violence and human rights abuses — which he blamed on General Cédras and Port-au-Prince Police Chief Michael François — he would call for the reinstatement of the embargo. He also urged the Haitian people to use nonviolence as a strategy to enable peace to return to Haiti, despite those opposed to democracy.

175. On September 23, by Resolution 867, the United Nations Security Council authorized a 1,300-man United Nations Mission (MINUHA) to be sent to Haiti. The Mission was to include 560 police supervisors and a 700-man military attachement including a construction engineering unit and 60 military instructors, mostly from the United States. The Governments of Canada and France were providing 100 soldiers each, and a number of other countries, such as Venezuela, Algeria, Austria, Madagascar, Russia, Senegal and Tunisia, were also to provide military personnel. The Mission was to be headed by the Special Envoy, Caputo. The Commissioner in charge of the Mission police force was to travel to Haiti on September 25 and a contingent of 50 officers was scheduled to arrive on October 7. The mission of the officers was to help the Haitian Government establish a new police force separate from the armed forces, as provided for in the Constitution and in accordance with the Governors Island Agreement.

176. In statements to the press referring to UN Security Council Resolution 867, General Cédras declared that he would not accept a foreign intervention force disguised as technical assistance and accused the international community of violating the Governors Island Agreement by imposing sanctions while failing to provide the aid promised for economic development of the country, which was essential to create the climate of peace desired.

177. In a press release issued on September 24, the Commission condemned the violence committed by unofficial armed groups that operated with the complicity of the Army and the police, claiming blatant violation of the Governors Island and New York Agreements signed in July 1993. The Commission also expressed its concern about the threats Caputo had received, which it interpreted as another attempt to destabilize the process of political negotiation in Haiti. The Commission appealed to the armed forces of Haiti to disarm and dismantle armed civilian groups./

178. The situation became critical in the first two weeks of October when groups of civilians attached to the armed forces took over the media in Port-au-Prince to threaten the United Nations Mission in Haiti, demanding expulsion of the Special Envoy, Caputo, and the resignation of Prime Minister Malval. The strike called for by the so-called Haitian Front for Advancement and Progress (FRAPH) on October 7 terrorized the Haitian people, who were forced to leave their activities and keep off the streets. Merchants in several Port-au-Prince markets were assaulted, leaving two wounded and one dead. According to observers, the strike was referred to as an "armed strike" and a "curfew." During the FRAPH demonstrations, there was an obvious lack of military patrols, and some witnesses even testified having seen soldiers with the civilian gunmen as they forced people out of the streets.

179. In this context of provocation, on October 11, violent demonstrations were organized by the FRAPH and other paramilitary groups to prevent the technical assistance mission from disembarking to begin training the armed forces and the police. OAS/UN Mission observers and United States Embassy staff were denied access to the Port-au-Prince pier. Acts of vandalism against reporters and diplomatic vehicles were committed during these demonstrations, and shots were fired in the air to cause panic.

180. The demonstrations were aided and abetted by the police, which even reorganized traffic lanes for the obvious purpose of helping the demonstrators pass. As a result, the ship could not dock and the United States Government ordered it to withdraw from Haitian waters. Canada also ordered the withdrawal of a detachment of 50 members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which had arrived on October 7.

181. The assassination of the Minister of Justice, Guy-François Malary, two of his bodyguards and his driver by paramilitary groups further aggravated the situation. The murders occurred the day before the expected resignation of the chief of the armed forces, scheduled for October 15.

182. Given these developments, the Permanent Council of the OAS expressed its concern in Resolution 967/93 dated October 12. The Commission issued a press release after its 84th meeting (from October 5 to 15, 1993), pointing out that although implementation of the Governors Island Agreement and the New York Agreement was being threatened by the violence and repression committed by the armed forces, the agreements remained in force in the eyes of the international community, which could take the necessary measures against those groups that were obstructing full restoration of democracy and the individual rights of the population./

183. Two days after the "USS Harlan County" was prevented from entering Port-au-Prince, the UN Security Council by Resolution 873 of October 13, 1993, reinstated the oil and weapons trade embargo against Haiti and froze the foreign assets of the Haitian military authorities, on the grounds that the commitments to restore democracy to the country had not been honored. After Haitian military leader General Cédras refused to resign, the Security Council authorized a naval blockade. Through Resolution 875 of October 16, it urged all member states, either bilaterally or through regional organizations or mechanisms, in cooperation with the legitimate government of Haiti, to take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure strict enforcement of Resolutions 841 and 873 regarding the supply of oil, other petroleum products, weapons and any type of related materials, and in particular to detain all maritime traffic to Haiti for as long as necessary to inspect and verify its cargo and destination.

184. In Resolution 875, the Security Council also confirmed its willingness to consider adoption of any supplementary measures that might be necessary to ensure full compliance with its resolutions. At midnight on Monday, October 18, the sanctions established entered into effect. Six United States warships, along with other warships from Canada, France, Argentina, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands began patrolling the waters surrounding Haiti, preventing access of banned items, but not of humanitarian aid. The OAS/UN Mission observers were evacuated through the naval blockade to the Dominican Republic, which set up supervision along its border with Haiti.

185. In view of these events, General Cédras asked President Aristide to call a meeting of the Haitian Parliament so that it could urgently approve a new amnesty decree. On October 3, President Aristide issued an amnesty decree for political offenses committed between September 29, 1991 and July 3, 1992, which therefore offered no protection from prosecution for offenses considered ordinary crimes, or from possible civil suits against the perpetrators of human rights violations committed in Haiti during the previous 24 months. Article 6 of the Governors Island Agreement stipulates that in addition to the presidential amnesty, such instruments as may be approved by Parliament in this respect were to be implemented. However, certain observers noted that during the Governors Island negotiations, President Aristide, despite constitutional norms, was expected to cooperate to ensure that the Haitian Parliament would grant a broader amnesty which would include common law offenses for political motives.

186. With only one week left before his scheduled return, President Aristide faced not only the resistance of the Haitian military, but also opposition from some members of the United States Congress who objected to Washington's continued support. However, both the Clinton Administration and the Congressional Black Caucus group of legislators maintained their support for the exiled president.

187. To remedy the political stalemate, a "Crisis Committee" was established, made up of members of Parliament opposed to Aristide, who proposed that both houses agree to vote simultaneously on the amnesty law and the law establishing and organizing the police force. However, the proposal did not reach the point of adoption, since most of the pro-Aristide members of Parliament had fled the country or were in hiding for fear of assassination attempts. Thus, on the three occasions Parliament was called to meet, sufficient members to establish a quorum were absent.

188. On October 27, it was announced that the date scheduled for President Aristide's return to Haiti was postponed, and the Secretary-General of the UN reported that Prime Minister Malval would remain in office even if President Aristide did not return on October 30, as stipulated in the Governors Island Agreement.

189. In view of the impossibility of return to Haiti of President Aristide on the date stipulated due to the military's total lack of cooperation, Prime Minister Robert Malval returned to Washington on December 1 to inform President Aristide of his decision to resign on December 15. It was later announced that Prime Minister Malval would remain in office until a substitute was appointed in accordance Haiti's Constitution. He called for the hosting of a conference on national reconciliation in Haiti to be attended by representatives of all the political, civilian and economic sectors in the country. That conference, however, was never held, because President Aristide preferred that all discussion should be based on the Governors Island Agreement.

190. In view of the deadlocked political situation, representatives of the four "friends" of Haiti: France, United States, Canada and Venezuela, met in Paris on December 13 to consider how to resolve the Haitian crisis. At the conclusion of that meeting, they decided to send a high-ranking military mission to Haiti to speak with the Haitian military leaders, who refused to receive them. In response to that refusal, the delegation warned that the military and petroleum embargo might be transformed into a total embargo, if by January 15, 1994, measures had not been taken to implement the provisions of the Governors Island Agreement.

191. Far from improving the situation, new acts of violence occurred in late December 1993, which left hundreds of Haitians homeless. Over 200 dwellings were burned in the Cité Soleil district, and several inhabitants were left dead or injured from gunfire. The incident was believed to be an act of vengeance by members of the FRAPH, in answer to the death of Issa Paul, a member of their party, whose burnt body was found before the incidents.

192. At the first session of the Haitian National Assembly, on January 10, 1993, Members of Parliament supporting and opposing President Aristide attacked each other physically. This happened as a result of the decision not to allow 13 senators who had been elected in the elections of January 18, 1993 to be seated. The resulting chaos caused most of the lawmakers to leave the chamber. This incident in itself, is an outright repudiation of the New York Agreement by the assembly elected in the contested elections.

193. On January 14 to 16, 1994, an IACHR delegation attended the Miami Conference organized by President Aristide. The purpose of the Conference was to discuss in principle and in detail the situation concerning Haitian refugees (boat people). This discussion was expanded later to cover the return of democracy to Haiti. The deposed President concluded the conference with an appeal for the unity of the Haitian people and further called for the implementing of procedures for the appointment of a new Prime Minister and government of common accord.



Home || Treaties || Search || Links