CHAPTER IV: HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN HAITI
194. This chapter will focus on the current status of human rights in Haiti during the period from March 1993 through January 1994. It is based on information that was provided to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during its on-site visit to Haiti from August 23-27, 1993 through direct testimonies and written documentation from individuals and non-governmental organizations; as well as the documentation received during the Commission's 84th period of sessions held from October 1-15, 1993; reports of the UN/OAS Civilian Mission; and numerous reports sent to the Commission from human rights NGOs which operate throughout Haiti.
195. This chapter provides an introductory overview of the human rights situation for the period covered in this report and provides a brief description of the military structure in Haiti, in order to analyze the significant institutional factors which contribute to Haiti's poor record in respecting human rights. Similarly, this chapter focuses on the fundamental human rights which are most consistently violated in Haiti, providing case examples illustrative of the type of violations most commonly observed by the Commission.
B) Overview of Human Rights in Haiti
196. The human rights record in Haiti has continued to deteriorate during the period under consideration in this report. Despite overwhelming condemnation from the international community, harsh reports issued by the UN/OAS Civilian Mission in Haiti and the imposition of limited sanctions, the military authorities have made no progress in improving its human rights record. Further, the military authorities have failed to live up to commitments regarding respect for human rights and civil liberties made at the signing of the Governors Island Agreement on July 3rd, 1993, and the New York Pact on July 16th, 1993.
197. Much of the increase in violations during this period is attributable to increased attempts at political expression among the Haitian people and the attendant military repression. For example, both the number and gravity of human rights violations increased after the accord reached at Governors Island in July, 1993. Encouraged by General Cédras' agreement to step down and the anticipated return of President Aristide on October 30th, supporters of the Aristide government sought to express their commitment publicly. Such demonstrations were met by intensified repression on the part of military and para-military troops, and generally, repression of society-at-large increased as the prospect of President Aristide's return aroused apprehension and opposition in the military. As October 30th passed and no transition occurred, what was feared by the international community became clear: the military would operate in complete contravention of the rule of law, seemingly unaffected by the international community's harsh criticism of its dismal human rights record.
198. The present environment in Haiti continues to be one characterized by repression and fear. In Port-au-Prince, the military acts with increasing brazeness, as illustrated by the very public killing of prominent President Aristide supporter, Antoine Izméry in September, 1993, and a month later, the assasination of Minister of Justice, Mr. Guy Francois Malary, as well as acts of intimidation directed against members of the UN/OAS Civilian Mission. Victims are not only political activists, but also ordinary citizens in what is seen as an observable strategy to maintain a climate of intimidation and terror among the general civilian population. In the rural areas, instances of arbitrary detentions, beatings, illegal searches and seizures of property, disappearances, and torture have increased, causing more people to go into hiding or to leave their homes.
199. Throughout Haiti, the violations take place with the active involvement and/or the silent complicity of police and military forces. Violence is directed against unarmed civilians, who do not respond with violence against military agents, and in the meatime, the acts go unchecked and unpunished. Persons who are linked with organizations suspected of promoting the return of democracy are regularly the targets of threats and harassment from the military.
200. Aristide supporters known as lavalassiens/ are frequently under surveillance by local section chiefs, and are often detained and harassed by local military and paramilitary forces. In the provinces, the military normally interupts and disperses meetings organised by local community leaders, thereby preventing them from meeting and associating.
201. Detention procedures and conditions continue to violate standards stipulated in domestic and international law. Although there exist 15 prisons in Haiti, many detainees are held in military barracks or front posts for the entire period of their imprisonment. Numerous persons are illegally detained and held for long periods of time, in some cases up to two years. Conditions of imprisonment in the prisons, which are administered by the Armed Forces of Haiti, remain bad. Commission members who visited some of the prisons observed overcrowding and signs of malnutrition among some of the prisoners. They also heard of prisoners being subjected to mistreatment and beatings by prison guards.
202. While in general, judges, prosecutors, and independent lawyers continue to face threats and harassment, some judges have shown great courage by freeing detainees on the ground that their detentions were illegal. Many of these releases are due in part to the constant presence of OAS/UN Mission observers. Thanks to the pressure exerted by the Civil Mission on the courts to observe due process guarantees granted under Haitian law, a larger number of detainees have been released pending trial and in some cases, hearings have been granted within 48 hours of arrest.
203. On the other hand, the crackdown on the domestic press has continued to be severe. Para-military groups known as attachés have repeatedly harassed and detained vendors of Libète, the only Creole/ language newspaper, and have confiscated and destroyed copies of the paper. Radio journalists throughout the country receive similar treatment.
C) Factors Contributing to the Violation of Human Rights in Haiti
i. Lack of Separation Between Police and Army
204. Although article 263 of the Haitian Constitution requires the existence of a police force independent of the Army, the Armed Forces of Haiti have been successful in opposing implementation of a police force, independent of the military, to oversee domestic affairs. In effect, the Army is used to "police" the country, which results in devastating consequences to human rights. The Haitian domestic police force is, in effect, a division of the army in which members of the Armed Forces regularly serve tours of duty. Soldiers who are assigned to police duty do not receive any special training regarding domestic peace keeping. As a result, such officers have little awareness of the need to differentiate between the treatment of unarmed civilians as opposed to other armed forces and further, they have no understanding of proper procedures for arrest, search and seizure.
205. The power of the military in Haiti is immense. Although Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, military appropriations have consistently used up more than one-third of the country's national budget. The military structure -- created with the help of the United States Marines during the United State's occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934 -- has remained largely the same, and contributes to the pervasive power of the Haitian Armed Forces. The General Headquarters, directed by the Commander-in-Chief, is the ultimate authority over all officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces. The Headquarters oversees 14 military corps -- one for each of Haiti's nine Departments; Port-au-Prince; the Marine Corps; the Air Force; the Presidential Guard and the Armed Infantry. Each Department is also under the direction of a colonel and divided into Districts which are under the direction of captains. Districts are subdivided into sub-districts, under the direction of a lieutenant or sub-lieutenant; and sub-districts are further subdivided into communal sections headed by Section Chiefs.
206. Although, in thery, the powers of a Section Chief are fairly limited, in pratice, they wield powers far beyond their mandate, in effect creating their own systems of local governance. For example, army regulations prohibit Section Chiefs from imposing entry/exit taxes on peasants who take farm animals through their jurisdictions, yet the imposition of illegal taxes and the acceptance of bribes is a regular practice among Section Chiefs. Army regulations also require section chiefs to have arrest warrants in all but exceptional circumstances and to prepare reports of arrestees within 24 hours of their arrest, yet Section Chiefs regularly enforce illegal arrests without warrant, and incommunicado detention for periods longer than 24 hours is not uncommon in Haiti.
ii. Lack of Training of Military/Police in Respecting Human Rights
207. Haitian soldiers are not trained to respect human rights or to protect civil liberties, nor are they taught that there is a distinction between military activity and police work. Moreover, there is nothing in their training backgrounds that is likely to have sensitized them to the concept of upholding the rule of law in their daily activities. Recruits, like the majority of Haitians, tend to be poor and largely illiterate.
208. Soldiers tend to have, on average, low education levels, no formal schooling after joining the Army, and tend to be essentially ignorant of basic human and civil rights. They are provided weapons but given little training about when the use of armed force is and is not appropriate. They do not learn how to make legal arrests, to conduct proper searches for evidence, and to interrogate within constitutional limits. Record-keeping, fingerprinting, and forensic techniques are rudimentary at best. Finally, soldiers are not taught to respect the rights of civilians, detainees, and prisoners while performing police duties.
209. Instead, soldiers learn by example, following the actions and attitudes of their superiors. Unfortunately, the Armed Forces have never emphasized the need to respect the rule of law and to protect human and civil rights, but have instead resisted attempts by human rights groups to educate soldiers about such rights and no such programs appear to be on the horizon. Although the constitutional Haitian government has requested human rights training from international human rights organs, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the volatile political situation makes it highly improbable that such a program will be instituted in the near future.
iii) Existence of Paramilitary Operatives: Attachés and Zenglendos
210. Corruption not only permeates the military framework, but feeds into the creation of paramilitary operatives. Section Chiefs, who frequently buy their positions through bribes, and can be dismissed at will, try to recoup their investment as quickly as possible through the hiring of assistants, commonly called attachés./ Attachés pay Section Chiefs for the chance of working in and profiting from the corruption network. Haitian law limits each Section Chief to only two such assistants; but in practice, section chiefs regularly maintain large private militias of these assistants.
211. Attachés have no legally recognized status, yet are probably the most significant factor in "policing" the rural areas. Each Section Chief usually appoints one to five attachés to serve as deputies. The deputies supervise about 30 adjoints who in turn direct other auxilaries, such as the souket-larouzé. At every level, these attachés are involved in extortion, levying fines, and paying and receiving bribes. They are not interested in policing, nor are they trained for such service. Rather their numbers and unrestrained power contribute to a system of "policing" characterized by corruption and oppression.
212. In addition to attachés, there has been a marked increase in the activity of bands of armed men, known as zenglendos, who have been linked with scores of human rights violations in Haiti. The zenglendos carry out nightly raids, robberies, and murders, and as pointed out, are either armed and directed by, or act with, the complicity of the army. Like attachés, zenglendos have been linked to many of the human rights violations in Haiti, including the torture and murder of civilians. The paramilitary structure of these forces makes it difficult to identify them and to pin responsibility for their acts on the military. The Para-military and zenglendos continue to be an important factor in maintaining a repressive environment throughout the country, with the active and tacit cooperation of the FADH, committing human rights violations in relative anonymity because of their unofficial status.
iv. Military Domination of the Judicial System
213. The existence of a climate in which human rights violations are committed with impunity is also attributed to military domination of the judiciary and the corruption that the military generates within the judicial processes. The report issued by the OAS/UN Civilian Mission on Haiti, states the following:
...[m]embers of the Armed Forces and those linked to them continue to intimidate judges and prosecutors, many of whom owe their positions to influential members of the military...
...members of the judiciary remain extremely reluctant to investigate cases involving the FAD'H. The Mission has seen several cases where compelling evidence of a human rights violation has been presented to a judicial official and no action taken. The officials freely admit that it would be either too dangerous or fruitless for them to undertake an investigation./
214. Military corruption of judicial processes is also a widely observable phenomenon. Because there is no independent police force in Haiti, judicial officials must depend on military personnel to investigate crimes, to identify criminal suspects, and to detain and arrest persons accused of crimes, in accordance with procedural guidelines set out in Haiti's Constitution and domestic laws. In fact, the military not only obstructs judicial processes through harassment and intimidation of judges and lawyers, but it also actively violates due process guarantees contained in both domestic and international law.
215. For example, both Haitian and international law prohibit arbitrary detention. Article 24(2) of the 1987 Haitian Constitution provides that no one may be arrested or detained other than by the written order (mandat) of a legally competent official. Similarly, article 7(3) of the American Convention on Human Rights provides that, "[n]o one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment."/ Also, under Haitian law, the warrant must state in the official languages of Creole and French, the reason for the arrest or detention; it must also cite the provision of law which provides for punishment of the act charged; and it may only be executed between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m./ Although these requirements provide important protections against violations of human rights, military and paramilitary forces regularly perform arbitrary warrantless arrests, frequently at night, in flagrant violation of both domestic and international law.
D) Status of Selected Human Rights
a) Right to Life
(i) Legal Provisions
216. The right to life is guaranteed in article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter "American Convention"). It states:
1. Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
2. In countries that have not abolished the death penalty, it may be imposed only for the most serious crimes and pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court and in accordance with a law establishing such punishment, enacted prior to the commission of the crime. The application of such punishment shall not be extended to crimes to which it does not presently apply.
3. The death penalty shall not be reestablished in states that have abolished it.
4. In no case shall capital punishment be inflicted for political offences or related common crimes.
5. Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who, at the time the crime was committed, were under 18 years of age or over 70 years of age; nor shall it be applied to pregnant women.
6. Every person condemned to death shall have the right to apply for amnesty, pardon, or commutation of sentence, which may be granted in all cases. Capital punishment shall not be imposed while such a petition is pending decision by competent authority.
(ii) General Observations and Selected Cases
217. According to information received by the Commission, there has been a clear increase in extrajudicial killings during the period covered by this report. To illustrate the trend, one report gives the following numbers of deaths investigated as suspected violations of the right to life:
Month Deaths Investigated
May 1993 9
218. The majority of the killings recorded have occurred in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. There is usually no criminal investigation after a death is recorded by military local authorities. Rather, the body is immediately taken away after the death is recorded, usually without a coroner's investigation as to the cause of death.
219. The increase in violations of the right to life seems to correspond with the increase in political tensions following the signing of the Governors Island Agreement and New York Pact in July as the international community increased pressure on Haiti through the imposition of embargoes. The following cases are illustrative of the types of right to life violations reported to the Commission.
Marcel Pontus and Jeannot Louis Jean, Port-au-Prince
220. These leaders of the Baptist Church were picked up by armed men in civilian clothing on March 18 1993. On March 24, their bodies were found in a Port-au-Prince morgue with knife and bullet wounds.
Gervais Vernet, Port-au-Prince
221. On July 3, military personnel from the Anti-Gang Service shot and killed Vernet (26 yrs.), a third-year engineering student, while he was driving a taxi. On the same day, Armed men also killed another student near the Church of St. Louis King of France.
Marc Dessource, Port-au-Prince
222. The Commission has received conflicting reports on the killing of Marc Dessource. According to one report, he and a local merchant named Lamercie were killed by "zenglendos" in the Mapou district of Bois Patate. According to another report, Dessource was killed by uniformed military men who burst into his house during the night in the neighborhood of Canapé Vert, shouting "You are always talking about the return of Aristide, but will not be there to see it," before pulling him from his bed and shooting him dead. Both reports date the killing on July 14.
It is of note that the areas of Upper Turgeau, Canape Vert and Bois Patate in Port-au-Prince have been the site of sustained gunfire by groups of armed civilians, yet have never received any police surveillance.
Antoine Joseph and Adnor Larose, Port-au-Prince
223. On August 3, Antoine Joseph (46 yrs.),a street vendor, was killed by armed men who broke into his house in Carrefour Vincent. Before killing him, the aggressors forced him to scale the wall between his house and that of his neighbor, Adnor Larose (47 yrs.) whom the armed men had killed minutes earlier.
Andrel Fortune, Las Cahobas
224. On August 16 in Las Cahobas (Plateau Central), Andrel Fortune (29 yrs.), member of the Alliance of Popular Organizations of Las Cahobas (AOPLC), was shot and killed by an army corporal who, with a group of six uniformed members of the Armed Forces, visited Fortune's house that day. The corporal shot Fortune in the back as he attempted to escape his assailants. Shortly before the killing, Fortune had been involved in a dispute with a sergeant. The army claimed they had gone to his house to arrest him and that they shot him because Fortune had tried to seize the corporal's gun.
In June, Fortune had successfully evaded two police arrest attempts at rallies, organized in Las Cahobas, supporting the return of President Aristide. Prior to the killing, he had been living in hiding because his family's home was under police surveillance.
Antoine Izméry and Jean-Claude Mathurin, Port-au-Prince
225. Izméry, a wealthy businessman who had been a major contributor to Aristide's 1990 electoral campaign, was assassinated by armed men on September 11. Prior to his death, he was an active and prominent voice for restoring the Aristide government. In the month prior to his murder, he had founded the "Komite mete men pou verite blayi" (KOMEVEB), the Joint Committee for the Emergence of the Truth; and through KOMEVEB, had organized several public demonstrations in support of Aristide.
Izméry was killed in broad daylight while attending a mass to commemorate the 1988 Church of St. Jean Bosco massacre (over which President Aristide had previously presided as parish priest). The service was commemorated at the Sacred Heart Church. Armed men in civilian clothing carried Izméry out of the church, forced him to kneel in a clearing in front of the church, and shot him at close range in the head. Minutes later, the same armed men killed Jean-Claude Mathurin. Both killings took place within the purview of police who were patrolling the area around the church, but the assailants left the scene of the murders without being stopped. Eyewitnesses identified some of the killers as known "attaches", and one of them may have been an officer from a local police station. There was no police investigation of the killing, and Izméry's dead body remained untouched in front of the church for five hours after the shooting.
Izméry's murder is a clear case of retaliation against a political activist. The public manner in which it was carried out had the direct and immediate effect of intimidating other Aristide supporters, as was evidenced by the fact that in the two weeks after the assassination, no public demonstrations were attempted.
Guy François Malary, Minister of Justice, Port-au-Prince
226. Guy Malary, Minister of Justice, two of his guards and his chauffeur were killed on October 13 by a group of armed men who ambushed Malary's car on a street near his private office. Malary was killed on the same street where Antoine Izméry was murdered more than one month before. Malary, who had assumed his post on September 2, was a longtime supporter of President Aristide and former president of the Inter-American Association of Businessmen. Prior to his death, Malary had initiated changes in the judiciary and had been an outspoken proponent of separating the police and military.
b) Right to Personal Liberty and Right to Humane Treatment
(i) Legal Provisions
227. The right to personal liberty is guaranteed in article 7 of the American Convention, as follows:
1. Every person has the right to personal liberty and security.
2. No one shall be deprived of his physical liberty except for the reason and under the conditions established beforehand by the constitution of the State Party concerned or by a law established pursuant thereto.
3. No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment.
4. Anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons for his detention and shall be promptly notified of the charge or charges against him.
5. Any person detained shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to be released without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings. His release may be subject to guarantees to assure his appearance for trial.
6. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty shall be entitled to recourse to a competent court, in order that the court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his arrest or detention and order his release if the arrest or detention is unlawful. In States Parties whose laws provide that anyone who believes himself to be threatened with deprivation of his liberty is entitled to recourse to a competent court in order that it may decide on the lawfulness of such threat, this remedy may not be restricted or abolished. The interested party or another person in his behalf is entitled to seek these remedies.
7. No one shall be detained for debt. This principle shall not limit the orders of a competent judicial authority issued for nonfulfillment of duties of support.
228. The right to humane treatment is guaranteed in article 5 of the American Convention, as follows:
1. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental and moral integrity respected.
2. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
3. Punishment shall not extended to any person other than the criminal.
4. Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be segregated from convicted persons, and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to their status as unconvicted persons.
5. Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be separated from adults and brought before specialized tribunals, as speedily as possible, so that they may be treated in accordance with their status as minors.
6. Punishments consisting of deprivation of liberty shall have as an essential aim the reform and social readaptation of the prisoners.
(ii) General Observations
229. Reports received by the Commission indicate an observable pattern with regard to temporary disappearance. Victims who were disappeared state that they were blindfolded and taken away from homes or places of work by groups of three or four armed men. Victims were then driven in unmarked cars to secret places of detention where they were interrogated about their political activities and their knowledge of other activists by captors who were usually well-informed about the victims' activities and contacts. In several cases from June through August, 1993, the victims were questioned about their links to Antoine Izméry. All of the victims were subjected to beatings and were held for several days before being taken to public spots and released.
230. Instances of arbitrary detention/arrest, beatings and ill-teatment, illegal search and seizure, rape, and torture have increased during the time period covered by this report. These violations have occurred throughout the country, often accompanying violations of the right to life, right of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of expression. The following is a small, representative sampling of cases reported to the Commission.
(iii) Selected Cases from Port-au-Prince
231. On July 10, after attending a demonstration in support of Aristide at the Church of St. Jean in Port-au-Prince, Pierrot Mathurin (24 yrs.) was arrested and detained at the Port-au-Prince police station known as the "Cafeteria." During his detention, Mathurin was tortured; subjected to a form of torture called "kalòt marasa,"/ and was beaten with an iron bar. He was released the next day. He sustained numerous physical injuries including rupture of the eardrums with internal bleeding, loss of hearing, fractured bones, bruises and inflammation on the arms and face, and open wounds on the back and legs.
Dominique Jean and Jane Marie Exil
232. On July 14, Dominique Jean and Jane Marie Exil, two active members of the Popular Movement of St. Martin (MPSM), were arrested by military patrol in the St. Martin quarter of Port-au-Prince. The victims had been posting photos and writing graffiti in support of President Aristide. After their arrest, they were taken to the Anti-Gang Service where they were severely tortured and beaten. The victims were released on July 16 in a state of precarious health.
233. On July 25, Olen Dostène (29 yrs.), an agricultural worker, was picked up near the airport in Port-au-Prince by armed men in an unmarked white pick-up truck. The men beat him with their batons, accusing him of constantly distributing photos of Aristide in Port-au-Prince. Dostène, who sustained a fractured left arm because of the beating, was driven to a place near Sartre and left there.
234. On August 20 in Carrefour Péan (Port-au-Prince), Valéry Pfiffer, member of the National Federation of Haitian Students, was abducted by four armed men who blindfo into hiding.
235. On August 21, Ernst Charles, a member of the Peasant Movement "Tet á Bef - T' Legliz" and the "Centrale Générale des Travaillerus" (CGT) (a workers union) was kidnapped by seven men in a pick-up truck and taken, blindfolded, to a private house which appeared to be one of the "zenglendo" headquarters. Charles was severely beaten on the buttocks and abdomen, and interrogated under very bright lights as he was shown photographs of himself taking part in a political demonstration and of various political orgaizations leaders, base community members and journalists.
After two days of such treatment, the abudctors blindfolded him, drove him around in a police car for several hours, and dumped him on a downtown street. Charles' body exhibited signs of torture, including a bloody shaved head and wounds on the back, buttocks and neck.
236. On August 31 around 8 p.m., Wilner Metellus and Etuienne Romelus, two policemen from the Cafeteria police station abducted 21 year old Jocelyne Nicolas in her home, accusing her of having distributed posters of Aristide. Her parents went to the "Cafeteria" the next day to seek her release, but police authorities denied knowledge of her whereabouts. That evening, Nicolas was released, having been beaten in the head and raped by her abductors. She has since gone into hiding.
Senator Wesner Emmanuel
237. On October 5, Senator Emmanuel was harrassed and arrested by armed civilians, with the help of police. Emmanuel's office was surrounded by militants associated with the neo-Duvalierist Front for Advancement and Progress in Haiti (FRAPH), and when police showed up on the scene, they participated with FRAPH in the arrest.
Jean-Claude Bajeux and the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights
238. On October 5, four heavily armed men raided the office of the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights. In addition to terrorizing Bajeux, director of the Center, the men threatened and beat employees. In their retreat, the assailants fired several shots, wounding a nearby person.
(iv) Selected Cases from the Rural Countryside
Valérien Thiophène, Gonaïves
239. On June 29, the military arrested Thiophène (70 yrs.) in his house, beat him, and took him to the local military barracks. According to reports, this man had also been arrested and beaten on June 26 and was being harassed because the military was searching for his son who leads a popular organization in the Lòt Bò Kanal quarter.
Amio Métayer and Paul O'Donnell, Gonaïves
240 On the night of June 26, military in Gonaïves invaded two neighborhoods and performed a series of indiscriminate searches to uncover members of local popular organizations. At least nine persons were severely beaten in the course of these searches. The houses of Amio Métayer and Paul O'Donnell, two leaders of organizations, were pillaged that same night.
Eddy Deravines, Hinche
241 On July 13, a group of five youth were detained and tortured by military men. One of them, Eddy Deravines (24 yrs.), was arrested. They were tortured with a "djak."/ Deravines, who was beaten in the head, escaped the prison where he was being held. As of July 22, his companions were still in prison.
Residents of Lizon
242. Military stationed at Croix des Bouquets descended on Lizon (Bon Repos) on July 18 and harassed the inhabitants of the town, ordering them to lie flat with their stomachs on the ground. The military abused them by kicking them and hitting them with batons and rifle butts. They then arrested a student, Erold Jean (20 yrs.), and several others. The soldiers took the detained persons to the local military post despite the intervention of the captain of the Bon Repos police station.
Monique Brégard, Jérémie
243. Monique Brégard (23 yrs.), who was six months pregnant, involuntarily aborted her fetus following torture inflicted upon her by military in Jérémie on July 19. She was beaten both when initially detained and later when taken to the barracks, this despite her cries that she was pregnant. Another pregnant woman was also beaten by a military man in Jérémie that same day.
Gérald Rubin Lamour, Pont-Sondé
244. On August 4, Gérald Rubin Lamour was in a protestant church in Pont-Sondé (Artibonite) participating in prayer when a military commando and armed men interrupted the service and arrested him. The victim was severely beaten, particularly on the wrists, head, and face with "kalòt marasa." He was also forced to walk the entire zone on foot before being released.
René Sylveus Benjamin, Pont-Sondé
245. On August 14, René Sylvéus Benjamin was arrested at Pont-Sondé (Artibonite) by an army corporel named Lucien. He was transferred several minutes later to the St. Marc military barracks, where he was harassed for having installed a camera in front of his home to monitor the comings and goings of the military, and accused of distributing political tracts. Benjamin was tortured with "kalòt marasa" blows and released the next day.
(v) People Arrested and/or Beaten for Expressing Support of President Aristide
Manistin Capricien, Môle St. Nicolas
246. On March 29 in Môle St. Nicolas (Northwest Department), military and their attachés arrested and physically harassed several persons accused of distributing tracts and of possessing photos of President Aristide. One of the detainees, professor Manistin Capricien, was hospitalized after the incident.
Aristide supporters, Jérémie
247. On July 15, two Aristide supporters were arrested at Jérémie (Grande-Anse) by "attachés" in the presence of military men. They were forced to remove photos which they had posted.
Faniel Glosy, Mirebalais
248. Faniel Glosy was arrested on July 18, on the pretext of having posted photos of Aristide, even though there was no indication that he had done so. He was taken to military barracks at Mirebalais (Plateau Central) where he was severely beaten.
Esnold Maillot, Jude Donvil, and Huguens Bellevue, Domond-Péligra
249. On July 22 and 23, a military adjoint named Paul Nestor arrested Esnold Maillot (35 yrs.), Jude Donvil, and Huguens Bellevue in Domond-Péligra (Plateau Central). Nestor accused Maillot of being a "lavalassien" and tortured him.
Vesner Joseph, Rodrique Jean, and Mrs. Paul Casséus, Jean-Denis
250. On July 24, after a meeting organized by members of the group K-Huit in Jean Denis (Verrettes), the local chief of police arrested Vesner Joseph, Rodrique Jean, and Mrs. Paul Casséus, whom he accused of being "lavalassiens." The victims each paid 100 gourdes to obtain their release.
Inokal Deka, Sarazen
251. On July 29, Inokal Deka, agricultural worker and member of the Movement "Peyizan Chalmay Peralt" (MOPCHAP), was arrested by the military in Sarazen (Plateau Central). He was accused of being a "lavalassien."
c) Freedom of Thought and Expression
(i) Legal Provisions
252. Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights provides the following:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and expression. This right includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, in print, in the form of art, or through any other medium of one's choice.
2. The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing paragraph shall not be subject to prior censorship but shall be subject to subsequent imposition of liability, which shall be expressly established by law to the extent necessary to ensure:
a. respect for the rights or reputations of others; or
b. the protection of national security, public order, or public health or morals.
3. The right of expression may not be restricted by indirect methods or means, such as the abuse of government or private controls over newsprint, radio broadcasting frequencies, or equipment used in the dissemination of information, or by any other means tending to impede the communication and circulation of ideas and opinions.
4. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 2 above, public entertainments may be subject by law to prior censorship for the sole purpose or regulating access to them for the moral protection of childhood and adolescence.
5. Any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitute incitements to lawless violence or to any other similar actions against any person or group or persons on any grounds including those of race, color, religion, language, or national origin shall be considered as offenses punishable by law.
(ii) General Observations
253. The Commission was made aware of numerous instances in which Haitian military authorities have tried to intimidate journalists who are covering human rights violations and the general political climate in Haiti. The tactics for monitoring the press range from rebukes to arrest, creating a climate in which the press know they are being closely observed by those in power. The following cases represent a small sampling of cases reported to the Commission.
(iii) Selected Cases
Cajuste Lexius, Fabonor St. Vil, Sauveur Orelus, Port-au-Prince
254. On April 23rd in Port-au-Prince, Cajuste Lexius, Fabonor St. Vil, and Sauveur Orelus, three union leaders who belong to the "Centrale Générale des Travailleurs" (CGT), were arrested and brutally beaten by members of the 30th Police Company after having called for a strike over Radio Caraïbe. Police arrested the men on the false pretext that they had been illegally using firearms. Civilian Mission observers who learned of the arrest almost immediately attempted to intercede, but police denied them access to the men for three days. When they were finally able to see the victims, one of the observers commented on the severity of injuries to Cajuste Lexius who was hospitalized at the Mission's insistence. All three men were eventually released.
Journalist from Tropic FM, Photographer from Haïti Progrès, Claudy Vilmé
255. In July, a journalist from Tropic FM and a photographer from the daily "Haïti Progrès", which covered the appearance of the body of Vesnel François, were threatened by policemen and armed men. The police also confiscated the photographer's material. Also in July, reporter-photographer Claudy Vilmé was arrested in Port-au-Prince after he took photos of military men at a gas station. He was beaten by masked armed men who confiscated his material, and then taken to Fort Dimanche, a former prison. Vilmé's cousin, Jackie Délice, was abducted by armed men on July 10. Her body, riddled with bullets, appeared three days later on a highway in Port-au-Prince. Finally, on the morning of July 24, six vendors for the newspaper, "Libète", were arrested. Their money was stolen, and their newspapers burned. Five of them were taken to the Anti-Gang Research and Investigative Service office where they were harassed and released a few hours later.
256. In September, Luc François, a journalist with Radio Television Express, went into hiding when he learned that he had been accused of submitting to the New York-based Haitian newspaper, "Haïti Progrès", news stories critical of local police.
257. In October, soldiers ordered Lucner Desir, a radio technician with Radio Phalanstere International in Gonaïves, and an unidentified radio technician of Radio Provinciale, to go to the local military post for questioning. Neither of them obeyed the order, however; and the next day both were arrested in compliance with orders from the regional military commander, who accused them of "broadcasting songs by politically committed singers." The arrests are significant because neither radio station has broadcasted any national news since the September 1991 coup; the arrests for the airing of songs indicate the broad extent to which political expression has been silenced in Haiti.
Television Film Crew from Florida-based Channel 7
258. On October 12, a film crew from this Miami-based television station received death threats and was forcibly thrown out of Port-au-Prince by military forces.
d) Right of Assembly and Freedom of Association
(i) Legal Provisions
259. Article 15 of the American Convention on Human Rights guarantees a right of peaceful assembly. It states:
The right of peaceful assembly, without arms, is recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security, public safety or public order, or to protect public health or morals or the rights or freedoms of others.
(ii) General Observations
260. The Armed Forces' response to public displays of support for Aristide and to other public demonstrations has typically been one of repression, allowing only for a slight reprieve which was observed during the period immediately following the signing of the Governors Island Agreement.
261. The negotiations between those who exercise power in Haiti and the constitutional Haitian government which took place in early July, 1993, prompted a series of public demonstrations throughout Haiti. For the most part, the military forcibly dispersed these attempted demonstrations, arresting and beating many of the participants. Following the signing of the Governors Island Agreement on July 3, 1993, the military exhibited greater restraint to small demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and Gonaïves, which it dispersed without the usual arrests and beatings. In mid-July, however, the military returned to its repressive posture.
(iii) Selected Cases from Port-au-Prince
262. On Sunday, June 27 at the end of a religious service at the Church Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Bel-Air, several persons threw political tracts into the air and shouted slogans in support of President Aristide. In response, military and armed men who were present inside the church, immediately arrested and beat Nickson Desrosier (30 yrs.) and Enef Pierre (42 yrs.), coordinator and treasurer of the St. Clair Platform. Five others were also arrested and beaten. Some of the violence was televised. The seven detainees were transferred to the Anti-Gang Research and Investigative Service where they were severely mistreated during interrogation. Three were released later that day, while four remained in detention.
263. After a June 28 Cité Soleil demonstration in support of Aristide was broken up by policemen, Vesnel François (24 yrs.), member of the Platform of Popular Organizations of Cité Soleil was arrested. At the moment of his arrest, François tried to defend himself, with the result that a policeman hit him several times with the end of his gun. He was then transferred to the military front post where he was severely beaten by policemen. Members of the Civilian Mission who tried in vain to intercede, heard his cries that he was being beaten. The next day when Mission observers succeeded in gaining access to his place of detention, they learned that he had been transferred to a military hospital for medical treatment. François was finally formally charged on July 1 for having impeded a policeman in the exercise of his duties and released on his own recognizance. He suffered fractures in his upper arms and wrists.
264. In July, the military dispersed public demonstrations in support of Aristide at the Church of St. Jean Bosco (July 10) and at Cité Soleil (July 14).
265. On August 18 in Pétionville, a rally organized by the "Komite Mete Men pou Verite Blayi" (KOMEVEB) was dispersed by policemen. At least three persons, among them Father Yvon Massac of the Fermath parish, were arrested. At a court hearing that same day, the arrestees were charged with "disturbing the peace" and were taken to the national penitentiary. Having heard of the detention, members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights who were in Port-au-Prince consulted authorities to ask for their release. Massac and the two others were released two days later.
(iv) Selected Cases from the Rural Countryside
266. In Gonaïves (Artibonite), two peaceful demonstrations which took place in March and April against those who exercise power in Haiti and in favor of Aristide were followed by violence when the military forcibly intervened.
267. On April 29 in Hinche (Plateau Central) on the 20th anniversary of the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP), military men went to the homes of MPP members to arrest those who had been posting pictures of Aristide in public places. The arrestees were accused of having disturbed the peace. One of them, Hilton Etienne, suffered a fractured left wrist and multiple contusions as a result of physical abuse inflicted by the military during his detention.
268. On June 22 and 23 in Gonaïves (Artibonite), the military dispersed demonstrations in support of Aristide. On June 25, they also prevented an assembly in the Lòt Bò Kanal quarter and severely beat up one person whom they found in the location where the demonstration was to have occurred.
269. On June 29 in Zabricot (Plateau Central), 13 persons, most of whom were members of the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP), were arrested after a demonstration calling for the return of the section chief who was in charge of the community during the brief government of President Aristide. The victims were held in barracks in Hinche where they were beaten with rifle butts and clubs, and subjected to cruel physical tortures such as the "kalòt marasa." They appeared before a Judge on July 2, where they were charged with participating in a non-authorized demonstration and disturbing the peace, and sent back to prison for three more days while the court awaited more information on their cases.
270. On July 1, the military violently repressed a demonstration organized by the group "Tet Kole Nan Sid" in the La Savane quarter of Cayes. Several demonstrators were beaten, and three were arrested and placed in detention at the local barracks. One of the detainees was later observed with open wounds on the cheek and back. Several hours after the demonstration had been dispersed, military "attachés" were seen indiscriminately beating up residents of La Savane. Other demonstrations in the area had been similarly dispersed by the military on June 25 and 28 with clubs, the threat of arms, and in one case, the use of tear gas.
271. Also in July, threats by armed men forced the termination of a mass in St. Hélène (Grande-Anse) on the occasion of President Aristide's birthday (July 15). Days later, on July 18, some military "attachés" arrested demonstrators at a pro-Aristide demonstration in St. Hélène (Jérémie), while at the end of the month, local town authorities blocked peaceful pro-Aristide demonstrations in Gonaïves.
E) Reports approved by the IACHR at its 85th session
272. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, at its 85th session held January 31 to February 11, 1994, approved three reports on human rights violations committed by agents of those who exercise power in Haiti. In Resolutions 9/94 and 10/94, the Commission decided to group together several cases involving the same type of violation committed in the time period considered by the Commission.
273. Collective Report No. 9/94 against those exercising power in Haiti, refers to violations of the right to personal liberty and physical integrity, which occurred in 1992. This report concerns the cases of Messrs. Hubert Pascal, Vonel St. Germain, Yolette Etienne, Inelda Cesar, Kedner Bazelais, Destinas Vilsaint, Frénel Regis, Carlos Bassette, Mathurin Vincent, Travil Lamour, Eliphete Abeltus, Thomas André, Antoine Augustin, Maurice Damuey and Jean Emile Estimable.
274. Collective Report No. 10/94 against those exercising power in Haiti concerns violations of the right to life that occurred in 1992. This report refers to the cases of Messrs. Brunel Jacquelin, Moises Jean Charles, Marcel Fleurzil, Frantz Delva, Jacques Derenoncourt, Wesner Luc, Justin Bresil and Jean-Sony Philogène.
275. Report No. 11/94 concerns the murder of Mr. Georges Izméry in August 1992 (case 11.128).