Human Rights Groups Call for Immediate Arrest of Jean-Claude Duvalier

ttp://ijdh.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS:
Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (Port-au-Prince, Haiti), mario@ijdh.org, 509‑3701-9879
Brian Con­can­non Jr., Esq., Insti­tute for Jus­tice & Democ­racy in Haiti (Boston, MA), brian@ijdh.org, 541–263-0029
Ira Kurzban, Esq. IJDH Board Chair and attor­ney in Jean-Juste v. Duva­lier, (Miami, FL) ira@kkwtlaw.com, 305–444-0060

Human Rights Groups Call for Imme­di­ate Arrest of Jean-Claude Duvalier

Jan­u­ary 17, 2011-Port-au-Prince and Boston– Today, the ­Insti­tute for Jus­tice & Democ­racy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (BAI) call on the Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of Haiti to com­ply with Hait­ian law and arrest ex-President Jean-Claude Duva­lier, who returned to Haiti on a com­mer­cial flight yesterday.

IJDH and the BAI note that the exten­sive legal doc­u­men­ta­tion of Mr. Duvalier’s crimes includes:

* A July 3, 2009 order from the First Court of Pub­lic Law, of the Fed­eral Court of Switzer­land, which notes that the Hait­ian gov­ern­ment had informed it of cur­rent crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings against Mr. Duva­lier as late as June 2008;
* The Deci­sion of the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the South­ern Dis­trict of Florida, Jean-Juste v. Duva­lier, No. 86–0459, dated Jan­u­ary 8, 1988, find­ing Mr. Duva­lier liable for over $500,000,000 for his mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of pub­lic monies for his per­sonal use; and
* An exten­sive account­ing of Mr. Duvalier’s mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of pub­lic funds con­ducted for the Hait­ian gov­ern­ment by a U.S. account­ing firm between 1986 and 1990, estab­lish­ing the theft of over $300,000,000 U.S.D. of pub­lic funds.

This legal doc­u­men­ta­tion is sup­ple­mented by an exten­sive pub­lic record of Mr. Duvalier’s human rights vio­la­tions, includ­ing the tor­ture and dis­ap­pear­ances of polit­i­cal dis­si­dents at the Fort Dimanche prison and other crimes com­mit­ted by orga­ni­za­tions under his con­trol, includ­ing the Armed Forces of Haiti and the Vol­un­teers for National Secu­rity (Ton­tons Macoutes).

Mr. Duva­lier is not pro­tected against pros­e­cu­tion by any statutes of lim­i­ta­tions. Accord­ing to Arti­cle 466 of the Hait­ian Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure, the pro­ceed­ings for mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds are not pro­scribed because of the con­tin­u­ing pros­e­cu­tion of the case from 1986 to 2008. The polit­i­cal killings and tor­ture are not pro­scribed because they are crimes against human­ity, which are impre­scriptible under inter­na­tional law.

The BAI and IJDH believe that if there are not any arrest war­rants out­stand­ing against Mr. Duva­lier, that the infor­ma­tion avail­able in exist­ing legal pro­ceed­ings and Mr. Duvalier’s 25-year flight from Hait­ian jus­tice clearly jus­tify the imme­di­ate issuance and exe­cu­tion of an arrest war­rant. The BAI and IJDH offer their assis­tance, includ­ing their exten­sive doc­u­men­ta­tion of Mr. Duvalier’s crimes, to Hait­ian author­i­ties con­duct­ing a seri­ous investigation.

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