United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

1 November 1995


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 112 (b)


Situation of human rights in Haiti

Note by the Secretary-General

  The Secretary-General has  the honour to  transmit to  the members of  the
General Assembly the  report and recommendations of the independent  expert,
Mr. Adama  Dieng, on  the situation  of human  rights in Haiti,  prepared in
accordance  with Commission on  Human Rights  resolution 1995/70  of 8 March
1995 and Economic and Social Council decision 1995/281 of 25 July 1995.

95-33260 (E)   101195  131195/...

Report on the situation of human rights in Haiti submitted
by Mr. Adama Dieng, independent expert, in accordance with
Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/70


  Paragraphs  Page

I.  INTRODUCTION...........................................1 - 63


  A.  Introduction.......................................7 - 83

  B.  The toll of three years of military dictatorship...94

  C.  The right to life..................................10 - 154

  D.  Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.............165

  E.  Freedom of expression, association and assembly....17 - 236

  F.  Arbitrary or illegal arrest and detention..........24 - 267

  G.  Access to justice and procedural guarantees........27 - 417

  H.  The National Commission of Truth and Justice.......42 - 4911

  I.  Women  ..............................................50 - 5213

  J.  Children  ...........................................53 - 5713

  K.  Elections..........................................58 - 5914

III.  CONCLUSIONS  ............................................60 - 7115

IV.  RECOMMENDATIONS........................................7216

1.   This report presents  to the General  Assembly at  its fiftieth session
the  preliminary overview and  recommendations of  the independent expert on
the situation of  human rights in Haiti subsequent  to his first mission  to
Haiti from 23 September to  6 October 1995  and the discussions he was  able
to hold in neighbouring  countries.  It does  not deal with economic, social
and cultural rights, which will be considered in the report the expert  will
submit to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-second session.

2.   The expert wishes to  thank all those  in Montreal, Port-au-Prince  and
New  York who assisted him in accomplishing his mission.   He is grateful to
the Special Representative of  the Secretary-General for  Haiti, Mr. Lakhdar
Brahimi,  the Resident  Representative  of the  United  Nations  Development
Programme (UNDP)  in Haiti and  his entire staff,  as well  as the Executive
Director  of  the International  Civilian Mission  in  Haiti (MICIVIH),  the
Chief of the civilian  police forces of the United Nations Mission in  Haiti
(UNMIH)  and the  interim  director  of  the  Division  of Human  Rights  of
MICIVIH.   He also wishes  to acknowledge the  close cooperation  he enjoyed
with the  Haitian authorities and organizations,  officials of Human  Rights
Watch  and   the  National  Coalition   for  Haitian  Refugees  (NCHR),  and
representatives  of  specialized  agencies  in  Port-auPrince,  as  well  as
members of the National Commission of Truth and Justice.

3.  At its  fifty-first session, by its resolution 1995/70 the Commission on
Human Rights,  after considering the report  of the  Special Rapporteur, Mr.
Marco Tulio Bruni Celli (E/CN.4/1995/59) requested the Secretary-General  to

appoint an independent expert.

4.  In accordance with the resolution, the  expert is to have responsibility
for providing  assistance to  the Haitian Government  in the  area of  human
rights, to examine the  development of the situation in Haiti in that  area,
and to monitor the fulfilment by Haiti of its obligations in that field.

5.   The Commission requested  the expert to submit a  report to the General
Assembly at its fiftieth  session and to the  Commission on Human  Rights at
its fifty-second session.

6.   The Economic  and Social  Council having  endorsed the  request by  the
Commission  (decision 1995/281),  the Secretary-General,  on 31  July  1995,
appointed  Mr. Adama Dieng as the independent expert  to study the situation
of human rights in Haiti.


A.  Introduction

7.   The return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in October 1994 resulted
not only in a  considerable improvement in the situation of human rights  in
Haiti, but also marked the beginning  of a major programme  of institutional
reform.   The  violations  committed for  three  years  under  the de  facto
military  regime plunged  the country  into  horror,  and their  effects can
still  be felt  today.   The efforts President  Aristide and  his Government
have made over the past year to remedy the abuses committed  by the military
junta are to be commended.   Nevertheless, some defects  persist and certain
weaknesses, particularly those of the judicial  system and the police,  tend
to tarnish the achievements in the area of protection of human rights.

8.   Violations of human rights  have diminished greatly since the overthrow
of the  military regime and have given  way to other forms of violence, such
as common crime, which  has increased sharply.   In  order to show its  good
faith and its desire to conform  to international human rights  instruments,
after an interruption during  the period of the coup d'etat and the de facto
government, the Haitian Government prepared a  brief report on human  rights
in Haiti and submitted  it to the United  Nations Human Rights  Committee on
27 February 1995. 1/   The Committee welcomed its cooperation with the State
Party and invited it to present its  initial report under the  International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,  due 5 May 1992, by  1 April 1996 at
the latest.

B.  The toll of three years of military dictatorship

9.   During the  period of the  military dictatorship,  thousands of  people
lost their  lives; the army is  responsible, either  directly or indirectly,
for these  deaths.  For three  years, summary  and extrajudicial executions,
enforced  disappearances,  arbitrary  arrest,  rape,  torture,  and   cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted by  agents of the State,  threats,
extortion, and destruction or confiscation of property were a  part of daily
life for the people.  This reign of terror caused about  100,000 Haitians to
flee  and  find  refuge  abroad,  particularly   at  the  American  base  at
Guantanamo, Cuba,  and in  the Dominican  Republic.   About 300,000  persons
fled Port-au-Prince in order  to save their lives  and went to  the interior
of the country.   On his return, President Aristide found a country wounded,
mistrustful  and  scarred  by the  violations  committed.    Therefore,  the
process of rebuilding democracy will take time.

  C.  The right to life

10.   Human rights violations have  greatly decreased.   Today, the wave  of
refugees fleeing the country has slowed  considerably:  between October 1994

and October  1995, only  1,000 Haitians  sought refuge  abroad.   Violations
continued to occur in the months following the fall of the military  regime.
In  September and October  1994, soldiers  fired on  people demonstrating in
support of the return of President Aristide.

11.   Certain  members of  the Interim  Public  Security  Force, made  up of
former soldiers and Haitian refugees  recruited in the camps on the American
base in Guantanamo,  have been implicated in  incidents of abuse  where they
allegedly questioned  suspects and then  killed them.   On 28  June 1995, an
officer of  the security  force simply  killed a  man who  was running  away
after being  caught stealing used clothing.   Much  testimony confirms that,
too often,  certain officers of  the Force are  "trigger happy"  and fire at
people with no evidence  to support the claim of self-defence.  The measures
taken  thus far against some officers have been  disciplinary and are rarely
made public.  In most cases they result  in suspension; these officers  have
never  been brought  to trial.  Moreover,  the  new Haitian  National Police
Force was  implicated in similar incidents  where officers  fired at fleeing
suspects.   The Haitian Government is  investigating these  incidents and on
18  September 1995,  suspended two  of  the  National Police  Force officers
involved.  In  addition, the tensions  existing between the  two forces  are
not helpful in the current context.

12.  In September 1995, UNMIH reported a number of offences, in  particular,
hold-ups of  cars, robbery, various incidents of aggression, gunshot wounds,
and cases  of summary  justice committed  by the  people.   In general,  the
murder victims are  former members of the  Haitian army suspected of  having
committed crimes.

13.  Since  February 1995, 20 people have been killed by heavy weapons where
robbery  was not the  apparent motive.   MICIVIH describes  these murders as
"commando-style executions".  It  was alleged that  supporters of  President
Aristide were implicated  in those murders.   However, no evidence has  been
produced in support of these allegations, which were  based on the fact that
some of the victims had opposed the President.

14.   Furthermore, cases of summary  justice have  increased considerably in
recent times because  the people lack confidence  in the judicial system  in
Haiti.   Thus, last March,  45 people  were stoned  and beaten  to death  by
crowds because  they  were  suspected of  committing crimes.    In July,  18
people  were  killed  under  the  same  principle  of  personal  "vigilante"
justice.  These  spontaneous actions express the  reaction of the  people to
inept  judicial procedures,  and the  Government  has  condemned them.   The
judicial  system was  considerably  weakened,  from the  standpoint of  both
human  and  material   resources,  during  the   three  years   of  military
dictatorship, and  at present, Haitians prefer  to settle scores  themselves
rather  than  having recourse  to their  country's judicial  authorities. In
August, only eight cases of summary justice were  reported; this decrease is
partly  due to  the support  provided  by  the international  community, the
patrols  conducted by  UNMIH and  the  Interim  Public Security  Force, more
numerous police actions against persons suspected of committing crimes,  and
the deployment of the new Haitian National Police.

15.  The  brigades de vigilance,  which were established  to supplement  the
police  in controlling  and curbing  crime  in certain  neighbourhoods,  are
themselves alleged to have  been involved in cases  of summary justice.  Yet
their role  is definitely  not to  replace the  judicial authorities.   Some
thought  should  be given  to  providing  training  and  education for  such

D.  Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

16.    Nowadays, cruel,  inhuman  and  degrading  treatment  has become  the
exception,  while during  the military  dictatorship  it  was rampant.   The
"dismantling" of the  Haitian armed forces, which were primarily responsible
for  the large-scale  human rights  violations,  has  led to  a considerable

decrease in human rights  violations and violence  in Haiti.  Some cases  of
mistreatment of  prisoners or  excessive use  of  force by  the new  Haitian
National  Police  Force or  the  Interim  Public  Security  Force have  been

E.  Freedom of expression, association and assembly

17.    The right  to  freedom of  expression,  association  and  assembly is
exercised  without hindrance  by all  sectors of Haitian  society, including
the political opponents of President Aristide and his Government.

18.   The  Haitian Constitution  provides that  "journalists  shall exercise
their profession  freely within the framework  of the law".   The next  step
will be the promulgation  of an act on  freedom of the  press, which  should
provide a  legal  framework for  regulating  the  profession and  making  it
accountable.  After  being gagged for three years, journalists and the media
are  once again  enjoying full  press freedom  and no  longer practise self-
censorship.    Political  parties  are  free  to  voice  their  opinions and
opposition parties  can criticize  the current  Government's policy  without
risk.   Even the  supporters of  the former  dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier,
can express themselves freely.

19.   The right  to freedom  of expression  enjoyed by  individuals and  the
media  is sometimes curbed  in certain  situations.   For example,  in April
1995, legal proceedings were instituted against  a former judge for comments
he  made against  President Aristide  and the leader  of the  Papaye peasant

20.  Journalists are concerned about the attitude  of the State media, which
give priority  to the  Government's views  in reporting.   In July  1995 the
Minister  of  Information  and  Coordination  seized  1,500  copies  of  the
government newspaper,  L'Union, in  which the editor-in-chief had  written a
front-page editorial criticizing the Government for  its lack of support  to
the newspaper.

21.  MICIVIH also  expressed concern at  the closure of Radio Television  de
la  Metropole du Sud  on 10 June  1995, during  the election  campaign.  The
owner  of the  station appeared before a  justice of the peace  to answer to
charges of  "slander, defamation, violation of  the press  laws and contempt
of  court".  Furthermore,   finding  that  there  had  been   administrative
irregularities in the registration of the station, the justice  of the peace
ordered its  closure. Since  then, the  station has  resumed its  operations
after meeting the administrative requirements.

22.  Political organizations and groups  have reorganized themselves.   Even
the former Haitian soldiers  have formed an association  in order better  to
defend their interests.

23.   Several peaceful  demonstrations were organized  in September  without
any serious incidents.  The  demonstrators wanted to commemorate the fall of
the  military regime, remember  the victims of  the military  coup d'etat of
1990 and of the subsequent military  dictatorship, and the assassinations of
30  September 1991, observe  ongoing trials  or put  forward various demands
such  as  the  payment  of  salaries and  requests  for  food  and  material
assistance.  Demonstrations  have also been  held against President Aristide
and the Government on the issue of the privatization of public enterprises.

F.  Arbitrary or illegal arrest and detention

24.    Although cases  of  arbitrary  arrest  and  detention have  decreased
considerably  as a result  of the efforts  made by  the judicial authorities
and the  police to abide  by the  procedural time-limits  prescribed by  the
law, some practices are still not in conformity with the principles of  law.
We have identified the  case of a  prisoner who is being held in  the Saint-

Marc prison without a warrant.

25.   Sometimes the  arrest warrants  issued are  questionable  as to  their
substance and form.   Arrests are not always ordered by the competent judge,
and arrest warrants do not always state the offences, the date and place  of
commission, or the legal bases  for the arrests.  Often, apart from cases of
in flagrante  delicto, people are arrested  and detained  following a public
denunciation  without  any further  evidence  and  without  any  preliminary
investigation being carried out.  Sometimes,  several people are detained on
the  basis  of  a collective  arrest  warrant,  which  in  legal  terms,  is

26.   Pre-trial detention  is being  used improperly  since the  legal time-
limits have  generally been exceeded.   As a result,  the majority of  those
currently in detention have not yet been tried  or sentenced by the  courts.
Some  do not  even know why  they are  being held.   As of the  beginning of
September,  1,504 out  of  a total  of 1,703  detainees were  still awaiting
trial, while sentences had been handed down in  only 199 cases.  Of  the 112
female  detainees, 107  were still  awaiting trial  and  only five  had been
sentenced.    The   detention  conditions  remain  extremely  poor  and  the
excessively  long detention  periods  recently prompted  some  detainees  to
instigate prison riots.

G.  Access to justice and procedural guarantees

27.   Despite the difficulties involved, efforts have been made to prosecute
and  bring to  trial those  responsible for  human rights violations  in the
past, including political killings.  Most  of the military and  paramilitary
leaders left  Haiti before or after  President Aristide  returned.  However,
the amnesty  granted by  the Haitian  Parliament in  October 1994  is not  a
general  amnesty  since it  covers  only  acts against  the  State  and  not
violations of the human rights of civilians.

28.   President  Aristide  has set  up a  number  of complaints  offices  to
provide  legal assistance to citizens wishing to file  legal complaints.  In
some cases, the  complaints have resulted in  warrants being issued for  the
arrest  of former members of  the Haitian armed forces.  Unfortunately, this
has yielded very  few results, either  because the suspects have  escaped or
because  the judges do  not want  to hear cases involving  former members of
the  Haitian  army  or  of  paramilitary  groups.    None  the  less, former
Lieutenant-Colonel Michel  Francois,  who was  Chief of  Police under  Raoul
Cedras, has been sentenced  in absentia, along with 16 other people, to life
in  prison with  hard  labour for  the murder  of  Antoine Izmery,  a  close
associate of  President Aristide,  on 11  September 1993.  And on 25  August
1995, Gerard Gustave, also known as  Zimbabwe, received a life  sentence for
his part in the murder.

29.  A number of judges,  especially those in the north  of the country, are
very reluctant to  try cases  of past human  rights violations because  they
are  afraid  of  the  repercussions:    they  fear   that  as  soon  as  the
multinational force leaves the country the  military will start carrying out
reprisals.  The threat of the  military coming back to settle  old scores is
paralysing  the justice  system. Some  witnesses are  likewise reluctant  to
testify in public for  fear that they  will subsequently be targeted by  the

30.   Preliminary investigations  in criminal  cases are  being hampered  by
lack  of  resources:    police  officers   are  not  trained  in  scientific
investigation methods  and the lack of  staff and  logistical resources make
it impossible  to carry  out a  satisfactory investigation  by visiting  the
scene of the  crime and gathering the necessary  evidence.  The capacity  of
the Haitian State  to conduct appropriate investigations in cases  involving
violent death,  must be enhanced  so as  to make  it easier  to protect  the
right  to  life, physical  integrity  and  security  of  person and  prevent
criminals from escaping punishment.

31.   The  judiciary  came  in for  criticism following  revelations  in the
Haitian press, confirmed by the Minister of Justice, about the release of  a
man  called Marcel  Morissaint,  a suspect  in  the  murder  of Minister  of
Justice Guy  Malary. There  was a  similar reaction  when a  justice of  the
peace cited "insufficient evidence" as grounds  for releasing 14 suspects in
a case involving a ship  boarded in Bahamian waters which  was found to have
about  450 Haitian boat people on  board.  When  it left Haiti, the ship had
been  carrying  some  600  passengers.  According   to  survivors  who  were
repatriated to Haiti, the missing 150 passengers had been  killed and thrown
overboard.  In fact,  the justice of the peace was later arrested, allegedly
for taking money to release the 14 suspects.  This tragic case  demonstrates
the  limitations of the judicial system and the urgent  need for new laws to
safeguard the independence of the judiciary.

32.   The release of four  people detained in the course  of the preliminary
investigation  of  the murder  of  pro-putschist  lawyer  Mireille  Durocher
Bertin  is  a  further  example  of  the  difficulties  the  judicial system
encounters  in  seeking  to  shed  light  on  complex  cases.   The  Haitian
authorities  recognize  this problem  and  have  recently asked  experts  in
France  and Canada  for  help in  handling inquiries,  identifying suspects,
initiating proceedings  and conducting a  calm preliminary investigation  of
cases of political murder.  This is  an important step forward in the effort
to prevent criminals from escaping punishment.


33.     The   independent  expert  was   impressed  by  the   scope  of  the
demonstrations by  the Haitian people demanding  justice.   But the question
arises whether  a judicial  system in such  an advanced stage  of decay  can
respond to  the needs of  a people that  has always regarded  the law as  an
instrument of oppression.

34.  To all intents  and purposes, the Haitian judicial  system has been  at
the service  of the  rich and has been  discredited by its own  venality and
inefficiency.   The coup  d'etat of  30 September  1991 delivered  its death
blow. If one  looks at the way justice  was administered, it is clear  that,
with  a few  exceptions,  judges acted  within  the limits  imposed  by  the
dictatorship and failed in  their duty to apply the law and defend  people's
rights, particularly  where political cases  were concerned.   The judiciary
had little or no  independence.  Thus, it  is hardly surprising that Haitian
groups have been calling for the dismissal  of many corrupt and  incompetent
justices  of  the peace  and  government commissioners.    Yet,  it  must be
acknowledged that  many problems  hamper  the administration  of justice  in
Haiti.   The independent  expert was  able to  identify them  by talking  to
members   of    the   judiciary,    government   bodies,    non-governmental
organizations,  MICIVIH and Haitian  civilians and by examining the relevant
laws  and regulations.   His  findings  confirm  the conclusions  reached by
William G. O'Neill, the  United States legal expert and consultant to  NCHR,
in his report entitled No  Greater Priority:  Judicial Reform in Haiti.   He
says that  the Haitian  judicial system is  deficient in all  respects:   it
lacks resources,  competent staff, independence,  initiative and  integrity.
The  services   it  offers  are  a   disgrace,  with   courts  being  barely
distinguishable  from  the small  shops  and  houses  in  Haitian towns  and
villages.   Judges  and government  commissioners ("procureurs")  are  badly
trained, are  often chosen on the  basis of their connections or willingness
to yield  to the  demands of their  patrons, and dispense  "justice" to  the
highest bidder or the person with the most  power. MICIVIH reached the  same
conclusions in  its study  of the  Haitian judicial  system which  contained
recommendations for improving the administration of  justice in Haiti.   The
Minister  of  Justice, Mr.  Jean Joseph  Exume, summed  up the  situation as
follows:   "The  Haitian judicial  system is  an anachronism.   The judicial
structure must be  patiently rebuilt.  The judicial  system has to work  and
decisions must be rendered within reasonable time-limits."

35.  It is in this context that the Haitian Government, with the support  of
the  international  community,  is  currently  engaged  in  a   far-reaching

programme  of  reform  of  the  judicial  system.   The  programme  has nine
components, concerning respectively the judiciary, prisons, the police,  the
updating of legal texts and codes, the courts,  officers of the court, legal
documentation, helping citizens gain access to justice and civil registry.

36.  Among the practical steps that have  been taken, the independent expert
noted in  particular the  judicial training  programme, the  first phase  of
which was held from 17 January  to 29 April 1995.  The second phase began on
3 July 1995 with  the opening of  the Ecole  de la Magistrature, which  will
train  judges and  government commissioners.   Although the  curriculum does
not currently include human rights courses,  assurances have been given that
such courses will  be introduced in  the near  future and  will also  become
part  of police  officer training.    Many  judges, and  in particular  many
justices  of the  peace, have  never been  to law  school and  receive  very
modest  salaries,  so  the  Government  recently raised  their  salaries  to
provide an additional incentive.

37.  The independent expert learned a lot  about the court equipment problem
when  he  visited  the  government  commissioner  in  Port-au-Prince.    The
typewriters  dated from  the 1950s,  there were  no photocopying facilities,
telephones had been disconnected for months,  exercise books were being used
for  record-keeping,  and  so  on.    Magistrates'  courts  usually  have no
electricity and lack even  the basic texts (civil code, penal code and  code
of  criminal  investigation).    Fortunately,  the  Haitian  Government   is
determined  to remedy  these shortcomings  and  has  begun setting  up basic
libraries, giving priority to the magistrates' courts.

38.   It  is vital  that  legal  texts and  codes be  updated as  quickly as
possible. President  Aristide signed  a  decree  on 22  August 1995  on  the
organization  of the  judicial system.   The  decree  amends  the Act  of 18
September  1985 with  a  view  to adapting  it  to the  requirements of  the
current judicial  reform process.  The  main purpose does  not seem to  have
been  achieved,  but  at least  the decree  enables  the judicial  system to
function  more effectively,  by,  for  example, facilitating  access to  the
system and  easing the pressure on  courts of  first instance.  It  is to be
hoped that the new  Parliament will give high  priority to judicial  reform,
including  the adoption  of judiciary  regulations incorporating  the  Basic
Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, as drawn up in 1985. 2/


39.     The  Haitian   prison  system   deteriorated  during  the   Duvalier
dictatorship.  Despite some  minor improvements  since then,  conditions  in
Haiti's  prisons  remain well  below  the  level  required  by the  Standard
Minimum  Rules  for  the Treatment  of  Prisoners.    Over  85  per cent  of
detainees are  still waiting for  their cases to  be heard.   Some  have not
made a single appearance before a judge since they were taken into  custody:
in certain cases prisoners  have been held for  over a year  without knowing
what they are charged  with.  Until recently, it was virtually impossible to
obtain an accurate  list of those  detained in the national  penitentiary in
Port-au-Prince.   Prisoners were  not fed  properly and  received no medical
care.   Some  were tortured  by their  jailers.  As  there was  no detention
centre  for  women, female  prisoners  were  sometimes  subjected to  sexual
abuse. Minors  suffered greatly  as a result  of being  crowded in  together
with adults,  in  contravention of  the  penal  code which  stipulates  that
children under 16 years of age must be confined in a rehabilitation centre.

40.   The  inhumane and  cruel conditions  in  Haiti's  prisons reflect  the
conditions faced  by the  population at  large, which  has suffered  greatly
from the lack of democracy and of the rule of law.   The Ministry of Justice
is currently working to  make the prisons  more humane.  These efforts  have
been supported by the international  community, with UNDP taking the lead by
launching a penal reform assistance project in March  1995.  A French expert
has  drawn up a plan of action for prison reform  over the short, medium and
long term.  A  national penitentiary administration has already been set  up
and  prison  officers  have  been  recruited  and  trained.   Infrastructure

remains the biggest obstacle.   Although much progress  has been made at the
Gonaives prison, the same cannot, unfortunately,  be said for the Saint-Marc
prison, where conditions are extremely primitive. The national  penitentiary
in  Port-au-Prince has a computerized system which  allows better processing
of prisoners' cases.   Work is under way  there to set up  an infirmary  and
provide  cells  more  humane  than  those  existing  at  present,  where 400
prisoners  sleep on the  floor.   Women and minors have  been transferred to
the Fort National, where conditions are better.  Prisons in the interior  of
the country  are  still  mixed, entailing  the  risk  of  sexual  abuse  and

41.   It is encouraging that efforts have been  made to recruit female staff
for  all prisons.  Minors being held at the Fort National are mostly orphans
or  streetchildren  and  have recently  received  training  in  cutting  out
material for men's clothing and electrical work.  Literacy courses are  also
planned for those who do not know how to read or write.

H.  The National Commission of Truth and Justice

42.   The preamble  of the presidential decree  of 28 March 1995  setting up
the National  Commission of Truth and Justice constitutes a veritable key to
understanding  the  commitment, reaffirmed  by  President  Aristide  on  the
occasion  of the commemoration  of 30  September 1991, to put  an end to the
culture of  impunity and  to respect  the Haitian  people's  desire to  make
Haiti a State subject  to the rule of  law.  Indeed, only  the complete  and
public revelation of the  truth will make it  possible to satisfy  the basic
requirements  of  the  principles  of  justice  and  create  the  conditions
necessary  for a genuine  and effective  process of  transition and national

43.   The  Commission has  seven members,  including three  chosen in  close
cooperation with the United Nations and  the Organization of American States
(OAS),  and has  already  held  six working  sessions.   In  accordance with
article 21 of  the presidential decree  of 28  March 1995, the  Commission's
mandate has been extended by three months.  Its report must be submitted  to
the President, who will  make it public, by 31  December 1995 at the latest.
It  will  then  be  for the  President  and  the  Government  to  adopt  the
recommendations formulated  by  the Commission  and  to  carry out  all  the
measures necessary for their implementation.

44.  The Haitian authorities' commitment to ensuring that  the Commission is
able to function independently and impartially and to discharge its mandate

"to establish the whole truth with regard to  the most serious human  rights
violations committed  between 29 September 1991  and 15  October 1994 within
and outside the country  and to promote the  reconciliation of all  Haitians
without prejudice to the judicial proceedings  which might result from  such

is reflected  by the scale of  the financial  contribution those authorities
made  to the Commission, which amounts  to 11 million gourdes.  It should be
noted that this  sum is more than double  the 5 million gourde  contribution
announced previously.  The  Commission has thus been  able to carry  out its
work since May  1995 as  a result of funding  from the Haitian Treasury,  as
well  as a grant of  1 million gourdes  from the  Canadian Embassy in Haiti.
The Commission  had previously faced grave  difficulties due to  the lack of
adequate  financial,  human  and  administrative  resources.    At  present,
qualified staff and international consultants are  getting down to work  and
are receiving technical assistance from MICIVIH.

45.  Within the investigative unit, special attention is being given to  the
cases of women victims of politically motivated  sexual abuse.  The database
contains  information  from   MICIVIH,  Amnesty  International,   Action  by
Christians for the Abolition of Torture  (ACAT), the Centre oecumenique  des
droits  de  l'homme and  other  organizations.    Some  of the  information,

including  data gathered by the Plate-forme des organisations haitiennes des
droits de l'homme   and NCHR  is already on  diskette.   To increase  public
awareness  of   its  work,  the   Commission  has   produced  several  radio
programmes.   It also  organized a  training session  for investigators  and
assistant  investigators  who  were  subsequently  deployed  throughout  the
country to enable  the population to lodge complaints. In the Departments of
the West  and the Artibonite, complaints  were still  being gathered because
of the huge number  of individuals wishing to give statements. It should  be
recalled that  these two departments were  particularly affected during  the
period of the coup  d'etat.  According to Mrs. Francoise Boucard,  President
of the  Commission, the initial target of 5,000 statements will certainly be
reached and will probably be exceeded.  During  our stay, the Commission had
already  begun  in-depth investigations  and  analysis  of  the  information
received.   Obviously, the Commission will  not investigate  in detail those
persons already being  prosecuted, but it  considers it  to be  its duty  to
mention them in its report.

46.  In addition, it has commissioned the  services of a legal  anthropology
team  set up  with the  help  of the  human rights  section of  the American
Association for the Advancement of Science.   MICIVIH has provided  valuable
assistance in connection with the identification  of sites where victims  of
human  rights violations may  have been  buried and with the  mission of the
legal anthropology team.  The team's  discoveries and analyses will  without
doubt shed light on the repression techniques used  during the period of the
coup d'etat and on the identity of the victims.

47.   Since many  victims of  the repression  had to leave  the country, the
Commission  has asked NCHR to coordinate information-gathering in the United
States.   The Lawyers'  Committee  for  Human Rights  has also  offered  its
support. The  President of the Commission  has stated  that similar contacts
have been  established in other  countries which  received Haitian  refugees
during the period of the  coup d'etat.  Thus, in September 1995 in Montreal,
for example,  information-gathering was organized  under the auspices of the
International Centre  for Human  Rights and  Democratic Development  and the
Table de concertation pour les refugies.

48.   On  the eve  of  his departure  from Port-au-Prince,  the  independent
expert was informed of the imminent  payment of additional contributions  of
186,567  United States  dollars  from  the  Canadian Government  and  87,000
dollars from the Swiss Government.

49.   Nevertheless, further contributions totalling at least 500,000 dollars
are imperative if the  Commission is to complete  the remarkable work it has
carried out so far and which  is now in its most  intensive phase.  In fact,
its final report  must be finished  and submitted  to the  President of  the
Republic by 31  December 1995.  This  work is important  not only  for Haiti
but  also for  the  whole international  community  since  it  could have  a
positive influence  in other countries and  help to  prevent atrocities like
those the Haitian  people have experienced.  It  must also be borne in  mind
that the Commission's  recommendations will be taken into consideration  and
will help the judicial system to complete its work.

 I.  Women

50.  During  the period of the coup  d'etat, Haitian women  were targeted by
military personnel and suffered greatly as  a result of political  violence.
The Government  is taking  measures to  try to  rehabilitate women  victims,
through projects aimed at psycho-social reintegration, legal reform and  the
drafting of a text on political violence.

51.   Although  there have  been no  politically motivated  acts of violence
against  women since the  return of President  Aristide, it  must be pointed
out, on the other  hand, that domestic violence remains a cause for concern.

52.  The inter-agency  Women and Development Committee of the United Nations
system in Haiti reports  that, during the survey  on AIDS in  Haiti, 29  per
cent of  female respondents stated that  their first  sexual intercourse had
been non-consensual.  In the course of the  same survey, a partial list  was
compiled  of  Creole expressions  used by  certain  men to  refer to  sexual
intercourse and several of these clearly  hint at relations characterized by
violence and brutality.  This is  a very painful part of the reality of life
for Haitian women.  The expert's  recommendation that the Government  should
invite the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human  Rights on violence
against  women   to  visit  Haiti  has   been  favourably   received.    The
representative  of  the  United  Nations Population  Fund  has  even offered
assistance  in  connection  with  the  travel  and  sojourn  of  the Special

J.  Children

53.   Early  in 1995  Haiti ratified  the Convention  on the  Rights of  the
Child.  At the start of the new school year, President Aristide  made a gift
of school  supplies to the children  of Haiti, whose  education was in  most
cases adversely  affected by the  consequences of the  military regime.   It
must be recalled that  there is almost  no public primary education so  that
parents  are forced to  enrol their  children in private  schools.  However,
the coup  d'etat, the  embargo and  the economic  and social  situation left
parents unable to cover school fees. This situation  convinced UNICEF to pay
for the schooling of more than 40,000 children.

54.   UNICEF currently  has a  plan of  action for Haiti  containing several
equally  important components which  the Government  of Haiti  would like to
see applied as quickly as possible.  In  order to improve child welfare, the
relevant  Haitian  legislation must  be  revised  to  reflect  international

55.   The  independent  expert  recommends the  drafting and  adoption  of a
children's legal code, the creation of  children's courts, the inclusion  of
the basic  principles of the  rights of the  child in  school curricula, and
the establishment  of a  national institution for  the rights  of the  child
consisting of representatives of the Government and of the public.

56.  One major source of concern in Haiti is children who  work as servants.
A survey  carried out in 1993  by the Institut  psycho-social de la  famille
found that these  child servants live in very  poor conditions.  It has been
shown that the  physical, moral and emotional  suffering of the children  is
ignored.  There appear to  be at least 200,000 child servants living at  the
bottom of the socio-economic scale.

57.  Minors of both sexes,  they are exposed  to a form of serfdom and  work
without pay in inhuman conditions.  Although this practice can be  explained
by the abject  poverty of the parents who  place their children in homes  as
servants, the necessary legislative and regulatory  steps should be taken as
a matter of  urgency to attack  this evil  and alleviate  its effects  until
such time as it  is abolished forever.  All levels of society, both rich and
poor, must be educated and informed to make them aware of the problem.

K.  Elections

58.   The local,  municipal and  legislative elections of 25  June 1995 were
marked by  many irregularities which,  in the opinion  of the OAS  Electoral
Observer Mission,  did not affect  the credibility, transparency or validity
of the  vote. Although  many diplomats  posted to  Haiti agree with  the OAS
Observer Mission,  the  great majority  of  the  political parties  do  not.
According to Mr.  Turneb Delpe,  spokesman for  the Front  national pour  le
changement et la democratie, the elections could not be  free and democratic
since the Provisional Electoral Council was  composed mostly of members  who
were close supporters of President Aristide or of  the parties making up the

presidential coalition, and the elections were marred by massive fraud.

59.   These allegations of  fraud were not  supported by  evidence, although
the organization of the  elections certainly left a great deal to be desired
because  some members  of the  Provisional  Electoral  Council proved  to be
incompetent when it came to managing an election.   Apparently that was  why
the President of the  Council was replaced.  Another important point was the
high  turn-out  rate  of  voters  in  the  first  round,  which  involved 25
political  parties and  some  10,000 candidates.   On  the  other  hand, the
second round  of the legislative elections,  on 17  September, although held
without  violence, had  a turn-out  of only  30 per  cent according  to  the
Council, and 5 per  cent according to the opposition parties which boycotted
the election.   Referring  to these  figures, the  Secretary-General of  the
Council observed  that:   participation  in the  second  round  of the  1995
legislative elections  had  been much  higher  than  in 1990.  Observers  of
Haitian  society explain this low  turn-out by the lack of civic information
and education in  voting techniques.  They feel  that Haitians are not  used
to a two-round election, and thus many thought that the voting had ended  on
25 June.  We  agree with this analysis,  which recalls similar situations in
some  African  countries.    A  vast  democracy education  programme  should
therefore be undertaken, especially in  rural areas, before the presidential
elections planned for December or possibly January.


60.  The situation of human rights in  Haiti has improved considerably since
President Aristide  returned in  October 1994.   However,  the common  crime
rate has skyrocketed, although the situation  has improved somewhat over the
past few months thanks to the presence of UNMIH.

61.  There have  been a number of  murders during  the same period which  do
not have any  obvious economic motive.   The  fact that  the Haitian  police
lack both expertise and  equipment is hampering  the effective investigation
of most of these killings.

62.   The  brigades  de  vigilance should  be properly  trained in  order to
prevent their members from meting out summary justice.

63.     Pre-trial  detention  is  the   rule  rather   than  the  exception,
contributing  to  overcrowding in  the prisons,  where  85  per cent  of the
inmates are awaiting trial.

64.   There is a real  desire to prosecute  those responsible for  violating
human  rights but  it  tends to  be  thwarted  by  the inefficiency  of  the
judicial  system and  the fact  that  some  judges are  afraid to  prosecute
former members of the military.

65.  The Haitian judicial  system is out of date and needs in-depth  reform.
However  steps have been  taken as  a matter of urgency  to ensure a minimum
level of efficiency both in the courts and in the prisons.

66.   The  National  Commission  of  Truth  and  Justice  has  already  done
remarkable work which  could be undermined  by a lack  of funds.   There  is
therefore  an  urgent  need  to  replenish  its  budget  with  at  least  an
additional 500,000 United States dollars.

67.   Laudable efforts  are under  way to  rehabilitate  Haitian women  who,
although  no  longer  victims  of  political  violence,  still  suffer  from
domestic violence.

68.   Children who  work as servants  are a major  concern and ways  must be
found to save some 200,000 children from  the difficult conditions in  which
they are living.

69.   The validity  of the  elections of  25 June  1995 is  not in  question

despite many irregularities.   However, ways must be  found to guarantee all
the transparency required for the presidential elections.

70.   The programme  of technical  cooperation with  the Haitian  Government
prepared by the Centre for Human Rights and aimed at increasing the  ability
of  official  bodies  to  intervene  in  the human  rights  area  should  be
supported.  The programme should stress  the provision of advisory  services
concerning   legislative  reform,   training  for   justice   administration
personnel, and human  rights education for young people and  underprivileged

 71.    The  situation in  Haiti  is  fraught  with  danger  because of  the
deplorable   economic  and   social  conditions.     The   support   of  the
international  community  and  greater understanding  on  the  part  of  the
Bretton Woods  institutions would  help to defuse  the situation.   But  the
Haitian people,  who have  already paid  a heavy  price, must also  agree to
make additional sacrifices.


72.  The independent expert recommends:

  (a)   That political  killings, including  that of  Mrs. Mireille Durocher
Bertin, should  be thoroughly  investigated with  the cooperation  of French
and  Canadian experts and  that those  responsible should  be prosecuted and
brought  to trial.  If  they have fled, international arrest warrants should
be  issued and Haiti  should request  their extradition so that  they can be
tried before an impartial, independent Haitian court;

  (b)   That  measures should  be taken  as a  matter of  urgency to  reduce
overcrowding  in the prisons.   Judges  from countries  following the French
legal tradition  could be sent to Haiti to work with  Haitian judges to help
them  conduct the triage  of cases  and issue verdicts on  the least serious
offences whose perpetrators are being held pending trial;

  (c)   That funds  for the  budget of the National  Commission of Truth and
Justice should  be quickly provided by  donors and  that its recommendations
should  be implemented  by the  Haitian Government  with the support  of the
international community;

  (d)  That  the Special Rapporteur  of the  Commission on  Human Rights  on
violence  against  women  should   accept  the  invitation  of  the  Haitian
Government,  with the  support of  the  United  Nations Population  Fund, to
visit  Haiti before  the fifty-second  session  of  the Commission  on Human

  (e)   That support for  the ongoing process  of judicial  reform should be
given  priority   within  the  framework   of  bilateral  and   multilateral

  (f)   That the aptitude and  independence of  the government commissioners
appointed by the illegal Governments should be evaluated;

  (g)    That retraining  sessions for  judges and  government commissioners
should  be organized,  calling upon  experienced Haitian  judges and lawyers
and upon  lawyers  and judges  from  countries  following the  French  legal
tradition; if possible, they should speak Creole;

  (h)   That instruction  in international human rights  law should be added
to the curricula of the Ecole de la Magistrature and the Police Academy;

  (i)   That a  programme of  rural legal  services should  be developed  in
cooperation  with  Haitian human  rights  organizations  in order  to  train

   (j)  That the  Code of Criminal  Investigation should be revised  without
delay with a view to speeding  up proceedings while guaranteeing respect for
human rights, particularly the right to a defence;

  (k)    That the  Basic Principles  on  the Independence  of the  Judiciary
should be incorporated in the future  judiciary regulations.  Similarly, the
law  concerning the  legal profession  should  take  into account  the Basic
Principles on the Role of Lawyers; 3/

  (l)  That an  institution of the  ombudsman type and a national  committee
on the rights of the child should be established;

  (m)   That the UNMIH civil police should remain in Haiti with a maximum of
300 police officers for a minimum  period of five years.   It will assist in
the on-site  training of members  of the Haitian  National Police in  police
techniques, fact-finding,  administration and  other subjects.   It  must be
remembered that the  Haitian National Police is  a young police force which,
as yet, lacks experience and credibility;

  (n)   That  the mandate  of the  International Civilian  Mission  in Haiti
(MICIVIH) should  be extended.   Even if  its staff must  be reduced by  one
third, its  presence in Haiti will help to strengthen the technical capacity
of governmental and non-governmental Haitian entities  in the area of  human
rights. MICIVIH  will also  continue to  assist the  Haitian authorities  in
identifying gaps and flaws  in the judicial system and to participate in the
continued training of  government commissioners and  other magistrates.   It
could take in hand  the programme for human  rights instruction at  both the
Ecole de la Magistrature and the Police Academy;

  (o)  That  the technical assistance activities  of MICIVIH and  the Centre
for  Human Rights should be  coordinated so that the  Centre can efficiently
take over after the final departure of MICIVIH;

  (p)   That  a  MICIVIH  military presence  should be  maintained  after 29
February 1996 as a deterrent.  Many fear a resurgence of political  violence
after  a  mass departure  of  the  soldiers  deployed  under United  Nations
auspices. Certain forces opposed to democracy and human rights seem to  have
gone underground, armed, and  may one day emerge from the shadows to  engage
in subversive activities;

  (q)   That  greater support  should  be  provided  to the  programmes  for
reintegration into  civilian life which  the International Organization  for
Migration has  set up  for former soldiers  who have  not been  incorporated
into the new police force.


  1/   See  Official Records  of  the  General Assembly,  Fiftieth  Session,
Supplement No. 40 (A/50/40), paras. 224-241.

  2/   Seventh United  Nations Congress  on the Prevention of  Crime and the
Treatment of Offenders, Milan, 26 August-6  September 1985:  report prepared
by the Secretariat (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.86.IV.1),  chap.
I, sect. D.2, annex.

  3/  Eighth  United Nations Congress  on the  Prevention of  Crime and  the
Treatment  of  Offenders,  Havana,  27  August-7  September  1990:    report
prepared  by  the   Secretariat  (United  Nations  publication,  Sales   No.
E.91.IV.2, chap. I, sect. B.3, annex.



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