MICIVIH ACTIVITY REPORT



April 1996



On 3 April 1996, in response to President Préval's request, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) adopted a Resolution extending the mandate of MICIVIH's UN component until 31 August 1996. A similar Resolution was adopted on 3 Mai 1996 by the Organization of American States (OAS) to extend the mandate of MICIVIH's OAS component.

MICIVIH's mandate remained unchanged, allowing the Mission to continue its work in the following areas: verification of respect for human rights, reinforcement of institutions that are critical to the respect for human rights, and promotion of human rights. The adoption of enabling resolutions was of paramount importance to the Mission as it implied the adoption of a budget to finance the Mission's activities.

Following is a report on MICIVIH activities in these three areas during April 1996.



HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING



MICIVIH conducted in depth investigations and analysis of various incidents including the killing of two police agents, a case of ill-treatment of youths by police, several allegations of police beatings, a case of alleged beating by a prison guard, a case of fatal shooting by police, reports of excessive use of force, allegation of irregular activity by communal police and CASEC members in rural areas. On several occasions, MICIVIH brought to the attention of Haïtian authorities reports of ill-treatment or unprofessional conduct by HNP agents and monitored official action in response to them. Important initiatives to improve the accountability of the Haïtian Police were noted, in particular the dismissal of four agents for failing to respect the police code of conduct.

In April, MICIVIH monitored two cases of judicial and police actions with political overtones: the arrest and detention on 18 April of Evans François, brother of Michel François, accused by clameur publique of destabilizing public order; and the release and departure for the U.S.A. on 26 April of Carl Denis, leader of the Organisation pour la Démocratie en Haïti, after eight months in detention without trial following public allegations that he was involved in a plot to kill supporters of former president Aristide. MICIVIH also investigated a possible targeted killing of an ex-colonel's relative in Port-au-Prince.

MICIVIH visited detention centres and prisons in several communes and noticed that although conditions of detention are equally poor in all of them, record-keeping varies greatly from one to another. The absence or poor maintenance of registers and individual dossiers is particularly common in temporary detention centres and during police custody. MICIVIH reported the inadequacy of facilities in detention centres which do not fall under the auspices of the Administration Pénitentiaire Nationale (APENA) but are administered by police. Provision is not made for detainees to receive food via the APENA distribution system. Some detainees rely on the charity of HNP agents for food.

The health status of certain prisoners is a matter of concern to MICIVIH, all the more that lack of facilities prevent guards from holding sick inmates in a separate cell, allowing for communicable disease to be transmitted. When no transfer, release or treatment is possible, penal authorities face a serious dilemma. MICIVIH will raise again this issue with APENA.

On several occasions, MICIVIH noted violent incidents which stemmed from tensions between the population and officers in charge of law enforcement. For instance several clashes between police agents and sectors of the population have occurred after HNP agents intervened to save suspected thieves from being beaten by crowds. This illustrates how the lack of respect for the police and judicial institutions can lead to violence and impede the establishment of the rule of law.

Tensions between sectors of the population and judicial officials were reported by MICIVIH regional offices in Limbé, Saint Louis du Sud, Cerca Carvajal, Les Cayes and Anse Rouge in the form of threats, public pressure on the judiciary, intimidation and protests.

In addition , tensions between the HNP, the APENA and judicial authorities were reported in various regions of the country, with a tendency of each institution to put the blame on the other and so justify its own dysfunctioning. MICIVIH noted that in certain communes, judicial officials refuse to open the court owing to the lack of security forces.



INSTITUTION-BUILDING ACTIVITIES

In response to the aforementioned tensions between the police, the judiciary and APENA, MICIVIH launched an "institution collaboration project" with a view to clarifying the role of each institution and discussing problems of coordination between the different actors and their negative impact on the functioning of the justice system. In this context, MICIVIH has initiated a series of coordination meetings in various large towns to improve channels of communication and collaboration between the HNP, the APENA and the judicial authorities, in particular with respect to the processing of cases before judicial authorities, and the treatment and transfer of detainees and convicts.

On 3 April, such a meeting was organized at the Tribunal de première instance de St. Marc with HNP, judicial authorities, and the president of the local bar association. On 29 April, a similar meeting was organized in the Grand Anse Département to find solutions to the problem of the judiciary and to the lack of police in remote areas. In Cap Haïtian, MICIVIH suggested the holding of regular meetings between the police commissioner, the Commissaire du Gouvernement and the prison inspector to discuss administrative and other problems. MICIVIH held discussions with judicial officials in a number of regions to explore measures to expedite the processing of cases before the courts.

MICIVIH participated actively in the vocational training of different levels of police commissioners at the Police Academy. Presentations included theoretical and operational aspects of international human rights law, codes of ethics, custody and detention, and the judicial police. Presentations were also made at the training seminars of juges de paix (lower court judges) at the Ecole de la Magistrature. MICIVIH also facilitated the visit of a witness to the General Inspector of the HNP.

A preliminary comprehensive analysis and evaluation report of the problems of the Haïtian judicial system based on the information gathered by MICIVIH in the nine departements during 1995 was circulated to the regional offices for comments.

Meetings were also held with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the President of the National Assembly to review the status of ratifications of international human rights and humanitarian law instruments. The occasion was taken to transmit copies of relevant instruments.

Legal advice was also provided to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security with respect to ministerial circulars on Individual Freedom and Rules of Procedures governing the Issuance of Warrants, Dwelling House Searches in Cases of Illegal Detention of Weapons, Search and Control of Individuals and Vehicles in Locations other than Dwelling Houses in Cases of Illegal Detention of Weapons.

A draft annotated agenda of the reform of the Judiciary was prepared to assist the Ministry of Justice and Public Security in the preparation of the brain-storming exercise on the administration of justice held under the auspices of Minister Pierre-Max Antoine on 26-28 April.









HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION

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MICIVIH launched a campaign on 10 April to make the general public more aware of human rights. Agreements have been reached with radio and television stations for the broadcasting of spots about the universality of human rights, child domestic labor, women's rights, the need for civic participation in a democracy and conditions of detention in prisons.

After reporting incidents opposing journalists and police agents in Jacmel and Saint Marc, MICIVIH organized a serie of seminars to foster dialogue between local police authorities and the press. A presentation on the Haitian legal system was made by MICIVIH at a seminar for local journalists in Anse d'Hainault, Grande Anse.

A day-long conference on the press and judicial reform organized by MICIVIH in Port-au-Prince on 30 April was attended by 20 journalists from the national media and subsequently featured in broadcast on local radio and television stations.

A two-day seminar was organized by MICIVIH central office in Port-au-Prince to enhance the skills of observers involved in civic education and other human rights promotion activities throughout Haïti.

Human rights and civic education seminars were held for different sectors of the population including: local government officials, schools, popular organizations. On 29 April, a civic education seminar on the judicial system for CASECs was conducted by MICIVIH in Thomonde. A conference on human rights was held at the Law School in Hinche. MICIVIH participated in a seminar organized by Fanm Vayan at Point des Mangles, Departement of the Artibonite. The seminar, which focused on discrimination against women in the areas of politics, the economy, health services, education and family life, was attended by 103 women and men. Popular organizations in Limonade participated in a MICIVIH-supported seminar on the rights and duties of the citizen.

MICIVIH issued a press release on 4 April to announce the extension of MICIVIH's mandate by the UN General Assembly and another to mark the second anniversary of the massacre in Raboteau, Gonaives, by members of the Armed Forces together with FRAPH.

On 22 April, a press conference by MICIVIH's Directors was held at the central office to present MICIVIH's activities following the renewal of its mandate in early April. A press statement was handed out to journalists who attended.

A delegation of Canadian representatives of Parliament was briefed by the Directors of MICIVIH on the evolution in the human rights situation in Haïti and on the Mission activities.







MEMORANDUM

A: Colin granderson, Directeur exécutif, MICIVIH

De: Christelle Loupforest, Assistante spéciale

Date: 29 Mai 1996

Object: Rapport d'activités mensuel


Depuis la restructuration du bureau central de la MICIVIH, la rédaction du Rapport mensuel sur les activités de la Mission est devenue compliquée pour plusieurs raisons:

La collecte des informations pour connaître les activités de la Mission au cours du mois est difficile.

Auparavant, les chefs d'unité devaient fournir une synthèse des activités conduites par leur unité. Je disposais donc d'informations précises et concises sur ce qui avait été fait dans les domaines de l'information (I. Abric), du système judiciaire (R. Mattarollo/ Ronald Hooghiemstra), de l'administration pénitentiaire (H. Rosendahl), de l'assistance à la Commission Nationale Vérité et Justice et à la Brigade Criminelle (D. Racicot), de l'assistance médicale (M. Vidiani), de l'anthropologie criminelle (J.P. Baraybar) et de l'éducation civique (Martha Gomez).

Depuis la restructuration en deux grand départements, les unités n'existent plus en tant que telles et je ne peux demander à chaque ancien chef d'unité ou nouveau chargé d'actvité de me fournir un résumé détaillé de leurs activités mensuelles. Pourtant, chacun des anciens ou nouveaux responsables d'activités mènent leurs activités dans un domaine particulier, et les informations ne sont pas véritablement compilées par les deux Départements principaux.

Les informations transmises par le Département de promotion à UCAR pour la rédaction du "weekly report" n'est pas toujours suffisante pour connaître les activités de la MICIVIH de manière détaillée. Quant au Département pour le renforcement institutionnel, la même logique s'applique, à savoir que les individus travaillent parfois de manière indépendante. Donc le rapport de R. Hooghiemstra sur les activités du département n'est pas toujours aussi précis qu'il faudrait. Ce mois-ci, Ron étant très occupé, il n'a pas pu écrire de compte-rendu d'activités sur le Département juridique et m'a dit qu'habituellement, il le faisait à partir des feuillets sur les activités hebdomadaires que nous recevons chaque semaine. Or ce document ressemble plus à un agenda qu'à un rapport d'activités et n'est pas suffisament détaillé. J'ai donc eu beaucoup de difficultés à tirer l'essentiel des activités du département.

L'évolution du "weekly report" a également contribué à brouiller le tableau:

Auparavant, l'unité des rapports écrivait des rapports (hebdomadaire et mensuel) sur la situation des droits de l'homme sans aborder les activités de la MICIVIH. Actuellement, l'UCAR fait état des activités du Département de Promotion des DH car elle en reçoit des informations. En revanche, elle ne reçoit pas d'informations sur les activités du Département juridique, excepté "l'agenda hebdomadaire" mentionné plus haut. Si le rapport de l'UCAR présente les activités de la Mission, il doit pouvoir le faire de manière exhaustive et une rubrique "institution-building" devrait faire pendant à la rubrique "human rights promotion". Des activités de renforcement institutionnel sont effectivement mentionnées dans d'autres paragraphes du rapport, "l'Administration de la Justice", "les prisons et les centres de détention"... Mais il peut paraître déséquilibré de consacrer un paragraphe à la promotion des DH alors que les informations sur les activités de renforcement institutionnel de la Mission sont dispersées à travers le document. L'UCAR a certainement adopté cette méthode pour des raisons pratiques légitimes. Mais l'ensemble de la gestion de l'information concernant les activités de la Mission manque de systématisme, et partant peut prêter à confusion . Et surtout me rend la tâche compliquée car je dois recourir à des réseaux informels pour recueillir l'information manquante.

Suggestions

1/ Pour assurer l'inclusion d'informations sur les activités de la MICIVIH dans le rapport hebdomadaire de l'UCAR, il faut que chacun des deux départements remette à CARU un compte-rendu hebdomadaire de ses activités et en adresse une copie au Directeur de la Mission, qui servira à l'élaboration du rapport mensuel. Une manière facile d'obtenir l'information du département juridique consisterait à leur demander d'étoffer l'agenda hebdomadaire du département. Le même format pourrait être utilisé par le second département.

2/ Etant donné la nature distincte des activités de chacun, et ceci, au sein d'un même département, il serait intéressant d'avoir un compte-rendu mensuel des activités de chaque chargé de projet: Roland Laval, Manon hardy, Marc-André Dorel, Ronald Hooghiemstra, Heiner Rosendhal, Denis Racicot, Marta Gomez, Maïté Vidiani, Javier Hernandez... ou d'unité (Mike Tarr). Ces documents seraient utiles pour connaître l'évolution du travail de chacun et de celui de la Mission. Ils permettraient également de relever les croisements de compétence et éventuellement de clarifier le rôle de chacun si besoin. Ces informations seraient utiles pour les individus eux-mêmes (FOPA, CV..). Si les directeurs de département estiment que l'unité en leur sein ne justifie pas une telle mesure, ils devraient alors fournir un compte-rendu mensuel des activités de leur département.

3/ Les rapports hebdomadaires des bases constituent une source d'information satisfaisante pour la rédaction du rapport mensuel.

Remarques concernant la rédaction du rapport mensuel

Il est difficile de ne pas répéter ce que dit l'UCAR dans ses rapports hebdomadaires dans la mesure où là aussi les informations les plus importantes y sont consignées. Or vous souhaiteriez un rapport mensuel plus court, donc non exhaustif, c'est à dire s'attachant à l'essentiel, comme celui de l'UCAR.

J'ai également réfléchi sur ce que pourrait être un rapport d'activité "analytique". Si je commence à faire des analyses, le rapport ressemble de moins en moins à un rapport d'activités. C'est pourquoi j'ai été un peu paralysée lors de la rédaction de ce rapport.

Enfin, je fais face à un autre problème lors de la rédaction du paragraphe sur le Human rights monitoring: si je détaille les incidents enquêtés, mon rapport se rapproche trop de celui de l'UCAR, si je le fais pas, chaque mois, je dis la même chose.