MICIVIH ACTIVITY REPORT
1 December 1995 - 7 February 1996
Following is a report on MICIVIH's activities for the period 1 December 95-7 February 96, the end of MICIVIH mandate.
December 1995 was marked most notably by the Presidential Election. Most MICIVIH
observers were seconded to the OAS Electoral Observation Mission for the vote and vote count
period. MICIVIH also monitored the human rights and political climate of the election campaign.
With the assistance of UNMIH, a communication centre was installed at MICIVIH headquarters to
facilitate the "quick count" process. UNMIH/MICIVIH also provided the OAS Electoral Observation
Mission with additional radio communications equipment for its field operations.
Given the expiration of the mandate on 7 February 1996, MICIVIH planned two alternatives
courses of action during this reporting period - liquidation and prolongation. With regard to the first
eventuality, MICIVIH participated in the CAO's Liquidation Task Force meetings and drew up a
withdrawal plan, should the Mission's presence not be extended.
Starting in late January, MICIVIH coordinated with UNMIH support services to close five
of its regional offices (Mirebalais, Fort-Liberté, Port de Paix, Petit Goave and St-Marc) and relocate
others in the eventuality of an extension of the mandate. MICIVIH cooperated with a team from the
OAS Department of Material Resources to recover equipment the OAS provided for MICIVIH use.
Given the financial constraints, MICIVIH reduced its personnel from 156 to 64 (32 OAS, 28 UN,
4 UNVs); MICIVIH streamlined and carried out the "check out" procedure for departing 92 staff
members in late January/early February.
During the reporting period, MICIVIH also carried out records retention activities in view of the possible liquidation of the Mission. Each Headquarters unit and each regional office organized its archives which were processed and compiled at MICIVIH Headquarters. MICIVIH Truth Commission Unit carried out the classification of all the archives of MICIVIH I, II and III concerning human rights violation cases.
The report of the Secretary General to the General Assembly on the Situation of Democracy
and Human Rights in Haïti was drafted. It included a programme of activities for MICIVIH in case
of extension of the mandate. On February 9, a written request for the extension of MICIVIH's
mandate after February came from the Haïtian President leading MICIVIH to suspend the
liquidation process. In preparation for the new mandate MICIVIH held discussions on possible terms
of reference with the Ministry of Justice.
OBSERVATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
The preparation of final reports and the process of closing offices and redeploying observers
have meant that human rights observation activities have been reduced since mid-January.
Observation activities undertaken included further investigating the assassination of deputy Feuillé,
following up the case of the arrest of Colonel Dardompré, investigating recent incidents of popular
justice which involved 42 victims and resulted in 20 deaths, and the execution-style killings of four
women and three men at St. Christophe, near Titanyen. MICIVIH also looked into incidents
involving HNP officers in St Marc and Gonaïves and IPSF officers in Port-au-Prince. Cases of cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment were investigated in Jeremie, Hinche and Thomassique. MICIVIH
also monitored the arrest of eleven former FRAPH members in Jacmel.
MICIVIH continued to analyse information concerning incidents involving the HPN and
APENA and drew up tables showing -inter alia- the number of incidents, distribution throughout the
country and also the state of official investigations into the most serious cases. MICIVIH also
compiled a statistical table on the number of incidents of popular justice for December and January.
Detailed analysis of the human rights situation and cases investigated during the period are contained
in the report on human rights violations.
STRENGTHENING THE JUDICIAL AND PENAL SYSTEM
a. The penal system
On December 1, a meeting of all observers responsible for medical follow-up of human rights
victims took place in MICIVIH headquarters, to discuss the monitoring of sanitary conditions in
prisons, medical assistance to victims of human rights violations and to prisoners and the
rehabilitation of victims of human rights violations. The prison unit was invited to participate in a
seminar organized by the MICIVIH Medical Unit to clarify the unit's program regarding the prison
work throughout the country. At the seminar, Dr. Figaro, the National Penitentiary's head doctor,
explained the current organic structure of the sanitary service at the center and also presented a copy
of a medical reporting format which should be filed for each sick inmate.
During the reporting period, MICIVIH participated in the compilation of data regarding
minor prisoners' status at the Fort National Prison. MICIVIH generated two complete lists of minors
with an unclear legal status being held at the above center. The lists were formally addressed to the
Haitian Minister of Justice with the purpose of requesting proper actions to clarify the minors'
situation. One list reflected all the prisoners held without a proper arrest warrant but with some
legal papers inside their files, and the second list the prisoners that had empty files with no legal
documents of any kind to justify their incarceration. On December 23rd, 52 minors and 8 women
were transferred to the Centre de Reinsertion at Bicentenaire.
On December 6, MICIVIH also participated in a meeting with APENA's new Director, Mr.
Karl Henry François, and APENA's Deputy Director, Mr. Raoul Elysée. At the meeting, MICIVIH
requested information regarding the beatings of prisoners by APENA guards at the Fort National
Prison on November 28. However, Mr. François refused to discuss the matter and was reluctant to
exchange information with MICIVIH as he had to report to the Justice Minister the following
morning. On January 12, MICIVIH participated in the steering committee meeting. The meeting
embraced the problem of recent mistreatment in Cap Haïtian and in different prisons throughout the
country. The meeting revealed that MICIVIH's concerns were not shared by the APENA's Director
General, Mr. Francois and again, our inquiries regarding the November 28 incidents at Fort National
were not answered.
Once again, MICIVIH expressed its concern regarding the current investigation conducted
by APENA, having been informed that APENA investigators were interviewing only the prison
guards involved. Mr. Elysée responded that the investigators had a full mandate and that the
investigation should contain information collected from all the parties implicated.
In December, MICIVIH monitored a conflict opposing prisons guards and APENA Deputy
Director (A.D.D.), Mr. Raoul Elysée. On December 15, prison guards in all Port-au-Prince facilities
started a general strike demanding principally the destitution of the A.D.D. who was critizised for
not supporting their work and for minimizing their authority in front of the prisoners. According to
the agents, Mr. Elysée gave more credibility to the prisoner's statements during the investigation of
recent cases of ill treatment by agents inside the prisons. The agents claimed that due to this kind
of intervention from the A.D.D., their work and lives had been jeopardized. During the strike, the
agents did not update records, nor allow visitors into the center and refused to transport prisoners
to the courts.
Despite the agents' strike, MICIVIH was allowed to communicate with the National
Penitentiary and obtain urgent information regarding prisoners' status. In a telephone conversation
a strike leader requested MICIVIH to act as a moderator. MICIVIH did not consider this type of
intervention appropriate and declined the request.
On December 18, Mr. Elysée was forced to resign. On Dec 19, the strike was interrupted and
a negotiating team was formed to look into all of the demands expressed by the agents, including
incorporation of APENA agents into the National Police, satisfaction of all their rights and
privileges, and authorization to wear arms outside service hours.
On December 28, MICIVIH visited the "Centre d'encadrement et d'éveil", to examine this
facility's new function in the reception of juvenile offenders, sixty of whom were recently transferred
from the detention facility at Fort National. The centre funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs, was
set up in July 1995.
On January 31, MICIVIH met with the APENA's new Deputy Director, Mr. Larose, to update him on MICIVIH's activities and to offer technical assistance and support for the training of the APENA's agents. MICIVIH also participated in an informal meeting with the new director of the Fort National Prison, Mme. Michaelle Sylvain and explained to her MICIVIH's work and commitment to the penal reform project.
MICIVIH provided information on Haïtian prisons to several organisations. On February 1,
upon their request, MICIVIH briefed FONHDED (Fondation Haïtienne pour le Développement et
la Démocratie) on the conditions of the minors in the Haitian prisons. FONDEM indicated that they
have a project to establish a "centre d'accueil" for offenders under 15 years. On February 12,
MICIVIH met with the vice chairperson of International Penal Reform, Ms. Wendy Singh, to share
information on the current situation of prison's in the country. Ms. Singh indicated that her
organisation is looking into alternatives for imprisonment of minor crimes offenders. On February
2, MICIVIH informed a delegation of "Caribbean Rights" about the improvements and problems
inside Haitian prisons.
Together with UNDP, MICIVIH visited the prisons of the North part of the country during
the week of January 21-26 to evaluate the work of APENA's agents and collect prison's data from
Port de Paix, Fort Liberte, Ouaniminthe, Grand Riviere du Nord, Cap Haitian and Gonaives.
b. Haïtian National Police
Training sessions provided by MICIVIH to the HNP continued with sessions for the final
graduating class at the police academy (class 9), as well as for the newly set-up riot control unit
(Compagnie d'intervention). Discussions with ICITAP and other relevant bodies continued on the
future training to be provided to police units.
Following the signature of a memorandum of understanding between CIVPOL and MICIVIH
an important meeting on December 6, 1995 was attended by MICIVIH, newly recruited inspectors
for the new criminal investigation brigade of the Haïtian National Police, members of CIVPOL in
charge of this unit, the Commissaire du Gouvernement, a representative of the Ministry of Justice,
the Juge d'Instruction specially appointed to the Brigade, and two international experts working with
the Ministry of Justice. The purpose of this meeting was to establish priorities and a general
framework of cooperation between these entities about criminal investigations. A system was agreed
upon for a method of transmission of information contained in MICIVIH's files to Civpol for use
by the Haïtian prosecution authorities in the course of their investigations of particular cases. Details
of a first set of cases were transfered by MICIVIH to the participants. Another working meeting took
place between MICIVIH, the recruits of the criminal investigation brigade, and CIVPOL to discuss
additional cases transferred and methodological aspects.
During the month of December and January, information relating to a total of ten cases of
serious violations of human rights were transferred to CIVPOL at the request of the Minister of
Justice, and as dictated by the memorandum of understanding established between MICIVIH and
c. The judicial system
MICIVIH's legal department continued its training sessions at the Ecole de la Magistrature
for examining magistrates (juges d'instruction) during the first week of December with lectures on
the topics of individual liberty and legal guarantees, and methods of investigation into serious human
rights violations. A group of 25 to 30 justice of the peace from all over the country also received a
seminar on independence of the judiciary at the Ecole de la Magistrature.
Lectures and presentations on human rights law related to criminal justice were also given
at local public and private organizations in Grand Goâve, St. Marc and Port de Paix, as well as for
students at the law school of Cap Haïtien, where international protection of human rights and
international humanitarian law were discussed.
On December 8, MICIVIH organized a special training and information day for Haïtian
journalists on the subject of the role of journalism in protecting and promoting human rights. A
lecture was presented on how journalists could support the process of investigating violations of
At the request of the Minister of Justice, MICIVIH's legal director participated in a number
of meetings at the Ministry of Justice in the context of a working group on the subject of provisional
liberty for detainees awaiting trial. The group is working on a Ministerial Circular to be addressed
to prosecutors. It is hoped that this will help alleviate the strains on the prison system,caused by an
increase in arrests and delays in processing the prosecution of offenders. At the request of the
Ministry of Justice, staff from MICIVIH's legal department began an inventory of detainees at Fort
National and the National Penitentiary who have been in pre-trial detention for unduly long periods
of time, without seeing a judge or having a hearing. On 12 January 1996, MICIVIH transmitted a
report to the Minister concerning the legal situation of 83 such detainees.
MICIVIH has continued to support the Ministry in its efforts to lawfully regulate
disarmament through discussions both with the Minister and within UNMIH.
The legal department assisted in the drafting of forms for the gathering of reliable,
independent statistical information on the functioning of the Haïtian judicial system throughout the
country, as well as on the prosecution of perpetrators of gross violations of human rights.
On 10 January 1996, the Minister was provided with a list of those international human rights
instruments not yet ratified by Haïti, as well as with copies of these documents. Furthermore, the
Minister was informed of certain declarations which Haïti has not made recognizing the competence
of international human rights supervision bodies to be able to examine the human rights compliance
of Haïti's legal and other institutions.
In the context of MICIVIH's support for the translation of international human rights
instruments into Creole, discussions were held in early February with the Dean of the law faculty of
Quisqueya University in Port-au-Prince on the quality of the draft translations of documents relating
to police conduct.
ASSISTANCE TO THE NATIONAL COMMISSION OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE
In December and January, MICIVIH transferred several additional files to the National
Commission on Truth and Justice of cases of serious human rights violations, as requested by the
Commission. MICIVIH also transmitted general information on the tragic arsons that occurred in
the area of Borgne in 1993 and 1994.
In addition, MICIVIH provided the NCTJ with two sets of photos of the September 1995
exhumations carried out in Gonaïves by the forensic anthropology team, with the participation of
MICIVIH. MICIVIH's expert in forensic anthropology finalised a report on the several exhumations
which he carried out for the Commission during the month of October. The scientific study of the
human remains gathered continued throughout the months of November and December and a final
report was sent to the Commission.
Through its medical unit, MICIVIH provided important data on its own experiences in the treatment of victims of human right violations, and information on institutional needs with respect to medical care for the follow up treatment of those victims. Recommendations were also made to the NCTJ on the medical institutional follow up of victims of violations of human rights drawing on the experience of the Mission in this field.
MICIVIH held a meeting with the commissioners to discuss the recommendations of the Commission. MICIVIH provided several elements and useful information on experiences in other countries to be considered in this context. MICIVIH also contributed to the commissioners'discussions on the question of the applicability of the notion of crimes against humanity in the Haïtian case by providing a study on the question.
The NTJC Commissioners held two sessions during January 1996 to finalize the draft of the
final report. The report was officially given to the President of the Republic Jean Bertrand Aristide
on 5 February 1996, at the occasion of a ceremony at the site of a new memorial for victims of the
coup inaugurated the same day. There was widespread media coverage of the event, but indeed very
little information about the content of the report was made available to the public. Despite requests,
MICIVIH has not yet received a full copy of the report, or of any of its most important chapters.
HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATIONAL AND PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES
On December 10, together with local organizations, local authorities, artists and school
children, MICIVIH organized a number of activities around the country to celebrate Human Rights
Day. Activities included a parade in Port de Paix, murals illustrating human rights-related issues in
Gonaïves and Cap Haïtian, various seminars on women's rights, a workshop in Port-au-Prince on
"journalists and human rights", and a commemorative festival of the 47th Anniversary of the
Declaration of Human Rights in Port-au-Prince. MICIVIH also assisted Code Enfant Haïtien
(CODEHA), in the organization of activities to celebrate children's rights: drawings were exhibited,
children discussed their rights, a poetry and theater show was mounted.
MICIVIH also organised a dance show titled "What is the Use of Freedom?" in collaboration
with two Haïtian dancers and a French choreographer. The event took place at the Church in Croix
des Bouquets, near Port-au-Prince.
In its efforts to help reinforce Haïtian human rights NGOs, MICIVIH held discussions with
the "Platform of Haïtian Human Rights NGOs" and gave seminars at the regional office in Port-au-Prince on various subjects including forensic anthropology, institutional reform and investigation
of human rights violations. Contacts between MICIVIH and the "National Coalition for Haïtian
Refugees" were strengthened.
In January, MICIVIH held two meetings with the director of the Centre Oecuménique des
Droits Humains to inform him about MICIVIH's activities regarding the penal reform in the country,
as well as to invite him to monitor the situation of the Human Rights inside the prisons. MICIVIH
also assisted the Centre Oecuménique des Droits Humains in conceptualizing its prison program.
During the reporting period, MICIVIH continued to implement its training programme for
the personnel of Haïtian NGOs with an interest in human rights, holding seminars in Gonaïves,
Hinche and in the West departement, with a focus on animation methods. In early February,
MICIVIH organized a two day civic education "training of trainers" seminar for 22 human rights
organizations in Port au Prince.
MICIVIH supervised the production of materials such as leaflets, posters and audio-video
spots to promote human rights education among NGOs and distributed materials including the
Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, civic education trainers'guide, and legal
FACILITATING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
During the reporting period, MICIVIH finalized the Liste des Bailleurs de Fonds
(information on donors) improving its usefulness for those interested in developing small projects.
On January 29, MICIVIH organised a three hour seminar for 18 representatives of 10 human
rights organizations on how to access funds from donors. Videos, lists of donors, and additional
material were distributed.
PRESS AND INFORMATION ACTIVITIES/PUBLIC RELATIONS
During the reporting period, MICIVIH issued five press releases: one on the current situation
in Haiti's prisons and detention centers, one on the electoral campaign and the election process, one
on International Human Rights Day, one issued locally in Port-de-Paix and Cap Haïtien (also on
International Human Rights Day) and a final one condemning the threats received by Kerold
Delacruz, deputy of Hinche and the assault of Arry Marsan, deputy of Port à Piment. A press
conference was held on 10 December at the end of the training seminar for journalists on human
rights and journalism.
MICIVIH prepared a fourth newsletter in both French and English. It focused on institution-building and MICIVIH's role in this process.
MICIVIH's press and information unit produced three news feeds: two on elections to the
UN radio unit in New York and one to the OAS radio in Washington. The UN and OAS in turn
distributed them worldwide directly or through news agencies such as the Caribbean News Agency
in Barbados. Copies of the seminar on justice held in Petit Goave were distributed to50 NGOs. A
local radio program in Creole on the police was distributed to local radio stations and the regional
offices and broadcast on several stations including Signal FM.
A 10-minute TV program in Creole on the use of legal procedures in disarmament was
completed and distributed to five local TV stations in Port-au-Prince (including one that broadcasts
in Miami), to the regional bases and to local TV stations. A TV compilation of footage on prisons
was sent to UN TV in New York where it was used for the production of a short program broadcast
on CNN world report on 20-21 January and distributed worldwide in five different languages. A
compilation of footage on the electoral process was sent to the OAS Information Department in
Washington, which used it in the production of a 13-minute TV program broadcast in the Western
Hemisphere. A 13-minute video program in Creole on the Electoral Observation Mission's quick
count was distributed to TNH, Telemax and Miami's Haïtian Television Network, to all the local
stations and to the regional bases.
A copy of the seminar in Cap Haïtien was given to the Law School for their archives and for use in their classes. Copies of three programs produced earlier on justice and prisons were distributed to 70 human rights NGOs. A training video on forensic anthropology was completed for training of NGOs and institutions. A training video on Human Rights and Journalism was sent to all regional offices, where it was shown to local journalists. Civic education activities such as murals and the stage play were filmed for the production of a later program as well as for archives.
MICIVIH's Executive Director gave interviews to ABC, the Miami Herald, the Time Magazine, the German News Service PRILA, Vision 2000, Radio Tropicale, Radio Metropole and Signal FM. Together with Javier Zúñiga and Rodolfo Mattarollo, he gave a press conference to 16 journalists on the institution-building aspect of MICIVIH work. The Director of the Legal Department gave interviews to Vision 2000, Signal FM and Télé Haïti. MICIVIH directors attended the ceremony held at the National Palace on 5 February 96 for the handing over of the report prepared by the National Commission on Truth and Justice to President Aristide.