July 1996

Following is a report on MICIVIH activities in the area of human rights monitoring, institution-building and human rights promotion during July 1996.

July was marked by meetings with the HNP authorities during which MICIVIH submitted a copy of its report on the Human Rights record of the HNP in the execution of its duties between June 1995 and June 1996.

During the reporting period, MICIVIH prepared a draft report for the United Nations Secretary General to submit to the General assembly on MICIVIH. This report provides a description of the activities of MICIVIH, an assessment of the human rights situation and an evaluation of the institutions whose operations are crucial to the promotion and protection of human rights.

On 29 July, a coordinators'meeting took place at the central office in Port-au-Prince with the purpose to review MICIVIH programme of activities, its strategies and to plan further activities.


Detailed analysis of the human rights situation and cases investigated during the month of July are contained in MICIVIH weekly situation and activity reports. Special attention was paid to incidents such as the shooting of a well-known leader of a popular organization in Gonaïves, "Le Cubain", and the assassination of the leader of the ex-FADH organization the Rassemblement des militaires révoqués sans motifs, André Armand.

Police monitoring

MICIVIH investigated various allegations of police-related incidents. These included the death of a young man detained at a police station; ill-treatment of detainees by HNP agents; the death of a passer-by and two thieves shot by police, incidents of intimidation, abuse of power and beatings by police and other security agents; threats by HNP agents against a judge; and incidents involving off-duty HNP agents, most of them in the département de la Grande Anse.

MICIVIH also investigated reports that a sub-police station in Thomassique (Centre) had been attacked and that conflicts between the HNP and members of the population had forced the HNP to leave their duty station in Fonds Vérette (West). MICIVIH followed up the official response to reports of abuses and absenteism by HNP agents.

Monitoring the judicial system

In addition to the verification of respect for legal and criminal procedures by judicial officials, in particular in connection with the arrest of several ex-FAd'H members, among which General Claude Raymond, MICIVIH monitored the Criminal Assizes in Port-au-Prince, Hinche (Centre), Grande Rivière du Nord (North) and Aquin (South).. Particular attention was paid to the trial in Port-au-Prince of the two persons accused of killing the ex-Minister of Justice, Mr. Guy Malary.

Monitoring the APENA

MICIVIH monitored the work stoppages organized by APENA guards at the National Penitentiary to protest alleged acts of agression against APENA guards by HNP agents as well as government delays in clarifying APENA's status. A mutiny at the prison in Cap Haïtian and an escape from the prison in Les Cayes were also looked into.

MICIVIH continued to visit detention centers and monitor the conditions of detention and the judicial status of detainees. MICIVIH brought to the attention of the relevant authorities that due process infractions such as that of a minor who had been held for more than a month despite the fact that a release order had been issued several days after his detention. He was subsequently released. Reports of ill-treatment by APENA agents of detainees in various prisons were investigated.


Training activities

During the reporting period, MICIVIH made four presentations at the Ecole de la Magistrature during the training of the Justices of the Peace on the following subjects: the status of judges, their role in conflict resolution and the foundations of the law. How to manage a tribunal was also addressed.

On 24 July, MICIVIH took part in the training of HNP regional directors at the ICITAP. Presentations were made on Human Rights and the Police in Haïti, the report on the human rights record of the HNP prepared by MICIVIH and the regional directors'responsibilities especially in terms of police deontology.

On 5 July, as part of its effort to strengthen human rights NGOs, MICIVIH organized a workshop for members of the National Coalition of Human Rights on "the Development of Human Rights" and "International Principles of Human Rights".

On 12 July, MICIVIH in Les Cayes invited members of the legal profession and local police officers to participate in a round table discussion on the judicial system. The discussion was led by MICIVIH's Deputy Executive Director who was one of the guests of honour at the graduation ceremony at the Les Cayes Law School on 13 July. He addressed the graduating class on the subject of " Human rights and the penal aspects of the judicial system".

Continuing its program at the Law School in Jacmel, MICIVIH gave lectures on the international mechanisms to protect human rights, the Haitian law and human rights on 19 July, and on the prison system and human rights on 26 July. This last presentation was followed by a joint visit to the prison by MICIVIH and the students.

Technical assistance activities

On 2 July, MICIVIH held its first meeting with the newly appointed Ombudsman, Dr. Louis Roy, to discuss ways in which the Mission could collaborate with his Office which is in the process of being established.

MICIVIH Deputy Executive Director discussed the ratification of international human rights treaties with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate.

MICIVIH took part in the coordination meeting of the Donors Committee at the Ministry of Justice and distributed a document which sets out MICIVIH's contribution to the strengthening of the judicial system. The offer made by MICIVIH to the Minister of Justice to print 50 copies of the report of the National Commission for Truth and Justice was discussed further.

On 16 and 31 July, MICIVIH met with the international lawyers working with the HNP Special Investigation Unit to be briefed on the preparation of the cases on the Raboteau massacre and the assassination of Guy Malary. The trial, in this latter case, was duly attended by MICIVIH and a preliminary assessment report of the trial of the persons suspected of murdering Guy Malary was prepared. On 26 July and 31 July, MICIVIH discussed the handling of this important dossier by the Prosecutor with the Dean and the Public Prosecutor of Port-au-Prince. Steps were also taken to obtain a copy of the dossier from the clerk of the Court.

On 25 July, MICIVIH participated in the APENA Steering Committee meeting at the UNDP office in Port-au-Prince.

MICIVIH discussed the role of the Justices of the Peace in confict resolution with several partners involved in the reinforcement of the Judiciary.

MICIVIH participated in the weekly meetings of the Working Group on Justice at the American Embassy.

On 4 July, MICIVIH participated in a working session at the Law School to finalize the joint document on record management for courts'clerks which was submitted to the Ministry of Justice. Subsequently, MICIVIH participated on 22 July in a first follow up meeting on the pilot programme on record management for courts'clerks.

MICIVIH met with the Inspector General of the HNP to enquire about investigations and disciplinary measures relating to human rights abuses perpetrated by HNP agents. Information regarding abuses was transmitted to him. MICIVIH is also preparing a list of all the HNP agents who are involved in incidents described in MICIVIH report on human rights record of the HNP.

MICIVIH met with the newly appointed spokesman of the PNH on 24 July to discuss the work of the PNH press and information office and the possibility of MICIVIH providing technical support to it.

Publication and distribution

In collaboration with UNSMIH, MICIVIH finalized a report on the functioning of the Judiciary, the Police and the Prisons in Haïti by département which was submitted to the President on the occasion of a meeting held at the Presidential Palace on 20 July to discuss the institutional development of the HNP.

Discussion were held with Civpol to organize the distribution of 5000 copies of a collection of UN and Haïtian texts regarding the code of conduct of the Police to HNP agents throughout the country.


Civic and human rights education seminars

MICIVIH held seminars for journalists in Saint Marc on 13 July and in Hinche on 27 July during which presentations were made on the Development of Human Rights, International Principles of Human Rights and methods of investigation. Discussions with HNP agents who were also invited followed in both seminars. Thirty-one journalists from nine local radio and television stations in the département de l'Artibonite attended the seminar in Saint Marc. Among the more positive results of the seminar was the exchange between the journalists and the police regarding the establishment of dependable conduits for transmitting information from the police to the media. Another seminar was organized by MICIVIH for journalists in Port-au-Prince on 31 July. The subjects addressed were the state of prisons, the creation of the APENA and the standards of detention.

On 8 July, MICIVIH participated in a meeting organized by the Minister of Interior with a view to coordinating and harmonizing the activities of the national and international organizations as regards decentralization. MICIVIH informed of the seminars it had organized to educate CASECs on the Law on collectivités territoriales. MICIVIH will resume its activities in this area once it obtains the clearance of the Minister.

On 4 July, MICIVIH and an international NGO,Citizens' Network, conducted a seminar in Fort Liberté (North East) for Justices of the Peace. The Public Prosecutor led sessions on the operation of Justice of the Peace and Public Prosecutor' Offices, the HNP and the APENA. Twenty-nine justices of the Peace from seventeen of the eighteen tribunals in the region participated and debated the serving of warrants by CASECs and agents de police rurale (local police).

On 2-3 July, MICIVIH held a seminar on the role of the police, the judicial system and the Constitution in St. Marc for 34 participants, primarily CASEC members, but also mayors, a justice of the Peace, a representative of the Vice Delegate and HNP officers, all from five communes in the lower Artibonite.

MICIVIH conducted civic education seminars on 1 and 6 July in Les Abricots, and on 4 July in Beaumont (département de la Grande Anse). Another seminar in Anse-du-Clerc on 1 July attracted 94 participants including local authorities and CASEC members.

On 25-26 July, MICIVIH in Port-au-Prince hosted a civic education seminar for members of CASECs from Carrefour and rural areas of the West Department.

MICIVIH participated in a community seminar in Pilate, département du Nord, on 5 July which was attended by fifty-five persons including members of popular organisations and a juge de paix and a high ranking local police officer. MICIVIH also attended another community seminar which was organised by the radio station KOMINOTE NODES in Malféty, in Fort Liberté. A local facilitator and a journalist conducted the sessions on Dwa ak Devwa (rights and responsibilities of citizens) and the functioning of the judicial system.

MICIVIH as well as members of non-governmental organisations and representatives from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, was invited to participate in a seminar organized by Red de Accìòn Comunitaria (REDAC) del Voluntariado de las Naciones Unidas (UNV) and the Programme Mondial d'Alimentation (Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO) in Ouanaminthe (North East) on 13 July. The goal of the seminar was to bring together non-governmental organisations from the northern border region of both countries to discuss development needs.

MICIVIH helped organize a civic education seminar in Camp Louise (North), which was conducted by the local Justice of the Peace and a MICIVIH-trained facilitator.

MICIVIH in Hinche sponsored a two-day civic education seminar for 39 animators, judicial officials and religous activists who are members of OCODER, a network of popular organizations. Held in Pandiassou (Central plateau), the seminar conducted by the local consultancy Fernandes et Associés dealt with the judicial system, the 1987 Constitution, relations between the state officials and citizens, techniques of animation and development of project proposals.

MICIVIH Chief for Human Rights Promotion Anne Fuller spoke in Mirebalais at a ceremony on 22 July commemorating the forced disappearance two years earlier of four young men from the lower Central Plateau. The early morning mass, commemorative meeting and solemn funeral-style march of more than 100 people was organized by four popular organizations from the region.

Women's rights

MICIVIH's nationwide program of seminars on women's rights, organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Women's Affairs, continued. On 9 and 10 July, MICIVIH hosted a two-day seminar in Port-au-Prince on the rights of women. Forty-two women mainly from local NGOs and popular organisations participated in the sessions which were led by two lawyers employed by a local NGO. Among the attendees were judges, members of the Haitian National Police and representatives from the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

In Choiseuil (North), twenty-five women working in the fields of the media, justice, women's rights, health, municipal government and education, as well as representatives of peasant women organizations and delegates from the Ministry of Women's Affairs attended a two-day seminar on Women's Rights facilitated by lawyers from COFAL (Consultancy for Training and Legal Assistance), and organized by MICIVIH in cooperation with the Ministry of Women's Affairs. A discussion of the protection of women's rights within the judicial system generated the most comment from the participants.

MICIVIH in Hinche held another in the national series of seminars on women's rights organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

Local artists in Cap Haïtian and Fort Liberté commenced the production of MICIVIH-sponsored women's rights mural. In Cap Haïtian, the mural depicts women's role in building the future of Haiti and adorns the walls of the OFATMA Hospital. On 26 July, MICIVIH and UNSMIH heads of mission visited the mural site in Cap Haïtian. The event was covered on local and national television.

Finally, MICIVIH completed a new 15-minute documentary on women and violence. Copies of the program are being distributed to television stations around the country.

Conflict resolution activities

On July 20th, MICIVIH and " la section terrienne" (forum focusing on land tenure issues) of Saint Marc organised a ground-breaking meeting with representatives of state institutions and non-governmental organisations involved in land tenure issues for the purpose of discussing the role of state institutions in addressing land disputes. This is the first meeting of its kind since the establishment of the section terrienne in Saint Marc in 1986. MICIVIH representatives encouraged participants to use the forum to attempt to institutionalize contact between the various relevant institutions and to establish coordination of their work.

The PONT SONDE Land Conflict Working Group met on 23 July to elect an executive committee. Among the twenty attendees were members of Peace Brigades International, a representative from Commisssion Justice et Paix, the Mennonite Committee and representatives from communities in the Lower Artibonite and MICIVIH. The executive committee is charged with the task of identifying land confllicts and evaluating their importance.

On 20 July, in Jérémie, MICIVIH hosted a seminar on conflict resolution, conducted by the Justice of the Peace of Roseaux, who had attended the MICIVIH-UNESCO sponsored seminar on the subject in Port-au-Prince earlier in the month. Justices of the Peace from ten communes, fifteen members of the HNP and several CASECs attended the sessions. The event was covered by local radio and television stations.

Public information activities

Five Port-au-Prince radio stations and 21 provincial radio stations broadcast two MICIVIH civic education spots on the rights of persons in detention and on the police from 8 to 31 July under a contract with MICIVIH. Two Port-au-Prince television stations (Télémax and Télévision Nationale d'Haïti) and six provincial television stations broadcast four MICIVIH TV spots (on child labor, defamation, prison conditions and participation in the democratic process) under contract from 8 to 26 July.

MICIVIH distributed a newly completed, 15 minute MICIVIH TV program about violence against women to 11 provincial TV stations - TNH, Télé Haïti and Télémax - as part of an edition of the UNSMIH TV magazine Espace Bleu. The program was also distributed to MICIVIH's regional offices for screening at seminars.

MICIVIH distributed audio cassettes containing a selection lasting two hours of material recorded during a week of conferences on Medicine and Human Rights (in May) to 18 provincial radio stations.

In Jérémie, MICIVIH carried on with human rights promotional radio programs in conjunction with Radio Tet Ansam which broadcast discussions on the functioning of the local judicial system, conflict resolution as well as a discussion with the mayor of Jérémie. On 20 July, Radio Télé Grande Anse televised the entire morning session of MICIVIH's one day seminar on conflict resolution in Jérémie. A Radio Télé Grande Anse reporter also produced a radio report on the afternoon session.

MICIVIH issued two press releases during the reporting period. One on 22 July, condemned the assassination of André Armand, leader of the organization of former FADH, RAMIRESM and the second was issued on 23 July by the MICIVIH bureau in Gonaïves to mark the first anniversary of a court in Hatte Chevreau (Artibonite).

MICIVIH Executive Director gave interviews to the Toronto Star, the Frankfurter Rundschau, the Economist, the Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Tropic FM, Radio Metropole, Inter press Service, and to Cap haitian Télé 7 on the women's rights mural in Cap Haïtian. MICIVIH Deputy Executive Director gave an interview to the Haitian Press Agency. MICIVIH also presented its activities, mandate and history to groups of French and Canadian civilian police officers who had joined UNSMIH recently.

A Haïtian photographer hired by the UNSMIH Public Information Unit photographed a number of MICIVIH activities including debate between journalists and police in Saint-Marc, observers at a community meeting in Jacmel, observers visiting the Jacmel prison, MICIVIH regional office in Gonaïves, the visit to two tribunaux de paix by Gonaïves observers, MICIVIH human rights murals, investigation by Port-au-Prince observers, and observers monitoring the Criminal Assizes in Aquin.