June 1996

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

During June, at the request of the SRSG, MICIVIH in conjunction with CIVPOL conducted a survey of the Judiciary, the National Penitenciary Administration (APENA) and the Haïtian National Police (HNP) with a view to providing a snap-shot of the judiciary and police in each of the 9 departments. Observers were thus requested to collect relevant information in police stations, courts and prisons. A second survey that is to be carried out later this year should enable the Missions to measure whether or not progress has been made in each département.

Among the main activities carried out in June by MICIVIH were the finalization of a report on the Human Rights record of the HNP in the execution of its duties between June 1995 and June 1996; the launching of an intensive three month campaign to promote human rights, involving radio and television programs on national and provincial media; organizing a series of seminars in the areas of Conflict Resolution and Women's rights.


Detailed analysis of the human rights situation and cases investigated during the month of May are contained in MICIVIH weekly situation and activity reports.

Police monitoring

MICIVIH visited many commissariats in the capital and in several other localities after receiving a number of allegations that detainees had been victims of ill-treatment, mostly beatings by HNP, during arrest and detention. Observers also investigated the killings of a HNP agent, ex-IPSF by two HNP, the murder of a member of the Unit for ministerial security, the alleged killing of a gang leader and three suspected thieves by HNP agents, the lack of police response to call for assistance in occurrences of mob killing, one of which took place in a Court. MICIVIH also investigated reports that some unidentified persons fired at a police station near Petit-Gôave, département of the West.

Late June, MICIVIH investigated a serious incident involving HNP agents which resulted in the death, by beatings and by summary executions, of at least three suspected thieves who were held in custody at the Commissariat of Croix des Bouquets, department of the West. The shooting and wounding by HNP agents of seven members of the population during the celebrations of a town's fête patronale was also investigated by MICIVIH.

Monitoring the judicial system

In addition to the verification of respect for legality by judicial officials, MICIVIH monitored many incidents concerning the judiciary including the resignation of Aquin Public Prosecutor; the arrest of Limbé assistant judge of the peace ordered by the Vice Délégué, département of the North; the intrusion of a crowd in the justice of the Peace court in Limbé which enabled a well-known gang member to escape and, subsequently the closing of the Court by the crowd. MICIVIH also monitored the closing of the tribunal de paix in Pestel (Département de la Grande Anse) because of growing tensions between the justice of the Peace, the HNP and the population.

MICIVIH investigated tensions between a judiciary official and APENA agents which resulted in the arrest of an APENA inspector in Aquin, Département of South.

Monitoring the APENA

MICIVIH continued to investigate a small number of reports of ill-treatment by APENA agents of minors and other detainees in various prisons and to monitor the judicial status of detainees.


Institution collaboration project

MICIVIH carried out a third institutional collaboration meeting in Jacmel on 21 June. The Public Prosecutor, two Examining Magistrates, an APENA Inspector, an HNP agent and two CIVPOL attended the meeting which lasted more than two and a half hours. The following issues were discussed: difficulties related to taking prisoners to the Public Prosecutor and to the Judicial Investigation's Offices for audiences, the treatment of prisoners during police interrogations, the intervention of the police in misdemeanor cases, non-executed warrants issued by the Public Prosecutor, lack of police in certain rural areas and shortage of APENA personnel in Jacmel.

A similar meeting was held in Hinche between judicial, prison and police authorities on 5 June to dicuss the issue of warrants and the need to respect the 48-hour limit on police custody. Copies of MICIVIH's report on the judiciary were distributed widely.

Training activities

MICIVIH was invited to make presentations at the Ecole de la Magistrature on the Public Prosecutor's Office and the other institutions during the Commissioners training on 3 June and on the use of international instruments in national procedures during the judges training on 17 June.

On 25 June, MICIVIH trained 150 agents of the crowd control unit on the right to meet in public locations. MICIVIH also took part in the training of HNP trainers on 24-27 June.

On 1 June, MICIVIH lectured on legal guarantees in penal proceedings, human rights and the police at the Law School in Gonaives.On 14 and 15 June, MICIVIH gave lectures on the international mechanisms to protect human rights at the law schools of Saint Marc and Gonaives.

On 28 June, MICIVIH started a series of seminars on human rights and international law at Jacmel Law School. Presentations were made to 30 students on the work of MICIVIH, the history of human rights, the mechanisms to enforce international human rights standards, and their applicability in domestic law. The program will run for six weeks and will include a prison visit and discussion on practical topics such as the organisation of files and the conduct of investigations. MICIVIH will collaborate with the Doyen and with CAUSE on this project.

On 8 and 15 June, in an effort to strengthen NGO-judicial capacity , MICIVIH trained the legal assistants of Haïti Solidarité Internationale in Port-au-Prince, reviewing among others, the Interamerican Human Rights Commission complaint mechanism.

Together with "Brigades de la paix" an NGO involved in conflict resolution, MICIVIH made a presentation on the role of judges in conciliation at the Supreme Court on 19 June.

On 1 June, MICIVIH held a seminar for journalists in Gonaives during which a presentation was made on human rights and the police.

MICIVIH made a presentation on the use of Creole in the Haitian legal system, "Kek kesyon sou fason pou itilize kreyol nan lajistis an ayiti," to an audience of over 100 persons during a week of conferences on Linguistic Policy at the Faculté de Linguistique Appliquée de l'Université d'Haïti.

Technical assistance activities

MICIVIH continued to assist the Ministry of Justice in the execution of the pilot programme for technical assistance to public prosecutors by helping to organize a hands-on seminar in record management for courts clerks in St. Marc, Gonaives, Cap-Haitian, Les Cayes Petit Goâve and Jacmel. In addition, MICIVIH took part in the drafting of the final report of the mission.

In a letter dated 13 June, MICIVIH informed the Haïtian Minister of Justice of the serious problems facing the administration of Justice in the Grande Anse, recommending that a fact-finding visit by a delegation from the Ministry would give a better understanding of the problems and provide a chance for workable solutions.

MICIVIH took part in the ceremony organized by the APENA to mark its first anniversary. Together with the Deputy Director of APENA and a UNDP representative, MICIVIH accompanied the Ministry of Justice, upon his request, during his visit of the prisons in Cap-Haitian, Gonaives on 21 June, Les Cayes, Aquin and Jacmel on 25, 26 and 27 June.

MICIVIH took part in the coordination meetings of the Donors Committee at the Ministry of Justice and attended the conference organized by the Minister of Justice on the report of the National Commission for Truth and Justice at Info-Services on 19 June.


MICIVIH finalized the production of a bilingual (French/Creole) manual entailing texts of the United Nations as well as Haitian rules regarding the code of conduct of the police. This collection will be distributed to HNP agents throughout the country. In addition, MICIVIH completed the production of 500 copies of a bilingual (French/Creole) leaflet on the rules of police deontology to be handed over to the HNP. A new translation of the Declaration of Human Rights was also completed.


Civic and human rights education activities

MICIVIH conducted seminars on local government, citizen participation in a democracy, respect for human rights and the State responsibilities for a diversified audience made of judges, police officers, local officials, facilitators and leaders of associations in Thiotte (West), Croix des Bouquets (West), Petit Gôave (South), Port de Paix (North West) and Plaisance (North).

In conjunction with local animateurs and authorities including mayor, justice of the Peace and senior police officer, MICIVIH facilitated civic education seminars in Dame Marie, Les Irois, Chambellan, Marfranc and Paroty (département de la Grande Anse) Gobert and Lina (département of the North) to present the role of the municipal, judicial and police authorities to grassroots organisations, women's organisations and CASEKs.

On 14 June, MICIVIH also participated in a meeting organized by the HNP in Belle Anse (Département of the South East) to educate the community on the role of the police.

MICIVIH continued its round of community seminars in the three northern departments focusing on the police and judicial system and assisted an HNP community outreach group in the North with techniques to improve relations with the community.

From 23 to 27 June, MICIVIH collaborated with local trainers to present seminars on the judicial system and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in Laspatri, Binto and Marmont (département du Centre), in Marigot (département du Sud) and Jacmel. A civic education seminar for popular organisations was held on 26 and 27 June in Mirebalais (département du Centre): The clerk and the secretary of the Justices of the Peace participated in training attendees in techniques to facilitate seminars on Human Rights, the judicial system and the role of the HNP.

On 20 June, in Gonaives, MICIVIH began a series of training seminars on Women's rights in cooperation with the Ministry of Women's Affairs and Women's rights. 25 young women attended this workshop which focused on women's rights, discrimination and domestic violence. The seminar included substantial role play and other interactive exercises. On 27 and 28 June, MICIVIH conducted its second training seminar on Women's Rights in Jacmel. The two-day workshop was attended by members of popular organisations as well as female police officers and justices of the Peace neighbouring communes. Twenty per cent of the participants were male. As a follow-up to the first Women's rights seminar, observers in Gonaives will provide technical support for trainers interested in providing women's rights workshops.

MICIVIH also assisted a popular organisation in conducting a half-day seminar on violence against women in Raboteau (Gonaïves). Twenty-three women from two women's organisations in the area attended.

An all-day seminar for journalists in Gonaives on 1 June drew 34 local and national correspondents from the upper Artibonite for discussion of human rights, the justice system and the role of the police. A PNH officer responsible for community relations took part in the seminar along with Civpol officers, and MICIVIH staff members.

MICIVIH organized a seminar for journalists in Jérémie on 15 and 16 June. Twenty-nine journalists and five HNP officers participated. An HNP inspector made a presentation on the role of the police and responsed to questions from journalists. The police and journalists have asked MICIVIH to mediate dialogue between the two beleaguered groups in the future.

MICIVIH met with Minister of Education Jacques Edouard Alexis and subsequently Ministry Director General Nanie Piou to discuss MICIVIH support to the Ministry for the development of plans and programs for human rights and civic education.

MICIVIH met with the director of the Haitian Coalition for the Defence of Child's rights (Coalition Haïtienne pour la défense des droits de l'Enfant) to discuss MICIVIH support for the coalition of 28 organisations' efforts to put in place a National Committee for Child's rights. The objective of the coalition is to help Haiti progress toward full compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, officially adopted by Haiti in June 1995.

Conflict resolution activities

On 11 and 12 June, an observer from Gonaives traveled with a MICIVIH contracted trainer of mediation techniques throughout the lower Artibonite to meet with peasant mediators involved in key land conflicts in the region. MICIVIH attended a mediation session in Petit Riviere de l'Artibonite and the meeting of the Pont Sondé Land Conflict Working Group in order to provide support to the local authorities involved in the initiatives.

In June, MICIVIH launched a pilot conflict resolution training project in Haiti. The project which is supported by UNESCO "Culture of Peace" program is aimed at strengthening the role of civil society and local authorities in the prevention and resolution of community conflict. As part of the program, a seminar was held on 22 and 23 June in Gonaives bringing together for the first time a range of judicial authorities from throughout the Artibonite. The purpose of the seminar was to upgrade the mediation skills of the judges and public prosecutors.

MICIVIH hosted an introductory seminar in "Conflict Resolution" in Port-au-Prince on 27-29 June. The thirty participants, who represented human rights NGOs based in Port-au-Prince as well as the départements du Nord, Nord-Ouest and the Grand Anse, received training in conflict analysis and resolution techniques, including examining psychological factors which impact on collective and individual behaviour. Particular attention was paid to police/community relations.

Raising awareness activities

In an effort to spark interest and local participation in the production of human rights murals, MICIVIH observers in Jérémie sponsored an art competition. Local artists were asked to submit works with a human rights theme. Catholic Church authorities in Jérémie have agreed to allow the victorious artist in MICIVIH's ongoing art competition to paint a human rights mural on the catholic presbytery's perimeter wall.

MICIVIH prepared and delivered a package of UN publications on human rights to the chief librarian of the National Haitian Library in Port-au-Prince. MICIVIH distributed kits containing international human rights instruments to courts in Les Cayes and Aquin.

Public information activities

MICIVIH launched a three-month nationwide campaign of human rights promotion through the media in early June. 27 provincial radio stations and 18 provincial television stations have contracted with MICIVIH to broadcast civic education spots at least six times a day throughout the month of June. The short script messages concern the rights of persons in detention, child domestic labor (restavek), citizens' participation in democracy and the constitutional bar against defamation. Two Port-au-Prince radio stations, Radio Haïti Inter and Radio Nationale d'Haïti which had broadcast these spots under contract in April and May, continued to do so although no longer under contract.

In Jérémie, MICIVIH launched a series of human rights promotional radio programs called Magistrats en Ligne. The programs are broadcast by RADIO TET ANSAM which reaches the entire département de la Grande Anse, as well as Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes and Jacmel. RADIO TET ANSAM has offered to air programs in the series twice a week free of charge from 10 June to 10 August. The format allows the listening audience to call in and pose questions to the Observers and their guest speaker. The first program focussed on the powers and functions of the justices of the Peace. The second program dealt with the Police and a 45-minute interview between MICIVIH and the local police inspector was broadcast. The third program was on the rights of prisoners and the functioning of the prison system. The special guests were three APENA officers who fielded questions from callers and from the two Commission Justice et Paix representatives in the studio.

A three minute MICIVIH radio information program on judicial reform was distributed to 12 Port-au-Prince radio stations and 18 provincial radio stations. Audio cassettes containing a two-hour compilation of contributions by participants during MICIVIH's Medicine and Human Rights Week in May were distributed to 4 Port-au-Prince radio stations and 18 provincial radio stations.

In Cap Haitian, MICIVIH's production "Rapports entre Gouvernants et Gouvernés"was aired regularly on local television.

A press release marking the first anniversary of the deployment of the Haitian National Police was issued on 12 June. MICIVIH issued three press releases on the following activities: a second nationwide series of seminars on local government and citizen participation in the democratic process, the launch of a pilot conflict-resolution training project and a series of training seminars on Women's Rights.

MICIVIH Executive Director gave interviews to the Dow Jones News Service, the OAS Information Unit, the Caribbean News Agency, US News and World Report, the National Public Radio, Radio Tropicale d'Haïti, Radio Plus and the Miami Herald. MICIVIH Deputy Executive Director delivered a lecture on Human Rights in the Democratic Transition at the Institut français and was interviewed by Radio Galaxie in its noon "l'heure de la vérité" slot. MICIVIH Chief of section for Human Rights Promotion and Protection gave an interview to Radio Haïti Inter.

MICIVIH Executive Director was invited to make a presentation on Human Rights and Diplomacy at a seminar organized by the National Diplomatic Academy. The occasion was taken to remit a copy of MICIVIH report on the Judiciary System to the President of the Academy.

MICIVIH made a presentation at UNMIH Headquarters on its activities, mandate and history to 12 professors who conduct strategic studies at various universities in Canadian support of defence policies. The participants were visiting Haiti to observe both the operations and the partners of Peacekeeping Mission