MICIVIH ACTIVITY REPORT
8 February - 31 March 1996
On 9 February 1996, President Préval made a formal request for the continuation
of the Mission.
On 21 February, MICIVIH headquarters in Port-au-Prince were moved from
Montagne Noire to Delmas 31 as part of the downsizing and restructuring of the Mission.
Towards the end of February, when it became clear that enabling resolutions would
not be rapidly adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Permanent
Council of the Organization of American States, a decision was taken to resume activities.
On 11-12 March, a meeting of all the regional offices'coordinators took place in
MICIVIH headquarters to discuss the future strategies, policies and programme of activities
of the Mission.
Following is a report on MICIVIH activities during the period 8 February - 31 Mars
1996, the three main activities of the Mission being human rights verification, human rights
promotion and institution-building.
HUMAN RIGHTS VERIFICATION
MICIVIH continued to monitor human rights violations. Verification was used
increasingly to identify structural weaknesses, shortcomings and general patterns and to
recommend to the authorities technical or administrative remedies. MICIVIH then
followed-up whether action has been taken or not to help prevent the recurrence of any
malpractices, abuses or human rights violations.
MICIVIH investigated a number of police-related incidents including police
misconduct during demonstrations, cases of alleged shootings by HNP and other State
agents, a case of bribery, allegations of human rights abuses by communal agents and
CASEC members, and allegations of abuse in police custody.
MICIVIH also investigated official action in the wake of human rights abuses and
misconduct by police brought to the attention of authorities and monitored the
authorities'commitment to addressing human rights problems via the courts.
In what has been the most serious incident of HNP misconduct to date, MICIVIH
investigated the violent clashes between security forces and armed individuals in Cité Soleil
on 6 March, which resulted in at least 8 deaths. In a 8 March press release as well as in a
13 March letter to the Minister of Justice, MICIVIH urged the government to conduct an
inquiry into these events. Upon his request, MICIVIH provided Mr. Eusher, re-appointed
Inspecteur Général of the HNP with information about the 6 March violence in Cité Soleil
to help him to conduct investigations of complaint of police abuses. MICIVIH was
particularly concerned to monitor police and judicial investigations of the incidents, in
particular the autopsies of the bodies. MICIVIH observers visited the national Penitentiary
on 25 March and interviewed four of six people arrested and detained on 6 March in Cité-Soleil.
MICIVIH observers were present in the office of the Commissaire du
Gouvernement when ten Service d'Intelligence Nationale (SIN) members attempted to
arrest the former mayor of Gressier at the Parquet in Port-au-Prince on 14 March. On 22
March MICIVIH expressed its concern on the incident in a letter to the Secretary of State
for Public Security.
MICIVIH collected information about other incidents involving HNP such as the
murder of a female HNP who was found dead on 19 March in a ravine in Delmas 105, Port-au-Prince or the wounding by gunshots of several HNP in various circumstances; and
investigated an incident where two off-duty HNP agents were shot and injured by police
in Carrefour on 18 march.
Monitoring the judicial system
MICIVIH regional team reports reflected the persistence of problems related to the judicial system. Several cases of irregular arrest and arbitrary detention were detected
MICIVIH investigated what might be a politically-motivated arrest (15 persons including
A. Azard, a PANPRAH supporter) as the grounds for the arrest seemed insufficient. It met
once again with judicial officials to request information on the judicial status of Carl Denis,
leader of the Organisation pour la Démocratie en Haïti, who has been in detention since 18
August 1995. It also monitored the instability and lack of institutional continuity
jeopardizing the functioning of the judicial system (a number of judicial officials were
dismissed and other installed by the Minister of Justice) as well as related popular protest
and violence. MICIVIH also collected evidence of the lack of independence of certain
judicial authorities and reported isolated cases of corruption.
MICIVIH monitored the prosecution of former members of the armed forces suspected of human rights violations in Gonaives, Jeremie, Hinche, and Cerca Carjaval. Some of them were released from detention, either because judges ruled there was insufficient evidence, or on technical grounds (warrants not issued in Creole).
MICIVIH also investigated the possible targeted killing of a lawyer who was
working on a land dispute in Port-au-Prince as well as the killing in Cité Soleil on 23
February of a former FRAPH coordinator. Finally MICIVIH gathered information about
three cases of popular justice resulting in 5 deaths.
MICIVIH visited prisons throughout the country to monitor conditions of detention
and collect information about the judicial status of prisoners.
MICIVIH observed that lack of infrastructure, equipment and food continues to
disrupt the functioning of certains prisons and raised the point with local authorities when
appropriate. APENA officials in Saint-Marc were refusing to accept new detainees because
of security concerns and pending the completion of repairs at the prison. MICIVIH
informed the Commissaire du gouvernement that a prisoner with tuberculosis in Grande
Rivière du Nord continued to sleep with other detainees. The nurse of the prison was
concerned that other detainees might have contracted the disease.
The quality of record-keeping varied considerably from prison to prison. In most
of the prisons (Hinche, Gonaives, Jeremie, Cap Haitian), only a minority of detainees had
been sentenced (for instance18 in 137 detainees had been convicted in Gonaives as of 13
March). MICIVIH visited the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince to investigate reports
of a large number of detainees being released between January and March 1996. MICIVIH
had previously provided the Ministry of Justice with a list of 83 detainees held in detention
without trial for more than 6 months. Only 3 of them were released. The monitoring of
releases from the National Penitentiary revealed inconsistencies in the number of releases
registered by the prison and those registered at the Courts.
MICIVIH fostered initiatives in a number of towns to improve cooperation between
police, prison and judicial officials and to reduce delays in proceedings in order to ease the
issue of overcrowding in prisons. The circular prepared by the previous governement with
the assistance of MICIVIH and other international agencies to ease overcrowding in
prisons, is now being reviewed by the new Government. In Jeremie, MICIVIH agreed to
supply the deputy Commissaire du Gouvernment with a list of prisoners to help expedite
the sentencing of detainees held without trial.
Reported cases of beatings by prison guards (in Jacmel on 26 February) were also
HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION
Human rights promotion activities, including civic education and public information
projects, were carried out throughout the country. In Port-au-Prince MICIVIH sponsored
three performances at high schools of A quoi sert la liberté?, a dance production addressing
human rights issues.
Conflict resolution activities
MICIVIH initiated contacts with national and international NGOs to discuss future
activities in the field of conflict resolution and mediation techniques. In Gonaives
MICIVIH observers attended a meeting of the Land Conflict Working Group in Pont Sondé
to provide assistance to a forum of peasant leaders involved in the mediation of land
conflict. MICIVIH was asked to run a workshop on conflict resolution techniques during
a training session for human rights monitors from the National Coalition for Haitian Rights,
scheduled for April. During a meeting with the director of the Institut National de la
Réforme Agraire (INARA), the subject of judicial reform as a necessary component of
agrarian reform and mediation programs was addressed.
Women's Day activities
In Cap Haitian MICIVIH participated in a day of reflection for International
Women's day on 8 March organized by the Ministry of Women's affairs. Observers in
Jérémie met with the mayor to plan a mural project to commemorate the day. In Port-au-Prince a camera crew filmed International Women's Day events, including a meeting of
women who had been victims of repression during the de facto years. Some of the footage
will be included in future MICIVIH news and educational videos. Also on 8 March,
MICIVIH's director for Human Rights Promotion participated in a rally attended by several
hundred women from a peasant organization in petite Rivière de l'Artibonite.
MICIVIH observers in the regions conducted or attended human rights seminars for
members of popular and community-based organizations and, in some areas, for police and
In Hinche MICIVIH participated in a civic education seminar organized by the
residents of Marécage and conducted a seminar in Papaye. MICIVIH has undertaken to
advise lawyers for the Mouvement Paysan Papaye (MPP) in the organization of dossiers,
to streamline informations relating to human rights violations cases. In Jérémie, MICIVIH
continued to conduct seminars for CASEC members. HNP members and the juge de paix
suppléant participated for the first time in a MICIVIH seminar. Similar programs were
planned for the other communes in the Grand'Anse. A pilot project for introducing human
rights programs in schools in the region was slated to begin on 15 April. In Gonaives,
MICIVIH attended a seminar for juges de paix organized by the deputy Commissaire du
Gouvernement. The seminar addressed various subjects including: the issuing of warrants,
information required for detainees'dossiers, the need for jury lists to be prepared for the
criminal assises, and methods to reduce the number of detainees. In Jacmel, MICIVIH
responded positively to a request by three people for assistance in organizing human rights
training seminars for CASECs and for a fledgling human rights organization. The three had
previously participated in a MICIVIH human rights training seminar.
MICIVIH also participated in a training seminar for human rights monitors
organized by the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, on international human rights
instruments and principles of human rights monitoring and investigation. A draft plan for
strengthening human rights NGOs in Haiti emerged from the meeting.
In Jacmel MICIVIH hosted a seminar for journalists on 23-24 March to discuss the
the rights and responsibilities of a free press and methods of investigative journalism in
human rights cases. Another session, attended by HNP, and Un civilian police, tackled the
question of relations between the police and the press, and the need for public information
about police activities. Thirty four journalists and others attended. MICIVIH responded
positively to requests from journalists in Les Cayes to conduct a similar seminar in the near
Meetings with ONGs and other UN agencies
MICIVIH met with MAP VIV, a rehabilitation project for human rights victims,
about their project for assisting women victims in their professional lives. Discussions with
MAP VIV were also held on the development of a psychotherapy program for child victims
of human rights abuse.
MICIVIH met with the Director of the Medical School in Port-au-Prince to discuss
organizing a medicine and human rights day. Contact was made with the School of Nursing
to discuss a similar initiative. Discussions were also held with representatives from several
Port-au-Prince based organizations, about ways of further developing medical assistance
to victims of human rights violations.
A meeting between MICIVIH and the UN Development Program (UNDP) was
scheduled for 21 March to explore possibilities for regular information exchanges and the
possible incorporation of some MICIVIH projects into UNDP proposals for 1997.
MICIVIH representatives met the Secretary general of the Commission Nationale Justice
et Paix to discuss the relationship between the Haitian government and non-governmental
organizations and the future work of human rights organizations. In Cap haïtian MICIVIH
met representatives from Médecins sans Frontières and Enfants du Monde to discuss
possible joint projects, including production of a series of radio programs on
A meeting was held between MICIVIH and the Resident Representative of
UNESCO in Haïti to discuss technical assistance for the development of peace promotion
activities. MICIVIH also met with representatives from the Plate-forme des Organisations
haïtiennes des droits de l'homme to discuss the establishment of a national advisory board
for human rights.
Public Information activities
MICIVIH issued two press releases. The first, on 8 March, urged the government
to conduct an inquiry into violence and shootings in Cité Soleil on 6 march. The second,
on 13 March, provided an overview of MICIVIH's activities since its return to Haïti in
October 1994 and summarized planned future programs.
MICIVIH observers and representatives from local, judicial and government
authorities in Hinche engaged in a discussion of the Haitian Constitution which was
broadcast over local radio.
MICIVIH's main concern is to help establish mechanisms and processes that
improve the functioning of institutions, prevent the recurrence of human rights violations
and preclude impunity.
The training of judges at the Ecole de la Magistrature continued during the
reporting period under a different formula. On 25 and 27 March, MICIVIH attended classes
for justices of the peace (juges de paix). Instead of making presentations, the Mission
commented on the instruction given by Haitians specialists on the status of judges, human
rights law principles and the criminal law work of the justices of the peace.
The further training of police commissioners was elaborated by CIVPOL during
March. A collection of basic documents relevant to the police was compiled, printed and
distributed by MICIVIH to CIVPOL/UNMIH. The translation into Creole of regulations
of police conduct were revised with the assistance of the Faculty of Applied Linguistics of
the State University, the foremost authority on written Creole in Haiti.
Numerous meetings were conducted in connection with the training of judges and
on other subjects related to judicial reform with representatives of donor countries, within
the ministerial working group on justice, police and prisons, and with the new Minister of
Justice, Mr. Pierre Max Antoine. The issue of implementing the three proposed Ministerial
Circulars on searches and prison overcrowding was discussed, and means are being sought
to expedite the process.
MICIVIH participated in the working groups to strengthen the police.
Other discussions took place with CECCHI, the organization funded by USAID to implement the judicial reform project, as well as with a number of organizations providing legal assistance, and with the lawyers working for the President of Haiti on preparing cases against former violators of human rights. The discussions with the latter focused on the transmission of information and the assistance MICIVIH could provide. Discussions were also held with representatives of the Brigade d'Enquête Criminelle and other officials of the HNP on their progress in investigations of past human rights cases and current incidents of apparent abuse of force. Information was transferred by MICIVIH in some of those instances.
Discussions with APENA, in conjunction with UNDP, on their organization,
training and disciplinary systems continued, reinforced by a prison visit to troubled Petit
Goâve on 15 March.
MICIVIH elaborated a draft Ministerial Circular on police detention and prepared
a first draft of a full analysis and evaluation report of the problems of the Haitian judicial
system based on the experience gathered by MICIVIH in the nine départements during
During the reporting period, MICIVIH had to adjust to its decreased size and the
reconfiguration of its teams. The meeting of coordinators in early March underlined the
need to better adjust projected programme activities to the reduced capacity of the Mission.