Vol. 1 No. 1 August, 1995
[Image belonging to the U.N Mission in Haiti] MICIVIH News [Image belonging to the U.N Mission in Haiti]
Misyon Sivil Entènasyonal an Ayiti, OEA/ONU

International Civilian Mission in Haiti, OAS/UN - Mission Civile Internationale en Haïti, OEA/ONU

Monthly information bulletin on MICIVIH activities

MICIVIH and its mandate

The International Civilian Mission in Haiti was established as a human rights observation mission by the Organization of American States and the United Nations in February 1993, at the request of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and as part of the international effort to resolve the Haitian crisis. It is known in Creole as Misyon Sivil Entènasyonal an Ayiti, OEA/ONU; and in French as Mission Civile Internationale en Haïti, OEA/ONU, giving rise to its title: MICIVIH.

MICIVIH's human rights observers were present in Haiti from February 1993 until mid-October 1993, when they were evacuated on security grounds, and from the end of January 1994 until mid-July 1994, when they were again evacuated after the de facto authorities had declared their presence undesirable. MICIVIH's activities resumed on 26 October 1994 with the reopening of an office in Port-au-Prince. At its peak in October 1993 MICIVIH's staff had reached 230 people of 45 nationalities, and its observers operated from 13 offices spread throughout all Haiti's nine geographic departments. As of August, 1995, the Mission had 193 human rights staff (89 OAS, 104 UN in post) operating from its headquarters at the Montagne Noire above Pétionville and 11 regional offices. The agreed target deployment is 240 observers.

MICIVIH's Executive Director reports to the Secretary-General of the OAS and to the Special Representative for Haiti of the Secretary-General of the UN.

MICIVIH has a separate UN mandate from UNMIH, the United Nations Mission in Haiti, which comprises military and police components. It has a close working relationship with UNMIH, which also reports to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Haiti and provides administrative support to MICIVIH.

MICIVIH's Terms of Reference, as agreed by President Aristide, define its objective as being to ensure that the human rights inscribed in the Haitian Constitution and in international instruments to which Haiti is a party, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights, are respected in Haiti.

MICIVIH is mandated:

(I) to pay particular attention to respect for the rights to life, to the physical integrity and security of the person, to individual liberty, to freedom of expression and to freedom of association; (Cont. p. 2)Mandate . . . (Cont from p. 1)

(ii) to inform itself about the human rights situation in Haiti and to take any initiative which it judges useful to promote and respect human rights.

Under its terms of reference, MICIVIH's powers include:

*To receive communications regarding human rights violations from any person, group of persons or entity in Haiti;

*To present itself freely at any place or in any establishment, without being accompanied and without giving notice;

*To meet freely and in confidence with any person, group or member of any entity or institution;

*To collect, by the means it judges appropriate, all information which it regards as pertinent;

*To assist the judicial system to reinforce the legal means guaranteeing the exercise of human rights and the respect of legal procedures.

The Haitian authorities are committed by the Terms of Reference to provide all facilities needed and all information requested by MICIVIH, and not to obstruct it in its tasks. Members of MICIVIH enjoy immunity from arrest or detention, inviolability of all papers and documents, the right to communicate by radio and all other means of communication, and complete freedom of movement throughout the country including entry to centers of detention.

Following MICIVIH's return to Haiti in October 1994, it was agreed between the Secretaries-General of the OAS and the UN that MICIVIH would continue to give priority to the monitoring and promotion of respect for human rights in Haiti. As in the past, MICIVIH would document the human rights situation, make recommendations to the Haitian authorities, implement a civic education programme, help solve problems such as those relating to arbitrary and illegal detentions and facilitate medical assistance to victims of human rights abuse and the return of displaced persons. In addition, it was agreed that MICIVIH would monitor the human rights aspects of the electoral process campaign, in particular, respect for the freedoms of expression and association.

MICIVIH would also contribute to institution-building, particularly judicial and penal reform, the strengthening of human rights organizations and assist the newly established National Commission of Truth and Justice.


Present Assessment of Human Rights in Haiti

Since its return to Haiti in October 1994, the International Civilian Mission has noted, in reports and press statements, that there has been a considerable improvement in the human rights situation. In his 29 June 1995 (A/49/296) report to the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti, the UN Secretary-General noted that "since the deployment of the multinational force and the restoration of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the constitutional government the number of human rights violations has fallen substantially".

Summary execution, enforced disappearance, torture, politically-motivated rape, beatings and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by agents of the state - part of daily life under the period of the coup d'etat - are no longer the rule. The Mission has also observed that the freedoms of expression, association and assembly are exercised by different sectors of Haitian society, including by those strongly critical of the policies of President Aristide and his government.

This improvement in the human rights situation stems, in large part, from the dismantling of the Armed Forces of Haiti (FADH) and the neutralization of the Front révolutionnaire pour l'avancement et le progrés d'Haïti (FRAPH), which together constituted the repressive network responsible for widespread human rights violations.

Improvements are also the fruit of efforts by the Haitian Government, aided by the international community, to train and deploy a new and professional civilian police force and to carry out judicial and penal reform. The majority of judicial and police officers have made greater efforts to respect the time limits on legal procedures. Thus, many more people taken into custody are brought before a judge within the 48 hours following their arrest.

The establishment and maintenance of registers within detention centers should assist in locating arrested persons and in avoiding their disappearance while in detention. Conditions of detention have also improved greatly, although there is still room for improvement. In spite of real difficulties, efforts to bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations committed in the past have been initiated.

However, some dark shadows remain. Some reports of ill-treatment of detainees

or the abuse of power by agents of the state have been brought to the attention of the Civilian Mission. To the extent that incidents of violence are criminal in nature, they do not fall within the mandate of the Civilian Mission. Nevertheless, the Mission closely monitors events in this domain, where the State has a duty to guarantee the human rights of its citizens, even when it is not yet in a position to fully realize these guarantees, owing to the weakness of its institutions.

The Mission is concerned by a number of acts of summary justice carried out by the population, although the number of such cases has decreased sharply. It is in addition concerned by some 20 cases of "commando-style" executions, recorded since the beginning of the year, where robbery appears not to have been the motive. Among the victims were former FRAPH members, attachés and business men and women.

To date, no set of elements has emerged to link these crimes together and the identities of the killers remain unknown, although in one case a suspect has been arrested. The International Civilian Mission again urges the Haitian authorities to strengthen police and judicial capacity for criminal investigation, so that crimes will not go unpunished.

Judicial reform is a long process, one which, if it is to succeed, requires the development of a culture of independence and probity, a culture the Minister of Justice is at pains to encourage. It is also necessary to rectify existing institutional weaknesses and procedural irregularities which may jeopardize respect for human rights.

The already considerable improvement in the human rights situation must be continued. This requires the good will of the Haitian authorities and the vigilance of all Haitians.

The Civilian Mission seeks to make a continuing contribution to efforts to respect and promote human rights, including technical assistance in improving the administration of justice. It encourages the government and supports efforts it has made to strengthen institutions - particularly those whose good functioning is fundamental for human rights - so that the hopes raised by Haiti's return to constitutional order can be fully realized.


MICIVIH Role in the Electoral Process

In November 1994, soon after the return of the OAS/UN International Civilian Mission to Haiti, the authorities of the OAS and the UN took a decision that among the responsibilities the MICIVIH could fulfil within its mandate with respect to the elections for Parliament and local government would be peace promotion through facilitation of freedom of expression and of assembly; the monitoring of acts of intimidation and of violence during the election campaign as well as to the observation of elections on election days by members of MICIVIH acting as election observers under the aegis of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission (EOM).

This decision was taken in the context of the division of responsibility between the OAS and the UN with regard to these elections, in which the OAS would be responsible for the observation of the electoral process and elections and the UN would provide technical assistance for the organisation of the electoral process. In addition, the UN, because of the presence of the UNMIH, would play an important role in ensuring the security of the electoral process, including the campaign and polling days.

In March 1995, when the phase of registration of candidates and voters commenced, the observers of MICIVIH proceeded to monitor the human rights aspects of the electoral process. In addition, they also followed closely the technical aspects of the registration process, visiting the registration offices and establishing contact with election officials at various levels. The monitoring of the technical aspects of the electoral process, though not initially considered as part of the Mission's responsibilities, was facilitated by the arrival of a small group of election experts sent by the OAS. This core group

provided the human rights observers of the MICIVIH with the technical training to monitor this phase of the electoral process. The information collected and documented by MICIVIH teams throughout the country was analysed and assessed by the OAS core group of election experts who made representation and recommendations to the CEP on various aspects of the electoral process.

MICIVIH made public its own assessment of the human rights aspects of the electoral process in a press release in early May 1995 . In this document, the MICIVIH underlined that the registration process had been initially disrupted by protests and sporadic acts of intimidation and of violence because of local discontent in many places over the election officials designated. However, this situation did not persist and the registration process proceeded thereafter with few serious incidents of violence.

In April, following the decision of the OAS to field a full-fledged election observation mission, MICIVIH observers started winding down their activities of monitoring the technical aspects of the electoral process. This coincided with the end of the phase of candidate registration on 22 April, and a considerable slowing down of voter registration during the early weeks of May when the CEP called in the registration lists to do an evaluation of the evolution of the process.

MICIVIH facilitated the establishment of OAS-EOM in May by seconding a group of 15 observers to the electoral mission,most of whom had both the requisite training and field experience in Haiti and by making space in MICIVIH offices in the regions available to the OAS-EOM observers. A number of OAS vehicles used by MICIVIH were also provided as well as other logistical and technical assistance by both MICIVIH and UNMIH following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between

(Cont. p. 4)

Role on Elections . . . (Cont. from p. 3)

the UN and the OAS. This agreement also distinguished the respective responsibilities of MICIVIH and OAS-EOM with regard to the remainder of the electoral process and the election campaign. The responsibilities of MICIVIH during the electoral process included some of the traditional functions of electoral observation - confidence building, peace promotion and the monitoring of fundamental freedoms, in particular freedom of expression and

assembly, indispensable elements for a free and fair election.

The EOM was given the responsibility of observing the technical aspects of the electoral process, monitoring the impartiality of electoral authorities and the transparency of the organization and conduct of the process, planning training and organizing the deployment of international election observers; observation, on polling day, of the voting, counting and subsequent announcement of the results; and issuing reports,

evaluations and assessments on the evolution of the electoral process.

Some 157 MICIVIH observers therefore reinforced the presence of the OAS-EOM in the field on 25 June 1995, the first round of the legislative and local government elections, and during the 17 September run-offs for parliamentary seats. MICIVIH observers were also present, although in smaller numbers, during complementary elections held on 13 August.


Medical Skills at the Service of Human Rights

Violations of human rights in wars, civil conflicts, and brutal repression mounted by governments against their own citizens often have profound consequences on individuals and entire populations. These include the physical and psychological trauma of victims of intimidation, death threats, arbitrary detention, torture and rape, but also stem from deportations, the use of indiscriminate weapons, mass executions, and other violent actions in which context the participation of health workers has become a key element to guarantee not only medical assistance but also investigation and documentation of health effects on threatened people and individual victims.

Many relevant medical tasks, ranging from physical examination of individuals to forensic exhumation of mass graves can produce evidence of abuse which is usually more credible and less vulnerable to challenge than traditional methods of case reporting. Such medical documentation is far more difficult to refute than oral or written testimonies of abuse, no matter how well corroborated by witnesses.

Under the structure of the OAS/UN International Civilian Mission to Haiti (MICIVIH), this responsibility has been assumed since its establishment in 1993, by the Medical Department team. In collaboration with local doctors, medical centers and other organizations , they provided assistance to 587 victims of abuses committed after the September 1991 coup d'état. According to their last report, 59 per cent of the violations dated from 1994. By the second quarter of 1995, the doctors assisted 362 victims from whose 101 were new cases.

The basis of the Medical Department task is described in the document of Orientations and Directives for the MICIVIH Observers, known as "Manual of Haiti,"as "to help as much as possible the victims of human rights violations, and particularly the victims of bastonnades (beatings), of inhumane treatment and torture, receive the medical care required by their health condition".

In the case of prisoners, attention is focused on the poor conditions of detention, lack of hygiene, inadequate food supply, and mistreatment. According to the Manual, MICIVIH doctors and observers are in the position to assist victims of human rights violations and also eventually their relatives in both receiving emergency aid and obtaining medical reports and certificates to document their cases.


During the two previous periods of the Mission, from May-Oct 93 and Feb-July 94, MICIVIH doctors and the courageous Haitian Medical Network which MICIVIH helped to establish with local physicians, medical centers, and foreign doctors already based in the country, provided emergency care and secured the victims safety under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions. Some of these doctors had already been working on their own on helping the victims of the political crisis.

At the time of the first evacuation of the Mission in October 93, assistance was mainly provided by the care facilities connected to the medical network. "During the first and second periods of the Mission, the ongoing repression made it very difficult to provide care to victims," stated Dr. Hervé Razafimbahiny, who considers the hardest issue was to ensure the safety of the affected people in order to prevent disappearances or kidnappings. Those were the days of the numerous political killings, when rape was widely used as an instrument of terror against mothers, daughters and relatives of the persecuted or imprisoned.

At the return of the Mission in '94 from the second evacuation to Dominican Republic, the situation for the victims of violations and abuses was not different from the previous year. "Only in November 94, we took care of 115 victims, 22 of them attacked during the months of September, October and November," explained the coordinator, Marie-Thérése Vidiani. In most of the cases, the victims required ear, eye, orthopedic treatment or reconstructive surgery as a result of machete or bullet wounds. The medical aid programme had been funded by the Canadian Embassy in donations that amount to some 60.000 US dollars.

After the signing of an agreement with the French humanitarian NGO "Médecins du Monde" in December 94, and the amendment of the Terms of Reference of the MICIVIH Medical Department in Feb-March this year, the Medical Unit's activities have progressively switched from medical aid to medical documentation of cases, specifically in producing informative reports that could be accessed in the future by the victims and eventually made available to the National Truth and Justice Commission. In addition to undertaking medical and sanitary evaluation and reports of prisons under the penitentiary reform project, the Medical Unit also participates in the establishment of medical assistance to detainees.



The goal to be reached by MICIVIH Medical Unit before the end of the mandate in February 96, is the creation of a local structure of assistance (named at the present the Haitian Community Clinic for Victims of Trauma), a project to be consolidated in cooperation with local health professionals and human rights organizations, and Médecins du Monde, using similar experiences gained in other countries such as Gaza, Honduras and El Salvador. "If logic tells us that the responsibility of medical assistance to victims belongs to (Haitian) public institutions, reality also shows us their incapacity to respond to todays needs," said Vidiani. In fact, at the beginning of the political crisis, at least half of the Haitian health services were dependant on private organizations, specially NGOs.

As this pattern increased during the period of the international embargo, creating what the WHO/PAHO calls a "new partnership between the public and private structures in the health sector," MICIVIH medical staff have promoted the integration between the Medical Network and the public institutions, through a series of visits to the hospitals and care centers in the nine Haitian administrative departments.

The project of assistance to victims known as "M'ap viv," (I'm Alive) was created as result of the reflexions of two Seminars on Trauma and Repression held in February and June and looks forward to helping on a long term basis with post-treatment therapy for victims. According to Vidiani, the priority of the structure will be to provide first line assistance through local therapists. The project is now in the process of constituting itself as a non-profit organization.

"The experiences in this specific area show that it is possible to select individuals within a community who have suffered from repression, who can be very close to the victims and their living conditions and become agents of identification of the psychological problems in a better capacity than a group therapist could develop", said the coordinator.

Victims of physical abuse, especially torture, tend to develop skin lesions, lung infections, and tuberculosis due to poor conditions in prison; significant changes in the locomotor system, primarily due to beatings, severe headaches, bone and dental problems and genital tract disorders in women, usually combined with pervasive fear, panic, shame, humiliation and nightmares.

Fifty community members, people from different organizations and health professionals have participated and will be trained in Port-au-Prince from September. As a final task before the end of the Mission, the MICIVIH Medical Unit will also produce, for public distribution, a research report of the analysis of the medical and psychological consequences of repression.


********* MICIVIH Activities Report (JULY 1995)

During the reporting period the activities of MICIVIH teams, which constitute the majority of the Mission's operations, focussed largely on post-election incidents (threats, arson of elections, etc.) and on following legal proceedings related to these incidents. In addition, the observer investigated incidents related to targeted killings; summary justice; activities of the IPSF and the Haitian National Police; cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; arbitrary detention; land conflicts; the former regime; and administration of justice.

To better understand the phenomenon, a number of teams did studies on the Brigades de Vigilance. The studies provide an informative analysis of the sources of this phenomenon and the historic forces behind it. They underline that the Brigades de Vigilance came about as a protection measure for a defenceless population, and conclude that as long as the Haitian police force is perceived as inadequate the Brigades de Vigilance will continue to exist.


Training of the third and last group of prison wardens and guards was completed in the month of July. The training was organized with UNDP and the Ministry of Justice and is the first major phase of the Prison Reform Project. Some 408 prison wardens and guards were trained in basic elements of prison administration, human rights of prisoners and in the implementation of a prison registry system, one of the components of the Prison Reform Project.

Members of the Unit responsible for prison reform within MICIVIH, together with a UNDP consultant on prisons, assessed the performance of the newly trained prison wardens and guards in Cap Haitian, Grand Riviere du Nord, St. Marc, Hinche and Mirebalais. The performance of the newly trained guards was found to be satisfactory. During the assessment process MICIVIH stressed the importance of proper registration of prisoners according to Haitian law and international standards which is a necessary step to accelerate the legal process.

Members of the Unit also took part in the work of the steering-committee on prison reform which includes representatives of Administration of the National Penitentiary (APENA), UNDP, the United States Agency for International Development, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the United Nations Mission in Haiti. During that meeting the committee discussed the question of having a computerized registry of prisoners. It was concluded that the only way to register the prisoners in the provinces in the immediate future is by using the book-register which was developed as part of the UNDP/MICIVIH prison reform project.

During the reporting period MICIVIH assisted the correction officers at the National Penitentiary in updating the registration files of prisoners. In an exemplary effort to improve the sanitary conditions of the prison in Port-de-Paix and to improve the health care provided to detainees in that prison, MICIVIH observers brought these difficulties to the attention of the Government Commissioner and the Director of the Public Hospital and ensured that detainees in poor health are received in the Public Hospital and that the Director of the Hospital visits the prison once a month. The observers also ensured that necessary cleaning material is given to the prison and monies provided for that purpose.

On 17 July MICIVIH issued a press release noting that Mr. Duly Brutus, a PANPRA candidate for deputy, was arrested on a Saturday and remained in prison during the weekend because neither the State Prosecutor nor his deputy were able to see him. The press release pointed out that the mission would be following-up this case with great interest to ensure that the stipulation of Haitian legal and criminal procedures were fully respected.


On 3 July, the National Commission for Truth and Justice identified 73 "priority cases" out of the 142 that were transmitted to it on 5 May 1995, by MICIVIH, along with the model of the form for transmission of information. These priority cases were selected by the technical staff of the National Commission on the basis of the gravity of the facts and the information available on the modus operandi of the perpetrators. Along the same criteria, a second list of 27 cases was identified by the Commission on 14 July.

MICIVIH staff working with the National Commission and members of the Commission itself continued to hold working-level meetings to identify additional "priority cases" to be transmitted to the Commission once the consent of the victims or their families is obtained. Most of the day to day work of the Unit during the month of July focussed on the preparation of these priority cases in the proper format for the future transmission to the Commission.

On 15 July 1995, the National Commission deployed 11 four-person-teams in all of the geographical Departments. Four of these teams were deployed in Port-au-Prince and Gonaïves. (Cont. p. 7)

Activities Report . . . (Cont. from p. 6)

In agreement with the CEP, the Commission has been using some of the office-space of the BEDs and the BECs to hold interviews with witnesses and victims of human rights abuses. MICIVIH offices have been providing the Commission teams with advice and some technical support. The Commission has held some interviews with victims and witnesses of human rights abuses, and all the information collected during these interviews will be computerized.

On 20 July MICIVIH held a meeting at the executive level with all the members of the Commission where it reiterated its readiness to cooperate closely with the National Commission. A memorandum of understanding aiming at providing the framework for cooperation and assistance between the Commission and MICIVIH was prepared and discussed. However, the memorandum has not yet been agreed to by the Commission as a few details need to be finalized. During this meeting the MICIVIH raised the issue of methodology with regard to exposing the structure of the repressive networks.

The National Commission has been experiencing some financial difficulties and has approached the United Nations with a formal request for financial assistance. A number of meetings were held between the National Commission, MICIVIH and the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) to obtain the details necessary for the assessment of the request and the possibility of providing the Commission with this financial assistance. The SRSG indicated his preliminary acceptance of the principle of the request and the details were left for MICIVIH and the National Commission to finalize.


Almost all of the mission's observers and Headquarters staff were deployed with OAS-EOM to observe the 25 June elections.

The observers continued to work with the elections for a few days after polling day so as to follow the counting process both at the BiVs and the BECs. In addition the teams carried out peace promotion exercises in several localities to defuse building political tension related to the post-electoral process. They also followed the legal proceedings of persons arrested in connection with the post-electoral incidents.

In the context of its mandate to observe the situation of human rights during the electoral process, MICIVIH issued press releases on its investigation of incidents of election-related violence reported on the eve of the poll, on polling day and during the period of the count for the legislative and location elections of 25 June, and on the partial elections of 13 August, 1995. (See p. 8)


Members of the Unit responsible for project information visited Gonaïves (Anse Rouge, and Raboteau), with the UNDP-Environment Project representative, Mr. Gaston Georges, where they met with community groups who had submitted several projects to UNDP for funding. Following that visit UNDP agreed to fund a reforestation and soil conservation project proposed by ARCAR (Association des Réfugiés d' Anse Rouge) in the Téte Beouf quartier of Anse Rouge. Members of the Unit also visited the "Life is Wealth" Orphanage in order to facilitate contact between the Orphanage and the non-governmental organization, "Food for the Poor". During the reporting period some 13 project demands were received by the various offices for transmission to prospective donors. These projects were related to reforestation, soil conservation, and training for non-governmental organizations in human rights issues.


The Unit responsible for Civic Education provided posters on human rights and other written material in support of a Seminar on "Civic Education and Reintegration for young Repatriates" of Guantanamo Base. The Seminar was organized by "Save the Children USA" and was attended by national and international NGO's. The Unit met with representatives of UNICEF and agreed to assist in a future human rights education program that is to be presented to the personnel of the Center for re-education of minors in Delmas. The Unit also agreed to provide Martin Luther King's Foundation for the defense of human rights with support for its civic education program. The regional teams continued to make presentations on human rights and elections to a variety of organizations and associations.


Civic Education Poster

Press and Information Unit Production


Jun 23: Electoral Observation. RonGould - Colin Granderson


July 14: Election-related violence incidents investigated by MICIVIH. The Mission informed that there were four cases of serious violence and most of the incidents which were reported took place in the Departments of the North, North-East, Artibonite and Grande-Anse. The departments most free of such incidents appeared to be the Departments of the Centre and the South-East.

July 17: Arrestation in irregular conditions of Duly Brutus, PANPRA candidate for Deputy at Limbé, Department of Nord.

Aug 16: Administration of Justice. The Mission noticed its concern regarding respect to the right to liberty and security

of the person and the right to constitutional and legal guarantees during elections.

Aug 22: Observation of the partial elections of 13 August. MICIVIH regretted the weak civic education campaign and electoral campaign and that the access of political parties and candidates to the media was announced late by the Ministry of Information. The Mission also noted that no serious violent incidents disrupted the electoral process and expressed the hope that the second round will take place in the same climate.


- MICIVIH Presentation Video for the OAS 25th General Assembly. 10 min.

- "A Day in MICIVIH", creole version for distribution to the offices in the province and local media.

- Video programme on electoral observation. 6 min.

- Video programme on justice and penal reform. 7 min.

- Videotape of Gérard Gustave "Zimbawe" trial, convicted for his

involvement in the assasination of Antoine Izmery.


Aug 23: On the occasion of the donation of two paintings to MICIVIH in recognition ofr its work by Haitian painter Kesa Joel Martial , MICIVIH invited the press to visit its headquarters. A dozen of journalists from the Port-au-Prince main radio and TV stations came to Montagne Noire where they were briefed by senior staff. Martial was himself a victim of human rights abuses who received assistance from MICIVIH observers.