October 1995

Following is a report on MICIVIH activities during the month of October. Detailed analysis of the human rights situation and of cases investigated during that period are contained in the monthly report on human rights violations.

During the reporting period, the mission continued to provide technical assistance and advisory services to the Haïtian judicial and penal authorities, to the National Commission of Truth and Justice, to the National Haïtian Police and to local human rights organisations at both local and national levels. Building and strengthening local institutions to promote and defend human rights after the departure of the Mission is one of the priorities of MICIVIH as its mandate comes to an end.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the UN, MICIVIH prepared an exhibition on its work to be part of a presentation of the work of the UN in Haïti. The exhibition was inaugurated by the UN Secretary General on 15 October. The second issue of MICIVIH-News, the newsletter on the activities of MICIVIH, was completed on 16 October.

MICIVIH officials held lengthy discussions with Adama Dieng, the independent expert on Haïti named by the Commission on Human Rights (by UN Res. 1995/70) to provide assistance to the Haïtian government in the field of human rights, to study the evolution of the human rights situation in the country, and to verify that Haïti complies with its international human rights obligations. He arrived in Haïti on 27 September for a four-day visit. M. Dieng is currently preparing a report on the implementation of resolution 1995/70, to be presented to the General Assembly of the United Nations and to the Commission on Human Rights. He visited several prisons (in Gonaïves, St Marc and Port au Prince), accompanied by MICIVIH and UNDP representatives.

A coordination meeting of Heads of Unit was held on Saturday 21 October 1995 at MICIVIH headquarters to discuss the general orientation and priorities of the work of MICIVIH until the end of its mandate in February 1996 and to reflect on future options for the mission if its extension is requested by the Government.

Twenty MICIVIH observers were seconded to the Election Observation Mission for the re-run of the elections conducted on 8 October.

As of 2 October, MICIVIH had 182 observers (86 OAS, 69 UN, 27 UNVs) and seven administrative personnel. As of 30 October, MICIVIH had 177 observers (84 OAS, 69 UN, 24 UNVs).


Henri Max Mayard, former Brigadier General of the Fad'H was killed on 3 October at Port au Prince. The crime, professionally executed in broad daylight by a group of heavily armed individuals, is similar in its modus operandi to some twenty other assassinations perpetrated in Port au Prince since the beginning of the year. MICIVIH issued a press release on 4 October condemning the assassination and welcoming the firm response of the Haïtian autorities in condemning the crime and in ordering an immediate investigation. The communiqué also made reference to the series of "Commando-style" killings which have occurred during 1995.

MICIVIH teams further investigated a number of incidents concerning the IPSF and HNP including allegations of excessive use of force and mis-treatment of suspects. The incidents were alleged to have taken place in the departements of the Artibonite, West and North. The teams also investigated allegations of misconduct by prison guards in the National Penitentiary and in Mirebalais prison. A letter was sent on 9 October by MICIVIH to the Ministry of Justice concerning abuses committed by APENA prison guards at the Port au Prince National Penitenciary, documented by MICIVIH's medical unit.


a. The Penal System

During the month of October, the members of the unit responsible for prisons work, together with the UNDP prison expert and the Deputy director of the Administration Pénitentiaire Nationale (APENA) accompanied Mr. Amadar Dieng, UN Human Rights Commission Special Rapporteur when he conducted a visit to the prisons in St Marc and Gonaives. The purpose of the visit was to obtain information on prisons for Mr. Dieng's annual report on the human rights situation in Haiti. The unit also conducted visits with the APENA-PNUD team to Port-de Paix and St. Marc to continue the evaluation of the prisons in the mentioned centers.

During the same reporting period, the unit assisted the APENA in the transferring of the files of female and minor prisoners from the National Penitentiary to the Fort National. The APENA's goal is to allow the Fort National to become a self contained prison. A new director for the Fort National prison was appointed this month by the APENA's director. The unit is currently assisting the new director in the organization of the above records.

The unit and two MICIVIH observers participated in a Forum on "Violence et Enfants en Haiti". MICIVIH observers were invited by Aide à L'Enfance-Canada and Enfants du Monde-France to talk about MICIVIH's work with minors imprisoned at the Fort National detention center.

The unit also conducted regular visits to the National Penitentiary and Petionville prison in Port au Prince to assist in the record keeping of the centers. MICIVIH teams conducted general visits in a number of prisons and observed irregularities such as the detention of minors with adults and non respect of the 48 hour limit on detention prior to judicial review. The same irregularities were observed in the Omega police station which is being used as a long-term detention center rather than a temporary holding station for individuals apprehended by police in the course of their duties.

A MICIVIH team was not able to conduct a visit of the Gonaïves prison on 5 October because a protest started as they arrived. The number of prisoners dramatically increased in the space of three weeks, passing from 60 to 140, resulting in very difficult living conditions. One of the consequence of the deployment of the new Haïtian police has been an increase in the number of arrests and the transfer of detainees from temporary detention centers to main prisons.This has resulted in a general overcrowding of prisons throughout the country. Dissatisfaction and anger among the detainees who in the majority are in pre-trial detention, threaten to disrupt the penitenciary system.

In Jacmel, UNMIH and MICIVIH discussed a project aiming at expanding the number of cells of the prison, built for 30 detainees, which hosts over 70 people. The living conditions in the prison are deplorable.

b. Haïtian National Police

MICIVIH observed the deployment of Haïtian National Police in several communes in the departements of The Grande Anse, South, North, North West, North East, West, and Centre. MICIVIH is investigating the possible use of excessive force by the HPN in a number of places. The Inspecteur Général en chef of the Police declared to MICIVIH on 11 October that he had still not been requested to investigate the killing by a policeman of a bicycle thief in Cap Haïtien which occurred on 14 September. He insisted on the necessity of the Commissaire du Gouvernement conducting a judicial investigation. As a result of some confusion as to who is responsible for conducting the investigation, the policeman responsible for the killing is not in detention and no judicial action has yet started against him.

In a letter dated 19 October to the Minister of Justice, Maître Exumé, MICIVIH's Executive Director made recommendations concerning the organization and the functioning of the police, on the basis of MICIVIH's investigations of incidents that may constitute an excessive use of force. The suggestions made in the letter focused on possible improvements of the investigation process conducted by the internal affairs department of the police, and insisted on the necessity of conducting judicial proceedings against policemen whose penal or civil responsibility was engaged.

MICIVIH gave a 2-hour presentation to the 9 sections (i.e. 750 cadets) constituting the fifth promotion of the new police force. It focused on the code of conduct of the police, and particularly on the principles related to the use of force and firearms. The Executive Director was invited to address the cadets during the graduation ceremony of the fifth promotion on 24 October 1995.

As part of a one-week human rights training organized by ICITAP, MICIVIH gave a 2-hour presentation to a first group of 50 members of the presidential security unit. Four more sessions are scheduled during the upcoming weeks for the remainding guards.

c. The judicial system

In Gonaïves, the enquiry by the examining judge into the Raboteau massacre, which began on 26 September, was briefly suspended in order to reduce the pressure exerted by the population for a quick trial. MICIVIH's Director of Human Rights, along with a team from MICIVIH, discussed the case with the Commissaire du Gouvernement and the examining judge on 5 October. In a press release issued on 11 October, Commission Justice et Paix argued in favor of summoning MICIVIH observers as witness in future trials presently under instruction concerning abuses committed during the Coup period.

MICIVIH sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice on 18 October specifying the role played by the Mission in the judicial reform. The information will be included in a chart prepared by the Ministry of Justice of all the international contributions to judicial reform.

MICIVIH distributed UN publications concerning International Standards and Norms in the field of Human Rights in the Administration of Justice to the Ecole de la Magistrature and to the Ministry of Justice. The legal unit also drafted several technical guides to be distributed to the regional bases and in order to refine the observation of the judicial proceedings.

MICIVIH met with judicial authorities on 31 October in the case of juge de paix Alcant Joseph of the Tribunal de l'Est, who was dismissed and arrested on 22 September after having ordered the release of around 20 individuals implicated in the mistreatment and death of Haïtian boat people. MICIVIH noted that the arrest did not follow procedures regulating disciplinary actions against judges and expressed concern that at the time of the interview, Alcant had not yet seen a judge.


During the month of October, 66 files containing information on human rights violations documented by MICIVIH were officially transferred to the National Truth and Justice Commission at its request and after receiving consent of the victims or of their family members. The Truth Commission Unit of MICIVIH is currently working on the preparation of further cases, at the request of the Truth Commission.

Throughout the month of October, MICIVIH continued to provide assistance and cooperation to the National Commission of Truth and Justice in the field of Forensic Anthropology with the exhumation of the bodies of a number of victims buried in Petit-Gôave, Pétionville and the coast of Arcadins.

In accordance with a proposal approved by the U.N., eight consultants were hired by MICIVIH for the Truth Commission. This includes six analysts, two for a period of three months and four for a period of two months, and also includes support for two out of the three international Commissioners: Patrick Robinson, member of the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights and Oliver Jackman, member of the Interamerican Court of Human Rights. With the assistance of the project, it is hoped that the Commission's report will be presented as planned before the end of December 1995.


On 6 October, the first meeting of observers responsible for human rights education in each of the twelve regional bases was held at MICIVIH headquarters. The meeting reviewed the activities conducted so far and provided a forum for discussion of future priorities for human rights education.

A two-day training session for MICIVIH observers involved in Human Rights education was completed on 27 October. 25 participants were trained by Haïtian consultants in animation techniques required to conduct civic education seminars.

Three local consultants have been recruited to take part in the human rights education activities including training of the trainers, elaboration of posters and materials... A requisition for training and printing materials (Haïtian Constitution, Universal Declaration, Hava booklets) to be used for the human rights education program of MICIVIH has been made. The unit also requested a contractor to be hired for the production of Audio-Video materials for the civic education campaign to be broadcasted on local media. A distribution of MICIVIH human rights education materials to the bases was carried out.


Discussions were held with some funding agencies and general project development information was transmitted to observers from the following bases: Petit-Goâve, Gonaïves, Fort-Liberté and the Medical Unit. The Unit obtained, from the Ministry of Planning, the official document outlining the conditions and procedures for recognition as an NGO in Haïti. A copy of this document, and an example of how to write the statutes of an organization, both with English translations, will be sent to each base. Additionally the List of bailleurs de fonds was translated into French for base distribution.


MICIVIH printed MICIVIH News 2 (French/English). This issue of the newsletter focused on Forensic studies and the human rights situation in Haïti.

MICIVIH's Press and Information unit completed on 20 October a 28-minute radio programme named "Ann chache konnen..." on MICIVIH's mandate and activities. The programme was distributed to 6 radio stations in Port au Prince and to all the bases for distribution to local radio stations around the country.

MICIVIH's press and information unit sent a second news-line to the UN radio unit in New-York, focusing on the first anniversary of the reopening of the MICIVIH base in Port au Prince. The unit is also preparing a second film on the justice reform in Haïti called "Justice not revenge".

On the occasion of the UN 50th anniversary, MICIVIH exhibited documents, newsletters and eight panels of photographs at the MUPANA (Museum of National Pantheon). The exhibition was inaugurated by the Secretary General of the United Nations on October, 15.

MICIVIH directors did a number of interviews.The Executive Director made a presentation to a congressional breakfast meeting of staffers, participated in an OAS panel on democracy in Haïti and made a statement during a ceremony at OAS Headquarters in Washington DC on 13 October 1995 to celebrate 1st anniversary of President Aristide's return.