News24

Haiti rally calls for Duvalier trial

2012-02-08 13:04

Port-au-Prince - Dozens of victims of ex-Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier rallied here on Tuesday on the anniversary of his ouster from power to call for his trial on human rights abuses.

"Impunity cannot be our destiny in Haiti, we are here to demand justice," said Marie-Yolaine Gilles, a member of a human rights group, speaking at a gathering of former political prisoners.

"It is shameful that Duvalier can freely move about while victims of his regime cannot obtain justice," said Adrienne Gilbert, an opponent of the regime who spent four years in prison.

The event marked the ouster from power of Duvalier on February 7 1986, after a 15-year rule in which thousands of opponents were persecuted.

An investigating judge last month recommended that Duvalier should face trial for embezzlement. The judge, Jean Carves, maintained that he should not face charges for the time being for allegations of crimes against humanity despite a number of complaints filed against him.

Former political prisoner Robert Duval called that decision "outrageous" and said an appeal would be filed.

$100m embezzled


Duvalier, aged 60, led a brutal dictatorship in the impoverished Caribbean nation from 1971 to 1986 before being driven out of office and the country.

He is the son of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, who ruled Haiti from 1957 until he died in 1971.

The government estimates that more than $100m was embezzled via social programmes before Duvalier was deposed.

A year ago, Duvalier returned to the country he once ruled with an iron fist, pleading for national reconciliation as it reeled from a major political crisis sparked by disputed presidential elections.

Many feared at the time that "Baby Doc" was seeking a return to power by capitalising on the political chaos stalking the Caribbean country, devastated by a massive earthquake in 2010.

Duvalier is currently subject to a house arrest agreement under which he is not allowed to leave the capital Port-au-Prince.