Ex-Haiti dictator due in court

2013-02-21 14:18

Port-au-Prince - Two years after his return to Haiti following 25 years in exile, ex-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier is due in court on Thursday as a judge mulls whether he can be tried for crimes against humanity.

Known as "Baby Doc", Duvalier was the world's youngest head of state when, at the age of just 19, he succeeded his late autocratic father Francois "Papa Doc" in 1971.

His rule was initially seen as more benign, before he too adopted hard-line dictatorial measures.

He was eventually overthrown in 1986 and spent a quarter of a century in exile in France.

Since his return a year after the 2010 earthquake that devastated the Port-au-Prince region and left more than a quarter of a million dead, several Haitian individuals and groups have attempted to bring charges against him.

Former opposition figures have accused him of deploying the feared Tonton Macoute militia and of complicity in murder, torture and kidnapping.

But, to the disgust of human rights organisations, a Haiti court decided last year that too much time had passed for him to be charged with crimes against humanity, which are protected by a statute of limitations.

On Thursday, a Haitian judge is expected to hear an appeal against that decision, although Duvalier's lawyer Fritzo Canton told AFP that the defence had lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court and therefore the other court was taken off the case.

Amnesty International has sent an observer to Thursday's hearing. The appeal being considered was brought by victims of human rights violations.

Duvalier had initially been supposed to appear in court on 7 February, but failed to show up and instead sent a letter accusing the judge of taking the plaintiff's side and asking for the hearing to be postponed.

The anniversary when Duvalier was overthrown in 1986 was 7 February, and Canton argued it had been "unwise" for the judge to summon him to appear on "a date so charged with resentment and emotion”.

On Wednesday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reminded Haiti of its duty to probe, prosecute and punish human rights violations.

"The IACHR reiterates that Haiti, as a state party to the American Convention on Human Rights, has an international obligation to investigate and if necessary punish those responsible for the gross human rights violations committed during the regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier," it said in a statement.

  • fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 14:38

    lest it be forgotten who put and propped up these brutal kleptomaniac tyrants in power, the likes of Mobuto, Pohl Pot, Somoza, Sadaam, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet,etc... They hate dictators, don't they. Watch what they do and NOT what they say!

      mc.segal.5 - 2013-02-21 14:50

      Seems that any criminal head of state is welcome in France.....shame on france...

      mc.segal.5 - 2013-02-21 14:50

      Seems that any criminal head of state is welcome in France.....shame on france...

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-02-21 16:14

      What a reductio ad absurdum of so called 'support' for dictators . You chastise for this so called 'support' of dictators but then support these kinds of regimes and groups. Thats a hypocracy that exposes a agenda of slander. For example ,The People's Republic of China was regarded as the main international support for the Khmer Rouge and its leader Pol Pot, the chinese provided financial and military support . Don't let me get into the UN's support for them . Reality is that not all dictators are they same and sometimes the one in power is a far better option than the one coming in .Lets look at Iran , the Shah's removal didn't quite usher in a better era of rule by hard line religous extemists .Have a look at Chile closer and the period called the 'Miracle of Chile' and how they look now , Pinochet was a dirty torturing bastard but nothing compared to others. You can of course completely forget the shadow of the cold war and offer certain 'facts' with ommision of all others. Lets look at Amin's (the wife eater) rule which was characterised by human rights abuse, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement. The number of people killed as a result of his regime is estimated by international observers and human rights groups to range from 100,000 to 500,000 . Who were his military supporters ? I'll give you a little hint , smells like vodka .

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 16:37

      That's my point, the western governments overlooks the wrongs of dictatorships as long as they are their client states, eg. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and all the other Middle Eastern aristocratic and kleptocratic dictatorships, as well as the 'Stan countries' e.g. Uzbekistan, and of course all the post-war backed and US trained dictatorships in Latin America. All summed up by US president Roosevelt describing one of the worst Latin American dictators, Somoza of Nicaragua with the words - "Somoza may be a son of a b...h, but he's OUR son of a b...h." You've made my point for me, thank you!

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 17:01

      Both the Russians and the Chinese have been honest about their political ideology and haven't been masquerading as defenders of democracy, human rights and all things apple pie, which is what the US and its sidekicks does, which is my point really. The US takes the moral high ground because it built the moral high ground, outsiders are not even allowed to occupy the same time zone. People who aren't brain washed and/or intellectually naive will notice the difference between what Washington PREACHES and DOES on the other hand as being night and day. They are masters at double-speak! "The pretence of defending democracy and human rights is negated by history." -Rev. Frank Chikane

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-02-21 17:18

      Both their ideologies resulted in over 50m deaths . Well done, you kept to your principles. Its a joke .

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 17:43

      That may be/have been so, but they are not proselytizing any form of religion or ideology to other countries, and exporting these systems using bombs. If nothing else, they are perfectly honest in their benign indifference to the social and political arrangements of the countries they do business with. American foreign and military policy has been built entirely on lies - mostly about liberty and democracy. The “Red Man” said it best, “white man speak with forked tongue”. It is this very flaw that is at the heart of American failure. One cannot proclaim “liberty and justice for all”, then act in ways diametrically opposed to the claim and expect that (a) no one will notice the discrepancy, and that (b) life (for you) will proceed apace and without a hitch! Applying different standards of morality from the one's you apply to yourself is plain duplicity and hypocrisy! That is the difference, and the point I was making in my initial post!

  • fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 14:39

    Moderator, stop binning my posts!

      mc.segal.5 - 2013-02-21 14:51

      just post it again.....

      mc.segal.5 - 2013-02-21 14:51

      just post it again.....

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 15:28

      My posts are constantly being removed, especially if they are factual, unflattering to the western powers and have accompanying links. Watch this one disappear when there's a shift change at News24. It's a kind of censure!

      johan.harlaar.9 - 2013-02-21 17:33

      so far you are still here.

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 19:23

      I hadn't realised that, thanks for letting me know!

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