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#4927: JUSTICE FOR HAITI (fwd)
August 22, 2000
First of all, welcome to everyone new to the Campaign for the Return of
the FRAPH/FADH Documents. The Campaign, launched by Haitian grassroots
organizations, with supporters in over 40 countries, demands the return of
approximately 160,000 pages of documents (including "trophy photos" of human
rights victims with their torturers, as well as video and audiocassettes)
removed from Haitian military and paramilitary offices by U.S. troops in
1994. These documents are the legal property of Haiti under Haitian, U.S.
and international law. They are important for Haitians to establish the
truth about the 1991-94 military dictatorship, and to prepare cases against
those responsible for the regime's human rights violations.
I. Progress For Justice in Haiti
Groups active in the Campaign have been busy on other, fronts, and are
seeing results. The trial for the Carrefour Feuilles massacre (a May 1999
police killing of 11 people) started yesterday in Port-au-Prince. The
Raboteau massacre (an April 1994 military/paramilitary attack against an
entire neighborhood in Gonaives) trial has been set for September 12. These
trials are historic accomplishments for the Haitian justice system, but in
both cases the motor behind the progress was the persistence of victims and
The FRAPH/FADH documents will be missed at the Raboteau trial. They
would have testified eloquently against those most responsible for the
massacre, the military and paramilitary leadership. The documents' absence,
however, will not prevent the prosecution of the twenty-two defendants in
custody. The cases against them are based on eyewitness testimony of their
participation in the massacre, corroborated by physical evidence. The
FRAPH/FADH documents would make the cases against those in court easier, but
due to the courage and tenacity of the people of Raboteau, there will be
enough evidence for the jury.
Groups in the campaign played a leading role in July's "Month of
Mobilization for Justice for Jean Dominique et Jean-Claude Louissant." The
action succeeded in raising the profile of the Jean Dominique investigation,
and applying pressure on the authorities to pursue the case.
Many of the Campaign's supporters in the U.S. participated in the
successful protest by the Coalition to Return Toto Constant to Haiti on
August 12 in New York. Constant, the former head of the the FRAPH
paramilitary organization, is wanted in Haiti for murder, torture and other
crimes. He was ordered deported by a U.S. immigration judge in 1995 because
of his record of massive human rights violations. He currently resides in
II. Campaign Activities
Campaign members met with Adama Dieng, the UN Human Rights Commission's
Independent Expert for Haiti in August. Mr. Dieng noted that last April, the
Human Rights Commission passed a general resolution requesting "all
interested Governments to make available to the Government of Haiti
information and documentation to enable it to prosecute the perpetrators of
human rights violations...." He is optimistic that if the U.S. does not
comply with its obligation to return the Documents by the November 2000 U.N.
General Assembly Session, the Assembly will take a stronger position.
This year, as last, we expect to mobilize around the General Assembly.
Activities will include lobbying national delegations, public statements
advocating the Documents'return, and a demonstration at the U.N. in New York.
This year it will be particularly important to lobby the "Friends of Haiti",
Argentina, Canada, France and Venezuela, so we ask our supporters in those
countries to think of ways they can help. We will provide more information
as things develop, but in the meantime contact Steeve Coupeau of Haiti
advocacy for information on the New York activities.
An August New York Times article on the movement to end impunity in Haiti
included a section on the Documents and the Campaign (email us for a copy).
III. Documents in Other Countries
Several other countries recently asked the U.S. for information regarding
massive human rights violations on their territory. In June, Honduras
renewed its call for more documents from the State Department, the CIA, and
the Pentagon (1,500 pages were delivered in December). Last Thursday in
Chile, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced plans to release
11,000 documents on the Pinochet regime to prosecutors, on top of 7,000
previously released. The day before, Secretary Albright was asked for
documents by Argentinian human rights groups, and said she would push for
The Campaign supports these efforts for truth and justice in Latin
America, but it notes that for Haiti, the case for return is even more
compelling: the FRAPH/FADH documents, are not U.S. documents containing
secret or classified U.S. information. They are documents that were in the
control of Haitian military and paramilitary personnel, and improperly
removed from Haiti.
If you would like the French version of this letter, let us know (same if
you would like your name off the list). For more information on the
Campaign, contact the website, http://members.bellatlantic.net/~advocacy or:
in Europe: Haiti Support Group, email@example.com; in Haiti: Bureau
des Avocats Internationaux, 168 Avenue John Brown, Port-au-Prince, phone:
509-245-8550, fax 509-245-0371, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Everywhere else:
Haiti Advocacy, c/o Steeve Coupeau, P.O.BOX 206, New York, NY 10025, E-mail:
email@example.com. This is update #16.
Brian Concannon Jr.