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#165: This Week in Haiti 17:17 7/14/99 (fwd)
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* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
July 14 - 20, 1999
Vol. 17, No. 17
THE CARREFOUR-FEUILLES MASSACRE:
FAMILIES IMPATIENT WITH PACE OF INVESTIGATION
More than six weeks after the massacre of 11 people in the Port-au-
Prince neighborhood of Carrefour-Feuilles, authorities still have
not made public the results of their investigation nor arraigned
any of the policemen reportedly involved in the shootings. They
have, however, formed a new investigating commission.
Residents of the neighborhood say that the execution-style killings
were carried out on May 28 by a group of policemen, including Port-
au-Prince Police Chief Jean-Colls Rameau, who is under arrest after
having tried to flee the country (see Haiti Progres, Vol. 17, No.
12, 6/9/99). Authorities are still searching for several other
policemen implicated in the killings who have disappeared.
On Jun. 29, the families of the victims in conjunction with the
Resistance Committee of Carrefour-Feuilles (KOREKAF) held a press
conference where they accused the government of foot-dragging. "The
government wants to lull us to sleep, is turning in circles, and
everything is fixed it seems," said Arnold Morelus, the father of
one of the victims. They also said that they wanted to deal with
the case "collectively," but that the government was only meeting
with people "one by one," which they saw as a move to divide and
weaken their demands for justice and reparations. The families of
the victims said they wanted a lawyer to represent them and KOREKAF
to accompany them in their dealings with the government. "Each time
we ask to be helped by a lawyer so that we don't take a wrong
decision or sign some paper, [Prime Minister Jacques Edouard
Alexis] doesn't work it out with us," complained Makintosh S. Jean,
another member of the victims' families.
Finally Alexis and Justice Minister Camille Leblanc met with the
families on Jul. 7 at the Justice Ministry. They said that the
government would pay for any lawyer that the families chose to
represent them at the trial. But the lawyer is not supposed to
negotiate reparations with the government, they made clear. "We
have to make a difference between reparations and accompaniment
funds," Alexis said. "Reparations come after the court has rendered
its verdict... That is when the court can come and award damages
for the criminals to pay and perhaps for the Haitian state to pay
So far, the government has given an undisclosed sum to the families
of the victims to pay for funerals and to help support those
widowed and orphaned. "These are not reparations," Alexis said, "
these are accompaniment funds,". In other words, government
largesse to be accepted gratefully, not combatively, by the people
of Carrefour-Feuilles. The amount of "accompaniment funds" is being
kept secret to protect the recipients from thieves who might rob
them, Alexis said.
After the meeting, the victims' family members seemed to accept the
government's definition of reparations, but not their excuses about
the crawling investigation. State Prosecutor Jean Auguste Brutus
and Police Inspector General Luc Eucher Joseph have both said that
eyewitnesses to the massacre have refused to come forward. "Myself
personally, I gave them my telephone number, my address, and my
work telephone number," said eyewitness Louis Fritznel, who is also
a KOREKAF spokesman. "Now they come and say that people don't want
to testify. I would like them to say exactly where and when they
ever invited people who supposedly didn't want to come testify."
A Justice Ministry official told Haiti Progres that the government
has just formed a commission of three judges -- Jocelyne Pierre,
Claudy Garsant and Jean Eddy Darang -- to carry on the
investigation of the killings already started by prosecutor Brutus.
They have three months to submit their findings.
FLOUR MILL WORKERS DEMAND COMPENSATION
Last October, the state flour mill, La Minoterie d'Haiti, was
illegally privatized and renamed Les Moulins d'Haiti, which is 70%
owned by two U.S. agrobusiness behemoths: Continental Grain Company
and the Seaboard Corporation.
After the Dec. 15 inauguration of Les Moulins, the 622 employees
who had worked at the Minoterie were supposed to collect severance
pay. But since that time, all they have had are promises and
meetings after meetings, they angrily protested during yet another
meeting in Laffiteau industrial park area on Jul. 8.
Les Moulins rehired only about 200 workers, who complain that the
new management overworks employees and forbids the formation of a
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