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#459: Lawsuits filed in France against Haiti's Duvalier (fwd)
Lawsuits filed in France against Haiti's Duvalier
10:41 a.m. Sep 10, 1999 Eastern
PARIS, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Four suits alleging crimes against humanity
were registered before a French court on Friday against former Haitian
dictator Jean-Claude ``Baby Doc'' Duvalier, justice sources said.
Duvalier is believed to live in France although his exact whereabouts
are unknown. The complaints were from Haitians resident in France who
had fled their country in the 1980s saying they were tortured during
Duvalier's 1971-1986 rule. Their lawyer, Basile Ader, told reporters the
plaintiffs did not wish to be identified. The court will first have to
determine whether the complaints can be heard since French law only
covers crimes against humanity which occurred during World War Two.
Duvalier, now 49, sought refuge in France when he was overthrown in
1986, but his whereabouts have been officially unknown to authorities
since 1995 when he disappeared from a Riviera hotel amid reports that he
had run out of money. Duvalier took power in Haiti on the death of his
father, Francois Duvalier or ``Papa Doc.'' In May, a court in Grasse,
southern France, threw out two lawsuits accusing ``Baby Doc'' of living
illegally in France. The Interior Ministry has acknowledged that
Duvalier lacks the necessary papers to live in France, but the state is
believed to have taken no action to try to track him down.