[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

5356: Fwd: Haiti News Summary - October 25, 2000 (fwd)

From: radman <resist@best.com>
>From: HaitiNewsSummary@aol.com
>Haiti News Summary - October 25, 2000
>The Following is a brief summary of news from Haiti.  Individual sources,
>mostly from within Haiti, are cited at the end of each item.  If you do not
>wish to continue to receive this news summary please e-mail us at
>HaitiNewsSummary@AOL.com and we will remove you from the distribution list.
>Also feel free to send the addresses of anyone else you know who would like
>to be added to this list.
>Negotiations Stall - Fanmi Lavalas Makes Public its Position
>Negotiations between the OAS, Fanmi Lavalas and the grouping of opposition
>parties came to a deadlock late Friday night after a week of intense talks.
>Luigi Enaudi, the OAS representative left Haiti on Saturday, but in his
>report to the OAS this week he refused to call the negotiations a failure.
>He reported that the parties had come much closer to agreement than ever
>before, and had held face-to-face talks for the first time.  While there was
>agreement reached on some issues such as the possibility of changing the CEP
>the major stumbling block remained disagreement about the May 21st elections.
>In the negotiations the "Democratic Convergence", as the grouping of
>opposition parties is called, took the position that all the Senators and
>deputies who issued from the May 21st elections should be unseated.  They
>also asked that all locally elected territorial assemblies be replaced by
>individuals chosen through negotiations with the Democratic Convergence
>selecting half of them.  In all 7,500 people were elected in the May 21
>elections.  Fanmi Lavalas won overwhelmingly nationally and locally.  The OAS
>has disputed only 9 Senate races, which it claims should have gone to a
>second round.
>In a written document made public this week Fanmi Lavalas made its position
>The text of that document follows:
>Fanmi Lavalas engages itself to:
>- respect the will of the voters as together with the Opposition it searches
>for a political and legal solution to the controversies raised by the May 21,
>2000 elections in particular the contested Senate seats;
>- encourage the authorities of the State to create an evaluation commission
>charged with examining the contested Senate seats. This commission will
>examine the problem concerning the counting method used for the senatorial
>race on May 21. These solutions should violate neither the Constitution nor
>the laws of the Republic;
>- participate in the forthcoming November 26th elections with the current
>Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) or a CEP that includes citizens proposed
>by the Opposition, Fanmi Lavalas and the authorities of the State;
>- encourage financing for electoral activities of recognized political
>parties presenting candidates in the elections;
>- contribute to the climate of peace and security by cultivating tolerance,
>moderation and mutual respect;
>- encourage all measures aimed at reinforcing democracy.
>Hopes that:
>- The Executive will assure the professional conduct of the police that must
>protect the election and the electoral activities with the maximum amount of
>- the Executive will establish a mechanism that will permit the cooperation
>of the political parties to help the police maintain stability;
>- the Executive will launch a Civic Education program for security and peace;
>- the political parties will contribute to the climate of peace and security
>by cultivating tolerance, moderation and mutual respect;
>- the political parties engage themselves to not incite violence and to take
>measures against their partisans if they resort to violence;
>-that all political parties will have equal access to the State media.
>(End of text - courtesy of AHP)
>With negotiations at a stand still the Haitian government is prepared to go
>forward with the elections as previously scheduled on November 26, 2000.
>On October 5, 2000 Jean-Bertrand Aristide officially registered as a
>candidate for the presidency.  He was accompanied to the electoral office on
>Delmas by a crowd estimated at over 100,000 people.  In preparation for the
>event residents of the Delmas area cleaned the streets leading to the office.
>  Fanmi Lavalas has also fielded 9 candidates for the Senate; five of the 
> nine
>are women.  If these five women candidates win Fanmi Lavalas would be just
>two shy of reaching its stated goal of having one third of the Senate be
>No candidates from the grouping of parties that has opposed the May 21st
>elections registered for the November elections.  There are independent
>candidates registered for each of the Senate races.  (AHP)
>Police Officers Arrested for Suspected Coup Attempt
>Seven high ranking Haitian police officers were arrested last week after
>fleeing to the Dominican Republic.  The arrests were made at the request of
>the Haitian government on the charge that the police officers had been
>involved in a plot destabilize the Haitian government.  The arrests came
>after a tense week of rumors of a possible coup d'etat or a high level
>assassination.  On October 14th the Prime Minister addressed the issue
>acknowledging that there was a group of people within the police attempting
>to carry out acts to destabilize the country.   Haitian National Television
>reported that this group who had trained abroad had attended a meeting with
>an official of a foreign embassy on October 8, 2000.  TNH also reported that
>arms were being smuggled into the country by an unnamed "big industrialist."
>The officers arrested are all part of a group of 13 former members of the
>Haitian military who were part of a US sponsored military training program in
>Ecuador during the coup d'etat in Haiti.  These former military were
>integrated into the new Haitian police force and after President Preval took
>office in 1996 they were promoted to key posts within the police.
>On Tuesday, October 24 Dominican authorities announced that they would not
>return the police officers to Haiti despite Haiti's request for extradition.
>According to reports some of the officers have asked to be sent to Ecuador
>where they received military training.  In addition to the seven officers
>held in the DR, two additional police officers who were being sought by
>Haitian authorities took refuge in the Dominican embassy in Port-au-Prince
>and requested asylum. (AHP, Haiti Progres, TNH, Reuters)
>During the last two weeks several acts of violence have taken place.  The car
>of Fanmi Lavalas Senator Lens Clones was fired upon, his security returned
>fire but no one was injured.  A grenade was thrown at the home of Carlo
>Dupiton the director of operations for the CEP.  And on October 19 the home
>of Charles Suffrard, the head of KOZEPEP a peasant organization seen as close
>to Lavalas was fired upon.  Suffrard said of the attack "those who have had a
>monopoly on power for more than 30 years cannot accept the idea that the
>masses of the Haitian people are going to participate in the major decisions
>affecting the future of this country."  (AHP)
>Raboteau Trail Update
>The trail of 58 defendants in the 1994 Raboteau massacre continues to go well
>from the perspectives of logistics and security.  There have been complaints
>that the Court allows too much arguing by the lawyers, especially defense
>attorneys (there are 16 defense attorneys) but there are no complaints that
>put the trial's fundamental fairness in doubt.
>The first few days of the Raboteau trial were dominated by procedural
>wrangling by the attorneys.  The prosecution began its case on Monday October
>9th calling; Justice of the Peace Jean Baptiste Dorismond was called on
>Monday October 9. Dorimond testified to the presence of an unusually high
>number of soldiers and paramilitaries at the Gonaives barracks on the eve of
>the massacre.  As he lived in the area, Judge Dorismond was an eyewitness to
>the next morning's massacre in Raboteau.  He corroborated victim statements
>that soldiers and paramilitaries went from house to house, beating,
>destroying and pillaging.  Judge Dorismond did a report on the damage over
>the next few days.  The report was partial, because of time constraints, fear
>of retribution and the absence of most of the area's inhabitants, but lists
>dozens of cases of people beaten and houses destroyed.  Judge Dorismond also
>testified about military and paramilitary interference in the justice system
>throughout the coup period.
>The next set of witnesses testified to the "rehearsal" attack of April 18,
>1994.  On that day, the military and paramilitary attackers a) attacked the
>house of Amio Metayer, alias "le Cubain", destroying its contents, b) beat
>Valcius Valcin, 76 years old and blind, badly enough that he died the next
>day, and c) shot at a group of pro-democracy activists.  One of these
>activists was grazed in the neck with a bullet, and all escaped by boat.
>The main massacre was on April 22d.  Several witnesses testified that before
>dawn, soldiers and paramilitaries invaded the area, and went house to house,
>shooting, beating and pillaging.  Learning from the escape on the 18th,
>soldiers went out into the harbor, the traditional "embassy" or sanctuary for
>people fleeing repression to cut off this line of escape.  Several people
>were shot either on the water or on their way to it.
>Other witnesses testified that they were taken from their homes, tied
>together with electric cord, and marched to an intersection where they were
>beaten severely before being let go.  These victims had ample time to notice
>who their oppressors were, and therefore had some of the strongest
>identifications of massacre participants.
>Dr. Karen Burns a member of a team of forensic anthropologists who came to
>Haiti to help the Commission National de Verite et Justice (Truth and Justice
>Commission) in 1995, testified on October 18.  In 1995 the team excavated
>several sites where victims were said to be buried, including three victims
>of the Raboteau massacre.  The team returned to work on the Raboteau case in
>1997 and 1998.
>Dr. Burns testified that two of the bodies were found with ropes around their
>necks, consistent with witness reports that paramilitaires had dragged the
>dead from the water by ropes around their necks.  The remains of one victim,
>later identified as Frederic Lexeus, indicated that he had been shot from
>behind with a high powered rifle.  Several witnesses reported that soldiers
>shot Lexeus with high-powered rifles as he fled into the harbor.  Buried next
>to Lexeus was Claude Jean, known as "Ti-Claude".  Although Dr. Burns was not
>able to ascertain the cause of Ti-Claude's death, she did note that his cheek
>had been broken, consistent with reports that he had been beaten by
>paramilitaries and soldiers.  Witnesses had reported that Ti-Claude was shot
>as he ran from a house where he had spent the night, and the anthropology
>team in fact found a key in Ti-Claude's clothes that fit the lock of that
>house.  The clothing of both Lexeus and Claude were consistent with witness
>Dr. Michele Harvey, a geneticist who worked with the anthropology team in
>1997 and 1998, gave testimony on DNA tests that conclusively identified two
>of the victims, Frederic Lexeus and Claude Jean.
>Ambassador Colin Granderson, the former Executive Director of MICIVIH, the
>UN/OAS human rights mission in Haiti during the Dictatorship testified about
>the context of repression surrounding the Raboto massacre.  He noted that
>military and paramilitary units systematically and regularly, throughout the
>country, violated the rights of anyone who opposed the dictatorship or
>advocated democracy.  He noted that the military leaders, despite frequent
>reports by MICIVIH and others, did nothing to punish those responsible for
>human rights violations.  Mr. Granderson also noted that the people of
>Gonaives, and especially Raboteau, continued their non-violent resistance to
>the dictatorship long after other areas had been intimidated into silence.
>Mr. Granderson described how, from October, 1993 through the time of the
>massacre, the repression in Haiti had increased steadily in response to
>increased pressure on the dictatorship from the international community. Mr.
>Granderson also presented the report of the MICIVIH team that visited
>Gonaives to investigate the massacre.  The team corroborated much of what
>witnesses had said: there were several deaths (eight confirmed), several
>wounded, dozens of houses sacked, a crowded neighborhood deserted.  The team
>spoke with military authorities in Gonaives, including the Departmental
>Commander, Col. Bellony Groshommes, who claimed that the military had
>responded to an attack on the army post in Gonaives.  The team noted no signs
>of an attack on the post, such as bullet holes.  Mr. Granderson also noted
>that a delegation from the military high command interrupted MICIVIH's
>interview with Col. Groshommes, who was told not to speak any more with the
>mission.  Mr. Granderson concluded that the evidence showed that the Raboteau
>massacre was planned in advance.
>Two former Argentinean Colonels, Horacio Pantaleon Ballester and Jose Luis
>Garcia who now run the Centro de Militares Para la Democracia gave expert
>testimony on military structure, and the responsibility of commanders and
>subordinates for human rights violations. They have testified in cases
>throughout Latin America, and in Europe. The Colonels explained how the
>Haitian military during the dictatorship was expressly structured to repress
>pro-democracy activists rather than to fulfill any legitimate military
>function.  They noted that this structure, and the activities it carried out,
>violated the army's own regulations, as well as the Haitian Constitution and
>international law.  As to the criminal liability of the military personnel
>charged in the case, they concluded that the operation was planned in
>advance, with the assistance of the members of the high command, and noted
>that there was absolutely no discipline imposed for those who participated in
>the atrocities.  They determined that the army high command and the superior
>officers in Gonaives were responsible for all crimes committed during the
>massacre.  They continued down the chain of command, explaining the basis of
>liability for junior officers and enlisted men.
>The last five prosecution witnesses were expected to testify on Monday
>October 23. The defense has not announced any witnesses, but all twenty-two
>defendants are expected to testify.  As November 1,2 and 3 are holidays, it
>is expected that the trial will finish the week of November 6.
>For more information, check the Raboteau trial website,
>http://www.Raboteau.homepage.com, or Haiti On Line (AOL Keyword "Haiti On
>(Information provided by lawyers working on the Raboteau case)