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5417: Update on Raboteau Massacre Trial, Oct 30 and 31, 2000 (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Raboteau Trial Update, October 30 and 31, 2000

There were only two days of trial this week, as Wednesday-Friday are 
holidays.  They were taken up with the testimony of defendants.  Five 
defendants were heard on Monday, the most prominent of whom was ex-soldier 
Mondelus Norelus, also known as "Eliancy" and "Saddam Hussein".  Norelus is 
charged with many acts of barbarism during the Raboteau massacre, including 
the shooting death of pro-democracy activist Claude Jean (a/k/a Ti Claude).  
Norelus presented an alibi defense, claiming he had been transferred from 
Gonaives 8 months before the massacre.   Many witnesses and victims testified 
to Norelus' presence on April 22, 1994, and one witness trying to exculpate 
him testified that Norelus had warned him the evening of the operation to 
stay away from the sea, where the army planned to ambush those fleeing.  The 
prosecution also presented a document from Norelus' military file in the 
National Archives, proving that his transfer took place on May 4, two weeks 
after the massacre.  Three other defendants, accused paramilitary Orlando 
Tima and soldiers Cherenfant Sauveur and Dorvil Silien were also discredited 
with documents from the archives.

On Tuesday, the remainig seven defendants testified.  All presented alibi 
defenses, none called any witnesses to corroborate their claim.  Once again, 
the prosecution used documents from the army archives to discredit the 
testimony.  The final witness, an army corporal, conceded that the massacre 
was an unprovoked military attack on the civilian population of Raboteau.

The judge scheduled closing arguments to begin on November 6.  As there are 
18 lawyers involved (12 for the defense, 4 prosecutors and 2 for the 
victims), the closings will take some time, most likely 2-3 days.  It is 
expected that the jury will render its decision on November 8, 9 or 10.

For more information, check the Raboteau trial website, set up by Michelle 
Karshan, the Foreign Press Liason for President Preval, at 
http://www.Raboteau.homepage.com.  The website has prior updates, 
commentaries from several sources, and news stories on the massacre.  Also 
check Haiti On Line (AOL Keyword "Haiti On Line"), which has news stories and 
a copy of the "Acte d'Accusation", the document setting forth the 
prosecution's case.