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

8935: Re: 8929: White asks question about Truth and Reconcilliation (fwd)

From: Mike <mlhaiti@cornernet.com>

This is a question about which tomes could be (and no doubt will be)
written. In a few words, it is often said that in Haiti reconciliation is
very unlikely to occur without justice.  If there is steady progress made in
responding to the Haitian Democratic Movement's longstanding thirst for
justice, such as through fair trials that result in the conviction of
perpetrators of human rights violations, demonstrating that impunity is
unacceptable, through a police force committed to respecting human rights,
through a reduction in social tensions that  result from improvements in the
economy, health care and education, there is good reason to believe that
reconciliation will follow. Respect for the rule of law will improve. And
Haitians can believe that there will "never again" be a return to the worst
days of the past.
   Difficult though conditions are today, it is useful to remember that
Haiti has already made remarkable progress. (The Raboteau and Carrefour
Feuilles prosecutions are just two examples, and the creation of the police
force, essentially out of thin air, is a very impressive story, even if
there have been many problems along the way.) To date, resistance to the
idea of amnesty for perpetrators of grave violations of human rights has
been intimately connected to the struggle for justice and democracy in
Haiti, and became even more of an issue upon the return of the
Constitutional Government after the coup. To reverse course on this issue
would risk creating a chilling precedent in Haiti that might embolden future
would-be torturers and executioners to feel they can get away with impunity.
    Also, Haiti's CNVJ (National Truth and Justice Commission) was able
during its short lifespan to obtain a great deal of information relating to
perpetrators of human rights violations that occurred during the three years
of the Coup d'Etat despite having no mandate to offer any sort of amnesty to
perpetrators. Other initiatives by human rights groups have extensively
documented torture, executions, disappearances, and other human rights
violations during other periods of Haiti's history, especially under the
Duvaliers, the CNG, Namphy, Avril, etc. And a few prosecutions have been
launched and to some extent carried out in cases of human rights violations
before the coup.
      As the judicial system becomes more effective, additional trials are
to be expected. The question of how many and the prioritization of cases
remains an issue of great importance to the Haitian people. As confidence
builds in these areas, and to the extent the various parties show enduring
commitment to democratic principles, reconciliation should become easier.

Mike Levy