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a621: December 17 Events: A Report of CEDH (Part IV) (fwd)

From: Stanley Lucas <slucas@iri.org>


The events of December 17 continue making the headlines.  The repercussions and consequences of what happened, as well as all the interrogations resulting there from, are constantly seen in the news.

According to various testimonies, reported by the media among other sources, in the days that followed, much turmoil could be seen within various Ministries, and even at the Presidential palace, as a result of the violent protest of groups of partisans of Fanmi Lavalas claiming their remuneration "for the work done on December 17". They sowed turmoil inside the premises of the Ministries of Women's Issues, of Social Affairs and Culture. The situation in some instances could only be controlled by the Police intervention. On radio stations,  one could here warnings launched by demonstrators:  "if they don't pay us soon, the stick that beat the Convergence is going to beat them too!"

Losses of human lives

On December 21, an 8-page long detailed account of the events, released on the Presidency's Internet site, described how the assailants entered into the Palace, and how one of their vehicles was chased by a helicopter up to Morne à Cabrits.  That account was also released in English in translation signed by Michèle Karshan.

The narration concludes that the attack, perpetrated by twenty-five (25) men, had left eight (8) dead, of which five (5) on the assailants side, one (1) at the Palace, and four (4) in Thomazeau.

"A few days later, the population of Thomazeau apprehended four men in that locality and killed them because they bore gunshot wounds on their bodies". None of the victims were identified.

Based on the information collected by the media, and on o her testimonies, the assailant killed at the National Palace, who had first been identified as "Perez", would in fact have been a man named "Chavre Milôt".  The two murdered policemen are allegedly: Théagène François, and Raymond Jean-Eustache, both attached to the Port-au-Prince Precinct.

The events that took place in Thomazeau, to which must be added those that occurred in Croix-des-Bouquets and Ganthier, resulted in five (5) injured: Guy Astrel JEAN, Jean Roma Brévil, Wesly Cineus, Hermann Renauld, Frantceau Lahens, and five (5) dead: Auxilia Eteinne, Elinel Etinel, Delinois Augusme, Altine Marius and Altanas Cineus

Justice:  The arrests

-----Pierre Richardson, according the official version, apprehended and surrendered to the Police, by the Terre Rouge population, former soldier Pierre Richardson, recognized his participations.  The admitted having conspired and taken part in the operation in order to seize the power and that former police commissioners Jacky Nau, Guy Philippe, and former Colonel Guy André François had been involved in the preparation of the operations. When interrogated on TV on the circumstance of his arrest, Richardson explains" "Well, * the Police conducted its investigation, they found me, they arrested me, * and that's it*!"

----On December 19th, Guy André François is arrested within the framework of the investigations on the attempted coup.  On Monday January 7th, 2002, pursuant to a hearing held at the First Civil Chamber, a Decision was issued ordering the immediate Mr. François' immediate release, which was not acted-up upon before several days.

-----On December 26, Jean Dumesle, accused "of not having reported to the police that meetings had occurred at the house residency of which he is the watchman" is arrested for being an accomplice in the coup.  The house in question belongs to Albert Dorélien, brother of former colonel Carl Dorélien, who has been living in Florida for several years.

-----On December 27, the Government appoints Mr. Bernard Saint-Vil as Examining Judge in charge of investigating the attempted cop of December 17, 2001.

-----On Tuesday, December 18, former Haitian police commissioner, Guy Philippe,  is arrested by the Equatorian authorities and sent to the Dominican Republic. Having arrived in Dominican Capital, he allegedly would have escaped out of the airport.  Found in Bonao, he allegedly is awaiting deportation to Venezuela.  According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Hugo Talentino Dipp, until February 4, 2002, the Haitian Government had not presented any request for his extradition.

-----The Saati affair.  On December 27, Mr. Antoine Saati, an American businessman is arrested by the Police under the accusation of being implicated in the attempted coup of December 17.  In spite of numerous interventions, and of the diligence of his attorneys, his release was only ordered by the Court on January 14th, putting forward that there had been errors in the processing of the Saati file".

 The Industrialist family's warehouses were totally pillaged.

-----On January 3, the Examining Judge Bernard heard three individuals accused of conspiracy in the attempted coup of December 17th:  Jean Dumesle, Enéus Préval, and Jean-Max Louis, both security guards of Attorney Jehan Colimon.  The latter petitioned for immediate discharge due to the lack of proof.

-----That same day, the Minister of Justice, Attorney Garry Lissade, declared to the Press that two policemen were detained in isolation.  They had been posted at the Palace's entrance gate through which the assailants had penetrated during the attempted coup of December 17".  Minister Lissade did not want to reveal their names.

The Press: Exile, threats, and intimidation

After the assassination of Brignol Lindor, and the threats they came under, especially on December 17th, the journalists were forced to take precautions in their work, more particularly when they cover events.  About ten of them have left the country, some with the special status of political refugees, and  about ten of them are still in hiding.  Two journalists from Vision 2000, Pharès Duverné and Clausel Alexis were notified before their departure that if relayed news criticizing the government, "we will kill you, we will 'Brignol-Lindorize' you."

Many of these journalists have temporarily settled in Florida.  Others have left for Spain, Guadeloupe, and France.  Robert Ménard, from Reporters sans Frontières had to leave Hotel Plaza and stop his Press conference of Saturday January 12, when a threatening group, headed by René Civil and Paul Raymond, invaded the premises, in order to shut his mouth once and for all, according to their threats.  From Mirebalais, it is learned that the journalists of Radio Eben Ezer have decided to stop broadcasting news.  This decisions follows a series of threats, which they claim to have received from grass-root organizations close to the government.

-----On December 20th, in a letter to the President, RSF declared: "The absence of measures to protect the radio stations that were threatened, as well as the public that participates in local programs against the intimidation campaign is the negation of the promises you have made this December 17th, to warrant that freedom of the Press would be respected'".

-----On January 4, three Ministers of the Government, Faubert Gustave (Finance), Gary Lissade (Justice), and Ernst Laraque (Public Works), came to the office of Convergence and Konakom, under the pretence of assessing the damages in view of an indemnification.  Former Senator Paul Denis denied them entrance and making the point that damages could only be
 allocated by a Court Decision.

-----In the meantime, the Senate's President, Yvon Neptune, in an interview over Vision 2000's network, on January 4th, 2002, speaks of a "new type of long term coup", orchestrated by the enemies of the People with their accomplices of the International Community, aimed at destabilizing the Government.

-----On Monday, January 7th, in a meeting with representatives of the media, at the National Palace, President Aristide tried to reassure them by reaffirming his will to respect the freedom of the Press.  He however advised the journalist that they should not give in to the panic caused by a "psychological fear".  In their reply, the journalists tired to evoke concrete                                                             and serious issues which require the intervention of the Chief of State, among which, the renewal of Judge Claudy Gassant's mandate in the Jean Dominique affair.

------  On January 10th, at the Palace,  President Aristide received representatives of all the private sector associations, who remitted to him a compelling memorandum, outlining concretely the indispensable measures that the Government must urgently take on issues of Justice, Security, Communications, Fiscality and Government Expenditures.(annexe 2)

-----That same day, that is Thursday January 10th, Senator for the West Department, Dany Toussaint, denounces before the Senate, the presence attested by photographs, of his colleague Prince Sonson Pierre, Senator for the South-East Department, in front of the home of Gerard Pierre-Charles, at Morne Hercule, on the moment where, in presence of members of the CIMO Corps and of the Police, groups of thugs were attacking the house to set it fire and pillage it.  Senator Pierre's presence could also be noted at ChavanneS where Radio Caraïbes is located and at Pont Morin, where the offices of Convergence and Konakom are located.

-----After Robert Ménard's departure, Guyler Delva, Secretary General of the Association of Haitian Journalists, publicly received death threats from René Civil, Paul Raymond, leaders of JPP ("Jan l pase li pase" / "Things will go as they will") and TKL of Jean Bosco.  In the morning of January 16, Figaro Désir, the spokesperson for a group based in Saint-Marc, called "Bale Wouze" ("Gun'em down") threatened Guyler Delva that he would "necklace" him if he set foot in Saint-Marc.

----On Saturday January 12, Micha Gaillard, leaving for Washington, almost met with ill faith at the airport.  It seems that a group of "chimeres" were waiting there for Robert Ménard to "settle his account".  In the meantime, OPL announces in a communiqué that former Senator Paul Denis' life is on danger, as has been notified of a plot to kill him.

-----In the evening of Wednesday January 16, 2002, Radio Caraïbes broadcasted Michel Soukar's comments, as the latter was reacting, in Montreal, to the violent interruption by lavalas partisans, of the conference he was making on the situation in Haïti.  One learns also that Radio Eben Ezer in Mirebalais had suspended its news broadcasts.  The journalists inform the public on the threats they are receiving from grass-root organizations close to the Government.


Repeating Mr. Himler Rebu's comment in his interview with Vision 2000, "There is a problem.  Now, what is the nature of that problem, maybe no one has informed us on that problem*!" This comment summarizes in essence the questioning which since December 17, has defied logic and the collective imaginary, and provokes a burst of questions, that for the most part, remain unanswered.

These interrogations bear both on the details of he events, as related in official declarations, and on the unspoken truths, the orchestration of reprisals, on the designation of alleged culprits, and the psychological conditioning of militants.

1.- Concerning the alleged authors of the "Coup"

-How many of them were there: 80? 30? 25? 17?

-Who were they?  The presence of "foreigners" amidst the group of assailants, had been mentioned early on Monday morning.  The dead body of a man first identified as "Perez", was later then presented as being that of "Chavre Minot", nothing else being said on the subject.

-How many vehicles were in the assailants use?  12? 5? 2?  If these vehicles were taken back, were their owners, or the car rental agencies to which they belong identified?

-How did the commando enter into the Palace, come out of it, and then disappear.  What is the material proof of an attack against the Palace with the inevitable marks left by a military attack?  Why was there sustained fire around 10:00 a.m. near the Palace?

-What types of weapons did the commando use?

-According to official declarations, it is certain that there is a connection between the attacks of  July 18, 2001, and  that of December 17th.  What is that connection since to date, no investigation has established the facts, et responsibilities, identified and prosecuted the authors of that first incident, which has also been qualified as an "attempted coup"> One of the proofs would be that the heavy weaponry used on December 17 would be the same as that                                          used during the first attack? How was this conclusion arrived at?

-Why does silence surround the dead and injured, fallen during the attack?  Why wasn't there any funeral service?  What exactly happened in Thomazeau?

-On what proof were Messrs Guy François and Antoine Saati arrested, and released from jail after more than two weeks?  What ever happened to Jean Dumesle and to the two policemen placed in isolation?

2.-  About the reprisals

There is first of all the issue of the utilization of vehicles owned by various departments of the Public Administration: cars bearing official license plates, CNE's vehicles, Police vehicles, Teleco's vehicles, Service Plus' bus, etc.   Who gave the authorization for their utilization?

-Actions taken.  While the President of the Republic, as Guarantor of lass and institutions, in his speech delivered in the afternoon of the 17th, praised the fact that barricades of Peace were being erected in abidance with the laws and rights of each and everyone", the transgressions reached the highest levels of offence punished by the Penal Code: murders, violations of private property, destruction, arson, pillage, use of authority and government assets for criminal purposes, death threats*.. How in this case, can one speak of "Peace", of "Law", and of "Rights"?

-The actors and their weapons.-    The groups of individuals who were transported aboard vehicules comprised civilians, youths, children, while the Constitution specifies that only specialized Police Corps can have access to automatic  war weaponry, and "long weapons". The question that must be asked is to what Police Corps did these individuals belong?

-How can the presence and passivity of the police force be explained, as well that of the CIMO Corps in locations where private homes, libraries, offices of political parties or Research centers, were being set afire, pillaged and destroyed considering that these are criminal acts defined and punished by Articles 346 and 361 of the Penal Code?

-The same question can be asked from the Ministry of Justice concerning the use of radio broadcasts to threaten citizens designated by their names with death?

-Where do the weapons that were seen being distributed from a pick-up truck on the Palace's corner come from?  Why were security guards disarmed by the groups that were being transported?

-Why, during the preceding evening, were preparations noted in some neighborhoods of the Capital and in Gonaïves?

-How can the failure of certain telephonic systems during the early hours of December 17 be explained?

-What is the connection between the assailants of the Palace, and the victims of reprisals, namely opposition parties? How was this connection established?

These are the questions that are awaiting to be answered.

To this general request, OAS' permanent Council of January 15, answers, in article 4 of Resolution 806.

DATED January 13, 2002 (Original in English)


THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES, DEEPLY PREOCCUPIED by the acts of violence that occurred in Haïti, namely the events of July 28th and those of December 17th, 2001, as well as by the deteriorating political, economic and social situation in that country;

4.	To call upon the Government of Haïti to continue diligent efforts aimed at reestablishing a secure climate propitious to the creation of the conditions necessary for resuming the negotiations held under OAS' auspices, that is:

a.	Completion of an in-depth, and independent investigation on the events connected to December 17th, 2001, and the following days;
b.	Prosecution of any person and dismissal, should it be the case, of any individual whose complicity will have been established in the acts of violence perpetrated on December 17, 2001, and on the following days;
c.	Completion of an in-depth investigations on all politically motivated crimes;
d.	Payment of damages to organizations and individuals who suffered losses as a direct result of the acts of violence of December 17th.


In conclusion,
 whether in the way events  are reported,
 statements elicited pondering citizens' behavior,

or in the way social and political conflicts  are dealt with

or in the way  security of  property, of families, of the entire city are handled,
 identity of  offenders is being discovered
and sanctions applied
                      December,17th  2001 has generated
numerous interrogations
that one month later have yet to begin receiving an answer

Ecumenical Center for Human Rights (CEDH), Port-au-Prince, January 15, 2002