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a791: Progress on the 8-Point Agreement - February 2002 (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

GOH memo to CARICOM on progress made under the 8-Point Agreement, February 2002
Progress on the 8-Point Agreement

This memorandum will discuss the substantial progress made by the Government of Haiti (GOH) with respect to each of the eight points agreed to between President Aristide and the U.S. government in December 2000.  Although the agreement was made with former President Clinton, it has been ratified by President Bush.

Haiti’s substantial progress on the eight points has been noted by among others, the Congressional Black Caucus, CARICOM, and the Organization of American States (OAS).  Although Haiti needs to consolidate these gains with other advances in its democratic transition, its political and economic development would be best served by the U.S. implementing its promise under the 8-Point Agreement to normalize relations between the two countries.

The issues raised in the 8-Point Agreement are of two kinds; the first two resolve issues raised by the May 21, 2000 local and parliamentary elections and the creation of a new provisional electoral council.  The last six deal with general issues of governance facing most countries today – combating drug trafficking and money laundering; creating an independent police and reform of the judicial system; strengthening democratic institutions and protection of human rights; installing an open, broad based government; initiating new dialogue with international financial institutions; and working on illegal migration.

1.  Electoral Crisis.  Rapid rectification of the problems associated with the May 21, 2000 elections through run-offs for disputed Senate seats or by other credible means.  This rectification is being facilitated by the work of the Lissade Commission.

   The 8-Point Agreement acknowledged, as did the OAS electoral monitoring mission, that the only systematic irregularity with the May 21 elections was the calculation of run-off percentage in seven senatorial races.  The 7 senators each resigned and left office over eight months ago, eliminating the only documented problems with the May elections;
   All members of Parliament elected May 21 consented to reduce their term by  and submit to early elections in November 2002; and
   During the July and October rounds of negotiations all agreed that these elections take place in November 2002.  18 Senators and 83 Deputies are affected by this agreement.

2.  New Electoral Council.  Creation of a credible new provisional electoral council (CEP) in consultation with opposition figures to rectify the problems associated with the disputed Senate seats.

   The entire Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) that presided over the May 21 elections resigned over a year ago, thereby clearing the way for the appointment of a new CEP;
   On March 2, 2001 the GOH named a new CEP, which includes members of other political parties in the opposition and members of civil society, members of the Convergence Democratique (Convergence) refused to participate in the consultation and formation of this new CEP;
   The GOH has cooperated closely with the OAS to resolve all electoral issues.  This culminated in a May 31, 2001 letter from President Aristide to the OAS and a corresponding OAS June 5, 2001 General Assembly resolution.  The OAS recognized the GOH’s efforts and asked to “follow the resignations of 7 senators with the expeditious constitution of a credible, independent and neutral CEP, composed of 9 members nominated by the Executive, Judiciary, political parties -- including the Convergence, Fanmi Lavalas, and other political parties -- and churches, both Catholic and Protestant, by 25 June 2001;”
   June 12, 2001, President Aristide wrote to all sectors mentioned in the June 5 resolution, requesting candidates for the new 9-member consensus CEP.  Organizations from a broad spectrum of Haitian society, including opposition parties, and the conservative Catholic and Protestant church leadership participated in the initiative and reached consensus on 8 of the 9 council seats.  As the Convergence declined, the initiative reserved the ninth seat for it;
   On June 25, 2001, the deadline set by the OAS resolution to form the CEP, the OAS wrote to President Aristide to request an extension of the June 25 deadline until July 1, in order to continue its “consultations” with the Convergence aimed at encouraging them to participate in the formation of the CEP.  President Aristide agreed to extend the deadline and issued a statement that the GOH would continue to leave space open for the Convergence’s nominee to the CEP;
   The Convergence refused the OAS entreaties to join the broad-based initiative.  Faced with this intransigence, the OAS did not press with the creation of the CEP as provided for in the June 5 resolution;
   During the July and October rounds of negotiations among the GOH, Fanmi Lavalas and the Convergence, a revised composition of a new CEP was agreed to by the parties.  This consensus composition for the CEP went farther than that suggested in the OAS June resolution, in that there are more groups implicated in the make-up of the CEP.  If today this consensus CEP, agreed to during the negotiations, is not actually in place, it is due only to the fact there has not yet been an accord signed among the parties to end the political crisis.

3.  Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering.  Enhance substantially cooperation to combat drug trafficking, including implementation of money laundering legislation and expansion of maritime cooperation, building on the October 1997 agreement, in order to allow access for U.S. Coast Guard anti-drug operations in Haitian waters.  Strengthen efforts, in collaboration with the US and Dominican Republic governments, to interdict trafficking across the Haitian/Dominican Republic border.

   In one of its first sessions in January 2001, the 47th Legislature ratified the 1997 Maritime Counter Narcotics Agreement with the U.S., thereby allowing U.S. access to Haitian waters for anti-drug operations;
   On February 15, 2001 a comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering Law was passed.  It specifically provides that Haiti will cooperate with other nations in fighting money laundering and facilitates extradition and assets seizures for drug traffickers.  The law also creates a National Committee Against Money Laundering;
   By unanimous vote of 29 nations, and in recognition of efforts already deployed by the GOH to combat drug trafficking and money laundering, Haiti was accepted into the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force at the group’s plenary   meeting in Trinidad on March 27, 2001;
   On June 19, 2001, Parliament enacted the “Control and Repression of Illicit Drugs” law which establishes a comprehensive framework for the prosecution and punishment of drug related crimes;
   President Aristide has reached out to regional experts in law enforcement and anti- drug policy, to initiate the creation of a Presidential Commission to assist and advise Haiti in combating drug trafficking  Former US drug czar Lee Brown has agreed to be part of the Commission.  A visit scheduled for December 17, 2001 is being rescheduled;
   For the year 2001, the anti-drug unit of the HNP seized 420.97 kilos of cocaine, 1,852 kilos of marijuana and destroyed 2 marijuana fields; and
   The Draft Accord on the Control of Narcotics and the Application of the Law between the GOH and the U.S. was submitted for comments to the GOH by the U.S.  The amended text was transmitted to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti by letter dated December 13, 2001.  To date, no response has been received from the US government.

4.  Independent Police.  Nominate capable and respected officials for senior security positions, including with the HNP.  Ensure that there is no interference in the professional work and conduct of the HNP by members of Parliament and others  Take steps to enhance the professionalism and independence of judicial system.

   The Director General of the Haitian National Police (HNP) has five years experience as head of the Presidential Security Unit (the Haitian equivalent of the U.S. Secret Service), one of several specialized units within the HNP;
   After nearly a two-year vacancy, President Aristide filled the position of Secretary of State for Public Security with a member of the private sector not affiliated with any political party;
   A new Chief Inspector General, the former Chief of Mission in Brazil, was nominated and installed;
   Last month the Police Academy graduated a class of 233 agents assigned to a special unit within the National Police;
   An additional 600 men and women have been recruited and tested for entrance into the Police Academy;
   A special anti-kidnapping unit was created within the HNP.  In January 2002 a significant number of arrests were made, including that of 2 police officers alleged to be part of a gang of kidnappers;
   The HNP Inspector General’s office investigated 225 cases of police misconduct in 2001.  The recommendations of the Inspector General’s office were adopted in 75% of these cases;
   The GOH, conscious of the need to maintain training and management of the HNP on par with international standards as best they can, has, despite fiscal difficulties, retained the services of French police experts to accompany the police department;
   The School of Magistrature reopened  A class of 39 members of the judiciary are completing a cycle of training; and
   In June 2001 President Aristide appointed a new president to the Cour de Cassation and filled several vacancies occasioned by the death of the Chief Justice and retirement of several other justices.

5.  OAS and Human Rights.  Strengthen democratic institutions and protection of human rights through the establishment of a semi-permanent OAS commission to facilitate dialogue among Haitian political, civic and business leaders and through international monitoring of the protection of human rights.

   The GOH requested that the OAS establish the semi-permanent mission in January 2001. The OAS accepted and in fact has facilitated dialogue among civil society leaders;
   More recently, following the OAS January 15, 2002 resolution regarding the December 17, 2001 attempted coup d’etat, the GOH invited a commission of the OAS and one of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to conduct an on- site visit to Haiti as recommended in the January 15, 2002 resolution.  These commissions will complement the investigation into all violence on December 17 that the justice system began immediately;
   Additionally, as a result of the CARICOM mission to Haiti of January 28-31, 2002, Haiti agreed in principal to the idea proposed by CARICOM of an international commission to aid Haiti in the investigation of events of December 17, 2001;
   The GOH invited an expert from the Office of the UN.  High commissioner for Human Rights, who is conducting an evaluation of Haiti’s institutional human rights enforcement capacity;
   The GOH has responded to political violence.  In December 2001, Convergence supporters in Petit Goave attacked a government supporter with machetes.  Believing him dead (he survived), the victim’s friends retaliated in kind against a Convergence supporter, killing him.  The justice system has begun to investigate both incidents and has issued arrest warrants.  The executive branch has called for an end to violence by its supporters and opponents alike.  In order to defuse tensions, the GOH replaced the Fanmi Lavalas municipal council in Petit Goave.  Municipal councils in four other cities, including the capital, have been replaced following the allegations of corruption or abuse;
   Following a March 8, 2001 visit by President Aristide to the women’s prison, a special review of women in pre-trial detention was undertaken by the President of the Civil Court.  This review quickly led to the release of 30 women in prolonged pre-trial detention or preventive detention.  9 other cases were expedited to the instruction phase of the judicial process in compliance with the criminal procedure code.  The Minister of Justice is committed to expeditiously reviewing the status of all similarly situated prisoners;
   As part of this systematic review underway, under the authority granted by Articles 136 and 146 of the Constitution and relevant law, the President has granted 22 prisoners amnesty and commuted the sentences of 17 others, as he continues to call on the Ministry of Justice to resolve the issue of prolonged pre-trial detention;
   The National Office of Citizen’s Protection continues an active civic education campaign, its inspectors are pursuing complaints lodged by citizens; and
   On April 2, 2001 the Government announced its commitment to sign on to the Chapultepec Declaration to strengthen the rights of journalists.  On two occasions, because of their own schedule constraints, the Chapultepec committee has had to reschedule the date for the signing ceremony.

6   Open Government.  Seek to install a broad-based Government including “technocrats” and members of the opposition.

   The Government installed on March 2, 2001 responds to this criteria:

i.  The Minister of Planning, a long time World Bank employee, is president of an independent opposition political party, and was a candidate in the 1990 Presidential elections;
ii  The Minister of Commerce is from the private sector and is a former minister from the regime in power in the early 1980’s;
iii.    The Minister of Tourism is a member of CLED, Haiti’s Center for Free         Enterprise;
iv. The Minister of Justice, former president of the Port-au-Prince Bar              Association, was an attorney in private practice who represented the interests of the more privileged members of the private sector; and
v.  The Minister of Finance is former director of SOFIDES, a USAID funded   development bank, and he is associated with two private investment groups, one in the south and one in the north.

   On January 21, 2002, the prime minister resigned.  In accordance with Article 165 of the Constitution the Prime Minister and the ministerial cabinet remain in post until the nomination and ratification of a new Prime Minister.  President Aristide, as he did last year has once again invited members of the opposition and civil society to participate in the new government.

7.  International Assistance.  Initiate new dialogue with international financial institutions concerning sound budgetary proposals and economic reforms to enhance free markets and   promote private investment.  Such measures will be aimed at reducing poverty and stimulating growth.

   Haiti currently enjoys productive bi-lateral relations with among other nations, Taiwan, Japan, and Cuba;
   There is, however, an international financial embargo against Haiti.  On February 8 the International Monetary Fund announced that it would not extend new credit to Haiti.  The international financial institutions, bi-lateral and regional sources of cooperation that have blocked the release of development loans and/or grants to Haiti, are doing so, not because Haiti has failed to adopt economic reforms or fulfill the conditions for financing, but because the international community has deemed that the GOH has not made sufficient political concessions to the Convergence;
   Using its veto prerogative, the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury are blocking  148 million dollars in loans from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for potable water, education, health projects and rural roads.  The contracts for each of these loans were approved and executed by the IDB and ratified by the Haitian Parliament;
   In March 2001, upon verbal assurance from the highest sources at the IDB that these loans would indeed be disbursed, Haiti paid 5 million dollars in interest payments, as it continues to be billed for commissions fees on these loans that have yet to be disbursed.

8.  Illegal Migration.  Negotiate agreement for repatriation of illegal migrants.

   The GOH has continued to accept the return of refugees interdicted on the high seas by the U.S. Coast Guard as it urges citizens not to take to the seas.  However deteriorating economic conditions aggravated by the development assistance embargo on Haiti, are precipitating flight from unbearable hardships.  Additionally, the Government continues to accept criminal deportees from the U.S.  Since February 2001, approximately 450 criminal deportees have been returned to Haiti;
   A Draft Accord between the U.S. and the GOH relating to the Repression of the Traffic of Migrants by Sea is being negotiated between the two countries.  The U.S. sent a draft to the GOH, which circulated it among the concerned ministries.  The GOH presented its proposed revisions to the U.S. in July 2001, and is awaiting a response.