Thursday, March 31, 2011

Haiti Needs Help To Prosecute Duvalier

News Americas, Washington, D.C.

Haiti’s justice minister says the country will need help from international judges to prosecute former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.

Andre Antoine told the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights this week that Haiti’s judges and prosecutors lack the training and experience necessary to handle a case of crimes against humanity, such as Duvalier is accused of committing during his reign more than 25 years ago.

“We recognize that our justice system is weak and needs to be reinforced,” said Antoine. “The magistrates are players in this game, it is like a football match: if they don’t have a good manager, it will be difficult to win.”

Antoine added that prosecution of Duvalier for human rights violations was of international importance.

“It is not only a Haitian matter, because convicting Duvalier would send a psychological message to humanity, to all the dictators or to those who are tempted by power (that) the law will not pardon them, that punishments await them,” he said.

Meanwhile, former justice minister Jean-Joseph Exume told the commission that 16 individual cases had been filed against Duvalier in the court system starting immediately after his January 16 return to the country from 25 years of exile.

The comments come as Duvalier was released from a Port-Au-Prince hospital where he had been hospitalized since last week.

Thurs. Mar. 31, 2011