Today, writer Jan J. Dominique, spokesperson for the Committee against Impunity and for Justice in Haiti [Comité contre l’impunité et pour la justice en Haïti or CCIPJH], published a statement (in Haïti chérie) on the occasion of the first anniversary of the return of Jean-Claude Duvalier to Haiti. Here are excerpts with a link to the full letter below:
January 16, 2012, a year since the return to Haiti of the dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier
Between the day of that arrival and today the Haitian people have filed complaints against him for crimes against humanity, underlining the imprescriptibility of this offense against human beings. The Haitian government had, between 1986 and 2008, initiated legal action against him for economic crimes. Documents proving the theft of public funds and corruption were produced. To a text like Leslie Péan’s Haiti: The Economics of Corruption, Macoute savagery should be added to the file of economic crimes. Not to mention other abuses with dramatic economic consequences: one example being the destruction of Creole pigs in the peasant economy.
Haitian justice had before it the even weightier case of crimes against humanity. A judge is currently considering the complaints received. He auditioned for the complainants. Despite the confidentiality of investigations, we know that he has already taken action: he had placed the former president under house arrest. However, not only doe Duvalier travel freely in the country, splurging in the restaurants of Pétionville and walking around the neighborhoods to be cheered, but also, to this indecency he adds insult to the victims of Macoutism. In December 2011, he traveled to Gonaives to inaugurate a law firm.
On January 12, 2012, he was formally invited to St. Christophe to an official ceremony of remembrance to commemorate the victims of the earthquake of 2010. While throughout the world dictators are judged—where former President Videla will spend the rest of his life in prison for crimes against humanity in Argentina, where a host of other generals are awaiting trial for forced disappearances 30 years ago, where former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is currently before a court in Cairo, where the former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was sentenced to 35 years in prison for embezzling public funds and forced to repay $100 million to the treasury of Tunisia—a question arises now in Haiti: have the political authorities decided to force the hand of the Haitian justice system by treating a defendant accused of murder, torture, illegal detentions and forcible confinement, as a head of state, even before justice determines whether he is guilty or not?
Democratic organizations, defenders of human rights, lawyers, have courageously spoken out after certain movements of Mr. Duvalier, among others, his participation in Gonaïves. But where is the citizen outrage in solidarity with the family of the young Jean Robert Cius assassinated in 1985 and whose family is in proceedings against Duvalier? Where are those who, since 1986, at every chance, shouted against the dangers of dictatorship? How many times in military governments, interim governments, under Aristide or Preval’s governments, have we seen our people warn against measures recalling the Macoute regime, against authoritarian or totalitarian temptation, against a return to dictatorship? Have these same citizens have denounced the return of the symbol of dictatorship and Macoutism that Jean-Claude Duvalier represents? Analysts have said that the young cheer Jean-Claude Duvalier because they are under 25 years of age and have no memory of the dictatorship. Then it is necessary to examine the reasons for the ignorance of our youth. Who failed in our duty to remember?
[. . .] Because our compatriots who love justice and freedom must remember that in judging Jean-Claude Duvalier, we will not only judge the responsible party for the Duvalier dictatorship, but we will lay the foundation for a much broader judgment that we need to do so that our youth are no longer kept in ignorance of the recent history of their country, a judgment that has not yet been made, the judgment of Macoutism.
[Many thanks to Thomas Spear for bringing this item to our attention.]