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New Haiti leader seen able to control legislature | Failures of the US-backed Boca Raton Regime in Haiti Report | Three political prisoners freed in Haiti | African woman, jailed, strip-searched, wins $65,000 settlement Immigration officer told her, "Go back to the jungle" | Message from Haiti’s Grassroots Leadership to the International Community



HLLN 27 April 2006

Ezili Danto’s Note:

UN Security Council resolutions foisted upon a powerless Haitian people, since the foreign-sponsored coup d’etat, cannot and must not subjugate all international laws, Haitian laws or the human rights advancements of the last few centuries of human development and civilization

Join HLLN’S MEDIA Campaign to expose the corrupt role of the UN, US, Canada, OAS, France, this international community’s (the “International Community”) culpable role in keeping in office, over the OBJECTIONS of the majority of Haiti’s peoples, at home and abroad, for more than TWO years now, and training and paying a puppet Haitian government with no popular mandate and massive human rights abuses and political repression. Stop UN, US, OAS, Canada, France’s hypocrisy. Their authorities are the ones holding the political prisoners in Haiti. They are the coup d’etat countries with the UN as their proxy militarizing Haiti and fleecing it dry with their IMF/World Bank debts and foreign “free trade” multinationals exploiting Haiti’s access to the Windward Passage (Mole St Nicholas); oil (in La Gonave); uranium, iridium and goldmines in the Northeast, gas reserves near Aquin and planning the “privatization” to themselves of Haiti’s State-owned companies, ports and plentiful and cheap labor force. They are the RESPONDIAT SUPERIORS responsible for financing and promoting the backwards steps into chaos and instability for Haiti, not the puppet Latortue government or its corrupt and paid-off judges who are their mere employees. Write to your local and International media urging them not to let the International Community pass the blame to their very employees – the Latortue death regime, sell-out Haitian technocrats, Group 184 and their corrupt “justice” officials. Demand that the mainstream media stop being false witnesses, stop turning a blind eye to the truth in Haiti: to the WHO holds the keys locking the political prisoners behind bars. The WHO keeps destroying Haitian hope and advancement. It’s this INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY with UN soldiers as henchmen, wielding its defacto protectorate in Haiti, with Latortue regime, its foreign-trained Haitian technocrats as its proxy and “black face” in Haiti. The paradigms for this coup d’etat are no different than that of all the others including the very first one that assassinated Jean Jacques Dessalines back on October 17, 1806.

Demand that these coup d’etat implementers, FREE the people they"ve put in prison before giving back the reigns of government illegally held by the international community’s employees in Haiti. All contracts entered into under the illegal US regime’s reign are illegal and cannot bind the people of Haiti, unless they are put to a national referendum placed before the people of Haiti. No backdoor structural adjustment economic plan may be foisted on the people of Haiti, either through the outgoing coup d’etat regime, the contracts it’s illegally signed or through false benevolence such as “debt forgiveness.”

(See, Haiti recently included in (World Bank’s) IDA’s list for debt forgiveness, Le Conseil des administrateurs de l"IDA examine une liste limitative de pays susceptibles de bénéficier de l"Initiative PPTE renforcée, Press Release No:2006/361/PREM,,

U.N. SC Resolutions 1529, 1608 and the Feb. 22, 2006 Accord violates establish international laws, the U.N. Charter and mission while undermining Haitian sovereignty, Haitian Constitution, justice system, governance, democracy and the rule of law as well as contradicting the OAS’s American Convention on Human Rights.

The UN soldiers in Haiti have been involved in the political repression, slaughter and imprisonment of Haitian civilians on behalf of an illegal Boca Raton regime and Haiti’s wealthy few working for the US/Euro corporate robber barons of today. UN soldiers arrested Father Jean Juste. UN soldiers took Prime Minister Yvon Neptune into custody. 70-year old folksinger, Annette Auguste, was “arrested” and her children brutalized by US Marines. Yvon Neptune, So Ann and thousands of others, with no criminal deeds or records whatsoever, are still in prison today, more than two years later under the not-so-interim US-backed Boca Raton Regime. Prisons watched over by UN soldiers, from countries with a history human rights abuses and no democracy.

Over 20,000 Haitians have lost their lives to this attempt at re-colonizing and militarizing Haiti and those involved in the killings roam free in Haiti under UN firepower cover. (See, Message from Haiti’s Grassroots Leadership to the International Community, Kofi Annan, Human Rights Groups and the Int’l Media on the massacres in Haiti at K-fou Peyan (Oct. 30, 2004), Fònasyonal (Oct. 26, 2004), and on Feb. 28, 2005
and Bush/UN Bloodbath brought to Haiti at

For the first time in 200 years in Haiti, under this US and UN tutelage and through the black faces of the Boca Raton Regime, Kofi Annan, Colin Powell and Condi Rice and the black and brown UN soldiers, thousands of Haitian women and hundreds of Haitian children are finding themselves, LOCKED UP in Dessaline’s land.

It is time the world paid attention. The white man doesn’t have to do his own dirty work directly as mental colonization, popular culture’s advertisements of His superman cape, “beauty, honesty and courage” along with hard cash, jobs and rewards to black and brown overseers may accomplish the same ends much cleaner and with no moral encumbrances. Witness, Latortue, with 40 years of this INTERNATIONAL “schooling"” – as Exhibit number ONE.

The colonial blueprints and financial colonialism lexicons here in Haiti are instructive and critical to human freedoms and liberties everywhere on this planet.

Haiti is being systematically militarized under the pretext of “bringing democracy to Haiti” in the same way our grangrans were enslaved in order to “save their souls.” If the international warmongers have their druthers, Haiti will soon be as militarized as the Dominican Republic, will OWN nothing just like the other US/Euro client Islands in the Caribbean and by the time these OAS, UN, US folks are through, Haiti shall in FACT have become violent with frustrations as high as it is, for instance, in Jamaica, purportedly with the Hemisphere"s highest murder rate. But no matter, the foreign tourist will have a good time, because "their people" will then OWN Haiti and the media will certainly hesitate to vilify “their own.”

Today, Haiti is contained in poverty but relatively peaceful compared to others “structurally adjusted” by these uncivilized fiends. But unless we expose their death plans for Haiti and demand a withdrawal of UN war machineries, tanks, rockets and equipments from Haiti, popular president or not, Haiti will indeed sink into the trap being weaved for its peoples by the Internationals in their “reform” plans, books and movies for centuries now.

Inhumanity and injustice anywhere threatens justice and humanity everywhere. The injustice the people of Haiti have had to shoulder since the foreign-sponsored 2004 coup d’etat is more than untenable and implicates the world’s most powerful technologically advanced and respected countries and institutions. The world, especially, the Black and Brown world, cannot afford to ignore Haiti’s sufferings. When Haiti is no longer free, – Haiti the symbol of independence and freedom, that accomplished what Spartacus couldn’t – how then shall any of us Africans and lovers of liberty of all hues and shades, ever stand tall.

Ezili Danto Li led Li La April 27, 2006

New Haiti leader seen able to control legislature By Joseph Guyler Delva, Reuters

– Failures of the US-backed Boca Raton Regime in Haiti Report – The Independence of the Judiciary in Haiti under the Interim Government

– Three political prisoners freed in Haiti by Lyn Duff, SfBaywiew,

– African woman, jailed, strip-searched, wins $65,000 settlement Immigration officer told her, "Go back to the jungle"| SFBayview

– Deklarasyon Sektè Popilè-a su Masak K-Fou Peyan, Fònasyonal e 28 fev. 06 | Message from Haiti’s Grassroots Leadership to the International Community, Kofi Annan, Human Rights Groups and the Int’l Media on the massacres in Haiti at K-fou Peyan (Oct. 26, 2004), Fònasyonal (Oct. 30, 2004), and on Feb. 28, 2005

New Haiti leader seen able to control legislature

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, April 26 (Reuters) – President-elect Rene Preval’s Lespwa movement fell short of the majority it needs to choose the next prime minister and Cabinet, winning just 11 of 27 Senate seats and 20 of 85 seats in the lower house a runoff legislative election.

Preval, who won the presidency after the first round of voting in the chaotic Caribbean nation on Feb. 7, may still be able to govern effectively by reaching out to several rival parties.

All the votes in last Friday’s legislative election have been counted, except from disputed areas where ballots were declared invalid due to violence and other irregularities.

Preval, who served as president from 1996 to 2001, will be sworn in on May 14.

The Feb. 7 election was the first in Haiti since Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced out in February 2004 by a violent revolt and pressure from foreign governments.

“President Preval’s administration can count upon our support in parliament,” said Evans Paul, whose Democratic Alliance party won one Senate seat and 11 in the lower house or Chamber of Deputies. “We can’t demand that he share his victory with us. He is the one who won.”

Micha Gaillard, a spokesman for the Fusion Social and Democratic party, which won three Senate seats and 12 house seats, said: “We are going to support the government of President Preval. There will be no obstructionism.”

Together with its allies, Preval’s party looks likely to have the 16-seat majority needed to control the Senate. But he will have to reach out to rivals to obtain the 50-seat majority needed to control the lower house.

“We have no interest in putting up opposition to President Preval. He has shown openness and all the conditions for governability are being met,” said Paul Denis, leader of the OPL party, one of those that could help Preval achieve the majority it needs.

“We want the success of the Preval administration. We will contribute to it,” said Denis.

Seventeen legislative seats, including three in the Senate, are still up for grabs but they will be decided in another round of balloting in jurisdictions where the runoff vote was canceled because of violence or other problems.

A date for the new round has not been set.

University of PittsburgH – School of Law Center for Internatonal Legal Education – CILE

April 18, 2006

The Independence of the Judiciary in Haiti under the Interim Government Alex Braden, Brandon Gardner, James Gabello, Ravi K. Reddy*

"We have a culture of impunity in Haiti", Mario Joseph, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI).

Haiti´s judicial system has suffered from a succession of overbearing Executives, a lack of adequate legal training and resources, and from the rampant perception that in this impoverished island nation, justice is only for the rich. Since the 2004 ouster of the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, threats to the judicial independence, both internal and from without, have only increased under the rule of the interim government of Haiti (IGH). The IGH has limited the effective functioning of the judiciary by exerting excessive influence over the judiciary, encouraging corruption among judges, impeding judicial training, and bringing a halt to the international community"s reform efforts. This report examines the failures of the IGH in these areas and considers the prospects for improvement under René Préval´s incoming administration. OUTLINE (Click on the links in this outline to jump within the report.)

I. Separation of Powers A. Executive Selection and Removal in Violation of the Constitution

B. Other Methods of Illegitimate Executive Pressure – Effective Removal

II. École de la Magistrature

III. The International Community Relative to the Independence of the Judiciary

IV. Conclusion

I. Separation of Powers

A. Executive Selection and Removal in Violation of the Constitution

Pursuant to Article 60 of the 1987 Constitution of Haiti, the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch of Haiti are independent of one another, and the influence of each may not extend beyond the boundaries prescribed by the Constitution and by law.[1] Under the Constitution, Justices of the Cour de Cassation (Supreme Court) are appointed by the President from a list submitted by the Senate of three persons per court seat, and are to be removed only because of a legally determined abuse of authority or because of permanent physical or mental incapacity.[2] The judges of the lower courts are also to be appointed by the President, from lists submitted by the Departmental Assembly or the Communal Assemblies.[3]

While Haiti has always fostered a "culture of the Executive", whereby the President weilds more authority than a literal reading of the Constitution would provide, the interim government of Prime Minister Latortue has asserted almost absolute power in the judicial selection process.[4] Because the Senate has not functioned since January 2004, the Prime Minister has directly picked Cour de Cassation Justices without having the three-person list selected by the Senate as the Constitution provides. The Prime Minister has also directly selected lower court judges without reference to the lists of the Departmental Assembly or the Communal Assemblies.[5] These appointment procedures have had the effect of de-legitimizing the judicial process as a whole, and the effect has been most tangibly felt in the rural regions of the country, where many unqualified Justices of the Peace have been appointed because of their political ties to Prime Minister Latortue and not because of the credibility they hold as capable men and women within their communities. [6]

The most egregious action taken by Prime Minister Latortue in derogation of his Constitutional authority came in December 2005, when he removed five of the ten Cour de Cassation Justices, on the grounds that they were too old.[7] Latortue alleged neither a legal abuse of authority nor mental incapacity, as required by the Constitution, nor did he follow constitutional removal procedures. Rather, Prime Minister Latortue removed the Justices by executive decree.[8] This illegal action, in violation of the Constitution, arguably represents the nadir of Executive Branch interference with the judiciary in Haiti, at least since the new Constitution was adopted in 1987. [9] In fact, some have suggested that not even the Duvalier dictatorships would have attempted such an audacity.[10]

Strangely, this maneuver produced an unexpected result; across the political spectrum, judges and lawyers joined in protest against this flagrant executive encroachment on judicial independence. In fact, Judge Peres-Paul, president of the Haitian Judge"s Association (L"ANAMAH) and a staunch Aristide opponent who usually deferred to the positions of Prime Minister Latortue, led the charge in calling for a judicial strike in retaliation to the Prime Minister"s action.[11] And even though little came of the judicial strike itself, there is some reason for optimism. The implication seems to be that mere politics are no longer enough to keep judges from fighting for a Judiciary that attempts to check the Executive when it operates outside its Constitutionally mandated sphere.[12]

Of course, the fact that the Haitian judicial community has finally begun to fight back gives no comfort to the five removed Justices. Shortly after their removal, five replacements were hand-picked by Prime Minister Latortue and appointed through an illegal procedure.[13] As of the writing of this report, the removed Justices are pursuing legal challenges to both their removal and to the illegal appointment of the new Justices. Because their claims raise important Constitutional questions, however, there is a strong likelihood that the case will be appealed to the Cour de Cassation, at which point the new Justices would be forced to recuse themselves from the case. Then, the remaining Justices (who may be more sympathetic to the Prime Minister, as he decided not to remove them) will be forced to decide on the legality of Prime Minister Latortue"s removal and appointment processes concerning their fellow Justices. Were this scenario to occur, it is hard to imagine a positive result, especially given the possible legal and political ramifications of such a decision. For example, if the Cour de Cassation rules that the Prime Minister acted lawfully, then the entire Constitution is called into question, and a dark shadow will be cast over the entire Judicial branch. If, on the other hand, the Cour de Cassation finds that the Prime Minister"s activity was illegal, such a finding could create uncertainty as to whether the decisions of the illegally appointed Cour de Cassation should be overturned.

If Haiti"s Constitution is to represent more than a mere collection of platitudes, it is imperative that President Préval break the cycle of executive tampering with the judiciary, even though he may have a Constitutional obligation to remove them all. Good may result from Haiti"s "culture of the Executive" if President Préval honors his campaign promise to promote the independence of the Judiciary by dutifully following the Constitution, his capable stewardship could set a strong precedent of Haitian accession to the rule of law.[14]

B. Other Methods of Illegitimate Executive Pressure – Effective Removal

Haitian judges remain largely vulnerable to the political, structural, and cultural pressures that have undermined the judicial system for decades. For individual judges, these forces often seem insurmountable. For example, Jean-Sénat Fleury, the judge who oversaw the much-publicized case of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste after his first arrest in 2004, resigned after the Ministry of Justice removed his caseload.[15] According to Judge Fleury, the Justice Ministry explained that his caseload was suspended on the basis of complaints that he was operating too slowly. While the actions of the Minister of Justice appear to constitute nothing more than bald-faced retaliation, the particular justification offered is especially stunning given the fact that Haiti"s prisons are teeming with prisoners who continue to await trial after years of unconstitutional incarceration.[16]

Judge Fleury"s resignation illustrates the damaging impact of baseless executive interference in the operations of the judiciary. In the first place, the Justice Minister"s decision removed a competent, independent judge from the bench. Moreover, it served as a warning to other judges, who will now think twice before making similar, politically sensitive rulings. As long as the Ministry of Justice retains the power to micromanage individual judicial dockets, it retains the power to severely constrain the exercise of an independent judiciary. In an interview given several months after his resignation, Judge Fleury observed that "in this system a judge has two choices. You can accept poverty and humiliation, or you can accept unemployment."[17]

Since leaving the bench, Judge Fleury has authored a volume on the Cour de Cassation and judicial reform in Haiti;[18] however, many jurists facing the untenable choice he describes have succumbed to the temptation of a third alternative " corruption. Salaries for Haitian judges are notoriously low at each level of the judicial hierarchy, and with literally thousands of detainees languishing in pre-trial detention, opportunities abound for judges to accept substantial "grease payments" in exchange for expedited treatment. It seems that even some of those who have taken principled stands against Executive Branch interference are not immune to this phenomenon. At least one well-respected judge interviewed in preparation of this report stated that after publishing findings of fact unfavorable to the Justice Ministry, he was arbitrarily disciplined by the Justice Ministry.[19] The judge remained in his post, explaining that he could offer more effective resistance by working within the system. Nevertheless, shortly after giving his interview, reports emerged that this judge had previously accepted eighty thousand gourdes[20] from a Port-au-Prince woman to facilitate the release of her husband from prison.[21]

It seems that the most direct means by which to combat bribery in the courts requires the effective investigation, prosecution, and sanctioning of judges who abuse their power for personal financial gain. At present, however, no such mechanism exists among self-regulating judicial organizations. Tellingly, the President of the Haitian Judge"s Association (L"ANAMAH) explained in an interview that a Code of Ethics for Judges has been promulgated and is in force, but was unable to find a copy of the Code in his office at the Palais de Justice.[22] Further, statutory prosecution of corrupt judges has been wholly lacking, as not a single judge has been charged under Haitian law with illegally accepting payment for services rendered.[23] On the other hand, individuals discovered to have bribed judges are routinely prosecuted. Given the fact that a few thousand gourdes can mean the difference between freedom and indefinite detention for their loved ones, this is a calculated risk that the family members of prisoners are likely to accept.

Beyond eliminating the "culture of impunity" that has long plagued the Haitian courts, there are methods available to reduce the incentives for judges to accept bribes.[24] Virtually every recent report issued on the status of the Haitian judiciary calls for legislation to raise judges" salaries to livable levels, and to provide better material resources such as computers, telephones, and legal pads.[25] To develop a pay scale and working environment that affords greater dignity to their vocation, it follows that judges themselves will be more likely to respect the integrity of the institution. Further, by lengthening and guaranteeing judicial mandates at every hierarchical stratum, judges will enjoy a measure of job security that would help to minimize the inclination exploit their authority.

While improvement of the infrastructural and remunerative situation facing judges requires only a proper allocation of money (in Haiti, more easily said than done), the Latortue administration has only undermined the ability of judges to attain a sense of security in their positions. Since assuming power in 2004, the interim government has proven time and time again that its attitude toward the judiciary is one of capricious domination. From suspending the caseloads of judges presiding over politically volatile cases, to removing Cour de Cassation justices in outright defiance of the Constitution, the Ministry of Justice has made every effort to consolidate judicial power in the Executive Branch.[26]

President-elect Préval has a singular opportunity to restore to the courts the independence and authority granted to them under the Constitution. To do so, Préval must not give in to the "mentality of presidentiality" that prevails among Haitian citizens and that has compelled the nation"s heads of state since the days of the Duvaliers.

When asked whether a Préval administration will reverse the harm done to the judiciary at the hands of the interim government, nearly every judge, lawyer, and academic interviewed for this report responded with hesitant optimism. This "wait and see" attitude is understandable, given that every historical attempt to consolidate Haitian democracy has been sabotaged by one faction or another.

Nevertheless, there are significant reasons to expect substantial improvement once Préval assumes office. In the first place, the drama surrounding his February election seized the attention of the international media. While a focus by outsiders on Haitian politics will naturally subside, this heightened scrutiny will encourage the incoming administration to maintain a heightened level of transparency, at least in its early days. Additionally, the fact that Préval struggled against and overcame the subterfuge of his opponents appears to have cast an aura of righteous vindication around his election. Préval received nearly fifty-two percent of the popular vote, and the fact that his election was ultimately confirmed with very little subsequent unrest suggests that even those who opposed him during the campaign are willing to give his government a chance. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Préval will achieve anything of consequence before the sabers begin to rattle anew.

II. École de la Magistrature

The Constitution of the Republic of Haiti calls for the creation of a school of the Magistrature.[27] The creation of a professional judiciary is one of the most important long-term investments in Haiti.[28] In 1995, the mandate of the Constitution, with the assistance of international funding, was fulfilled when the École de la Magistrature (EMA) was founded.[29] Since the school"s inception in 1995 approximately 500 judges have been trained.[30] The EMA has not been in operation since 2004 when it was taken over by members of the former military.[31]

According to Mr. Jean Claude Douyon, head of the EMA, negotiations are currently underway to remove the former military members who are occupying the school.[32] With an expressed need for well-trained judges throughout the country, and a need to alleviate the backlog of cases pending in the judicial system, there is an immediate need for the EMA to begin operating. In addition to reopening the school, Mr. Douyon, has proposed that the school begin taking in students on a continuous basis, regardless of immediate need in the judicial system.[33] During the period of operation, from 1995 to 2004, the school produced three classes of judges.[34] His contention is that if the school operates on a continuous basis, there will always be a pool of qualified judges to draw from.[35] Mr. Douyon stated that regardless of the government in power, there is a plan for the EMA.[36]

Some in Haiti have expressed concerns regarding the ability of the EMA to produce quality judges. Mr. Léon Saint-Louis, a Port-au-Prince attorney who has researched the EMA previously, criticized the EMA for its lack of organization, law, and protocol.[37] He stated that he believes the quality of judges that were coming out of the school was higher before. "In the beginning, we had lawyers with much experience who would accept to become a judge."[38] He expressed concern that because students at the EMA are themselves recent graduates of law school, they lack the practical experience to be effective judges.[39] While Saint Louis expressed a belief that the EMA could be reformed, he stated that there must be better organization if the school is to be effective. Furthermore, he believes that more experienced candidates need to be recruited.

There is general agreement that the École de la Magistrature can serve an important function in educating judges, however, without the commitment of funding and resources to the school no changes will take place. Even with funding, all speculation on improvements to the operation of the school remains contingent on the removal of former military members from its grounds.

III. The International Community Relative to the Independence of the Judiciary

The view of professors and practitioners and judges is that there are two prerequisites to judicial reform in Haiti: 1) a democratically elected government, and 2) assistance from the international community to apply the system.[40] However, it is believed that too many conditions are placed on the supply of international aid.[41] As Mario Joseph of the BAI noted in an earlier interview, the judges in Haiti are like water in a vase, they will conform to the shape of their container.[42] As long as the system requires corruption, they will acquiesce. If, however, the system demands independence, impartiality, competence, and adherence to the law, they will likewise comply. Although the international community had many projects afoot in Haiti during the previous democratic governments seeking to reform the judiciary, each donor has a distinctly-shaped container, and the conflicting views and methods coupled with the uncoordinated nature of international community involvement in Haiti have resulted in little to no change in the system itself.

Furthermore, many blame the international community itself for actively kidnapping President Aristide and forcing him into exile[43] or providing the resources, funding and training for the rebel groups that overthrew the democratic government of Haiti[44] and financially strangling the Aristide Administration through withholding IMF and World Bank funds while forcing Haiti to service the debts.[45] Prior to the installment of the IGH, evidence of the role of USAID in Haitian politics was apparent in the role of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a USAID subcontractor, in intentionally subverting the Aristide government.[46] "They [IFES workers interviewed by the authors of the University of Miami Report] further stated that IFES/USAID workers in Haiti want to take credit for the ouster of Aristide, but cannot "out of respect for the wishes of the U.S. government.""[47] Although the international community demanded reform of the judicial and other institutions throughout this time, it also stands accused of undermining the very democratic foundation of Haiti.

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has operated in Haiti in conjunction with USAID since August 2004[48]. According to its website, the operation in Haiti has focused on improving the performance of the Justice of the Peace (JP) courts in Haiti as 80% of Haiti"s cases are decided on the JP level.[49] However benign the intention to reform Haiti"s courts, the NCSC has drawn the ire of other judicial reform actors as a result of its location, in Pétionville[50], and because other organizations believe that the NCSC is hand-feeding the IGH decrees without local input. One representative of an international organization characterized the work of the NCSC as such: "Il n"y a pas un échange, c"est un théâtre."[51] Another asked where the Haitian identity was in reform of this kind.[52] Even the mere perception of a bias towards one political party or ideology will hinder the development of meaningful judicial reform in Haiti, and sadly, the USAID funded projects have done just that.

During our recent visit to Haiti, interviews with the UNDP and the OAS indicated that most of the international community initiatives meant to promote judicial reform have ceased to operate during the administration of the Interim Government of Haiti. Exacerbating the problem further is the fact that there remains a lack of coordination among the many inter-governmental organizations, the non-governmental organizations, foreign development actors and the Haitian authorities as competing organizations vie for ideological dominance. "It is a war, and here [Haiti] is a front for many ideological battles."[53] One of the overarching problems remains that the international community"s absence of a clear plan, and the confusion created by competing reform movements, only augments the corruption in Haiti.[54]

The United Nations Development Program"s attempt to inculcate an independent judiciary in Haiti centers on the use of participatory democracy to create Haitian ownership of reform through its support of the Forum Citoyen pour la Réforme de la Justice.[55] The UNDP representatives we spoke with during our delegation confirmed that their work, outside the act of promulgating discussion documents, effectively ground to a halt over the past two years under the IGH.

Until the coup, the OAS Mission in Haiti"s judicial reform component sent Haitian judges to study the judicial systems of other OAS member states with an eye to reform. However, instability in Haiti forced the OAS to suspend the project with the exception of one training mission to Chile in May of 2004. The focus of the OAS shifted predominantly to the distribution of electoral cards to facilitate the elections, a necessary step [as outlined above] for the process of judicial reform in Haiti. In preparation for the new government, the OAS judicial reform pillar is "brainstorming" to create a plan for working with the future government.[56]

IV. Conclusion

An illegitimate executive actively meddles with the constitutional order, even high-minded judges are bribed with impunity, the EMA is occupied by the disbanded army, and the international community"s efforts at judicial reform have been largely suspended. The situation in Haiti is dire, yet there is hope that the approaching return of democratic rule will bring with it a renewed respect for the rule of law and its embodiment in the Haitian Constitution.

Perhaps the most important prospect for positive change once democracy resumes is in the person of Réne Préval himself. After all, his upcoming inauguration will mark the beginning of the President-elect"s second tenure in Palais National. During his previous term, from 1996 to 2001, Préval displayed a commitment to the investigation of human rights abuses by government actors, and to the independent judicial resolution of such issues. Notably, then-President Préval was the fist, and thus far only, Haitian president to leave office at the natural expiration of his term. Dubious though this distinction may be, it does indicate that Préval has demonstrated respect for Constitutional limits on executive authority, and that he can successfully resist the trappings and enticements of presidential power that have so thoroughly possessed others in his position. Because the problems plaguing the Haitian legal system are so entrenched and widespread as to have become virtually institutionalized, a Préval government will certainly have to struggle mightily to undo these wrongs while operating within Constitutional strictures. Consequently, any substantial change achieved through legal means is unlikely to take place overnight. Nevertheless, to the same extent that Préval must honor the promises of his campaign while adhering to the laws of his office, the Haitian citizens who gave him his mandate must also give him the trust and patience to fulfill it.

* The authors are all law students from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and could not have completed this project without the institutional support of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Haiti, the assistance of Maren Dobberthein,and Vladimir Laguerre for translations and scheduling and the generous funding of the University of Pittsburgh Center for International Legal Education.

[1] Haitian Const. Art. 60, 60-1.

[2] Haitian Const. Art. 175, 177.

[3] Haitian Const. Art 175.

[4] Interview with Supreme Ct Justice Mr. Michel D. Donatien (Mar. 10, 2006).

[5] Interview with Attorney Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (Mar. 8, 2006).

[6] Id.

[7] Supra, note 4. The official reason for removal was that the judges were over 60 years old, even though some of of the replacements were actually older than the removed Justices.

[8] Id. Of course, this official reasoning given that the Justices were too old to serve was ridiculous; the real reason for their removal was Prime Minister Latortue"s disapproval with the Justice"s ruling in a particular case. That case was State v. Simeus, and it concerned a candidate for President whose eligibility was being challenged by the CEP (Provisional Election Council) on the grounds that Mr. Simeus was disqualifed for office due to the fact that he held U.S. citizenship. According to the 1987 Constitution of Haiti, Article 135, a candidate for the Haitian presidency must be a native-born Haitian, never have renounced his/her Haitian nationality, and have resided in the country for five consecutive years prior to the election. The Court ruled in favor of Mr. Simeus" potential candidacy even though Mr. Simeus freely admitted in press interviews that he had gained U.S. citizenship and that he had a residence in Texas. In our interview with him, former Justice Donatien was passionate in defending the legal reasoning underpinning the Court"s decision, which has been roundly criticized. Justice Donatien went into great technical detail to explain that the CEP had not made an adequate showing as a matter of law that Simeus had obtained U.S. citizenship. Further, Justice Donatien argued that there is a legal difference between having Haitian and U.S. citizenship and renouncing Haitian citizenship in favor of becoming a U.S. Citizen. Additionally, Justice Donatien pointed to a 1984 Law on Publication, Article 30 of which mandated that no Haitian national could lose their citizenship without that information being printed in the Official Journal, which was not done in the case of Mr. Simeus. Finally, Justice Donatien questioned whether the provisions of the Constitution, which would seemingly bar Mr. Simeus" candidacy, could be applied retroactively to someone born prior to its adoption so as to deny him proper Haitian citizenship.

[9] William P. Quigley, The Absence of An Independent Judiciary in Haiti, Human Rights Report, Draft of 12/12/2005.

[10] Supra, note 5.

[11] Interview with Judge Jean Peres-Paul, President of L"ANAMAH (Mar. 08, 2006).

[12] Every one of the eight judges and lawyers, who represented a wide spectrum of political viewpoints that spoke to us about the removal of the Cour de Cassation Justices, were in total agreement that the Prime Minister"s act was unconstitutional.

[13] For example, the new Justices were sworn in before there was official publication of their nominations, as required by the Presidential Decree of 8/22/1995, On the Organization of Judges. Also, the Justices were sworn in at the Ministry of Justice and not in public, which also was a violation of the law.

[14] Interview with Chantal Thériault, Chef du Pilier Justice, OAS (Mar. 10, 2006). Ms. Thériault observed that this very idea was part of the platform that President-elect Préval ran on during his Presidential campaign, and that during his first Presidential term from 1996-2001 Préval had established a good record of respecting judicial independence.

[15] See Brian Concannon, Jr., An Prensip: The Subordination of the Haitian Judiciary May 12, 2005.

[16] Haitian Const, Art. 26. Art. 26 provides: "No one may be kept under arrest more than forty-eight (48) hours unless he has appeared before a judge asked to rule on the legality of the arrest and the judge has confirmed the arrest by a well-founded decision." Interview with Gervais Charles, head of the Bar Association of Port-au-Prince (Mar. 7, 2006). Mr. Charles indicated that Port-au-Prince currently houses over 2000 prisoners, many hundreds of which have never seen a judge.

[17] Interview with Judge Jean-Sénat Fleury (Mar. 7, 2006).

[18] Cour de Cassation en Face de la Reforme Judicial en Haiti.

[19] The name of this prominent judge has been withheld so as not to incriminate the individual who paid him a bribe.

[20] Roughly equivalent to $2,000 U.S.

[21] The woman, whose husband was arrested and jailed on allegations of being a Lavalas (pro-Aristide) street-leader, is an outspoken activist against the illegal detention of Haitian citizens. In 2004, she bribed the judge in question, seeking to expedite her husband"s release. The woman"s husband still remains imprisoned as of March, 2006.

[22] Supra, note 11.

[23] Interview with Léon Saint-Louis, Port-au-Prince human rights attorney (Mar. 10, 2006).

[24] Interview with Renan Hedouville, Secretary General of Comité des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertés Individuelles (Mar 10, 2006).

[25] See, e.g. Organization of American States Inter-American Commision on Human Rights report, Haiti: Failed Justice or the Rule of Law" Challenges Ahead for Haiti and the International Community, Oct. 26, 2005, at 59-60.

[26] Supra n. 15.

[27] Haitian Const., Art. 176.

[28] Haiti Democracy Project, The Restoration of Democracy and Justice. Available at

[29] Interview with Jean Claude F. Douyon, Director of the École de la Magistrature (EMA), (Mar. 9, 2006). Mr. Douyan indicated that the EMA is primarily funded by the governments of France and Canada.

[30] France and Haiti" Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation, Ministere des Affaires etrangeres,

[31] Interview with Judges Jean-Sénat Fleury and Brédy Fabien (Mar. 7, 2006).

[32] Supra, n. 29.

[33] Id. According to Mr. Douyon, the EMA currently admits students only at the need of the Ministry of Justice.

[34] Supra, n. 28.

[35] Supra, n. 29.

[36] Id.

[37] Supra, n. 23.

[38] Id.

[39] Id.

[40] Interview with Professor Josué Pierre-Louis, Doyon Université Quisqueya, Faculté de Droit (Mar. 9, 2006).

[41] Id.

[42] Supra, n. 4.

[43] IJDH, BAI, Yale Law School and TransAfrica Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Against U.S., Haiti and Dominican Republic for Overthrowing Haiti’s Democracy, available at: Amy Wilentz, Coup in Haiti, The Nation March 4, 2004, available at:

[44] 20-24. See also: IJDH, BAI, Yale Law School and TransAfrica Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Against U.S., Haiti and Dominican Republic for Overthrowing Haiti’s Democracy, supra n.. 43,

[45] Nicolas Rossier, Aristide and the Endless Revolution, Film (2005).

[46], 20-22.

[47], 22.

[48]" dbID=DB_LatinAmericaandCarribean296#hai>

[49] Id.

[50] A relatively affluent suburb of Port-au-Prince.

[51] Interview with Guilaine Moinerie, Conseillère Technique UNDP Haïti (Mar. 10, 2006).

[52] Interview with Gracia Joseph S. Maxi, Expert National UNDP Haïti (Mar. 10, 2006).

[53] Supra, n. 51. See Also, Walt Bogdanich and Jenny Nordberg, Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos, New York Times, January 29, 2006, available at: (Outlining the conflicting messages coming from the United States, one, the "official" policy from the embassy and the conflicting policy from the International Republican Institute which claimed to be the real voice of Bush Administration policy in Haiti.).

[54] Supra, n. 14.


[56] Supra, n. 14


Three political prisoners freed in Haiti by Lyn Duff, SfBaywiew,

Human rights activists and Haiti"s pro-democracy populace are cheering about the fact that three political prisoners have been released in Port-au-Prince. On Easter weekend, Judge Mimose Janvier, the investigating magistrate in the cases of Mario Exilhomme, Harold Sévère and Anthony Nazaire, ordered the three to be freed, saying that no evidence had been produced to indicate they committed a crime. Exilhomme had been illegally imprisoned for 10 months while Nazaire and Sévère had been held without charge since March 2004.

Exilhomme is a grassroots pro-democracy activist. At the request of the Haitian Ministry of Justice, he was arrested in the Dominican Republic, where he was staying legally, and extradited to Haiti on July 22, 2005. He was never charged with a crime, and prosecutors never produced any evidence of wrongdoing

Harold Sévère , the former mayor of Port-au-Prince, was one of those freed. Sévère was arrested March 14, 2004, but was never charged with a crime. Anthony Nazaire, a former officer in the National Palace Security Unit, was arrested the same day.

On Dec. 23, 2004, a judge, recognizing that the government had produced no evidence against them, ordered Harold Sévère and Anthony Nazaire to be freed on their own recognizance. The prosecutor even agreed to execute the order but was overridden by an illegal order from the minister of justice, says attorney Mario Joseph of the human rights organization Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Port-au-Prince.

On Dec. 30, 2004, former Justice Minister Bernard Gousse sent a letter to the chief judge of the Port-au-Prince trial court, ordering him to remove all the case files in the possession of Investigating Magistrates Jean Sénat Fleury and Brédy Fabien. This came days after Judge Fleury ordering the liberation of Fr. Gérard Jean-Juste, a pro-democracy activist, and Judge Fabien ordered the provisional release of Sévère and Nazaire, says Joseph.

No one knows how many political prisoners there are in Haiti, says American attorney Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. "Prison authorities routinely limit human rights groups" access to prison records. But we know that 90 percent of the total prison population has not been convicted of a crime and that some were engaged in political activity before their arrest." More than 2,000 people are currently imprisoned in Port-au-Prince.

As political prisoners languish in prisons and police stations across Haiti, three police officers implicated in a bloody massacre at a USAID-sponsored soccer tournament last August have been released from prison. On April 17, by order of Judge Jean Péreste Paul, Inspector Renan Etienne, who served as the director of the Central Police Administration and reportedly had close ties to the rebels who staged the 2004 coup, was released along with three other officers. Speaking on Radio Caraïbes Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for released police officers said that they did nothing wrong and expected to be fully cleared of any criminal acts in the August 2005 incident.

Lyn Duff,, is a reporter currently based in Port-au-Prince. She first traveled to Haiti in 1995 to help establish a children"s radio station and has since covered Haiti extensively for the Bay View, Pacifica Radio"s Flashpoints, heard on KPFA 94.1 FM weekdays at 5 p.m., and other local and national media.


African woman, jailed, strip-searched, wins $65,000 settlement

Immigration officer told her, "Go back to the jungle"

San Francisco " In the midst of a national debate about U.S. immigration policy, the United States has agreed to pay $65,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a young woman from Africa who was abused by U.S. immigration agents at San Francisco International Airport. The settlement was filed Wednesday at the federal courthouse in San Francisco.

In January of 2002, Tsungai Tungwarara, then 18 years old, flew from her native country, Zimbabwe, to San Francisco to visit her family in the Bay Area. Despite having a valid tourist visa, Ms. Tungwarara was jailed by airport immigration agents and subjected to a strip search.

She was taken to a local jail facility in violation of a Sept. 29, 2000, Department of Justice policy memorandum, which declares that jail is "not appropriate in non-criminal cases." When Ms. Tungwarara"s mother tried to intervene, an immigration inspector told her, "We won"t allow these people here " not after Sept. 11. Go back to the jungle." The next day, immigration agents forced Ms. Tungwarara to return to Zimbabwe.

In June 2004, the Lawyers" Committee for Civil Rights and the law firm of Farella, Braun and Martel filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of Ms. Tungwarara. In October 2005, the federal district court issued a precedent-setting decision in the case, ruling that the strip search was unconstitutional. The case was scheduled for trial in April 2006, but the federal government agreed to settle the case.

Philip Hwang, staff attorney with the Lawyers" Committee for Civil Rights, said reports of abuse at airports and borders have been on the rise since 9/11. "Low-level immigration agents are making life-altering decisions about who is sent to jail, who will be strip-searched and who will be deported. But, there is no meaningful oversight of these decisions," Hwang said.

"In many of these cases, immigrants are forced to leave the country, without ever being allowed to see a judge or tell anyone how they"re being treated." Hwang warned that federal legislative proposals would grant even greater powers to low-level immigration agents, with less judicial oversight, likely resulting in more abuses.

Tony Schoenberg, a partner at Farella, Braun and Martel, who represented Ms. Tungwarara pro bono, stated, "What happened to my client was a great injustice. I am pleased that we were able to reach a settlement that will provide her with compensation for the terrible ordeal she went through."

"I am exceptionally pleased with the outcome," said Ms. Tungwarara. "I believe that my case will make a difference for other immigrants, and I greatly appreciate the hard work done by my attorneys."

Since 1999, the Lawyers" Committee for Civil Rights has filed four lawsuits on behalf of immigrants and a U.S. citizen who were mistreated by immigration officials at San Francisco Airport. In a recent case, the Lawyers" Committee filed suit after U.S. officials turned away a refugee and forced her to return to Kenya, where she had been persecuted. In 2005, the case resulted in a precedent-setting decision recognizing the right of refugees to sue the United States for being mistreated by U.S. officials and placed in harm"s way.

"We hope that these settlements send a message to immigration officials at airports and borders that abuses will not be tolerated," said Hwang.

Contact the Lawyers" Committee for Civil Rights at 131 Steuart St., Suite 400, San Francisco CA 94105, (415) 543-9444.

Declaration of Haiti’s Grassroots Leadership to International Community, Kofi Annan, Human Rights Groups and International Media on Feb. 28, 2005 Massacre of Haitians at Peaceful Demonstration

MASAK BELE (POTOPRENS) 28 Fevriye 2005


Konstitisyon peyi dayiti nan atik 19 lidi: (Tout moun gen dwa viv) atik sa a se yon atik ki vi-n kore atik 6 deklarasyon inivesel dwa moun ki di: (pesonn pa gen dwa touye moun). Atik sa yo pa gen oken n vale pou moun ki komet krim sa yo san krint.

Mezanmi jan sa te pase nan jounen 28 fevriye 05 la. Polisye atoufe , san fwa , ni lwa , debake nan yon manifestasyon pasifik (Selil Baz Fami Lavalas Bele) te organize en fave retou fizik presidan Jean Bertrand Aristide pou respe constitisyon ak vot pep la , nan zon ri descesarts et ri Dr. Aubry bo legliz Nazareen-an , polisye en nwa ak cimo te debake kote yo touye plis pase 3 manifestan tankou :

(Alan Francois , Gary Vil , Stanley Blot , Wilner Jean Louis) ak plizye lot blese grav san nou pa bliye sa ki arete e dizparet nan pwizon , tout askyon sa yo pase en prezans solda l"ONU yo (Minustah) . Polisye yo te abo yon Jeep Toyota blan , mak Land Cruiser san plak ak yon Jeep Nissan Patrol rouj grena ki pote plak polis lwes 1-0665 (cimo).

Ki donk moun la lwa mete la pou pwoteje dwa moun se yo men m ki deside retire la vi tout jen ti boujon sa yo ki tap fleri Lespwa , nou menm jen nan sekte popile a , plis pase 1 an apre masak sa a jiska prezan reete enpini , nan sikonstans sa a nou voye yon appel bay kominote entenasyonal la ak sekrete jeneral l"ONU an (Mr. Khofi Anan) ak oganizasyon kap defan dwa moun nasyonal kou entenasyonal pou louvri yon enket prese " prese sou moun sa yo ki se ote entelekty krim sa a .

*Leon Charles____________ D.G.P.N.H
*Renan Etienne _______Responsable D.D.O(Direction , Departementale de l"Ouest)
*Bernard Gousse__________ Minis Jistis
*Mme Jessy C. Coicou ________ Porte " parole PNH
*St Fleur _____________ Commisaire D.G. Declaration of the Grassroots leadership in Haiti on Oct. 30th Massacre (Declaration of the Popular Sector – Deklarasyon Sektè Popilè a:) Oct. 30, 2004 US-imposed Boca Raton Regime in Haiti Massacres 4 Young Haitians, ages 13 to 15


Declarations and Pictures from the Grassroots to the International Community, Kofi Annan and Int’l Media on the Massacres of Haitians on Oct 26, 2004, October 30, 2004 and Feb. 28, 2005, Received by the Ezili Danto Witness Project, April 26, 2006

* Deklarasyon Sektè Popilè-a

Haiti’s Grassroots leadership Statement on the Feb. 28, 2005 Massacre of Peaceful Demonstrators demanding return to Constitutional rule by the US-Boca Raton Regime in plain sight of UN soldiers and International Media Received by the Ezili Danto Witness Project, April 26, 2006

* Deklarasyon Sektè Popilè-a

Haiti’s Grassroots leadership Statement on the K-Fou Peyan Massacres of 4 young Haitians, ages 13 to 15 by the US-Boca Raton Regime on Oct 30, 2004 Received by the Ezili Danto Witness Project, April 26, 2006

* Deklarasyon Sektè Popilè-a

Haiti’s Grassroots leadership on the Fònasyonal Massacres of Haitians by the US-Boca Raton Regime on Oct 26, 2004, Received by the Ezili Danto Witness Project, April 26, 2006

1. 26 Oktob 2004 – names of 13 young Haitians executed 26 Oktob 2004 – MASAK Fònasyonal, Pòtoprens

2. 26 Oktob 2004 – Page 2| Names of those responsible for massacre of 13 young Haitians

Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network


List of Victims, Massacres, Coup D’etat Abuses in Haiti

Ezili Danto Witness Project

HLLN’s Media Campaign to FREE the political prisoners in Haiti

Join HLLN’S MEDIA Campaign to expose the corrupt role of the UN, US, Canada, OAS, France, this international community’s (the “International Community”) culpable role in keeping in office, over the OBJECTIONS of the majority of Haiti’s peoples, at home and abroad, for more than TWO years now, and training and paying a puppet Haitian government with no popular mandate and massive human rights abuses and political repression. Stop UN, US, OAS, Canada, France’s hypocrisy. Their authorities are the ones holding the political prisoners in Haiti. They are coup d’etat countries with the UN as their proxy militarizing Haiti and fleecing it dry with their IMF/World Bank debts and foreign “free trade” multinationals exploiting Haiti’s access to the Windward Passage (Mole St Nicholas); oil (in La Gonave); uranium, iridium and goldmines in the Northeast, gas reserves Near Aquin and our State companies, ports and plentiful and cheap labor force. They are the RESPONDIAT SUPERIORS, not the puppet Latortue government or its corrupt and paid-off judges. Write to media urging them not to let the International Community pass the blame to their very employees – the Latortue death regime and its corrupt justice system. Demand that the mainstream media stop being false witnesses and turning a blind eye to the truth in Haiti: to the WHO holds the keys locking the political prisoners behind bars. It’s this INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY with UN soldiers as henchmen, wielding its defacto protectorate in Haiti, with Latortue regime, its foreign-trained Haitian technocrats as its proxy and “black face” in Haiti

Demand that these coup d’etat implementers, FREE the people before giving back the reigns of government illegally held by the international community’s employees in Haiti. Demand that all contracts entered into under the illegal US regime’s reign must go to a national referendum placed before the people of Haiti and no backdoor structural adjustment economic plan be foisted on the people of Haiti, either through the outgoing coup d’etat regime, the contracts its illegally signed or through US/Euro false benevolence such as “debt forgiveness.”

– 3 Sample Letters for HLLN’s media campaign to protect the Feb 7th mandate, release political prisoners, release Haiti’s children from prison immediately

– HLLN’s Urgent Action Request to the UN/US/France/Canada – RELEASE THE POLITICAL PRISONERS before ceding Haiti back to a duly elected President and government!

Turning Haiti into a Penal Colony: The Systemic Criminalization of Young Black Males in Haiti by Haiti’s US-imposed Miami government parallels US habit of criminalizing Blacks in the US| Haitian Perspectives by Marguerite Laurent, November 3, 2005


HLLN’S MEDIA Campaign responding to media racism, flase witnessing and libel against the people of Haiti and its President-elect


See, Urgent Media Alert: Media Disinformation Campaign Against Haiti by New York Times, LA Times, Miami Herald, Associated Press, – the mainstream media – EMBOLDENS the Washington Chimères and Haiti Democracy Project’s coup d’etat plans against Haiti even before Presitent-elect Renè Preval takes office!"p=14278#14278

HLLN’s Media Letter Writing Campaign: Stop Mainstream Media libelously railroading President Preval and the people of Haiti – Keep writing, denouncing these false accusations.

Letter to the New York Times from Hazel Ross-Robinson office

Why we cannot forget the past by Harry Comeau, A letter to Washington, Ottowa, Paris and the international media from a Haitian man

Letter’s to the Media – It’s the INTERNATIONAL EFFORT that has brought Haiti where it stands today. Stop these international LIES about Haiti, stop stealing and calling it “helping Haiti!” | Pouki sa lapres lang long fin dechennen kont pep Ayisyen an" | Plans to make Haiti a penal colony and officially placed under UN Protectorate proceeds..


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ANSWER THE CALL and support the current 2006 8-point Haiti Resolution and


FREE THE POLITICAL PRISONERS: Sample letters for HLLN’S Media Campaign to Free Haitian children in prisons, Free the political prisoners, Protect the Feb. 7th vote|

Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network | e-mail:

Men Anpil Chay Pa Lou! – Many Hands Make Light a Heavy Load!


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