HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN HAITI



         1.   Repression


         42. After the coup d'état in Haiti, the human rights situation continued to deteriorate.  The Commission has learned of the repression exercised by the military against the Haitian public.  As pointed out in the introduction, many people have been unlawfully detained, summarily executed, mistreated and tortured by members of the Armed Forces, the Police and civilian collaborators.  In the majority of the cases, the victims have been followers of the deposed President Jean Bertrand Aristide; in other cases, the victims are people who were simply suspected of being Aristide supporters.  Any type of demonstration or meeting has been violently suppressed and journalists have not been allowed to learn the facts.  Many of these victims are members of grassroots and human rights organizations, students, journalists, peasants, merchants and members of the Catholic Church.


         43. The illegal searches of homes and inspections of vehicles that the military conduct at any hour of the day have created a climate of fear among the people, who feel defenseless in the face of abuses of every possible type.  One example is the case of Monsignor Romelus, who on several occasions was stopped so that the vehicle in which he was travelling could be inspected.  He also received threats at his residence.


         44. In rural areas, the repression and violence have become worse with the reinstatement of the "section chiefs" who  act with the acquiescence of the military and with complete impunity.  In the capital city and in the provinces, the people are victims of the corruption of the de facto authorities and of the extortion practiced by military personnel against civilians, demanding that they hand over money to avoid being arrested or mistreated, or simply to improve their living conditions in detention centers and sometimes even to secure their release.  The corruption in the administration of justice has prevented the victims of these abuses from being able to exercise their judicial guarantees.


         45. The climate of fear and insecurity that exists in Haiti have has caused a large percentage of the population to move, seeking refuge in the country's interior, thereby being forced to abandon their homes and go into permanent hiding.  In its earlier report, the IACHR noted that some 300,000 individuals had been affected by this massive displacement.[1]  In other cases, many Haitians have been forced to flee the country aboard unsafe boats, to seek asylum in the United States.


         46. The practice of "preventive" repression used by the Armed Forces against the civilian population and the deterioration of the political situation have fostered a series of violations of individual guarantees, among them the right to life, to humane treatment, to personal liberty, to freedom of thought and of expression, and the right of assembly and association, all protected under the American Convention on Human Rights to which the Republic of Haiti is a State Party.  This section contains a description of some of the cases that the IACHR has received during the period covered by this report.

         2.   Right to life


         Legal provisions


         47.  The right to life is recognized in Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights as follows:



         1.   Every person has the right to have his life respected.  This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception.  No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.


         2.   In countries that have not abolished the death penalty, it may be imposed only for the most serious crimes and pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court and in accordance with a law establishing such punishment, enacted prior to the commission of the crime.  The application of such punishment shall not be extended to crimes to which it does not presently apply.


         3.   The death penalty shall not be reestablished in states that have abolished it.


         4.   In no case shall capital punishment be inflicted for political offences or related common crimes.


         5.   Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who, at the time the crime was committed, were under 18 years of age or over 70 years of age; nor shall it be applied to pregnant women.


         6.   Every person condemned to death shall have the right to apply for amnesty, pardon, or commutation of sentence, which may be granted in all cases.  Capital punishment shall not be imposed while such a petition is pending decision by competent authority.



         In articles 19 and 20, the 1987 Haitian Constitution establishes the guarantees of the right to life.  They read as follows:


         Article 19:


         The State has the absolute obligation to guarantee the right to life,health, and respect of the human person for all citizens without distinction, in conformity with the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man.


         Article 20:


         The death penalty is abolished in all cases.


         48.   As for the right to life, the Commission has observed that extrajudicial executions have not stopped.  Numerous sources have reported that it is very difficult say exactly how many people have died by summary execution.  In some cases the bodies of the victims are immediately taken away by the military to avoid any possible investigation.  In other cases the executions are not reported, since the media are being constantly intimidated.  However, some human rights groups that operate in Haiti estimate that between October 1991 and August 1992, there were 3,000 extrajudicial executions and that 89% of them were in Port-au-Prince.


         49.   The summary executions are clearly politically motivated.  Most of them occurred in the poorer neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, particularly those where support for the deposed President Aristide is strongest.  At the present time, as part of a campaign of "preventive repression" being waged by the military, the victims have been individuals who are merely suspected of being his supporters.


         50.   In February 1992, four young men from the Platoon (Bel-Air) area of Port-au-Prince were detained by two military men identified as being attached to the "Fort Dimanche" garrison.  The day following their detention, the parents of one of the young men, Odner Lamitié, went to the city's various detention centers in an effort to locate his son.  Finally, his body was found at the morgue of the General Hospital, along with the bodies of his other three companions.  The four bodies had bullet wounds.


         51.   In May, extrajudicial executions increased.  Military, accompanied by armed civilians, made late-night incursions into poor neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, searching houses and beating and shooting their inhabitants.  Dozens of bodies were found, particularly in the Carrefour and Cité Soleil neighborhoods.  On May 19, after an airplane flew over the city of Port-au-Prince showering pamphlets with a photograph of President Aristide, five people were shot to death.


         52.   On May 26, Georges Izméry, brother of a well-known follower of President Aristide, was shot in the back in front of hundreds of witnesses, by a group of soldiers in civilian dress.  After the shooting, the men fled into the Police Station known as the "Cafetería", located a short distance from the scene of the events.  When the police came, they did not allow the relatives to go near him or take him to a hospital for treatment.  The police took Mr. Georges Izméry to the General Hospital.  The family doctor was not allowed to enter the morgue, and was only allowed to reclaim the body three days later, after an attorney intervened.


         53.   Prior to the events, the home of Mr. Georges Izméry was searched by police who did not have a legal warrant.  A domestic was beaten and taken to prison for no reason; that night she was released.  Mr. Izméry's funeral was interrupted by a group of heavily armed men who were carrying a sophisticated communication system.  The people in the funeral cortege were scattered and some were arrested and beaten.


         54.   In the last weeks of May and in the month of June, there were a number of student demonstrations supporting President Aristide's return.  The police used violence to break up the demonstrations and a number of students were killed.  On August 19, the bodies of three young men who had been hanging posters of President Aristide in connection with the forthcoming visit of the OAS Mission, were found in the Port-au-Prince morgue.  The young men had been arrested the day before by members of the Armed Forces.  One of the victims, Martine Remilien, was co-founder of the new political party called "Open the Doors".


         55.   On August 3, the IACHR received a petition concerning the death of Mr. Robinson Joseph, former director of "Radio Lumiére".  He was killed on a busy street in Port-au-Prince when, according to police, Mr. Joseph tried to evade an automobile check-point and they fired on him.


         56.   Another case was that of Mr. Marcel Fleurzil, an active member of KONAKOM.  On September 3, his bullet-ridden body was found near the national telephone company.  In the second week of September, the Commission received a report denouncing the abduction of Marcel Touillot, who was abducted by armed men and taken away in a military jeep for some unknown destination.  His body was found later in the capital city morgue.  That same month, the body of Marcel Almonacyl, Mayor of Anse d'Hainault, was found.  It showed visible signs of torture.  The victim's brother was a priest and his death was thought to be linked to the harassment and threats targeted against members of the Haitian Catholic Church.


         57.   In late November, the army and paramilitary forces continued the repression.  Petitions were received concerning the abduction and subsequent murder of Jacques Derenoncourt and Wesner Luc, and the disappearance of Justin Brésil, all members of the KONAKOM political party.  Another petition concerned an attack on students at the Agronomy School who were conducting a peaceful demonstration.  Some had bullet wounds and twelve were missing.  In cases like these, it has been very difficult to determine whether the victims have died or are in hiding out of fear of being arrested by military authorities.


         58.   On December 5, Jean-Sony Philogene and six other young men were detained by a group of armed men.  They were taken away in a jeep to Titaynen, a common grave into which corpses are thrown,[2]  where they were shot.  Philogene was the lone survivor of the massacre and managed to get as far as the national highway, where he was helped by a driver and taken to the St. François de Salles Hospital.  The hospital refused to admit him.  Thanks to a doctor, however, Philogene was immediately taken to the Canapé Vert Hospital.  The next day, after undergoing surgery, a number of military men in uniform appeared at the hospital asking for him.  Later, his grandmother was present in his hospital room when a group of five armed men entered and riddled him with bullets.


         59.   The Commission has forwarded these cases but in not one of them have the de facto authorities replied.



         3.    Right to personal liberty and humane treatment


         Legal provisions


         60.   The right to personal liberty is recognized in Article 7 of the American Convention on Human Rights, as follows:


         1.    Every person has the right to personal liberty and security.


         2.    No one shall be deprived of his physical liberty except for the reason and under the conditions established beforehand by the constitution of the State Party concerned or by a law established pursuant thereto.


         3.    No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment.


         4.    Anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons for his detention and shall be promptly notified of the charge or charges against him.


         5.    Any person detained shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to be released without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings.  His release may be subject to guarantees to assure his appearance for trial.


         6.    Anyone who is deprived of his liberty shall be entitled to recourse to a competent court, in order that the court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his arrest or detention and order his release if the arrest or detention is unlawful.  In States Parties whose laws provide that anyone who believes himself to be threatened with deprivation of his liberty is entitled to recourse to a competent court in order that it may decide on the lawfulness of such threat, this remedy may not be restricted or abolished.  The interested party or another person in his behalf is entitled to seek these remedies.


         7.    No one shall be detained for debt.  This principle shall not limit the orders of a competent judicial authority issued for nonfulfillment of duties of support.


         The right to humane treatment is upheld in Article 5 of that Convention, which provides the following:


         1.    Every person has the right to have his physical, mental and moral integrity respected.


         2.    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment.  All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.


         3.    Punishment shall not extended to any person other than the criminal.


         4.    Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be segregated from convicted persons, and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to their status as unconvicted persons.


         5.    Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be separated from adults and brought before specialized tribunals, as speedily as possible, so that they may be treated in accordance with their status as minors.


         6.    Punishments consisting of deprivation of liberty shall have as an essential aim the reform and social readaptation of the prisoners.


         Articles  24, 25, 26 and 27 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution contain the individual's legal guarantees in respect of personal liberty and humane treatment.  They read as follows:


         Article 24:


         Individual liberty is guaranteed and protected by the State.


         Article 24-1:


         No one may be prosecuted, arrested or detained except in the cases determined by law and in the manner it prescribes.


         Article 24-2:


         Except where the perpetrator of a crime is caught in the act, no one may be arrested or detained other than by written order of a legally competent official.


         Article 24-3:


         For such an order to be carried out, the following requirements must be met:


         a)     It must formally state the reason in Creole and in French for the arrest or detention and the provision of the law that provides for punishment of the act charged;


         b)    Legal notice must be given and a copy of the order must be left with the accused at the time of its execution;


         c)     The accused must be notified of his right to be assisted by counsel at all phases of the investigation of the case up to the final judgment;


         d)    Except where the perpetrator of a crime is caught in the act, no arrest by warrant and no search may take place between six (6) p.m. and six (6) a.m.;


         e)     Responsibility for an offense is personal, and no one may be arrested in the place of another.


         Article 25:


         Any unnecessary force or restraint in the apprehension of a person or in keeping him under arrest, or any psychological pressure or physical brutality, especially during interrogation, is forbidden.


         Article 25-1:


         No one may be interrogated without his attorney or a witness of his choice being present.


         Article 26:


         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.


         Article 26-1:


         In the case of a petty violation, the accused shall be referred to a justice of the peace, who shall then hand down a final decision;


         In the case of more serious offenses or crimes, an appeal may be filed, without prior permission, simply by addressing a petition to the presiding judge of the competent civil court, who, on the basis of the oral statement of the prosecutor, shall rule on the legality of the arrest and detention, in a special session of the court, without postponement or rotation of judges, all other cases being suspended.


         Article 26-2:


         If the arrest is judged to be illegal, the judge shall order the immediate release of the arrested person and that order shall be enforceable immediately, regardless of any appeal to a higher court or the Supreme Court for an order forbidding enforcement of the judgment.


         Article 27:


         Any violation of the provisions on individual liberty are arbitrary acts.  Injured parties may, without prior authorization, appeal to the competent courts, to bring suit against the authors and perpetrators of these arbitrary acts, regardless of their rank or the body to which they belong.


         61.   The legal system of Haiti provides for officials whose functions are to serve the State by prosecuting criminals and safeguarding the rights of individuals:  the district court prosecutor (commissaire du gouvernement) and examining magistrate.


         62.   As for violations of the rights to personal liberty and humane treatment, the Commission continues to receive numerous petitions involving individuals who have been arbitrarily arrested by members of the security forces.  The majority of these arrests are carried out without a court order and after the hours stipulated by law.  The detainees remain in prison for days and even months, without being brought before a judge.  This is a violation of the Constitution, which stipulates that all persons who are detained are to be brought before a judge within 48 hours.  In some cases the victims are released without ever being charged.


         63.   The many pieces of testimony provided by the victims indicate that the arrests are always accompanied by mistreatment and even torture.  At present, the practice of extorting money from detainees is widespread.  Money is demanded of them to avoid being taken to prison or tortured.


         64.   The arbitrary arrests are particularly common among people suspected of being supporters of President Aristide and of participating in opposition activities.  The mere fact of possessing a photograph of Aristide is grounds for arrest.  In the capital and in the countryside, leaders of grassroots organizations, of human rights groups, priests, nuns and journalists have been unlawfully arrested.  Many of them have been forced to abandon their work.


         65.   Human rights groups operating in Haiti have recorded 5,096 cases of unlawful arrests between October 1991 and November 1992.  Thirty-four percent of these cases occurred in Port-au-Prince, 16.30% in the Department of Artibonite, 13.35% in the Northern Department, 12.79% in the Central Plateau region and 9.02% in the Southern Department; the other cases were divided among the country's other regions.


         66.   On March 21, 1992, Dully Oxéva and Dérose Eranor, peasants from the Thomonde region (Central Department), were arrested by members of the security forces in Mirebalais, where they lived until soldiers burned down their home and silo.  Oxéva and Eranor, members of the "Mouvement Paysan de Papaye" (MPP), were severely beaten and held in custody at the Mirebalais garrison.  According to witnesses, soldiers asked their relatives for $31.00 in exchange for their release.  The two men were released on April 23 and immediately arrested again.


         67.   Henry Nicolas, an active member of various grassroots organizations, was arrested on March 29, 1992, in Cap-Haïtien.  A justice of the peace and four soldiers appeared at his home and proceeded to inspect it, apparently without having a proper court order.  Even though there was nothing there to compromise Mr. Nicolas, they took him to the Cap-Haïtien prison.  One month later he was released, without ever having been charged.


         68.   Again in March, Elvéus Elissaint and Dorzius Bennissé, two catechists, and Piersaint Piersius, prominent in the Protestant Church, were arrested without a warrant for having attended two meetings with Father Gilles Danroc, the Verrette priest.  The three people were beaten and the section chief who had arrested them broke the barrel of his rifle on Elvéus Elissaint's back.


         69.   On April 27, Sister Clemencia Ascanio, a Venezuelan religious, was detained along with two Dominican women when the military discovered that the bus in which they were travelling was carrying boxes containing calendars with President Aristide's photograph.  The arrest was made at Mallepasse, near the Dominican border, from whence the three women were travelling.  The passengers on the bus were taken to Croix-des-Bouquets Garrison; most were released when they said that the nun was the one carrying the calendars.  Two days later, the three women were brought before the Public Prosecutor's Office in Port-au-Prince and released on May 2.


         70.   That same month, Moléon Lebrun, a leader of the Bois de Lance Young Farmers' Association, was detained by police without a warrant and beaten after he participated in a demonstration in Bois de Lance (Northern Department).  Five other people were arrested with him, Marc Magloire, Jean Magloire, Appolis Lebrun, Yves Lebrun and Jean Luma, but later released, once each had paid $600.00.  Moléon Lebrun remained in prison when he was unable to pay the sum of $800.00 for his release.  He was later transferred to the Cap-Haïtien prison, in a very bad state of health because of the beatings and mistreatment he endured on the day of the arrest.


         71.   Patrick Morisseau, a teacher and member of the "Komité Jen Kafou Peyan" Youth Association of Carrefour Péan and follower of Lavalas, was arrested by police near Delmas, in Port-au-Prince, on May 25.  Morisseau was beaten at the time of his arrest and transferred to the Anti-gang Investigation Service, where he remained until he was released on June 10.  Claire Edouard, mother of Patrick Morisseau, was murdered in her home the night after her son's arrest.  Several neighbors said that she was killed by members of the security forces; the neighbors had been forced out of their homes and made to witness the execution.


         72.   Also during the month of May, Rémy Amazon, director of the Frantz Guillit school and former assistant to the Mayor of Cayes (under the Aristide Government), was arrested along with a number of other people in Cayes.  The arrests were in retaliation for an armed attack on a military facility in Camp Perrin, by unidentified men carrying banners bearing the inscription "Democracy or Death".  Some of those arrested, Amazan among them, were taken to detention facilities in Port-au-Prince and then released.



         73.   In Cayes, priests were a particular target of arbitrary arrests, and had sometimes been mistreated, threatened, had their homes searched and their files destroyed.  In June, Father Denis Verdier, director of Caritas, Father Gilles Danroc, coordinator of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, Father Sony Décoste, Father Marcel Bussels and Brother Jean-Baptiste Casséus were arrested by security forces and released two days later.  Mr. Milo Batista and Carl Henri Richardson were arrested under similar circumstances.



        74.           Starting in August 1992, arbitrary arrests by police and section chiefs and their adjutants increased.  The Commission received numerous petitions, all of them involving individuals who supported President Aristide's return or who were found to have photos of Aristide in their homes.  In most such cases, the arrests were accompanied by mistreatment and torture.  The victims are the following:



Name                                            Place of arrest                                     Date


Altide Louisdor                              Hinche                                                06/07/92

Liliane Pierre-Paul                           Mallepasse                                          08/07/92

Hubert Pascal                                Petit-Goâve                                         08/11/92

Vonel St-Germain                           Jacmel                                                08/12/92

Brunel Jacquelin                             Port-au-Prince                                      08/31/92

Father Valery Rebecca                    Port-au-Prince                                      08/26/92

Moises Jean-Charles                       Cap-Haïtien                                         08/22/92

Yolette Etienne                              Port-au-Prince                                      09/01/92

Inelda Cesar                                   Port-au-Prince                                      09/01/92

Jean Kedner Bazelais                      Port-au-Prince                                      09/01/92

Lucien Pardo                                  Gonaives                                             09/03/92

Frenel Régis                                   Saut d'Eau Plateau Central                   09/01/92

Destinas Vilsaint                            Port-a-Piment                                      09/05/92

Simeon Simeus                              Port-au-Prince                                      09/13/92

Carlo Bassette                                Nippes                                                09/24/92

Mathurin Vincent                           Nippes                                                09/24/92

Travil Lamour                                 Nippes                                                09/24/92

Eliphete Abeltus                             Limbé                                                 10/02/92

Méres Fédé                                    Mirebalais                                           10/03/92

Dorsee Laplace                               Verettes                                              10/26/92

Thomas André                               Port-au-Prince                                      10/31/92

Rodrigue Flaman                            Lascahobas Plateau-Central                   11/01/92

Solon Cadet                                  Savanette                                           12/03/92

Bahurel Medelus                             Savanette                                           12/03/92

Louis Germain                                Savanette                                           12/03/92

Antoine Augustin                           Cap-Haïtien                                         12/05/92

Maurice Danucy                             Bainet                                                 12/08/92



         75.    In mid January 1993, the Commission was informed of the arrest of Mr. Antoine Izméry.  According to the police, he was arrested because he was driving without a license.  He was held in prison for three days.  Normally this type of traffic violation means a fine, and not imprisonment.  According to reports received, the arrest was made after Mr. Izméry helped with Rev. Jesse Jackson's visit to Haiti.



         76.    Again in January, Mr. Jean Emile Estimable, a reporter for Radio Cacique, was arrested by the Marchand Dessalines Police and taken to the Saint Marc prison.  While  he was in custody, Mr. Estimable was mistreated and his health was described as disturbing.



         77.    The arbitrary arrests have continued in the provinces as well.  Since January 1993, the IACHR has received reports concerning the arrest of Vans Neudet Chéry (Gonaïves), Jean Claude Marsan (Cayes), Dieulan Borgeta (Jean Rabel), Gisele St. Fermin (Cayes) and Father Joseph Simoli (Hinche).



         78.    The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights acted swiftly to begin processing those cases.  Later, Haitian human rights groups informed the Commission that only some of the individuals in question had been released.  It is very difficult to confirm that information and to establish the precise number of individuals who are still in prison, given the de facto government's refusal to provide any information in that regard.



         79.  Before this report was closed, the Commission was informed of the unlawful arrests and abuse inflicted upon those who participated in the mass celebrated on February 25, in memory of the victims lost with the sinking of the ferry Neptune.  According to reports, as he walking out of the cathedral Monsignor Willy Romélus, Bishop of Jeremie, was beaten and his surplice torn by armed men.  Among those arrested were Edride Jean and Julienne Charles, members of the grassroots ecclesiastical communities (TKL), and Pharnes Jan, who was beaten and then taken away to the National Penitentiary.  According to the information it has received, Mr. Pharnes had been so severely beaten that he was in urgent need of medical attention.  Mrs. Arlette Josué, a journalist from Signal FM and the Voice of America, was also detained, along with a seminarian, as she was leaving the cathedral.  She was mistreated during her interrogation at the Anti-Gang Investigation Service.



         80.    The Commission also learned of the repression by the military in Jeremie in early March 1993.  According to reliable sources, a number of young people were arrested and beaten by the military; only a handful were released.  Mr. Patrick Bourdeau was so badly beaten while in custody that he was unable to walk.  The detainees are still in prison, in violation of the 48-hour limit that the Haitian Constitution stipulates in cases of preventive detention.



         4.      Freedom of thought and expression 


         Legal provisions


         81.    Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights stipulates the following:


         1.      Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and expression.  This right includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, in print, in the form of art, or through any other medium of one's choice.


         2.      The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing paragraph shall not be subject to prior censorship but shall be subject to subsequent imposition of liability, which shall be expressly established by law to the extent necessary to ensure:


         a.      respect for the rights or reputations of others; or


         b.      the protection of national security, public order, or public health or morals.


         3.      The right of expression may not be restricted by indirect methods or means, such as the abuse of government or private controls over newsprint, radio broadcasting frequencies, or equipment used in the dissemination of information, or by any other means tending to impede the communication and circulation of ideas and opinions.


         4.      Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 2 above, public entertainments may be subject by law to prior censorship for the sole purpose or regulating access to them for the moral protection of childhood and adolescence.


         5.      Any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitute incitements to lawless violence or to any other similar actions against any person or group or persons on any grounds including those of race, color, religion, language, or national origin shall be considered as offenses punishable by law.


         Article 28 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution provides for freedom of expression as follows:


         Every Haitian has the right to express his opinions freely on any matter by any means he chooses.


         Article 28.1:


         Journalist shall freely exercise their profession within the framework of the law.  Such exercise may not be subject to any authorization or censorship, except in the case of war.


         Article 28.2:


         Journalists may not be compelled to reveal their sources.  However, it is their duty to verify the authenticity and accuracy of information.  It is also their obligation to respect the ethics of their profession.


         82.    As for freedom of expression, the Commission continues to receive complaints about the methods used to restrict this right and the repression of journalists and owners of radio stations, many of which have stopped broadcasting.  Some radio stations have been closed by the military, others have opted instead to suspend any further broadcasts out of fear for the safety of their staff.  In rural areas, section chiefs have arbitrarily arrested anyone who attempts to circulate news about the repression in Haiti.  Those who continue to work do so clandestinely and at risk of their lives.


         83.    Journalist Guy Delva of the Voice of America in Port-au-Prince, received a death threat by phone and was told that he would be killed if he did not stop his broadcasts.  According to Delva, the threats were because of his news reports abroad about human rights violations, especially the lack of freedom of the press in Haiti.  In late February 1992, a group of armed men appeared in Delmas, the area where Delva lives, and were asking for him.  Like many other people who have been threatened, Delva moved.  In May 1992, Guy Delva was beaten by the Port-au-Prince police as he was covering a student demonstration.


         84.    On May 7, journalist Merle India Augustine and a United States colleague went to the Public Prosecutor's Office to find out about the case of Sister Clemencia (mentioned earlier).  During the interview, the agent with the Public Prosecutor's Office had a violent reaction against Augustine, who was interpreting.  He threatened to send her to prison.  When Augustine replied that he could put her in prison only if she committed a crime, the agent ordered his soldiers to arrest her.  Agustine was held in custody for several hours and was eventually released when a number of friends intervened.


         85.    On April 12, Sony Estéus, a journalist with Radio Tropic FM, was arrested by police and severely beaten.  Both his arms and several ribs were broken.  Police accused Estéus of distributing anti-government propaganda and beat him until he was forced to confess to the charges.  Six hours later he was released and had to be hospitalized.  The violence used against Estéus is part of an intimidation campaign against Radio Tropic.  After being threatened several times, Radio Tropic suspended his local news program.


         86.    During a student demonstration in Port-au-Prince, in support of ratification of the Washington Accords, police arrested a number of students and photographer Thony Belizaire and confiscated his camera equipment.  After being questioned at the Investigations and Anti-gang Service, Belizaire was released.


         87.    In August, the repression of the news and communications media increased.  One of the victims of these attacks was Mr. Clifford Larose, a journalist with the magazine Balance and director of the regional office of the Ministry of Information (under the Aristide government), who was shot and seriously wounded by a group of armed men in Port-au-Prince.  That same month, Radio Lumiere stopped broadcasting when its former director, Robinson Joseph, was murdered in a police station.



         88.    On January 22, 1993, Jean Emile Estimable, a reporter for Radio Cacique, was arrested by the rural police in Marchand Dessalines.  According to the information received, Section Chief Geles allegedly placed in the journalist's pocket flyers in favor of the deposed President Aristide in order to have an excuse to arrest him.  Mr. Estimable was mistreated and taken to the Saint Marc's headquarters, in a condition that sources described as "alarming".



         89.    On January 27, Mr. Elder Alméus, director of a private radio station in Jeremie called Radio Visión, was arrested by local authorities on charges of having "incited the public to rebellion".  Some days before, Mr. Alméus had aired a broadcast called "La verité", which was an analysis of Haiti's political situation.  Authorities considered that broadcast to be subversive.  After one night in custody, Mr. Alméus was released.



         90.    On February 2, the disappearance of Colson Dormé was reported.  Dormé is a Haitian journalist with Radio Tropic.  One day earlier he had covered a demonstration at the Port-au-Prince airport on the occasion of the visit by the UN-OAS Representative, Mr. Dante Caputo.  He was never seen again, either at his place of work or at his home.  His disappearance has been linked to the repression by military against the news media.  During that demonstration, journalists Clarens Renois of Radio Metropole, Hans Bazar of Le Rouleau Weekly, and correspondents in Port-au-Prince with the Associated Press and France Press were attacked and insulted.



         91.    Police were on hand at the demonstrations that occurred in early February to protest, in the name of "national sovereignty", the sending of an OAS-UN Civil Mission to Haiti, but did nothing to disrupt the demonstrations, even when a number of demonstrators attacked the vehicles, which had diplomatic or OAS plates.  They let the air out of the tires on some of the cars and a number of the diplomats were verbally harassed.



         5.      Right of assembly



         Legal provisions


         92.    Article 15 of the American Convention on Human Rights reads as follows:



                  The right of peaceful assembly, without arms, is recognized.  No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security, public safety or public order, or to protect public health or morals or the rights or freedoms of others.


         Article 31 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution recognizes the right of assembly and association as follows:



                  Freedom of unarmed assembly and association for political, economic, social, cultural or any other peaceful purposes is guaranteed.


         Article 31.1:


         Political parties and groups shall compete with each other in the exercise of suffrage.  They may be established and may carry out their activities freely.  They must respect the principles of national and democratic sovereignty.  The law determines the conditions for their recognition and operation, and the advantages and privileges reserved to them.


         Article 31.2:


         The police authorities must be notified in advance of assemblies outdoors in public places.



         Article 31.3


                  No one may be compelled to join any association of any kind.



         93.    The military have banned meetings in urban and rural areas.  Peaceful meetings by grassroots organizations, students, peasants and clergy have been violently disrupted and their participants arrested and beaten.  The offices of the organizations have been burned and their property looted.  Numerous members of these organizations have fled to other cities in the country and some have left Haiti altogether.


         94.    Groups of farmers in the northeast sector of the country have stopped meeting.  The military have said that "the peasants have no place in politics, so that they don't need to meet."  Late in 1991, military authorities told the residents of the communities that if they wanted to hold a meeting, they had to give the nearest garrison three days' advance notice; furthermore, a soldier had to be present during the meetings.  In keeping with that policy, on April 28 and 29, 1992, the soldiers from the town of Desarmes in the Artibonite held many of its residents under a kind of "house arrest", because the local commandant had not been given prior notice of the meeting.  In another town, the army killed three members of a peasant farm cooperative and destroyed the meeting place.  The Papay Peasant Farm Movement has been one of the groups subjected to the most harassment since the coup d'état of September 1991 and has not been allowed to meet.  Most of its members have sought refuge in other communities.


         95.    On April 29, 1992, students from the Port-au-Prince Advanced Normal School held a meeting to discuss the country's political crisis.  Just as the meeting got under way, five uniformed policemen appeared and arrested student Cantave Gerson.  After a day in custody at the Anti-gang Service, Gerson was released without being told the reason for the arrest.  Some students who visited him reported that he had been severely beaten by the soldiers and that he needed immediate medical attention.


         96.    In early March, Gonaïves high-school students assembled to begin a demonstration at the entrance to the city.  Moments before the march began, a group of soldiers dispersed the crowd, beating a number of the students present and arresting forty of them.


         97.    On May 13, 1992, a group of soldiers and armed men in civilian dress burst into the School of Sciences of the University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince and beat the students who were holding a meeting at the time.  On June 19, dozens of soldiers surrounded the Advanced Normal School, where approximately 250 students had assembled to protest the appointment of Marc Bazin as de facto prime minister.  The soldiers threatened the students and confiscated the keys to the school, leaving them locked inside; hours later, the soldiers began to throw stones, breaking the windows on the building.  In fear of being attacked, the students and four professors refused to leave.  It was not until the next night that the students were able to leave with the help of a priest, who acted as an intermediary to ensure that they would not be attacked.


         98.    On July 15, sixty policemen used force to break up a meeting of students from the Medical School in Port-au-Prince.  The meeting followed a peaceful march to the capital.  Some people who witnessed the events said that the police beat up a number of students, among them Roosevelt Millard, Ronald Léon, Claude Lucien, Désir Rosette, Canez Prévault and Esner Blaise.  They fired their weapons, but were unable to determine whether anyone had been wounded.  Journalists who later went to the scene of the events, however, saw bloodstains on the floor.[3]  Approximately 20 students were arrested and taken to the Anti-gang Service where they were held for several days, without ever being charged.


         99.    The members of the Church have been a particular target of the crackdown in Haiti.  Permission was sometimes given to hold meetings to prepare for religious ceremonies the following day.  On June 6, Father Gilles Danroc and others were detained, as he was giving his catechism class in the town of La Chapelle, even though one day earlier, he had informed the local authorities of where and when his class would be given.  As the class was beginning, two soldiers appeared and told them that the meeting was unlawful and that he and 14 students, one of whom was pregnant, were under arrest.  Even though no arrest warrant was shown, Father Danroc and the students were taken to the La Chapelle garrison and later to the Verrettes garrison where they were questioned for several hours.  The next day, the detainees were transferred to the Saint Marc prison, where soldiers continued the questioning and labeled them communists and followers of the Lavalas movement.  Seven of the students, including the young pregnant woman, were beaten.  Father Danroc and seven students were released on June 7, and the other students some days thereafter.  They were never brought before a judge and no charges were ever filed against them.  On June 9, Father Danroc left the country.


         100.   Other cases are that of Elvéus Elissaint, Dorzius Bennissé and Piersant Piersius, who were arrested and subjected to mistreatment for having participated in two meetings with the Verettes priest.  Also, Mrs. Liliane Pierre-Paul, a long-time correspondent with Radio Haití Inter, was arrested and accused of being a terrorist for attending a meeting of the Latin American Association of Journalists in Santo Domingo.


         101.   On January 6, 1993, as mass was being celebrated, a group of military men and armed civilians burst into the church of La Nativité in l'Acul-du-Nord, destroying doors and religious objects.  The military men stopped the mass, hurled insults at the parishioners and accused Father Renaud François of having criticized the government of Marc Bazin.  Two days later, the military stopped a procession in Jeremie.  Monsignor Willy Romelus and 25 other priests had just conducted an ordination ceremony in Jeremie's cathedral, and the procession followed the ordination.  The military used nightsticks to break up the participants, some of whom were so badly beaten that they had to be taken to hospital.

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5     See Annual Report of the IACHR 1991,  op.cit, pp. 225-247.


6     The IACHR's 1992  Annual  Report speaks of these common graves,  where many bodies are found with  bullet wounds and visible signs of torture.


7      "Police Disperse Students in Haiti",  Washington Post,  July 16, 1992,  Section A-18.