Doc. 10
18 September 1989
Original:  Spanish




          The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has been observing the evolution of the human rights situation in Haiti with great attention since the departure of President-for-life, Jean-Claude Duvalier, on February 6, 1986. Whereas the Haitian people manifested their sense of liberation and joy at the departure of the Duvalier dynasty and their hope for participation in the creation of a democratic form of government, that hope has been consistently frustrated by the maneuvering of the military which managed both to install and to keep itself in power during the past three and a half years.


          The Commission, in plenary, carried out an on-site visit to Haiti in January 1987 and another visit following the ouster of civilian President Leslie Manigat in August 1988. Pursuant to a mandate from the OAS Permanent Council the Commission prepared a special Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.74, Doc.9, rev.1, September 7, 1988) which was submitted to the OAS General Assembly in November 1988, held in El Salvador. This particular section of the Annual Report is designed to update the General Assembly on the events in Haiti since the presentation of that special Report.


          In the year under consideration, the Haitian Army continued to monopolize political power, and this year was characterized by internecine struggles inside the military, which resulted in the disbanding of two of the three branches of the Army. Due to the nature of the military establishment the precise details of the competing interests involved have not been revealed, and different versions of the events are rivals for the truth. Gen. Avril survived two coup attempts during the past year, and although he deposed Gen. Namphy in 1988, he now has the official, public support of Namphy, who is residing in the Dominican Republic, leading to the conclusion that this regime is not significantly different from the ones that have succeeded each other since 1986.


          On September 17, 1988 a coup led by non-commissioned officers ousted Lt. General Henry Namphy, the military officer who assumed power following the departure of President-for-Life, Jean-Claude Duvalier on February 7, 1986, and replaced him with Brig. Gen. Prosper Avril. Newly promoted Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril accepted the presidency of the military government “with the objective of saving the country from anarchy and chaos” and stated that he and the non-commissioned officers would respect all of Haiti's international commitments. Sgt. Joseph Bebreux the spokesman for the non-commissioned officers announced publicly the day following the coup that the Army demands “the resumption of the democratic process” through presidential elections in Haiti.


          Sylvio Claude, leader of the Haitian Christian Democratic party, the PDCH, alone voiced his party's opposition to the new government as being a continuation of the old regime and urged that the Haitian political class force General Avril to turn over power to the President of the Court of Cassation who, pursuant to the Constitution of 1987, is the individual entitled to hold power. The leading political parties, however, reacted favorably to the coup against the Namphy government and were open to dialogue with the new military leaders.


          During the first weeks of the new military government, General Avril consulted with the leaders of many political parties, even including the Communist party of Haiti which had been proscribed or persecuted ever since it was founded in 1934, in order to receive their opinions on what should be done. The political parties presented a number of recommendations to General Avril as follows:


          1.          That General Avril declare his government a provisional government.


          2.          That General Avril promise to bring to justice the perpetrators of the political crimes denounced by the public and that reparations be made for the abuses committed during the Duvalierist as well as the preceding military governments.


          3,          That a Provisional Electoral Council be set up to conduct the elections.


          4.          That the Constitution of 1987 be respected.


          5.          That all civilians be disarmed.


          The Episcopal Conference of Haiti also called upon the new government to disarm the macoutes and to reorganize the country's judicial system so their individuals would not seek recourse in violence.


          During the first weeks of the Avril government, efforts were made to demonstrate the new Government's commitment to human rights as compared with that of the Namphy government. Important efforts were undertaken, such as the Ministry of Interior and National Defense's announcement at the end of September 1988 that all those in possession of illegal firearms must turn them in to the military district closest to their homes within a period of eight days. In October 1988 the Haitian Army issued a communiqué reminding the Haitian people that the Armed Forces has a monopoly on the purchase and sale of firearms and ammunition throughout Haiti. Attempts to disarm civilians were halted, however, in light of the fact that some people, dressed in military uniform, took advantage of the situation to commit criminal acts such as looting homes under the pretext of searching for arms. The searches were resumed again in November by special uniformed teams of the Army who wore uniforms with special insignias bearing a registered number. The Armed Forces advised the population that private residences could only be searched with a warrant and in the presence of a justice of the peace and only between 0600 and 1800 hours; all night searches were forbidden. Given the continuing, prevailing climate of insecurity and the routine nightly armed clashes, it cannot be said that this attempt to disarm civilians, macoutes or the disbanded branches of the Armed Forces, was successful.


          On the positive side, however, the new military government in December 1988 ratified and incorporated into Haitian domestic law the UN Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It also ratified the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the OAS Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. In this context it is important to point out Case Nº 10295 of Mr. Ernst Louisdor, whose shop in Port-au-Prince was ransacked by an armed group. He fled next door to the home of his neighbor, Sergeant Frantz Florestal, based at the Petionville Barracks. The Sergeant is said to have beaten him up, accused him of being a robber, arrested him and taken him to the Carrefour Police Station. Once there he was reportedly tortured by two soldiers with the apparent aim of making him confess that he had broken into the home of the sergeant for criminal purposes. He was reportedly tied by his hands and feet and suspended from a pole and severely beaten all over his body. Later that day he was released, thanks to the intervention of some friends, and he immediately reported what had happened to him over Radio Haiti Inter and Radio Nationale. The army sergeant supposedly threatened him with death and the death of his family. On January 14th Louisdor was rushed to the hospital for treatment for internal bleeding resulting from the treatment he received while in detention in the police station.


          In the response received from the Haitian Government on this case the Commission was informed that Mr. Louisdor had indeed been beaten by the soldiers of the police station and that disciplinary sanctions had been taken against these soldiers. Since the case is pending before the Commission, this information is presented without prejudice to any decision the Commission may take.


          The Avril government also rescinded the expulsion order against Father Rene Poirier, a Canadian priest who had been deported from Haiti by the Namphy government and rescinded the expulsion order against Nicolas Estiverne. The Commission had found the Government of General Namphy in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights in Case 9855, involving Mr. Estiverne, which was published in the IACHR's Annual Report for 1987-1988.


          The good will derived from these early actions was destroyed, however, in January 1989 when the military government gave the alleged leader of the macoutes, the former mayor of Port-au-Prince, Franck Romain, safe-conduct to leave the country for Santo Domingo from his place of asylum, the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Haiti. The military government cited the OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum (1954) as the legal grounds for granting Mr. Romain safe conduct. Article 12 of that Convention which was cited by the Haitian Government provides: “Once asylum has been granted, the State granting asylum may request that the asylee be allowed to depart for foreign territory, and the territorial State is under obligation to grant immediately, except in cases of force mejeure, the necessary guarantees, referred to in Article 5, as well as the corresponding safe-conduct.” According to the Haitian Government, a request for safe-conduct for Mr. Franck Romain was made in proper form by the Dominican Republic through its embassy in Port-au-Prince on September 19, 1988. The Haitian Government recognized the controversial nature of its decision and pointed out that “Others have maintained that asylum should not have been granted, since crimes that are pretty much matters of ordinary criminal law are involved.” In response to that argument the Haitian Government cited Article 4 of the Treaty which stipulates “It is up to the State granting asylum to determine the nature of the offense or the motives for the persecution.” The Government stated, however, that the prosecution would “continue unceasingly,--all the way to a request for extradition if need be,” but that at the present time it was bound to observe its international obligations.


          In spite of the legalistic terms of the Government's justification of the laissez-passer of Franck Romain, the popular reaction to the granting of safe-conduct was one of outrage. Romain's departure was likened to that of Albert Pierre's (who was allowed to depart for Brazil by the CNC) and popular opinion was that the 17th of September enlisted man's movement had been crushed and the old repressive, Duvalierist forces had retrenched themselves in power. Disillusion returned to dominate the Haitian political scene and in spite of the official rhetoric concerning elections, by January 1989 the macoutes still had not been disarmed, and the public fear was prevalent that if elections were organized the events of November 29, 1987 would repeat themselves. The granting of the safe-conduct to Romain  led certain political leaders to demand again that the government resign.


          At the end of January 1989, the Ministry of Information and Coordination announced that the criminal dossier of Mr. Franck Romain had been completed by the Ministry of Justice and had been transmitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allow the Government to begin the procedure for Mr. Romain's extradition. By the end of September 1989 no further information had been made available regarding this extradition request.


          Following the departure of Franck Romain, it was reported that David Philogene, the former section chief of a communal section of Leogane, who was the principal person accused in the murder of Louis Eugene Athis and several of his companions, had been released from detention and allowed to flee to the Dominican Republic.


          As regards violations of the most fundamental human right, the right to life, General Avril, in an interview with journalist Jean Dominique, promised to make public the files on three murder investigations: the murder of Athis, the murder of Volel and the massacre on election day November 29, 1987. A report on the murder of Athis was released on November 15, 1988 which stated that Athis was killed because one of his companions Oscar Dongervil was hated in the small community to which he had gone to speak and that Athis was killed simply because he was in the company of Dongervil. The report concerning the November 29 massacre appears to be the same report, prepared by the Special Commission of Inquiry which was presented to the Government of General Namphy on January 15, 1988 and which is discussed in the Commission's 1988 Report in Chapter III (A). That Report was not able to individually identify any of the perpetrators of the massacre. No report was issued on the investigation of the murder of Yves Volel, the lawyer who was shot down in front of the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Police.


          In spite of the calls both from the military government and the leaders of the political opposition for a reform of the country's judicial system, lawyers and judges were under increasing attack during this period. On October 29, 1988 the body of murdered lawyer Jacques Philipps was found on the road to the north. In November Port-au-Prince lawyers carried out a four-day stoppage to protest acts of aggression taken against them, in particular, the forcible searches of their offices and death threats.


          On November 21, 1988, the Autonomous Organization of Haitian Workers (CATH) called a twenty-four hour general strike which was observed in Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien and sectors of all the nine geographical departments, and considered by the organizers to have been 85% effective. The strike was termed a “warning strike” to send a signal to the government to do something about the macoutes who were again terrorizing the population and creating a climate of insecurity throughout the country. Shooting continued to go on during the night and dead bodies were left to lie in the streets as warnings. One Haitian characterized Port-au-Prince as a “battlefield.” On November 25, 1988 the Justice Minister issued a “memorandum” classifying so called “warning strikes” crimes (under Articles 78, 178, 238 and 258) of the Haitian penal code because they tend to “negatively affect the nation's internal security.”


          The Commission receives monthly reports listing the numbers of individuals who have been murdered and the known circumstances, if any, regarding these killings. As far as the Commission knows no investigations have been carried out regarding any of these cases and the wave of criminality in Haiti continues to rise as those responsible enjoy impunity. Two of the more notorious cases which occurred during the past year involve Gerard Laforest and Gregory Delpe.


          On April 29, 1989 the body of Gerard Laforest, who was the director of the Haitian State Lottery, was found dead with two bullets in his body on a street near the Cafeteria, a police station in Port-au-Prince. During the night of July 5-6, 1989, armed individuals broke into the Delpe family home and murdered Gregory Delpe, the brother of the political activist Dr. Turneb Delpe. No one has been arrested for either crime and the Commission has not received any information regarding an investigation being carried out in either case.


          In Chapter IV of the Commission's 1988 Report on Haiti, the case of the killings of the four persons in Labadie was discussed. In that case the assassins were known, but the investigators pursued the members of the “Youth Movement of Labadie” instead of the culprits. On February 20, 1989 a group of persons armed with machetes, knives and other pointed objects and wearing red armbands attacked and burned  down all the materials in a school in Labadie which belongs to the Labadie Youth Movement. The assistant section chief in the area (Lates Saintisma) was charged with having started the fire and a warrant for his arrest was issued, reportedly he was also involved in the August 14, 1988 attack on the youth group in Labadie which resulted in the death of your youths mentioned above. In spite of the fact that the persons responsible for the August attack had been identified not a single individual allegedly involved in the attack has been arrested. This group is also presumed to have links with the armed group wearing red armbands that attacked the parishioners at Saint Jean Bosco Church in Port-au-Prince during a mass that was being celebrated by Father Jean Bertrand Aristide at which 13 people were brutally killed and 70 wounded.


          As regards the right to personal liberty and freedom from arbitrary arrest, in September 1988, the military government announced the appointment of Lt. Col. George Valcin as the new police chief of Port-au-Prince, it was to be his job to create a professional police corps separate from the Army, as mandated by the Constitution of 1987, which was designed to eliminate the abuses resulting from having the Army maintain internal order. Col. Valcin had recently completed a one-year training course with the French Gendarmerie. To date, the end of September 1989, this separate police corps has not yet been created. Also, as part of the reorganization of the Police, the Criminal Investigations Unit (Recherches Criminelles), which was the focus of serious human rights violations examined in Chapter III of the Commission's 1988 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, was renamed the Investigations and Anti-Gang Department. The feared former head of Recherches Criminelles, Col. Joseph D. Baguidy, is now second in command of the Investigations and Anti-Gang Department, leading one to conclude that conditions there have not changed.


          Arbitrary detentions have also continued. One well-publicized case involved that of two political leaders, Rockefeller Guerre and Sylvain Jolibois, who were arrested on February 6, 1989, in connection with the explosion of a bomb on the Champ de Mars in Port-au-Prince on the first day of Carnival. They were kept in the National Penitentiary for ten days and then released when the Ministry of Justice acknowledged that no charges could be brought against them.


          On Saturday, March 4th, house searches were conducted by the Army in several neighborhoods including the houses of political leaders Rockefeller Guerre and Dr. Turneb Delpe, ostensibly in pursuit of firearms. Rockefeller Guerre interpreted this search as part of what he termed “systematic persecution” against him by the government.


          As a result of the continuing climate of insecurity many Haitians have again sought to flee Haiti. In March approximately 123 persons were arrested who had attempted to hijack foreign vessels to Miami. These individuals were returned to Haiti and taken to the National Penitentiary.


          As regards the evolution of the Political situation in Haiti, progress towards democracy has been painfully slow and ambiguous. Political parties and mass grassroots organizations have continued to function, for example, KONAKOM and PANAPRA held their annual congresses this year with no interference with their right of freedom of assembly and their right to conduct political activities. As regards the constitutional structure of the state, the new military government did not immediately seek a return to the Constitution of 1987. In this October address to the nation on the first month's anniversary of his government, General Avril stated that many changes had to be made in the Haitian Constitution in light of events, but that the new government would apply itself to administering public affairs in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution and leave it to the elected legislature to make the necessary changes to bring the Constitution back into force, a compromise position was adopted, however, and the Constitution was formally reinstated on March 13, 1989, although 36 articles considered incompatible with those in force were suspended. Article 291, the article which caused the most controversy in 1987 and which prohibited Duvalierists from running for public office, was not one of the articles suspended.


          During this same October 1988 anniversary speech General Avril also announced that a draft decree would be forthcoming creating an independent electoral council which would be subject to popular scrutiny and criticism before being finalized and that the electoral council would be in charge of organizing, first, elections for Caseca (Administrative Councils for the Communal Sections), then municipal, then legislative and finally presidential elections.


          In pursuance of General Avril's October 21, 1988 message to the nation, the military government issued a draft decree on November 3, 1988 creating an independent body to organize elections in Haiti. The draft decree was submitted to the leaders of the political parties and was disseminated by the press. It proposed the creation of an Electoral College of Haiti (CEDHA) which was to fall under the administrative protection of the Ministry of Justice. CEDA's mandate was to organize and supervise all electoral operations throughout Haiti, to draft an electoral law and submit it to the executive branch, to ensure that voters are properly registered and that electoral rolls are properly kept, to settle conflicts between parties during the elections, to rule on any disputes that may arise during the elections, to intervene in cases of violation of the electoral law and to prepare the files of offenders in order to send them before the competent court.


          CEDHA was also to be charged with undertaking voter education, determining what equipment is needed to carry out the elections and acquiring the same, to prepare and compile the information necessary for making decisions in connection with the elections, to guarantee the maintenance of the institution's technical material and to hold open, honest and impartial elections.


          The response of the political leaders, however, was to reject Gen. Avril's draft decree charging that it violated the 1987 Constitution. The political parties called upon the military government to adhere to the letter of Article 289 of the 1987 Constitution which designates that a certain number of associations and institutions are to name the nine members of the Electoral Council.


          On February 9, 1989 twenty-eight leaders of political parties, union organizations and socio-professional organizations participated in a forum organized by the military government with a view to creating an electoral council. Other grassroots activists, objecting to forum, held their own forum from February 5-7, and claimed that the Avril government had failed to respect any of the promises that his government had made to the Haitian people, consequently, they called for a general strike for February 8-9, and demanded the resignation of Gen. Prosper Avril. The strike was partially observed in Port-au-Prince and more effective in the provinces, especially in Gonaives, Cap Haitien, Port de Paix, St Marc, Hinche, Jackmel, Petit Goave, Les Cayes, Thiotte and La Gonave.


          On February 23, 1989 the military government issued a decree creating a Permanent Electoral Council (CEP) based on the recommendations made by the participants in the government forum which ended on February 17th. Under the terms of this decree, the CEP is to organize and control, in a fully independent manner, all electoral operations until the results of the voting have been proclaimed and are formally sanctioned. The CEP is to draft the electoral law, which it is to submit to the executive for the necessary follow up, to ensure that electoral lists are kept up to date, to handle all disputes in connection with any and all controversy occurring during elections or in connection with the application or violation of the electoral law, without prejudice to any and all legal action to be taken against parties before the courts.


          Some political party leaders reacted favorably to the government's decree and stated that it embodied the recommendations made by the forum. Other political hard-liners continued to demand the resignation of the Avril government. While yet other political leaders felt that elections were not possible in Haiti given the current climate of insecurity, in particular, the repression of the peasants by the local section chiefs and stated that for confidence to be restored an open popular front government comprised of persons who represent different democratic organizations must be established.


          Until the conditions are ripe to create a permanent electoral council the executive is to form a Provisional Electoral Council along the lines of the one established in May 1987, with the Executive, the Bishops Conference, the unions, the Court of Cassation, the human rights' organizations, the university council, the journalists association, the Protestant Churches and the National Council of Cooperatives each proposing one member. In fact the Provisional Electoral Council was sworn in partially on April 4th and also on April 13, 1989.


          As regards the political situation in Haiti, and the possibility for holding elections, in spite of the tentative moves being taken to create an electoral apparatus, the political scene can be characterized as unstable due to the attempted coups and the inter-military rivalries. Three days after the September coup which ousted Namphy and placed Avril in power, General Avril retired eight Haitian generals linked to the previous regime, and in early October he retired Colonel Jean-Claude Paul, commander of the powerful Dessalines Battalion. Col. Paul had become a political liability both to the Namphy and now the Avril government, as regards the resumption of foreign aid to Haiti, due to the fact that he had been indicted on drug-trafficking charges in the United States. On November 6, 1988 he was found dead at his home. His wife was initially placed under police protection and then when it appeared that Col. Paul had been poisoned, she was placed under arrest, but was eventually released. No one has been formally charged or tried for Col. Paul's murder.


          On October 14, 1988 General Avril's new government faced its first coup attempt, which failed, and as a result of which approximately a dozen soldiers were arrested. Sergeant Patrick Frantz Beauchard and fourteen other members of the Presidential Guard were kept in detention without access to members of their families or to legal counsel until December 6, 1988. On December 21, Sgt. Beauchard and two others were to be brought to trial for having been the alleged instigators of the coup attempt. The other twelve were released but dismissed from the Army. On December 25, the Ministry of Information announced that the President had decided to release Sgt. Beauchard and the others still in detention as an “act of clemency.” They too were dismissed from the Army.


          These soldiers were defended by certain sectors of the population as having been the instigators of the reform-minded coup of September 17, 1988 which brought Avril to power. By December, however, the Army was discharging soldiers throughout Haiti—Les Cayes, Gonaives, Saint-Marc, Mirebalais, Croix des Bouquets, Aguin, Petite Riviere de l'Artibonite—who had participated in the September 17th events. Some of these soldiers had set up people's courts in the provinces (e.g. Cotes de Fer) to judge the macoutes denounced for stealing government money, arresting people arbitrarily and committing other criminal acts. Reportedly the Avril government crushed these troops using troops from other areas in order to put an end to the people's courts and the soldiers responsible were transferred, discharged and persecuted.


          Repression in the countryside continued and the human rights and peasant organizations accused the local section chiefs of abusing their powers. These organizations demanded change and argued that things would not change unless these section chiefs were removed. The military government in an attempt to deal with the issue on December 15, 1988 announced that the position of rural police agent—or section chief—would henceforth be made an elected position. In the future the section chief would be elected from among the citizens running in the CASEC elections. He would have two assistants who would be chosen by the commander of the military district with the help of the CASEC. Once elected he would become a member of the Armed Forces. This solution was criticized in that it did not solve the current problem, and no CASEC elections had been scheduled.


          On April 1-2, 1989 the Avril government experienced its second coup attempt. At the end of March the Army High Command had discharged four high-ranking officers reportedly for drug-trafficking. In addition, in connection with the discharges, a number of other officers were transferred to other military departments. Once Gen. Avril regained control he attempted to expel Leopard Corps commander Col. Himmler Rebu and also Col. Philippe Biamby, the former commander of the Presidential Guard, who were the alleged instigators of the attempted coup, but a group of some 300 antigovernment demonstrators set up flaming barricades all along the Delmas Road, and soldiers occupied the international airport to prevent Col. Rebu, their popular commander, from being expelled. Tanks and armored vehicles from the Dessalines Barracks appeared at Delmas and there was an exchange of heavy gunfire.


          The Leopards took over the government television and radio stations and made three demands over the independent radio station Haiti-Inter. They said that they wanted Lt. Col. Himmler Rebu released, a civilian government to replace Avril and the complete restoration of the 1987 Constitution. Cols. Rebu and Biamby and also Lt. Col. Leonce Qualo of the general garrison, however, were expelled by land to the Dominican Republic on Monday night, April 3, 1989. From the Dominican Republic they were sent to New York, via Miami, and in New York they were arrested by INS agents and held in detention for several months, allegedly without charges, until they were permitted to leave for Venezuela.


          On April 5, 1989 the crisis worsened. Soldiers from the Jean-Jacques Dessalines Battalion joined the rebellion which apparently had not ended with the expulsion of the commanders, and demanded the resignation of General Prosper Avril over the radio, blaming him for the death of the soldiers from the Leopards Corps, and they ordered the population to stay at home. A large detachment of soldiers from the Leopards Corps arrived by truck to support the soldiers of the Dessalines Battalion who were demanding General Avril's resignation. Late in the afternoon of April 5th the armored vehicles of the Presidential Guard took positions on the Palace grounds. The Dessalines Battalion is the second largest military unit in Haiti comprising 900 men, after the Presidential Guard which comprises 1,100 men. During the night of April 5th, heavy shooting was again heard in the vicinity of the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. It is not clear how many casualties resulted from these two incidents involving heavy fighting.


          As a response to the new outbreak of violence, on April 5th, the military government decreed a state of emergency and instituted press censorship. On April 6th, four Port-au-Prince radio stations were attacked (Radio Haiti-Inter, Radio Metropole, Radio Antilles and Radio Liberte) and their transmitters destroyed, and although the military government acknowledged responsibility for their destruction and offered to pay for repairs, the owners of the radio stations claimed that these reparations were never made. By mid-April the transmitters of most of these stations had been repaired and they had resumed broadcasting. In August 1989 the Haitian Mission to the OAS informed the Commission of the declaration of a state of emergency (etat d'urgence) in Haiti but did not specify the reasons for the declaration, nor which articles of the Convention it intended to suspend, nor the duration of the emergency as required by Article 27 of the American Convention on Human Rights.


          Pursuant to the state of emergency, the military government ordered all units of the Armed Forces to remain on a state of maximum alert. The de facto President announced that only government-authorized information would be allowed to be disseminated. Radio stations and the press, which had been communicating statements by the rebel soldiers, were prohibited from reporting any information other than that which was signed or authorized by the military government.


          The rebellious soldiers from the Dessalines Battalion and the Leopard Corps lost the battle against the soldiers of the Presidential Guard and as a result both the Dessalines Battalion and the Leopard Corps were disbanded. By April 17, approximately 625 enlisted men and 53 officers of the Dessalines Battalion had reported to the Haitian Armed Forces General Headquarters to turn in their weapons and other government property. Guy Francois, the former commander of the Dessalines Battalion who had sought asylum at the Apostolic Nunciature, left Haiti on April 17. The General Headquarters announced that the enlisted men from the Dessalines Battalion who had turned in their weapons had been rehired and had been assigned to different units. In a report received by the Commission from one of the Haitian human rights organizations the hope was expressed that the disbanding of the Leopards and the Dessalines Battalion might lead to a reduction of the military budget of Haiti which represents 35% of the national budget and that these funds might be channeled into other areas such as education, health or agriculture, the ministries of which receive, respectively, 13%, 10% and 7% of the national budget.


          Also in April, seven months after his ouster, Gen. Namphy made his first public appearance in the Dominican Republic and proclaimed his unexpected support for Gen. Avril's regime. Namphy told television reporters that he trusts Avril will take Haiti along the path to democracy. General Namphy, it should be recalled, participated in the overthrow of the civilian government of President Leslie Manigat, and abolished the 1987 Constitution when he took power.


          By way of conclusion, the result of the almost four-year old democratization process led by the military in Haiti has been the entrenchment and consolidation of the military in power. Gen. Prosper Avril, who deposed Gen. Namphy, has not achieved in his year of power any of the demands placed upon him by the people in order to gain legitimacy. He has not satisfied the people's demands for justice by bringing to justice any of the perpetrators of abuses committed during the previous government, he has not reinstated the 1987 Constitution, and he has not disarmed the civilians, macoutes and disbanded members of the Armed Forces who keep Haiti in a permanent state of criminality, terror and violence. The prolonged situation of emergency has once again converted the state of exception into the norm. Disillusion and deception are the distillation of this post-Duvalier experiment in governing as the population is increasingly marginalized from political life. Politics, such as it is in Haiti, is now being played out in the power struggles within the Army.


          As stated in the Commission's 1988 Report it is indispensable that an electoral timetable be established in order that free and fair elections be held and that a democratically elected civilian government be installed. In order for the electoral process to be credible in light of the traumatic experience of the military controlled elections of November 29, 1987, and the prevailing distrust of the military's capacity or willingness to turn over power to a popularly elected civilian candidate, it must be made subject to international supervision by international observers from the UN and the OAS, whose presence can make manifest the concern of the international community in a democratic and peaceful outcome of such a process.

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