Truth must not die’ with Du­va­lier – Amnesty In­ter­na­tional

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

The London-based hu­man rights watch­dog, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, says the death of for­mer Haitian ruler Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Du­va­lier must not halt the in­ves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions owed to thou­sands of peo­ple killed, tor­tured, ar­bi­trar­ily ar­rested and dis­ap­peared un­der his regime.

“The death of Jean-Claude Du­va­lier must not be used to brush away the crimes com­mit­ted un­der his regime,” said Erika Gue­vara Rosas, Amer­i­cas Di­rec­tor at Amnesty In­ter­na­tional.

Du­va­lier died of an ap­par­ent heart at­tack on Satur­day.

An en­tire net­work of vol­un­teer mili­tia and state au­thor­i­ties are sus­pected of per­pe­trat­ing hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions un­der Du­va­lier.

“Th­ese peo­ple too must be in­ves­ti­gated and, if there is suf­fi­cient ad­mis­si­ble ev­i­dence, pros­e­cuted in fair tri­als.”

“This is not the fi­nal chap­ter in this hor­rific episode of Haiti’s re­cent his­tory. In­stead it should be a re­minder that there are thou­sands of vic­tims who still de­serve jus­tice, truth and repa­ra­tion for the hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions they suf­fered.” In re­sponse to news of the death, Haiti’s cur­rent Pres­i­dent Michel Martelly has spo­ken of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and called Jean-Claude Du­va­lier a “true son of Haiti”.

De­spite be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for em­bez­zle­ment charges, Du­va­lier was is­sued a diplo­matic pass­port in 2013, and par­tic­i­pated in sev­eral of­fi­cial cer­e­monies and events. “Whereas Pres­i­dent Martelly could have ex­pressed com­pas­sion for the thou­sands of vic­tims of Du­va­lierism and par­tic­i­pated in forg­ing mem­o­ries about the crimes com­mit­ted at that time, he will­ingly de­cided to ex­press ‘sad­ness’ and ’sym­pa­thy’ only for Du­va­lier’s fam­ily. This is a slap on the face for hu­man rights and the vic­tims’ strug­gle to jus­tice,” Gue­vara said. Dur­ing Du­va­lier’s pres­i­dency– be­tween 1971 and 1986 – prisons and tor­ture cen­tres claimed the lives of hun­dreds of vic­tims, ac­cord­ing to Amnesty In­ter­na­tional.

For­mer Haitian ruler Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Du­va­lier

died Satur­day Oc­to­ber 4

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