Open Letter for the Prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier

Before the end of the month, a Haitian judge will decide whether or not “Baby Doc” Jean-Claude Duvalier will face trial for the crimes against humanity committed during his 15-year dictatorship. Charges include corruption, embezzlement, murder, torture, exile, arbitrary detention and destruction of private property. Duvalier, who for 15 years succeeded his father “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s brutal regime, returned to Haiti in January 2011 and was charged three days later.

A coalition of Haitian human rights organizations and individuals have written an open letter urging President Martelly to take the Duvalier case seriously.

Jean Claude Duvalier and his partner attend a memorial service for earthquake victims in Titanyen on January 12, 2012. Photo by Ben Depp.

Before the end of the month, a Haitian judge will decide whether or not “Baby Doc” Jean-Claude Duvalier will face trial for the crimes against humanity committed during his 15-year dictatorship. Charges include corruption, embezzlement, murder, torture, exile, arbitrary detention and destruction of private property. Duvalier, who for 15 years succeeded his father “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s brutal regime, returned to Haiti in January 2011 and was charged three days later. To better understand the implications of this case, why it matters for Haiti and for the world that Duvalier is held accountable for his crimes, see US and Latin America should Support Prosecution of Haiti’s Duvalier by human rights lawyer Jeena Shah. See, too, the information compiled on the Duvalier case by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported this morning that Haitian president Michel Martelly may pardon Duvalier.

A coalition of Haitian human rights organizations and individuals have written an open letter urging President Martelly to take the Duvalier case seriously:

Port-au-Prince, 23 January 2012

Mr. Michel Joseph Martelly
President of the Republic of Haiti
National Palace

Object: The case against the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier

Dear Mr. President,

In the name of truth and justice, the signatories to this letter believe that it is of paramount importance that the nation be informed about the state of the criminal proceedings against the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier who returned to the country he ravaged 25 years after a popular revolt forced him to seek sanctuary in France.

A few days after his return, several victims of his dictatorial regime filed complaints against him. The Prosecutor

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