Haiti: ex-dictator Duvalier charged with theft, corruption

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier was charged Jan. 18 with corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds and other unnamed crimes. Duvalier underwent several hours of questioning, and, although he was released, he does not have the right to leave Haiti. Duvalier returned to Haiti from exile in France on Jan. 16, stating that he had come to offer assistance to help the country recover from last year’s earthquake. On Jan. 17, Amnesty International called for Haitian authorities to prosecute Duvalier for human rights violations committed during his time in power. Amnesty claimed Duvalier and his regime committed acts of “systematic torture,” including the disappearance or execution hundreds of pro-democracy activists at the hands of Haiti’s armed forces and paramilitary force, the Tonton Macoutes. There has been no comment from Haitian authorities as to whether Duvalier will eventually be charged on these rights violations.

In 2007, Haitian president Rene Preval vowed to continue legal proceedings against Duvalier despite the latter’s plea for forgiveness in a recorded message broadcast around the country. Duvalier, also known as “Baby Doc,” is the son of former Haitian leader Francois Duvalier, or “Papa Doc,” whom he succeeded as “president for life.” In response to growing unrest, Duvalier fled Haiti in 1986, and has since resided in France.

From Jurist, Jan. 19. Used with permission.

See our last post on Haiti.