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There has been a step forward in bringing former Dictator Jean Claude Duvalier to Justice. Three judges of Haiti’s Court of Appeals “found that there was significant evidence of Mr. Duvalier’s criminal responsibility in his capacity as Head of State”(OHCHR) and that the crimes against humanity case can move forward.

There is an investigating judge in the case. Does anyone recall what happened to the investigating judge who was examining allegations of corruption against Haiti’s Presidential Family (wife, Sophia Martelly and son Oliver)?
He dropped dead. Multiple witnesses say that he met with Haiti’s President Martelly and Prime Minister Lamothe, and was threatened. Senate and Chamber Inquest Reports advised the impeachment of Martelly, Lamothe and the Minister of Justice. They concluded that the death was caused by fear. Others believe that Judge Joseph was poisoned. It seems that the corruption investigation has gone nowhere since the death of the judge last July. Additionally, Enold Florestal who filed the complaint against the Presidential family was arrested and remains in jail.

The late Judge Jean Serge Joseph, 2 July 2013, shortly before his death

Bear the fate of Judge Jean Serge Joseph in mind as you read the UN Human Rights statement on the Duvalier case. Also bear in mind that Duvalier has been welcomed by President Martelly to official functions, like an esteemed elder statesman:

Duvalier case: UN human rights expert applauds the Court of Appeals decision to fight impunity in Haiti

GENEVA (25 February 2014) – The United Nations Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Haiti, Gustavo Gallón, applauded the Court of Appeals’ decision to order additional investigations into crimes against humanity and not only into financial crimes against former Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier.

‘The decision of the Court of Appeals is a significant rectification in the path in which impunity for past human rights violations was so far engaged in Haiti,’ Mr. Gallón stressed. ‘It unequivocally reverts the incomprehensible ruling taken previously by the lower chamber judge who threw out the human rights charges against Duvalier and only charged him for the alleged financial crimes.’

The three-judge panel found that there was significant evidence of Mr. Duvalier’s criminal responsibility in his capacity as Head of State.

‘I congratulate the courage of the three judges from the Court of Appeals for their decision taken in a not always conducive atmosphere,’ the human rights expert said. ‘I now encourage the Haitian Government to provide the appointed investigating judge an independent and secure environment to perform his long awaited and difficult task.’

The UN Independent Expert also praised the victims and their lawyers for their courage to pursue justice against all odds, and invited the Government to take the necessary measures to protect them and their vital and dangerous challenge.

‘This decision, taken in conformity with international human rights law, is particularly important as it recognises that crimes against humanity are an integral part of the Haitian legal framework,’ Mr. Gallón noted, ‘and is capital as it also recognises that crimes against humanity do not prescribe.’

The Independent Expert will present his report on Haiti to the Human Rights Council on 25 March 2014“. (Our emphasis) This and more here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14278&LangID=E

According to the Amnesty International Press Release:
the Court of Appeal has now ruled there is ‘substantial evidence’ (‘sérieux indices’) pointing to the indirect involvement and alleged criminal responsibility of Jean-Claude Duvalier for the alleged human rights violations during his presidency.

The Court has appointed one of its sitting judges to further investigate the allegations, who has apparently been tasked with obtaining new testimony from victims who did not have the chance to testify during last year’s appeals hearings. ‘The Court of Appeal has correctly ruled that there can be no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity, and this is a major step forward for the Haitian justice system,’ said Javier Zúñiga.

‘The attempt to derail justice has been stopped and victims of Duvalier’s rule can now continue with their quest for truth and reparation,’ he added“. (Our emphasis) Entire press release is here: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/haiti-duvalier-case-back-course-towards-justice-victims-2014-02-21

Additional information here: http://cja.org/article.php?list=type&type=552 http://www.ijdh.org/2014/02/topics/law-justice/haiti-appeals-court-reinstates-crimes-against-humanity-charges-against-baby-doc-duvalier/#.UxEwD3-9KSN

For more on the Judge Joseph case see our translation of the Senate Inquest Report here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/report-by-the-special-inquest-commission-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph/