CHAPTER IV- CONTINUATION
199. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or “the Commission”) has decided to include in the present Chapter consideration dealing with the Republic of Haiti, a member state of the OAS whose human rights practices merit special attention because it can be said to be in a situation covered by the fifth criteria provided for in the Annual Report of the IACHR for 1997 and mentioned above, i.e. a
Temporary or structural situation that may appear in member states confronted, for various reasons, with situations that seriously affect the enjoyment of fundamental rights enshrined in the American Convention or the American Declaration. The criterion includes, for example: grave situations of violations that prevent the proper application of the rule of law; serious institutional crises; processes of institutional change which have negative consequences for human rights; or grave omissions in the adoption of the provisions necessary for the effective exercise of fundamental rights.
200. The Commission has prepared this section of Chapter IV of its Annual Report in accordance with Article 57.1.h of its Rules of Procedure and has based its analysis on information obtained during the visit described below as well as on other reliable publicly available sources. On January 25, 2006, the IACHR transmitted to the State a copy of a draft of the present section of Chapter IV of its Annual Report for 2005, in accordance with the aforementioned Article, and asked the Government of the Republic of Haiti to submit its observations on the section within fifteen days. As of the date of the present report, the Commission had not received a response from the State.
201. The year 2005 marked the second year of Haiti’s transitional government, following a violent uprising and the departure of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide at the end of February 2004, the installation of the transitional government in March 2004, and the arrival of the United Nations Mission, United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), in June 2004. The Commission’s activities in Haiti in 2005 were necessarily influenced by these major developments and involved the close monitoring of the human rights situation during this second year of transition, in particular, the State’s ability to secure the lives of its constituents, the disarmament process, the electoral process, and efforts to achieve national consensus and reconciliation on issues of governance. This included visits by the Commission to Haiti in April, July and November of 2005 in order to continue to evaluate the current situation of human rights and to conduct focused investigations into the state of administration of justice in Haiti and the situation of violence against children.
202. Based upon its activities relating to Haiti during the year, the Commission has continued to have grave concerns regarding numerous areas in which the basic rights of the Haitian people lack protection and guarantees. At the time of the Commission’s visits in September 2004, the Commission expressed the hope that Haiti and its people could break away from the difficulties of the past and move toward a future in which the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights are fully realized. While the Commission continues to embrace this goal, during the Commission’s visits in April and July of 2005, the Commission noted with alarm the acute increase in the number of deaths and wounded civilians due to armed violence and the marked deterioration in the security situation in Haiti. The Commission notes that since early 2005, Haiti has witnessed widespread and escalating violence arising from conflicts between law enforcement authorities and illegal armed groups as well as increases in crimes such as murder, torture, kidnappings, and car-jackings, particularly in the capital of Prince-au-Prince. In light of these circumstances, the Commission urges the government to take the urgent measures necessary, consistent with international human rights principles and standards, to assert control over security in Haiti and calls upon the international community to strengthen its efforts to assist the government in this endeavor. With the implementation of such measures, there will be a greater chance for Haiti to move forward toward a more prosperous future.
Summary of Key Events in Haiti during 2005
203. As a context for its discussion of the human rights situation in Haiti during 2005, the Commission will provide a brief overview of the major events during the year.
204. Following the brutal uprising in February 2004 and the installation of a transitional government led by President Boniface Alexandre, the transitional government in its final year of its 2-year mandate, continued to face significant challenges to ensuring security for Haitians. Consequently, the people of Haiti continued to face serious threats to their lives and personal security owing to several factors, a severe shortage of police and the necessary resources for them to carry out their function, the destruction of police stations and court houses caused in events of February 2004, and the escalated violence caused by persons and groups continuing to carry weapons unlawfully and committing crimes with impunity. Overall, security and the respect for human rights in Haiti worsened from 2004 to 2005, as the institutional weaknesses of the transitional government persisted and activities by armed groups increased with intensity and grew more widespread, affecting all sectors of society and nearly paralyzing daily activities of Haitians primarily in Port-au-Prince.
205. Efforts to organize elections proved difficult, and were hampered by numerous delays. The electoral law was not passed until February 2005, the voting registration process did not commence until April 2005, and by mid-summer many registration centers had still not been established. In August 2005, the deadline for registration was extended from mid-August to mid-September and presidential elections previously scheduled for October 9, 2005 were postponed to November 21. Finally, due to preparatory complications, the Provisional Electoral Council (PEC) canceled the November election date, and as of this initial writing, had not indicated a new official date (the Council has since set a new date of February 7, 2006). The process witnessed numerous logistical challenges, such as setting up adequate number of registration centers in remote areas and producing and distributing electoral cards to all registered voters in a reasonable amount of time. Furthermore, the lack of adequate security in the capital presented challenges to the normal functioning of the PEC, such as the armed attack on the PEC on March 25, 2005 and the delay in opening registration centers in Cite Soleil due to the prevalence of armed gangs and the inability to access this part of the city due to the lack of state authority in the area. Despite these challenges, approximately 3 million of an estimated 4 million eligible voting citizens had been registered as of the date of the present report, 806 polling stations were expected to open and on November 9th, the official list of 38 candidates was published by the PEC, representing at least the same number of political parties, including Fanmi Lavalas.
206. The events at the domestic level in Haiti over the past year have also been accompanied by the increased deployment of troops and civilian police with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, which was initially authorized for six months beginning on June 1, 2004, and has since been extended on three occasions, including most recently on June 22, 2005 with an extension to February 15, 2006. The latter resolution also enhanced “for a temporary period” the military component of MINUSTAH from 6,700 to up to 7,500 troops and its civilian police component from 1,622 to up to 1,897 members. MINUSTAH’s mandate has been defined by the Security Council to include ensuring a secure and stable environment for the constitutional and political process in Haiti, to aid the transitional government in reforming the Haitian National Police, and to assist with comprehensive and sustainable disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs, among other tasks. As of September 30, 2005, MINUSTAH forces were comprised of a total of 8,104 uniformed personnel, including 6,595 peacekeepers and 1,509 police officers. In addition, visits to the country to assess the situation of peace and security were conducted by representatives of the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. Economic and Social Council, while the Independent Expert on Haiti, Mr. Louis Joinet, conducted at least two visits to the country and published a report indicating his findings and recommendations for enhanced protection of civilians and respect for human rights.
207. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Haiti is a member, condemned the circumstances which led to the departure of former President Aristide in February 2004 and subsequently decided not to allow the transitional government to participate in its Councils. At the conclusion of the 26th General Meeting of Heads of Government in July 2005, the Community did not readmit Haiti to its meetings, but decided that CARICOM would be ready to participate in the international observation of elections “when the conditions on the ground were conducive.”
208. For its part, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted Resolution AG.RES.2147 (XXXV)-O/05, during its thirty-fifth regular session convened from June 5 to 7, 2005 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In its resolution, the General Assembly identified the primary concern of the OAS in Haiti to be the full restoration of a lasting democratic order and the economic, social as well as political well-being of the citizens of Haiti. The General Assembly also instructed the Secretary General to establish the necessary coordination with the Secretary General of the United Nations and to identify the areas of collaboration between the Special Mission of the OAS and the United Nations, especially those related to the strengthening of democratic institutions, the holding of elections and the promotion of human rights. Furthermore, the General Assembly urged the IACHR to continue to monitor and report on the human rights situation in Haiti and to work with the OAS Special Mission in the promotion and observation of those rights.
209. Numerous initiatives have been undertaken by the organs and institutions of the OAS to implement the terms of General Assembly’s Resolution. On July 5 and 6, 2005, the newly elected Secretary General Jose-Miguel Insulza headed a delegation of the General Secretariat on a visit to Haiti, which held meetings with government officials and representatives of civil society, political parties, the international community and agencies of the inter-American system and urged all political and social groups to play an active part in the election process. The Assistant Secretary-General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, conducted a one-day visit to Haiti on September 26, 2005 to make an assessment of the progress made in the preparations for presidential elections in the country. During the visit, Ambassador Ramdin expressed concern for the strengthening of the Provisional Electoral Council (PEC) and also gathered information on the situation of detainees in prolonged detention in Haiti. In accordance with an agreement to cooperate on organizing, monitoring and conducting elections in Haiti, signed between the OAS General Secretariat and the UN in 2004, the OAS, in cooperation with the United Nations and the PEC, provided strategic assistance, resources, training and technical support for the voter registration process. These efforts included the development and issuance of registration cards that will be used not only for the elections but as a national identity card for Haitian citizens. In a public statement made following the Fourth Summit of the Americas, held in November 2005, unequivocal support was expressed for the organization of free and fair elections in Haiti and the respect for the deadline of February 7 as the date for the transfer of power to the newly elected government.
210. Following an initial international donor’s conference in Washington, D.C. in July 2004 where over US $1 billion was pledged to Haiti, two follow up donors meetings were held: the Ministerial Meeting on Aid for the Reconstruction of Haiti in Cayenne, French Guyana in March 2005 and the Montreal International Conference on Haiti in Montreal, Canada on June 16 and 17, 2005. According to the World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, as of May 2005 approximately $400 million of the total money pledged had been disbursed in Haiti through an Interim Cooperation Framework. Projects for which these funds have been earmarked include repairing public buildings and infrastructures, public education, and police training.
211. Other intergovernmental organizations reacted to the dramatic events in Haiti, including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which, as indicated above, had condemned the circumstances which led to the departure of former President Aristide and subsequently decided not to allow the transitional government to participate in its Councils.
212. Also during 2005, several nongovernmental organizations issued reports concerning the situation in Haiti, including the International Crisis Group and the Haiti Democracy Project, and developments in the country were the subject of extensive coverage in the international media.
213. In conclusion, over the past year, Haiti progressed slowly through a difficult impasse due to the circumstances under which the current transitional government was appointed, the severe political polarization between the sectors and the significant challenge for the government to effectively regain order and stability across the country, while lacking sufficient resources to adequately meet the duty to guarantee security and organize elections for February 2006. The security situation is dire and adequate measures to suppress violence and disarm illegal armed groups and gangs have not been taken. In addition, Haitian politics remains highly polarized and few effective efforts have been made to attempt to bring all sectors of Haitian society together to construct a more peaceful path for the future. Nevertheless, opportunities for change and progress remain open, through elections and through proactive and sustained cooperation by the international community. Against this backdrop, the Commission will provide an update on the overall situation of human rights in Haiti, which was first described in last year’s annual report.
Commission’s Activities Concerning Haiti in 2005
214. During Haiti’s second year of a transitional government, the Commission continued to express its serious preoccupation regarding certain aspects of the human rights situation under the new regime. This included the recent phenomenon of kidnappings by armed gangs, in some instances implicating members of the Haitian National Police, the acute escalation in armed violence between groups and the HNP, the lack of investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of violent crimes or human rights abuses and the arbitrary and prolonged pretrial detention of individuals closely associated with the former regime.
215. The Commission conducted a visit from April 18-22 2005, at the invitation of the transitional government of Haiti and with the financial support of the Government of France. The Commission delegation was composed of Commissioner Clare K. Roberts, President and Rapporteur for Haiti; Brian Tittemore, Senior Human Rights Specialist, Ismene Zarifis, Commission attorney, and Ourania Georgoulas, Romulo Gallegos fellow. The visit was conducted in accordance with the IACHR’s mandate and functions under the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights, as well as pursuant to the terms of the OAS General Assembly Resolution AG/RES.2058 (XXXIV)-O-04) of June 8, 2004.
216. In the course of its visit, the Commission endeavored to obtain information on the status of human rights protections in Haiti generally, with a particular focus on the status of the administration of justice in Haiti. To this end the Commission met with representatives of the Haitian transitional Government and members of civil society as well as international organizations. The Commission met with the President of the Republic, Mr. Boniface Alexander; the Prime Minister, Mr. Gérard Latortue; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Mr. Herard Abraham; the Minister of Justice and Public Security, Mr. Bernard Gousse; the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Georges Moise; the President and Judges of the Supreme Court of Haiti, the Vice-President and Judges of the Court of Appeal of Haiti, the President and Registrar of the Court of First Instance of Haiti, and the Chief Prosecutor of Port-au-Prince. The Commission also met with the Inspector General of the Haitian National Police, Mr. Franz Jean François, the Chief of Cabinet of the Director General of the Haitian National Police, Mr. Max Jacques Louis, and the Ombudsman of Haiti, Mr. Necker Dessables, as well as representatives of the Provisional Electoral Council and the Council of Sages. In addition, the Commission held discussions with representatives of different sectors of civil society, including a wide variety of national nongovernmental organizations, women’s organizations and the association of magistrates, and representatives of international nongovernmental associations including the International Crisis Group and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In addition, the Commission met with staff of the OAS Special Mission in Haiti, the Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes, and other MINUSTAH officials, including representatives from its human rights section. Further, the Commission delegation visited the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince.
217. At the beginning of its visit, the Commission conducted a training seminar on the inter-American human rights system with officials and functionaries from various government ministries and agencies. In addition, with the support of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Commission set the groundwork for the establishment by the State of an inter-ministerial working group to coordinate the Haitian State’s international human rights responsibilities. As a complement to this initiative, the government expressed its commitment to ratify the regional human rights treaties to which Haiti is not a yet a party, a measure that will further assist in consolidating the protection of fundamental rights and the rule of law in Haiti. The Commission commends the State for its commitment to these initiatives and looks forward to following up on their implementation.
218. The Commission issued press release 19/05 on May 6, 2005 pursuant to information received regarding the prolonged detention without charges of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune in the National Penitentiary of Port-au-Prince since June 2004 and his poor state of health resulting from a hunger strike, initiated in February 2005, to protest the lack of due process in his circumstances. In its statement, the Commission noted that Mr. Neptune’s situation was part of a broader and longstanding problem of the prolonged detention of individuals without charge or trial, citing an observation made during its April 2005 visit that the National Penitentiary held a total of 1,054 inmates of whom only 9 had been convicted of any crime. In this respect, the Commission emphasized the State’s obligation to end impunity for all human rights abuses through demonstrably fair and effective procedures that conform to international standards.
219. Following its visit, the Commission issued a press release as well as preliminary observations in June 2005 on the situation of human rights in Haiti. The Commission once again visited Haiti from July 11-15, 2005 to conduct follow-up meetings with representatives from the government, international community and civil society organizations. The objective of the visit was largely to collect information on the issue of administration of justice in Haiti with an aim to preparing a country report focusing on this subject. A training seminar on the inter-American system of human rights was jointly organized by the OAS Special Mission in Haiti and the Commission. Approximately 45 participants representing various human rights NGOs working in Port-au-Prince and in the provinces were in attendance.
220. In response to escalating violence and loss of human life due to armed confrontations between armed gangs and the HNP, the Commission issued two press statements in June and July 2005 expressing alarm with the lack of security exerted by government and international forces and called for enhanced cooperation between the HNP and international forces to effectively protect civilian lives. The Commission continued to follow events in Haiti, in light of the rising violence and other worrying developments in the country, and considered the situation during its 122nd and 123rd Regular Period of Sessions in February and October 2005, respectively. At the conclusion of both sessions, the Commission issued a press release expressing grave concerns regarding the situation of human rights in Haiti.
221. During its 123rd Regular Period of Sessions in October 2005, the Commission approved a country report on Haiti, which focused on identifying weaknesses in the administration of justice and provided recommendations for strengthening the justice system in Haiti. The draft report was transferred to the state for comment in accordance with Article 58 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure and a decision on publishing the report is pending.
222. Finally, the Commission conducted a joint visit with UNICEF to Haiti from November 2-6, 2005. The IACHR delegation was comprised of the Rapporteur on Children, Commission member Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, assisted by staff members of the Executive Secretariat. UNICEF was represented by Dr. María Jesús Conde, Child Protection Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean. The main objectives of the visit were to gather information on the situation of violence against children in Haiti, and more specifically of youths involved with armed gangs, children in conflict with the law, and street children. A briefing by the Human Rights Defenders Unit of the Commission for human rights NGOs was also conducted.
223. Based upon its visit and other activities relating to Haiti during 2005, the Commission has identified numerous areas in which it has grave concerns over the protection of human rights in the country, which are discussed below. It is notable that some of these problems have been long-standing and have been the subject of discussion in previous IACHR Annual Reports and press releases.
Commission’s Observations on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti during 2005
224. In its preliminary observations published following the Commission’s on-site visit to the country in April 2005, the Commission noted that the country continued to face many serious human rights problems, and therefore stressed the importance and necessity of the government, the people of Haiti and the international community to enhance cooperation and coordination of their efforts to fully guarantee the security of civilians. Since that time, however, the Commission has become increasingly concerned regarding the lack of progress in several key areas identified during its visits to the country in July and November. Without sustained efforts by the government and the international community to address a number of central problems, including in particular implementing a comprehensive disarmament program, advancing the National Dialogue initiative in order to promote discussion and consensus between the sectors, and finally, taking appropriate measures to assert control over security across the country, including taking decisive steps to end impunity for human rights abuses and crimes, such factors will only persist and exacerbate the already preoccupying human rights situation in the country, while long-term peace in Haiti will remain elusive.
Security and Disarmament
225. Among the Commission’s principal concerns since 2004 and throughout 2005 has been the security situation in Haiti. According to the information received by the Commission, the lack of effective security for the population throughout much of Haiti remains an urgent problem. Since the rebellion in February 2004, the majority of police officers abandoned their posts, leaving the transitional government with the task of recruiting, training and deploying new officers. Due to the weak presence of the police in the country, and the seriously under-resourced force, illegal armed groups have exerted control over security in many parts of Haiti, and it has been reported that in some instances these groups have operated in cooperation with, or in the place of, the national police. A recent phenomenon that has emerged during 2005 is the zone de non-droit, or areas of the capital city Port-au-Prince that have been overridden by armed gangs and where no state presence exists. These zones de non-droit are located across the city and are extremely dangerous as they are characterized by indiscriminate violence and confrontations between armed groups and police attempting to carry out security operations. Inhabitants indicate that most parts of downtown Port-au-Prince, the port area and neighborhoods of Belair, Cite Soleil, Martissant, Carrefour, the Airport road are avoided due to the high security risks in these areas. As a consequence, the security of the populations in many of these areas has not been effectively guaranteed by the State.
226. To the extent that a percentage of the violence is being perpetrated with political motives linked to the electoral process and resulting from the extreme polarization of political groups in Haiti, the Commission considers that the convocation of free and fair elections and measures to bring the various political parties and other groups together are crucial steps that must be taken if effective and lasting peace and stability are to be achieved in Haiti. In this regard, a “National Dialogue” initiative was launched on April 7, 2005 through the nomination by the transitional government of a 12-member commission from different sectors of Haitian society, with the objective of providing a forum for all Haitians, including its various political groups, toward reconciliation. While it appears from the information presently available that the National Dialogue has not moved forward significantly since its inception, the Commission understands that on June 14, 2005 17 political parties, including moderate representatives of the Lavalas Party, signed a non-binding Code of Ethical Conduct, which commits to non-violence and other crucial aspects of proper and effective a democratic electoral process. This was followed by a Pact of Governance and Stability on September 27, 2005 in which 12 parties, including Famni Lavalas, pledged to respect the results of the elections and accord an official status to the opposition.
227. As the Commission noted in its chapter on Haiti in its Annual Report of 2004 and reiterated in its press releases issued in 2005, it is essential to the future stability of the country that the Haitian government, in collaboration with the international community, take the urgent steps necessary to regain control over security in all regions of the country, promote dialogue between the various political sectors, disarm the groups operating there, and guarantee the fundamental rights of persons throughout the State’s territory. Information received by the Commission during the year indicates that some coordination has been achieved between police forces and MINUSTAH troops to provide security in the city, but that this coordination and communication needs to be further improved. At the same time, the approach chosen to carry out isolated operations has produced numbers of casualties in the process, wounding civilians, namely women and children. Although figures vary, a report by the Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) in Haiti recorded 2015 cases of violent deaths in Port-au-Prince over the past 3 years, of which 1151 of those deaths were recorded between March 2004 and June 2005 and of these, 79 occurred in May 2005, and 90 in June 2005, although actual figures are likely to be higher, as not all cases are reported. Further, reports from the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres that runs a clinic in Port-au-Prince for the indigent reported that during the month of July, it was treating between 20 and 50 people weekly, including a high proportion of women and children, for gunshot wounds. The number of violent deaths is largely due to confrontations between armed groups and the police, making it difficult to ascertain which group is responsible for the casualties. Accordingly, the Commission has also reiterated its insistence that the human rights of all persons be respected in the process of restoring order and security to the country and that any human rights violations that occur are effectively investigated, prosecuted and punished, whoever may be responsible.
228. The Commission is aware that on February 5, a National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration was created with the objective of ensuring the diminishment of the number of illegal arms circulating in the country. However, it appears for the information available to the Commission that no comprehensive or systematic disarmament plan has been implemented and that little, if any, progress has been achieved in this area, due in part to insufficient resources. As the Commission has emphasized on numerous occasions, an effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program must be implemented rapidly in respect of all armed groups, including the former military and gangs, if the State is to have any chance of quelling the violence and unrest in the short and long term.
229. The lack of disarmament or effective control over the flow of arms into Haiti has in turn perpetuated and exacerbated the situation of violence in the country. Since early 2005, there has been a significant and steady growth in the intensity of the violence in Haiti, principally Port-au-Prince. The Commission was told, for example, that in the first fifteen days of January, 80 car-jackings were reported, while in March there were 130 reported cases. While monitors in Haiti indicate a slight reduction in the amount of violence in Port-au-Prince since July 2005, due to efforts by the HNP and UN forces, reports from the HNP recorded one hundred forty kidnappings throughout the months of July, August and September, with 55, 44 and 41 cases recorded for each month respectively. Gang battles and confrontations with the police continue to be reported frequently and often lead to the injury and/or deaths of innocent civilians. In this regard, local officials have indicated that the homicide rate rose dramatically in the country in the first half of 2005 claiming lives of civilians and HNP alike.
230. The Commission continues to emphasize the importance of urgent and effective measures by the government, with the assistance of the international community, to bring this situation under control. Without exercising effective authority over security, the government is not in a position to fulfill its obligation to guarantee the protection of the human rights of the Haitian people. This was also emphasized by the OAS General Assembly in its Resolution AG/RES. 2147 on the situation in Haiti adopted during its Regular Session in June 2005. The failure to implement disarmament initiatives quickly and decisively has emboldened illegal armed groups, and armed gangs and related violence have proliferated in the absence of effective public security, as have other crimes.
231. Beyond posing a daily threat to the lives of the Haitian people, the lack of sufficient numbers of police officers equipped to provide adequate security could affect the elections scheduled for 2005 by depriving the population of an environment in which they can fully and freely exercise their democratic right to vote and to be elected as reflected in Article 23 of the American Convention. Due to daily indiscriminate acts of violence, including the attack on the PEC headquarters’ office in March, and kidnappings of civilians for ransom, many of those inhabitants who have been severely affected by the violence or who posses the means, have fled the city to seek refuge in other parts of the country, or have abandoned Haiti altogether to seek shelter in neighboring countries. A large majority of city dwellers have limited their activities to what they consider essential to carry on their livelihoods.
232. In this respect, the Commission acknowledges that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti augmented its strength to reach the designated figures called for in its mandate and witnessed a further increase in the number of troops to be deployed to Haiti to provide security during the electoral period. The Security Council resolution further enhanced the mandate of the Mission to include greater oversight and engagement of the civilian police of MINUSTAH in assisting the professionalization of the HNP. Accordingly, MINUSTAH has undertaken efforts to improve security in the country. At the same time, reports of collateral damage, wounded civilians, the abuse of force and property damage arising out of MINUSTAH forces security operations has contributed to tensions between the population and the forces. Accordingly, the mandate to provide public security should be coupled with the duty to protect the life and physical integrity of persons at all times. The Commission is hopeful that through enhanced troops and police and additional proactive operations, that security in Haiti will effectively be brought under control. Further, staffing of the human rights section of MINUSTAH has now reached the total of 48 officers as designated and monitors have been successfully deployed to all regions of the country, enabling the section to report regularly on the conditions of human rights nationwide. At the same time, the Commission notes that the judicial/legal section of MINUSTAH continues to lack personnel and emphasizes the importance of quickly staffing this section in order to effectively monitor and strengthen the Haitian judiciary.
Administration of Justice
233. It is apparent from the information available that the lack of progress on security has been attributable in large part to the absence of a sufficiently staffed and trained national police force in Haiti. Estimates of the total number of officers in the Haitian National Police force are between 3,000 and 5,000 far fewer than the number necessary for a total population of over 8 million. In this connection, the Commission also continues to be troubled by deficiencies in the state of the administration of justice in Haiti. The sources available to the Commission have indicated that the justice system remains severely weak and continues to suffer from fundamental failings. These include a severe shortage of resources for judges, magistrates, courts, and the police as well as prevalent due process violations such as the prolonged detention of individuals without being brought before a judge. As indicated above, the police have also become victims of the violence, having become prime targets in confrontations with armed groups.
234. The Commission has also taken note of information indicating that some instances of unlawful killings and kidnappings may be attributable to the police. It has been reported, for example, in January 2005, police reportedly killed two individuals while conducting a security operation in Village de Dieu, a poor neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, and after the journalist Abdias Jean made attempts to report the incident, he was allegedly killed by the same officers. While the Commission is not in a position to reach conclusions on these allegations, it reiterates its previous statement that incidents of this nature, as with all extra-judicial executions, must continue to be the subject of prompt, independent and impartial investigations and those responsible must be prosecuted and punished. The Commission is encouraged by the recent published report of the HNP pursuant to police investigations into the killing of at least seven individuals in Martissant on August 20, 2005, which indicated that a number of police officers were implicated in this incident, calling for the suspension of several members of the HNP in November and the recommendation for the termination of two police chiefs. Further, the Commission received reports from the Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression of assaults and beatings effected on journalists attempting to carry out their work. The Commission was particularly shocked by the severe beating inside a courthouse of Reuters correspondent Joseph Guyler Delva and Radio Metropole reporter Jean Wilkins Merone. According to the information obtained by the Rapporteurship, the two journalists were covering a ceremony marking the beginning of the judicial year when two security guards of President Boniface Alexandre dragged them into the courthouse and severely beat them. Likewise, the Commission received news of the attacks perpetrated on Radio Megastar journalists Raoul Saint-Louis and Makenson Remy. Saint-Louis received death threats and was wounded in the hand when shots were fired at him and his wife outside the radio station. A mere 10 days later, Remy was stopped at a traffic light by police officers, beaten, accused of making pro-Aristide statements, and threatened with death if he did not stop working for the radio station. The Commission expressly condemns such violence, notes the likely involvement of State agents in both cases, and reminds the State of its responsibility in such instances.
235. The Commission is also concerned about apparent arbitrary arrests and detentions that are reported to have continued to occur during 2005. The Commission notes that the perpetration of arbitrary arrests and detentions is not a new problem in Haiti but has been the subject of criticism by the Commission in the past. Particularly, concerns were expressed regarding the arrest and detention of several members of the former government, including former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and former Minister of the Interior Jocelerme Privert. In this connection, a petition was filed on behalf of Mr. Neptune alleging his arbitrary detention and lack of due process and judicial guarantees in his case. The Commission declared the petition admissible on October 12, 2005 during its 123rd Regular Period of Sessions.
236. In the present report, the Commission once again emphasizes the prohibition against arbitrary arrests and detentions enshrined in Article 7 of the American Convention, and reiterates the State’s obligation to ensure that its efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes are undertaken through demonstrably fair and effective procedures that conform to international standards of due process, including a detainee’s right to be promptly notified of the charge or charges against him and to be brought promptly before a judge.
237. As in 2004, the Commission continued to receive reports of violence against and among inmates in prisons and other detention facilities, as well as generally substandard and overcrowded conditions in those institutions. According to a director of the prison administration, only 17 of Haiti’s 22 prisons are actually functional, as many of the prisons were emptied or destroyed during the violence of February 2004. As with the issue of arbitrary arrests and detention, violence and poor conditions in prisons is not a new problem in Haiti, and the Commission strongly reiterates its call for the State to ensure that persons subject to detention or imprisonment are not the victims of violence or other ill-treatment at the hands of state agents or other inmates and are not subjected to conditions that fail to satisfy minimum international standards for the treatment of detainees, including those under the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
238. During the Commission’s visits in April and July 2005, the State indicated that it was undertaking measures to address the problems relating to the administration of justice, some of which have been implemented in cooperation with the OAS Special Mission in Haiti. In particular, the Minister of Justice Dorleans introduced a plan of action to tackle the problem of prolonged pretrial detention amongst others such as judicial reform, the training for judges, and the reconstruction of courthouses. Also, the Minister of Justice’s aim to reduce the degree of pretrial detention included conducting a systematic review of all the files of detainees in the National Penitentiary and surrounding prisons so as to decide which cases could be easily dispensed of or scheduled for trial. In addition, first instance courts in Port-au-Prince began holding afternoon hearings to expedite cases. These developments were considered by the Commission to constitute a first step in efforts to improve the justice system in the country. While the staffing of the Haitian National Police for Haiti’s 8 million inhabitants is still far below adequate, the Commission also noted the increase in recruited and trained police officers from approximately 2000 last year to 3000 in the current year. The vetting process aimed at screening new recruits and to disqualify candidates involved in past human rights abuses, which the HNP has implemented in close coordination with the CIVPOL and the OAS Special Mission, has been ongoing and has resulted in the suspension of officers found to have been implicated in human rights violations. The Commission has encouraged these measures and has emphasized the need for the State, with the support of the international community, to continue to take the actions necessary to address these and other problems affecting the justice system. The Commission also emphasizes the need for police recruits to receive robust training in the area of human rights, including the international rules and principles governing the use of force, and that any allegations of police involvement in killings and other human rights abuses are promptly and effectively investigated and those responsible are tried and punished. Further, the Commission considers it crucial for human rights training to be extended beyond the police to cover other functionaries involved in the administration of justice, including prison guards, judges, court officials and other relevant authorities.
239. Connected with the weak state of administration of justice in Haiti is the ongoing problem of impunity for past human rights abuses. During 2005 the Commission received criticisms of the treatment of specific cases within the State’s judicial system. These included the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark decision that convicted fifteen individuals for the Raboteau massacre that occurred in 1994. Several of these were sentenced in absentia, as they were not present in the country. The Raboteau trial, which concluded in 2000, stood out as a landmark case amongst the many cases that continue to languish in Haitian courts. However, in April 2005, a decision by the Supreme Court, or Cour de Cassation (highest court in the country), caused grave concern in the human rights community in Haiti and international rights advocates when it overturned the decision by the Gonaives Criminal Court, basing its decision on lack of jurisdiction by the lower court. According to international monitors and Haitian advocates, the decision by the judge of the Supreme Court is based on a doctrine that pre-dates the Haitian Constitution and conflicts with Section 50 of the Constitution calling for jury trials in criminal matters that involve “crimes of blood” (“crimes de sang”) or political offenses. As a result, Louis Chamblain was acquitted and subsequently released from prison in July. Chamblain, a former leader of the paramilitary group-FRAPH during the 1990s, is suspected of having been responsible for the commission of numerous human rights violations, such as killings and acts of torture of hundreds of persons during the military coup regime that lasted from 1991 to 1994. Similarly, the main suspect for the murder of Father Jean Marie Vincent in 1994 was acquitted when the court announced it lacked sufficient evidence to charge him for the crime. After nine years of a prolonged investigation, Jackson Joanis, who was initially taken into custody by authorities, was ordered released. According to human rights organizations monitoring the treatment of this case by the courts, material evidence was not considered by the Court of Appeals and consequently led to the finding of insufficient evidence to charge the suspects, Joanis and Yuri Latortue. Decisions such as these suggest serious cause for concern for the respect of human rights under the American Convention and perpetuate the culture of impunity in Haiti. Due to such weaknesses, the rate of violent crime and appearance of human rights abuses has augmented where the state has failed to respond appropriately.
240. Further, the Haitian judiciary has not yet ensured justice for past cases, such as the murder of the prominent journalist, Jean Dominique, nor has it succeeded in investigating, prosecuting and punishing perpetrators of more recent atrocities such as the killing of 13 individuals in Fort National last year, the violent prison riots in December 2004 at the National Penitentiary, and the hundreds of cases of kidnappings that have become a daily occurrence, and in which members of the HNP are suspected of being involved. The Commission further received information through the Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression on the continuing investigation into the murder of Radio Echo 2000 host Brignol Lindor, who was hacked to death with machetes on December 3, 2001 in the southern town of Petit-Goâve. According to reports received by the Commission, residents from the nearby town of Miragoâne arrested one of the alleged killers and turned him into relevant authorities in March 2005. This has been the only arrest in the investigation, despite the fact that 10 indictments were handed down in September 2002. The Lindor family, attempting to assert justice on behalf of the deceased, have appealed their case to the Supreme Court, which has taken no action since the Spring of 2003. The Commission expresses its concern over the continuing impunity in this case.
241. In respect of these matters, the Commission reiterates its concerns regarding the State’s obligation to end impunity for all human rights abuses through demonstrably fair and effective procedures that conform with international standards, as well as the corresponding right of all persons to due process of law and to be heard by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal, without discrimination of any kind. The Commission has also noted that although certain legal procedures may comply with domestic law, the State is obliged to ensure that the investigation, prosecution and punishment of human rights violations accord with international standards. The Commission considers it important to emphasize the State’s responsibility to investigate and prosecute human rights abuses in accordance with the foregoing standards whoever may be responsible and whenever those abuses may have occurred, including violations committed during the military dictatorship in the early 1990’s or during the previous or current administrations. The State must also take the measures necessary to ensure that any person who may be implicated in such crimes is not incorporated into government security forces.
242. The Commission’s concerns during 2005 have also included circumstances relating to groups of particular focus in the Commission’s work, including women, children, human rights defenders, and journalists as well as persons subjected to violence and other ill-treatment due to their political affiliations or views. In meetings held with women’s rights groups in April and July, information received by the Commission indicated a high degree of rape of women and girls employed by armed groups at the time of a kidnapping or a break-in to a residence, while accounts from Doctors Without Borders indicate that the majority of the casualties caused by armed confrontations between gang members and/or with the police, are women and children. Even more alarming, information received indicates that some young women and girls are systematically forced to provide sexual services for gang members. The incidence of rape, while high, can not be determined with accuracy as most cases are not reported and therefore the perpetrators may continue to act with impunity. The Commission condemns incidents of this nature and has continued to emphasize the State’s obligation to investigate allegations of such violence and, where substantiated, prosecute and punish those responsible.
243. The problem of sexual violence against women and girls is accompanied by other serious human rights violations such as discrimination, and women are particularly hard-hit by deficiencies in the health and education systems. With respect to these problems, the Commission has reiterated the need for the State to take concrete steps to promote and protect the rights of women, which includes the effective investigation and prosecution of complaints of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, as mandated by the Inter-American Convention on the Protection, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence Against Women, adopted by Haiti on June 2, 1997. In this connection, the Commission is encouraged by the introduction of a new anti-trafficking legislation aimed to protect women and girls against trafficking, which is commonly linked to forced prostitution and labor. The Commission also understands that a decree defining rape as a criminal offense under Haiti’s law has been adopted. The Commission commends this initiative and will follow up on efforts by the State to implement this crucial law.
244. Children also appear to have been the victims of particularly egregious human rights violations in Haiti during 2005. The Commission visited Haiti in November 2005 to gather information on the situation of violence against children. During the visit, the Commission received complaints from victims and victims’ groups that children have been subjected to child labor, organized trafficking, kidnappings, abuse, arbitrary arrest and detention by police forces and have increasingly become victims to the generalized violence perpetrated by armed groups. In its visit to the town of Ouanaminthe, on the border with the Dominican Republic, the Commission observed the lack of control of legal parameters for transit between the two countries and expressed its concern at serious denunciations received regarding repeated trafficking and smuggling of children and adolescents, who are used for domestic labor, sexual exploitation, and other degrading purposes.
245. Further, children are incarcerated in the Delmas prison for minors, in conflict with the Haitian law on juvenile delinquency of 1961, and are also known to be detained together with adults in other detention facilities where sufficient space to hold minors separately is lacking. Such practices are contrary to what Haitian law stipulates as well as international human rights standards on detention. A visit by the Commission’s Rapporteur on Children to the Delmas prison for minor boys revealed that 63 youths were incarcerated, of which the majority had not been heard by a judge. Accounts from two detained boys of sixteen years of age indicated that both were arrested without a warrant and neither of them had been informed of the charges against them, during an entire one year of their detention. The youths in Delmas ranged from the ages of 10 to 16, and although they were recently placed in newly constructed facilities, access to sufficient nutritious food, health care, education, psycho-social counseling and legal aid was lacking. According to Haitian law, children between the ages of 13 and 16, found to have committed a criminal offense, should be placed in the state-run center for education for a period of time rather than serve a criminal sentence in prison. In its press statement issued at the conclusion of its visit, the delegation stated that proper attention to the rights of Haitian children and adolescents cannot wait until Haiti’s complex political and social problems are resolved. In this connection, it is important that the relevant government authorities take immediate steps to address the problem of prolonged pretrial detention of minors, in particular because it is a vulnerable class of persons who are especially protected under Haitian law. In light of this, the necessary resources should be made available to refurbish and reform the Centre d’accueil, the state-run center mandated to house and rehabilitate juvenile delinquents, as well as to prepare them for reintegration into their society.
246. The Commission and UNICEF have found that the violence in Haiti has had a particularly severe impact upon the estimated 2,000 street children in Port-au-Prince and 120,000 girls who work as domestic servants across the country. Children have been the victims of murder and have been recruited into gangs, and child rapes and kidnappings have increased. As the Commission has noted on previous occasions, children are among the most vulnerable members of our societies and are entitled to special protection from the State in order to effectively safeguard their rights. Accordingly, the Commission urges the State to take the measures necessary to give full effect to the right of children under Article 19 of the American Convention to the measures of protection required by their condition as minors on the part of their families, society and the state, as well as the rights and freedoms provided for under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Haiti ratified on July 8, 1995.
247. Further, the Commission, through its Office of the Special Rapporteur (the “Rapporteurship”) has been informed of increased violence against journalists and the media, as well as the use of intimidation to promote censorship. Government security services, militias connected to the Lavalas party of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and unknown persons were all blamed for attacks in 2005. In particular, the Commission received information regarding the murder in Port-au-Prince of Abdias Jean, a correspondent for a Miami radio station. According to the information gathered by the Rapporteurship, Jean was allegedly killed in retaliation for having witnessed the execution of three children in a case involving members of the National Police. Likewise, the Commission also received news of the kidnapping, torture and subsequent murder of commentator and editor Jacques Roche, as well as the death in the line of fire of radio journalist Robenson Laraque. Although it appears that neither of the two was killed intentionally because of their work, the Rapporteurship asserts that their deaths, in particular Roche’s, have led journalists to restrict their movements, thus having a chilling effect on freedom of expression. The Commission expresses grave concern over these deaths and considers that they demonstrate a lack of due diligence on the part of Haiti in protecting the lives of journalists. In the case of Laraque, the Commission also feels it important to note that the clash which claimed his life involved UN forces. The Commission, while acknowledging the efforts that MINUSTAH has taken to improve security in Haiti, emphasizes the importance and responsibility of the forces to preserve and protect human rights, by protecting the life and physical integrity of non-combatants. Finally, Article 13 of the American Convention states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of thought and expression. This right includes freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds.” In the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, the IACHR expressed that violations such as murder, kidnapping and intimidation against “social communicators” is a violation of a fundamental right and therefore the state incurs the duty to prevent, investigate, and punish such occurrences.
248. The Commission has received numerous complaints involving acts of violence, threats and harassment as retaliation against the work of human rights defenders, particularly in zones where the State does not have a presence. In these zones, the defenders are the only source of information concerning human rights violations. The Commission values the important work undertaken by advocates in these difficult circumstances in promoting and protecting human rights in Haiti. In this respect, the Commission recalls that it is the obligation of the State to guarantee the conditions necessary to protect the work of human rights defenders. In particular, the Commission expresses its concern regarding the State’s failure to implement precautionary measures granted by the Commission. In September of 2005, the Commission granted precautionary measures in favor of the members of the nongovernmental organization CONOCS based in Cite Soleil. The measures were given in order to protect the lives and physical integrity of the members of the organization, who were the victims of death threats made by members of armed groups in reprisal for a seminar in which CONOCS denounced human rights violations committed in Cite Soleil.
249. With respect to communications between the Commission and the State, the Commission understands that the Government of Haiti undertook to establish an interministerial committee in order to coordinate communications between the Government and human rights treaty bodies, including the Inter-American Commission, but the Commission has not received further information concerning the functioning of this committee. During its last visit, the Commission received information indicating that to-date there was no authority responsible for implementing precautionary measures granted by the Commission. The Commission was informed that in the case of CONOCS, the beneficiaries attempted to find the appropriate state authority to implement the measures but was unable to identify any official responsible for receiving their request. The Commission reiterates to the State the importance of honoring this agreement as well as the need to comply quickly and effectively with precautionary and provisional measures granted by the organs of the inter-American system, which includes providing timely information on the measures adopted.
250. The Commission emphasizes that human rights defenders play a leading role in the full realization of the Rule of Law and the strengthening of democracy. The work of human rights defenders, through the protection of individuals and groups who are victims of human rights violations the public denunciation of injustices that affect important sectors of society, and the necessary control exercised by citizens over public officials and institutions, among other activities, has become an indispensable component in the development of a stable and enduring democratic society.
Social, Economic and Cultural Rights Situation
251. The foregoing concerns identified by the Commission must also be viewed in light of the fundamental societal problems such as extreme poverty, high illiteracy and malnutrition, which have for years deprived Haitians of fundamental economic, social and cultural rights and which have at the same time exacerbated the consequences resulting from denials of basic civil and political rights. On numerous occasions in the past, the Commission has recognized that this presents a formidable challenge to the Haitian State and urges it, in cooperation with all sectors of society and with the support of the international community, to design and implement a long-term plan for development that will address the fundamental economic and social needs of each Haitian citizen.
252. As the Commission indicated in its press release at the conclusion of its visit in April 2005, the Haitian people continue to face severe social and economic problems, including poverty, lack of access to adequate health care, unemployment and illiteracy. Information available to the Commission indicates that more than 80% of the population in Haiti lives below the poverty line and more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs. Further, only 53% of the total population is considered literate while 21 percent of children ages 6-9 do not go to school at all and only 15 percent of teachers meet the academic requirements to teach. A UNDP report that provided an in-depth assessment of the social and economic conditions in Haiti relates that malnutrition and mortality rates are severe particularly for children, where 42 percent of those below age 5 are malnourished and one out of every three deaths in Haiti is a child.  The ratio of women dying from childbirth has become the second cause of death for Haitian women, and finally, that based on current rates of transmission; an estimated 10.5 percent of the population will be infected with HIV/AIDS by the year 2015, compared to 6.31 percent in 2002. The health system in Haiti is in a desperate state, where hospitals are severely understaffed and under-equipped and much of the population lacks the funds necessary to purchase crucial medicines. This has exacerbated the increase in deaths or wounded due to armed violence in the capital city.
253. These deficiencies in turn have contributed to the problems relating to security, the administration of justice, and other failures in the guarantee of basic political and civil rights. While the situation of insecurity in Haiti has resulted from a variety of factors, it is also the case, as noted by the Prime Minister, that lasting security cannot be achieved without addressing underlying social and economic deficiencies such as poverty and unemployment. Therefore, these serious difficulties require urgent attention, to address the immediate threats to the lives and integrity of Haitians caused by the spread of disease and the lack of adequate medicine and health care, and to devise strategies for the longer-term development of Haiti’s health and education systems as well as other means of guaranteeing the fundamental social, economic and cultural rights of the country’s population. In this regard, efforts must be made to expedite the delivery of the $1.08 billion pledged to Haiti during the July 2004 donor’s conference in order to begin addressing the dire situation in the country through recovery and development projects. This in turn will require measures by the government to remove any impediments to the delivery of assistance, including interference by illegal armed groups, and to ensure that projects will be implemented effectively, efficiently and transparently.
254. Similar to the conclusions reached in the Commission’s Annual Report of 2004, during 2005, the Commission witnessed further deterioration of the conditions in Haiti, owing mainly to an increase in violence by armed groups and gangs coupled with the failure of the government, and the support of the international community, to ensure the security of the population throughout the country. Although some efforts have been made to apprehend dangerous criminals, the failure to disarm illegal armed groups and gangs in Haiti is a paramount concern to the Commission not only because of the immediate threat that the ensuing violence presents to the lives and physical integrity of Haitians, but also because much of the country’s future depends upon the successful implementation of security efforts. In the absence of effective state control over security, human rights defenders, journalists, persons targeted for their political views, and other actors crucial to the exercise of democracy will remain in jeopardy and prospects for full and free elections will diminish, as will opportunities for international cooperation and the long-term development of the country. In light of these considerations, the Commission once again urges the government to take the urgent measures necessary, consistent with international human rights principles and standards, to assert control over security in Haiti and calls upon the international community to strengthen its efforts to assist the government in this endeavor.
255. The Commission also wishes to reiterate the importance of convening free and fair elections as soon as practicable. Progress has been made in this regard through cooperation between the transitional government, the PEC, the OAS, the UN, among others, and it is only through continued cooperation of this nature that full and free elections and the consolidation of democracy will be possible in accordance with the American Convention and the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The elections must be open and inclusive and, consistent with the pluralistic system of political parties and organizations, should involve the active participation of all parties.
256. In addition, the Commission welcomes the pledge of continued support by heads of state participants in the Fourth Summit of the Americas for the holding of free and fair elections in Haiti. The Commission hopes that such expression of support will include expedited efforts to deliver the funds pledged to Haiti, which in turn requires an environment in which the resources can be utilized in a transparent, efficient and effective manner. Financial and related support should be given to the efforts by the UN, and OAS and others, in cooperation with the Haitian government, to develop conditions for elections to proceed as scheduled.
257. The Commission will continue to monitor the situation in Haiti and to offer its assistance to the government and people of Haiti in the coming year.
 For example, it was reported by the United Nations that between May and August 2005, approximately 120 kidnappings were reported in Haiti and US $6 million in ransom had been paid by the families of kidnapping victims. Rapts en Haïti: Six Millions de Dollars Versés pour Libérer des Otage, AFP, August 25, 2005. See also “IACHR Deplores Escalating Violence in Haiti”, Press Release 22/05 (June 23, 2005), available at http:// www.cidh.org/Comunicados/English/2005/22.05eng.htm; “IACHR Calls for Immediate Measures to Quell Unprecedented Violence in Haiti”, Press Release 29/05 (July 22, 2005), available at http://www .cidh.org/Comunicados/English/2005/29.05eng.htm.
 See IACHR Press Release 22/05 (June 23, 2005) available at http://www.cidh. oas.org/Comunicados/English/2005/22.05eng.htm.
 See UN Security Council Resolution 1576 (2004), UN Doc. S/RES/1576 (2004) (29 November 2004); UN Security Council Resolution 1601 (2005), UN Doc. S/RES/1601 (2005) (31 May 2005); UN Security Council Resolution 1608 (2005), UN Doc. S/RES/1608 (2005) (22 June 2005, available at http: //w ww.un.org/ Depts/dpko/missions/minustah/res.html.
 See MINUSTAH, Facts and Figures (as of September 30, 2005), available at http: //ww w.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minustah/facts.html.
 See CARICOM, Communiqué issued at the Conclusion of the Twenty-sixth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICON, 3-6 July 2005, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Press 151/2005 (7 July 2005), available at http://www.caricom.org/pres151_05.htm.
 OAS General Assembly Resolution AG/RES.2147 (XXXV)-O-05, “Strengthening Democracy in Haiti” (7 June 2005), available at http://www.oas.org/main/main.asp?sLang=E&sLink=http: //www.oas.org /consejo/GENERAL%20 ASSEMBLY/default.asp.
 OAS Press ReleaseE-137/05 “OAS Secretary General Urges all Sectors of Haitian Society to Support the Election Process” (8 July 2005) available at http://www.oas.org/OASpage/press_releases/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-137/05.
 See OAS press release E-215/05, “OAS Assistant Secretary General Visits Haiti” at http://www.oas.org/main/main.asp?sLang=E&sLink=http://www.oas.org/OASpage/eng/latestnews/latestnews.asp.
 See Haiti’s Transition: Hanging in the Balance, Update Briefing Latin America/Caribbean Briefing No.7, (February 8, 2005); See also, Spoiling Security in Haiti, International Crisis Group, Latin America/Caribbean Report No.13, 31 May 2005; Can Haiti Hold Elections in 2005?, Update Briefing Latin America/Caribbean Briefing No.8 (August 5, 2005).
 See Haiti Democracy Project, Fact-Finding delegation to Haiti, February 17-23, Findings and Recommendations (March 16, 2005).
 See IACHR Press Release 35/05 (November 5, 2005) at http://www. cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2005/35.05eng.htm; see also IACHR Press Release 8/05 (March 11, 2005) at http://www.cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2005/8.05.htm.
 Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro also participated as the independent expert of the United Nations for the Secretary-General’s study on violence against children.
 See, e.g., Annual Report of the IACHR 2004, Chapter IV, available at http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2004eng/chap.4.htm; Annual Report of the IACHR 2003, Chapter IV, available at http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2003eng/chap.4.htm; Annual Report of the IACHR 2002, Chapter IV, available at http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2002eng/chap.4d.htm; IACHR Press Release 24/03 (August 22, 2003); IACHR Press Release 11/00 (August 25, 2000): See also IACHR Press Release 20/05 (June 6,2005).
 See IACHR Press Release 20/05 (June 6, 2005), available at http://www.cidh.oas.org/ Comunicados/English/2005/20.05.htm.
 See IACHR Press Release 16/05 (April 22, 2005), available at http://www. cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2005/16.05eng.htm.
 See First Quarterly Report of the Secretary General on the Situation in Haiti in Compliance with Resolution AG/RES. 2147 (XXXV-O/05), OEA Ser.G, CP Doc4065/05, 20 October 2005.
 See IACHR Press Release 20/05 (June 6, 2005) available at http:// www.cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2005/20.05.htm. See also IACHR Press Release 22/05 (June 23, 2005) available at http://www.cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2005/22.05eng.htm; See also IACHR Press Release 29/05 (July 22, 2005) available at http://www.cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2005/29.05eng.htm.
 See First Quarterly Report of the Secretary General on the Situation in Haiti in Compliance with Resolution AG/RES. 2147 (XXXV-O/05), OEA Ser.G, CP Doc4065/05, 20 October 2005.
 See First Quarterly Report of the Secretary General on the Situation in Haiti in Compliance with Resolution AG/RES. 2147 (XXXV-O/05), OEA Ser.G, CP Doc4065/05, 20 October 2005.
 Rapport d’Enquête, Intervention de la Police Nationale d’Haïti au Parc Sainte Bernadette (Martissant), le 20 août 2005.
 Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Press Release 129/05, October 5, 2005, at http://www.cidh.oas.org/relatoria/showarticle.asp?artID=646&lID=1.
 Reporters Without Borders, February 8, 2005, at http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/archivealerts/118/.
 See, e.g., Annual Report of the IACHR 2004, Chapter IV, available at http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2004eng/chap.4.htm; Annual Report of the IACHR 2003, Chapter IV, available at http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2003eng/chap.4.htm; Annual Report of the IACHR 2002, Chapter IV, available at http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2002eng/chap.4d.htm; IACHR Press Release 24/03 (August 22, 2003); IACHR Press Release 11/00 (August 25, 2000).
 See Article 50 of the Constitution of Haiti (“jury trials are provided for criminal matters, specifically for crimes of blood and for political offenses.”)
 See ”Father Jean- Marie Vincent Assassinated a Second Time: RNDDH denounces the complacent character of the ruling of the Port-au-Prince Court of Appeals and issues an outcry,” (6 July 2005).
 Reporters Without Borders (RSF, initials in French), March 30, 2005, at http://www.rsf.org/ Article.php3?id_Article=13108&var_recherche=joubert.
 See Articles 50, 51, «Loi du 11 septembre 1961 Sur l’Enfance Délinquante en Danger Physique ou Moral».
 See Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted Aug.30, 1955 by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, U.N. Doc. A/CONF/611, annex I, E.S.C. res. 663C, 24 U.N. ESCOR Supp. (No.1) at 11, U.N. Doc E/3048 (1957), amended E.S.C. Res. 2076, 62 U.N. ESCOR Supp. (No. 1) at 35, U.N. Doc. E/5988 (1977).
 See Article 51, «Loi du 11 septembre 1961 Sur l’Enfance Delinquante en Danger Physique ou Moral».
 See CIDH Press Release 37/05 available at http://www.cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/French/37.05fr.htm.
 For more information, see Annual Report of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression 2005, Chapter II.
 Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Press Release 129/05, October 5, 2005, at http://www.cidh.oas.org/relatoria/showarticle.asp?artID=646&lID=1.
 American Convention on Human Rights, Article 13, paragraph 1.
 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression (Principle 9), Adopted in Washington, DC, in October of 2000, available at http://www.cidh.oas.org/relatoria/showarticle.asp?artID=26&lID=1. From now on, the “Declaration of Principles.” See also Article 27.2 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
 IACHR, Preliminary Observations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights upon the Conclusion of its April 2005 Visit to Haiti, June 6, 2005, para. 58.
 IACHR, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela, OEA/Ser.L/V/11.118, Doc. 4 rev. 1, 24 October 2003, para. 230.