The arrest and presentation on television of the detainees, bloodied as a
result of torture, was criticized by public opinion and interpreted by the
opposition and by human rights groups as an attempt to intimidate the populace.
The CATH and the Rassemblement National called a strike for
November 7 and 8 which paralyzed Port-au-Prince and nearly all the
provinces, in order to demand an immediate release of the three detainees.
Subsequently, CATH, together with the OP-17 and the KID issued an
order for a 24-hour general strike for November 22, calling again for the
release of the detainees. Also,
Reverend Max Dominique, Louis Roy, Antoine Izmery, Sabine de Manigat, Guy
Beauduy, René Theodore, Gabriel Miracle, Arthemise Paul, Irene Paul and their
two children aged 11 and 13 began a hunger strike, in solidarity with the
general protests, to obtain the release of the detainees.
The leader of the Group of September 17, former Sergeant Patrick
Beauchard, who had been arrested before in October of 1988 and subsequently
released, escaped capture on November 7 together with Paul, Mesyeux and Etienne,
because he arrived late to the meeting at which the others had been arrested.
On seeing soldiers surrounding the house, Beauchard escaped, hiding with
8 other persons also accused of conspiring to assassinate President Avril.
Two days later, on November 9 at 2:00 a.m., three jeeps arrived at Hinche,
carrying 25 military officials, who identified themselves as members of the
Presidential Guard of Port-au-Prince.
Led by Captain Placide Jolicocur, Commander of the military district of
that locality, they invaded the home of Bonny Beauchard under the pretext of
seeking her cousin, former Sergeant Patrick Beauchard, who was accused of
conspiring against the Government of Avril.
When the military personnel did not find Patrick Beauchard, they detained
and beat Bonny and Charles Beauchard. The
Commission was later informed that Bonny and Charles Beauchard were released a
few days later.
The Commission was informed that Patrick Beauchard had been arrested on
December 13 at 4:00 a.m., and beaten by soldiers of the Presidential Guard, near
Petit Gôave, and taken to the garrison for questioning.
Hebert Beauchard, Patrick's brother, Sosthene St. Jean, the local Section
Chief, and his deputy Valles Plaisival and his wife, were also detained, accused
of harboring Beauchard.
On November 18, Gaston Jean-Baptiste, Archange Mardi and Germaine
Louis Mai, members of the Haitian League of former Political Prisoners (LAPPH)
were detained without a court order by the Armed Forces in Tiotte (in the
southeast of Haiti) and taken to the local military barracks.
On November 22, 12 more people were detained by members of the same
Tiotte garrison, in Anse à Pitres, among them two young boys and the well known
political figure, Guy Baudy. They
were accused of meeting illegally to incite the local population to a hunger
strike to demand the release of the three detainees in
Jean-Baptiste and Guy Baudy were beaten while held in custody.
On November 27 they were all released without being formally charged.
On November 19, Mario Scott, regional delegate of the RDNP, and his
assistant Roland St. Louis, were detained arbitrarily in Hinche (in the central
region of the country), by military officials, and released a few days later.
On November 25, Frantz L. Jean, member of the National People's Assembly
(APN), Aloute Jean-Louis, and Ilio Alexis, members of the Peasant
Association of Melonière (APM), were detained by Brigadier Vilson Ledon, as
they attended a meeting to discuss problems relating to the Melonière
community. The three were accused
of meeting without the presence of local officials.
They were taken to a nearby prison in the city of Chantal, and released 2
On December 4, in Pétite Riviere de la Artibonite, Pierre Berthélus was
detained and beaten by a policeman known as "Stavien".
Berthélus remained in prison until January.
On December 14, in Pétite Rivière de la Artibonite, three officers of
the garrison, armed with clubs, illegally detained Joachim Charles, for unknown
On December 15, in Grande Plaine, Sectión Communale de la Gonâve,
the Chief of Section, Carobert Dévonville, aribitrarily detained Lemoine
Auguste, beat him brutally, and accused him of criticizing the military
On December 25 in Roche-Plate, Baptiste, in the area of Mirebalais,
at approximately 2:00 a.m., eight military officials and several deputies of the
Sectión commanded by Sergeant Idéric Calixte arbitrarily detained Brénévil
Cameau, Sadrack Cameau, Elie Cameau, Raoul Cameau, and Excene Louis, all members
of the Rassemblement des Paysans de Baptiste, accused of being
communists. The victims were beaten at the time of their detention and
later taken to the nearby prison in Belladère.
According to the testimony of a member of the organization, the detention
took place with the complicity of former Tonton-Macoute, Jean Ernst
Charles. The victims were freed on
January 9, although they were unable to return to their homes in light of the
overt hostility of local authorities to members of their organization.
On January 8, 1990, in Touche Moulin, IV Section Communale de Petite
Rivière de la Artibonite, Police Officer Lereste Floréstal arbitrarily
detained Wilfrid Souvenance, accusing him of being a member of the Youth
Movement of Labadie (MJL).
On January 10, in Petit Grove, the police detained Yvon Pascal for having
participated in a demonstration.
On January 12, in Carrefour at approximately 2:00 a.m., Naly Beauhanais,
Secretary General of the Haitian Transportation Workers Union (CSTH) was
detained by a group of military officials and armed civilians.
Beauhanais was accused of being an agitator and was brutally beaten by
soldiers commanded by Captain Serge Dopoux before being sent to the Camp d'application
(training base) of Lamentin. Beauhanais was held for 19 days in the National Penitentiary
without being brought before an Examining Judge.
On January 31, he was released and two days later several soldiers
appeared to search his house, in order to intimidate him not to take any action
On January 13, in Point-Benoit, Pétite Rivière de la Artibonite,
Wildor Jn. Baptiste and Miguel Exilhomme were detained illegally and
accused of subversion by Chief of Section Seland Georges.
On January 15, in Cap-Haitien, at 1:00 a.m., Stanley Jean Marie was
arbitrarily detained by policeman Robert Lecorps, who accused him of going to
Port-au-Prince to participate in the assassination of President
Avril upon his return from Taiwan. Jean Marie was taken to the police station and freed six
On Janaury 19, Marie-Denise Douyon and Dr. Gerard Laforêt were
detained as they were going to the beach at Aquin by several soldiers who
searched their automobile, and upon finding a hunting rifle, proceeded to beat
them. Douyon and Laforêt were taken to the Anti-Gang prison.
Three days later the soldiers took them to the home of Douyon's mother to
search the house and later took them to the prison where they were again
tortured, and left in very serious condition.
Marie-Denise was transferred to a women's prison in
Port-au-Prince and Laforêt was taken to an infirmary, given his
serious health condition.
On January 19, in Grande Anse de Tiburon, Sergeant Jean Michel detained
Pierre St. Germain, accusing him of organizing meetings prohibited by the
With the municipal elections only three months away in Haiti, General
Prosper Avril proclaimed a state of siege on January 20, 1990.
This measure was taken after the assassination of André Neptune, Colonel
of the Presidential Guard, on January 19, to protect the country from
"terrorism" and "civil war".
The arrest of various political leaders is described below.
Dr. Louis Roy, head of the Organization for the Defense of the
Constitution and member of a civic society was accused of treason by General
Prosper Avril on January 15, for having sent a telegram to the Government of
Taiwan where Avril was travelling on an official visit, in which he announced
that the people of Haiti would not recognize any aggreements between the two
governments. Roy was beaten
during his detention, on January 20, and expelled from the country the following
Hubert De Ronceray, leader of the centrist Mobilization for National
Development (MDN) was detained on January 20 by a large number of soldiers in
civilian dress, who beat him and put out a cigarrette on his eyelid.
During Avril's trip to Taiwan, Dr. Ronceray had requested the Chief of
Staff of the Army (Herard Abrahams) to remove General Avril from office,
accusing him of seeking "to rig the upcoming elections to remain in
power." Dr. Ronceray was
expelled from the country on January 21.
Serge Gilles, leader of the Nationalist Revolutionary Progressive Party (PANPRA)
was detained on January 20 at his home and beaten in front of his family and
again later in the National Palace. Gilles
was released after authorities declared that his arrest had been a mistake.
Gerard-Emile (Abi) Brun, member of the National Committee of the
Congress of Democratic Movements (KONAKOM), was detained together with 25 others
members of KONAKOM on January 20 as they met at the headquarters of the
Ecumenical Center of Human Rights. The
headquarters was searched and Brun and others were beaten.
Gerard-Emile Brun was expelled from the country the next day.
Dr. Sylvan Jolibois, member of the Nationalist Jean-Jacques
Dessalines Sector was detained on January 20 at the clinic where he was working.
Dr. Jolíbois was beaten in front of patients and taken to the National
Penitentiary where he was again mistreated and where he was not allowed to
receive medical attention or to see his family.
Max Carré, member of the MDN, Gesner Prudent and Philippe Stevenson,
members of the Movement for the Implementation of Democracy (MIDH) and Georges
Werliegh, member of PANPRA, were detained on January 20 and released a few days
Max Bourjolly, Secretary General of the Communist Party (PUCH), and
Michel Legros, member of the League for Democracy, were detained on January 21
and expelled from the country the next day.
Frank Sénat, leader of the Democratic Bloc and President of the
Federated of Workers Union was detained on January 21 by a group of soldiers
belonging to the Anti-Gang Service. The
soldiers broke a window of Sénat's home to gain entry and gave no reason for
Max Monteuil, leader of the Neighborhood Committee of Cap-Haitien
was detained on January 21 and expelled from the country the next day.
Antoine Izmery, a prominent businessman, was detained on January 23 and
expelled from the country the next day.
Franck Rene, member of the Haitian Liberation Party was detained in
Marchand Dessalines on the night of January 27 and taken to the National
Illegal detentions also took place in the provinces.
Joseph Frenel Manigat, member of the National Alliance of People's
Organizations (ANOP), was removed by force from Radio Citadel, where he had gone
to read a communique from his organization against Avril.
Manigat was detained by armed civilians and taken to the Cap-Haitien
prison on January 23, where he was severely beaten.
Manigat was released on February 1.
During the night of January 25 and January 27, in Dalon and Terre Rouge
(Grand Boulay), 13 peasants, members of the Christian Democratic Party (PDCH)
were detained and beaten by soldiers commanded by Kesner Pongnon, the Prefect
and Commander of the military district of Thomazeau.
Some of the homes of the peasants were ransacked by the soldiers, who
inquired about the whereabouts of Rev. Silvio Claude and the weapons he
allegedly gave to the peasants. The
peasants were taken to the Thomazeau jail and only a few were released on
As part of an effort to justify the repressive measures carried out in
recent months, the Government of President Prosper Avril published a press
release on February 7, 1990, announcing an amnesty for 19 political detainees in
the following terms:
The Director of Public Information of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Coordination announces to the public that by administrative order dated February 6, 1990, a complete amnesty has been granted to the following persons:
Fernand Gérard Laforêt
Marie Denise Douyon
Jean Auguste Mesyeux
Louis Jean Duval
Gelsey Joseph Fils
Amazone Jean Franckel
Dimanche Jean Renel
This Office, on February 7, 1990, mindful of the decision of the people of Haiti to build a future of freedom, fraternity and human solidarity, wishes to emphasize that this amnesty reflects the unanimous desire of the Government of the Republic to work untiringly to build a FUTURE DEMOCRACY unhindered by extremism or any form of violence, at a time when our society aspires to harmonize its development, since September 17, 1988, with the great currents of change that today dominate current events.
February 7, 1990
of Public Information
Despite the fact that the Government pardoned several political
detainees, authorities in the provinces continued the practice of arbitrary
arrests. On February 15, the
Commission was informed by the Haitian Association of Journalists of the
detention of Herto Zamor, journalist and correspondent of Radio Metropole in
Grand-Anse. At the time of
his detention, Zamor was mistreated and forced to lie in excrement.
During the visit in loco from April 17 to 20, the Delegation from
the IACHR received word from human rights groups of the release of the following
Durand y Charles Romain
Sosthene St. Jean
Trouillot's Provisional Government
The situation on the day following the installation of the civil
government headed by Ertha Pascal Trouillot was particularly critical.
On one hand, the presence of the "Macoutes" generated an
atmosphere of insecurity in the population, and on the other hand, the Army
showed itself to be more repressive toward the movements of popular
On March 17th, in Baptiste, a community located 19 kilometers from Belladère,
the section chief "macoute de Mon Leon", Level Latis, accompanied by
Sergeant Idérick Joseph, detained three militant members of popular
organizations: Baldomere and Romenet Cameau, members of the Rassemblement des
Paysans de Baptiste and Antelet Cameau, member of the Comité de Jeunes
Paysans Haïtians. The victims
were beaten at the time of their detention and were accused of being
On March 19th, en Borgne, an area in northern Haiti, the Borgne Peasant's
Movement (BPM), which unifies several popular assemblies, held a meeting in the
Grand Plaza of Borgne. Around
20,000 peasants from all hearby communities met to protest against the presence
of the "macoutes" in the inner circle of public administration, in
order to demand the expulsion of the section chiefs who terrorize the people.
The Military shot at the demonstrators, leaving more than 150 wounded,
and detained more than 300 people. Among
the victims detained were Ruben Lamour, member of the BPM, Désir Pierre,
seriously injured in the leg, and Nicodème St. Cyr.
On April 2, en Valliere Elie Garsonville, mayor of the city, was detained
and beaten by members of the military for having ordered an investigation of
violence committed by the military. Garsonville
is still being held in the Valliere jail.
During the on-site visit, the Special Commission went to Piatre,
where it was informed of the following occurences:
In February 1986, after Jean-Claude Duvalier left Haiti, the
peasants of Piatre decided to initiate legal action to recover territory form
which they had been expelled by landowner Olivier Nadal, beginning the
appropriate judicial process with the presentation of their titles to the land.
According to information released to the Commission, the lands occupied
by Nadal are worked by peasants from the community of Delugé, generating
conflicts between them and the peasants from Piatre.
As was demonstrated to the Special Commission during its visit to Piatre,
the lack of efficiency within the judicial system to resolve these problems lies
at the base of the grave problems that have arisen in the area.
It was also mentioned to the Commission that this judicial inefficiency
is present in the entire Artibonita region and is manifested in difference forms
through serious conflict. In Sondé
the Commission delegation heard similar claims of how the peasants lack
effective judicial remedies to defend their territorial rights, which
constitutes a violation of their human rights, and specifically, of article 25
of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Haiti is a party.
It should be noted that these conflicts have provoked bumerous deaths and
the arrest of Jean Milius Jean Baptiste, who after nine months remains in the
Saint Marc prison without trial or process of any kind.
The inefficiency of the judicial system was explained to the Commission
to be the result of the great influence over the judiciary excersise by the
landowners, who have been evicting peasants from their lands.
To accomplish the action described, the landowners resort to the military
and the section chiefs to repress any form of resistance.
The Commission was able to observe how the peasants in Piatre have been
forced to move to the high area of the mountains, where the means of subsistence
are extremely scarce.
During the period covered by this report, persons directly involved in
human rights advocacy have been subject to arbitrary arrest on orders from
President Avril's Government. Despite
the legal restrictions, the Armed Forces have continued to search the
headquarters of human rights groups without a warrant.
One of the people who suffered such harassment from the authorities is
Joseph Maxi, Attorney-at-Law and President of the Haitian Human
Rights League. On November 3, 1989,
on the air, Mr. Maxi offered legal assistance to Evans Paul, Etienne Marineau,
and Jean Auguste Mesyeux who had been arrested and tortured.
Immediately following this announcement, his home was searched by the
National Police Guard, and was under military surveillance, thereby preventing
him from returning to his family.
On November 18, Gaston Jean-Baptiste, Archange Mardi, and Germaine
Louis Mai, members of the League of ex-Political Prisoners of Haiti (LAPH),
a human rights group headquartered in Port-au-Prince, were arrested
by the Armed Forces in Tiotte (to the Southeast of Haiti), without warrant, and
taken to the barracks there. The military accused them of meeting illegally to encourage
the local population to go on a hunger strike as a means of seeking the release
of Mesyeux, Paul, and Marineau. Gaston
Jean-Baptiste was beaten while in custody.
On November 27, they were released with the formal charge being made.
On January 20, 1990, at around 3:00 p.m., a group of armed men,
accompanied by police soldiers, burst into the premises of the Ecumenical Human
Rights Center in
shot the front door open, removed the filing cabinets and book shelves, and
ripped out the telephone wires. At
the time, there were approximately 30 delegates of KONAKOM holding their weekly
meeting and they were abused by the assailants who identified themselves as
members of the Presidential Guard. One
of the members of the National Secretariat of KONAKOM, Gerald-Emile Brun,
an architect, was beaten and taken to the Presidential Palace along with the
other delegates. Most of the
prisoners were released on the same day, but Brun remained in military custody
until the night of January 21, when he was expelled from the country. On arrival in Miami, Brun had to spend a few days in the
hospital because of the blows sustained.
On January 21, at around 10:00 p.m., a group or armed men (two in
uniform) appeared at the home of Robert Duval, President of the League of
ex-Political Prisoners of Haiti, and finding no family member there, beat
the servant taken care of the house. Robert
Duval and his family did not return home for fear of being arrested.
Examination of the practices of the Government and of the denunciations
made before this Commission shows a series of violations originating in the
Government of General Prosper Avril which led to a state of irregularity and
complete lack of protection for the population with respect to measures adopted
against them by agents of the State.
The practice of the Government of Haiti under Avril's regime consisted of
detaining political opposition without meeting the minimum requirements of the
law. Most of the detentions took
place during hours proscribed by the Constitution, private homes were searched
without a court order and methods were used that violated the physical integrity
of the victims.
The incapacity of the judicial system to combat the atmosphere of
insecurity that has prevailed in both the capital and rural areas was recognized
by the Government itself. The
Minister of the Interior and Armed Forces, Acédius Saint Louis, in an interview
given on September 7, 1989, said: "The
forces of law and order are neither psychologically nor materially prepared to
deal with the lack of security in the country".
There is a consensus among important sectors of haitian society that the
persons accused of having committed human rights violations in incidents like
the massacres of November 29, 1987 and at the San Juan Bosco Church on September
should be brough to justice. However,
President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot's provisional government has mentioned
that the lack of complaints prevents justice from being carried out; for
example, in January 1988 and investigative committee was formed to look into the
November 29 massacre and it received no complaints on the subject.
As for the San Juan Bosco massacre, Justice Minister Pierre Labissière
informed the IACHR Delegation that based on a complaint Elise Francois had been
arrested in connection with the occurences at the church, and that procedures
established by law would be followed.
The majority of the arbitrary detentions have been carried out by the
"section chiefs" and the "assistants" who are designated by
and form part of the Armed Forces. The
activities of these individuals have far exceeded their function as rural police
officers, leading to an atmosphere of insecurity among the population.
According to information received by the Commission, the judicial
authorities have shown neither efficiency nor decisiveness in resolving the
investigations of these violations.
As can be seen from the denunciations received, in certain cases
detentions have been extended for long periods, and in other cases the victims
have been released after a few days, but in all cases they have been kept
incommunicado, no charges have been brought against them, and they have not been
afforded the guarantees of due process. In
this respect, the violation of the right to personal liberty allows the
emergence of an atmosphere that is propitious to the violation of other human
rights, such as the right to judicial guarantees and personal safety.
The description given in this chapter points to the conclusion that the
rights to personal liberty and to judicial guarantees have been gravely
compromised during the period covered by General Avril's regime.
Since the inception of President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot's
provisional government, the Commission has been able to observe a considerable
decline in human rights violations.
massacres of November 29, 1987 and the one of the San Juan Bosco Church of
September 11, 1988, are mentioned in the Report on the Human Rights
Situation in Haiti, 1988 page 81 and 103.
massacres of November 29, 1987 and the one of the San Juan Bosco Church of
September 11, 1988, are mentioned in the Report on the Human Rights
Situation in Haiti, 1988 page 81 and 103.