11.106, 11.108, 11.115, 11.119, AND 11.121
Between August and December 1992, the Inter-American Human Rights
Commission received petitions reporting disappearances and deaths of
several Haitian nationals, allegedly at the hands of the military or
armed groups in civilian clothing collaborating with the Haitian armed
investigations were not carried out in any of the cases described below.
The pertinent parts of those petitions are summarized as follows:
Case No. 11.106
25, resident of Port-au-Prince, was arbitrarily detained after having
been seriously wounded by Haitian soldiers on August 3, 1992, during a
military attack in the area where he lived.
In a thorough search, the soldiers found a miniature radio device
in the victim's house. As a
result they accused Jacquelin of belonging to an underground network and
threatened to kill him if he did not reveal the identities and addresses
of the other members. Since
the reported events occurred, his family's inquiries in various prisons
have been fruitless because the police claim that they know nothing
about him. Brunel Jacquelin
is still missing.
Case No. 11.109
Moises Jean Charles,
spokesman for the Milot Farmers' Movement, was arbitrarily arrested by
the Cap-Haitien police on August 22, 1992. According
to witnesses, Charles was detained by policemen as he entered Cap-Haitien
when they demanded that he reveal the contents of a report that had
purportedly been presented to the OAS delegation, because Charles was in
Port-au-Prince when that delegati
was collecting reports and complaints in the capital.
Since his arrest, his family have had no news of him or where he
is being held.
In addition to Charles' arbitrary detention, other actions have
been taken against the Milot Farmers' Movement.
The headquarters of the association was raided by the military on
November 4, 1991 and its property confiscated.
The association then moved underground.
Case No. 11.108
a member of the political party Congress of Democratic Movements (KONAKOM),
50 years old and father of 10, was murdered and his body found shot and
stabbed near the telephone company (TELECO) in Port-au-Prince on
September 3, 1992. In June of the same year, Fleurzil had fled from his town
when the local police set fire to his house and tried to arrest him.
At the time of his death, Mr. Fleurzil was applying for political
refugee status after having received numerous death threats from
paramilitary groups operating in the region because of his known
Case No. 11.115
23, along with an unidentified companion, was murdered in Port-au-Prince
by Haitian soldiers on September 16, 1992.
According to eye witness reports, before the slayings, the
victims had an altercation with the military who eventually fired on
them killing them instantly.
Case No. 11.119
Jacques Derenoncourt, Wesner Luc, and Justin Brezil.
Jacques Derenoncourt, 40, member of KONAKOM and a nongovernmental
organization affiliated with farmers (ADECOI), disappeared on December
2, 1992. According to
various witnesses, he was kidnapped by armed civilians, called death
squads, as he was driving his car in down-town Port-au-Prince.
His body was found on December 4, 1992, after his assassination
by his captors. Wesner Luc
and Justin Brezil, also KONAKOM militants, were held by armed civilians
in Port-au-Prince on November 22, 1992.
Two days later the body of Wesner Luc was found shot and stabbed.
Justin Brezil is still missing.
According to human rights organizations, the deaths and
disappearances of these persons are occurring in a context of widespread
unlawful executions and forced disappearances committed by armed
civilian groups, particularly in the poorest districts of the capital,
where bodies are frequently found in the streets.
Case No. 11.121
was detained together with six other young people on December 5, 1992,
by a group of armed men who drove them in a jeep to Titaynen, near a
mass grave where bodies are secretly disposed of, and opened fire on
them. Philogène was the
only survivor of this massacre and managed to reach the nation
highway, where he was rescued by a driver and driven to the St. François
de Salles Hospital. The
hospital refused to admit him but, thanks to a doctor, arrangements were
made for him to be taken immediately to the Canapé-Vert Hospital.
The next day, after he had undergone surgery, several uniformed
soldiers appeared at the hospital asking for him.
Later a group of five armed men entered Jean-Sony's room, where
he was with a relative, and shot him dead.
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION
The Commission began to process the petitions, transmitting to
those who exercise power in Haiti, the pertinent parts of the said
petitions and requesting further information, within 90 days, to
corroborate the reports.
Later, through notes dated January 29, May 7, and July 22, 1993,
the Commission renewed its request for information on the reports
indicating that if it did not receive that information by the deadline
it had set, it would proceed to apply Article 42 of its Regulations
which establish the following:
The facts reported in the petition whose pertinent parts have
been transmitted to the government of the State in reference shall be
presumed to be true if, during the maximum period set by the Commission
under the provisions of Article 34, paragraph 5, the government has not
provided the pertinent information, as long as other evidence does not
lead to a different conclusion.
Notwithstanding the Commission's repeated attempts to obtain
information on the alleged human rights violations, and the seriousness
of the reports, they who exercise power in Haiti's have failed to
provide any information on the matter.
The Commission adopted Resolution 34/93 in the course of its 84th
Session, held 5th - 15th October 1993 and submitted the same to the
Government of Haiti for its pertinent observations.
The report also indicated that if the situation was not resolved
by the Government within three months from the date of submission, the
Commission would have to decide whether to publish the report.
That the Commission has the authority to hear such cases as they
constitute violations of human rights protected by the American
Convention: Article 4, on
the right to life; Article 25 on legal protection in accordance with
Article 44 of the Convention.
That the petitions filed meet the formal admissibility
requirements established in Article 46 of the American Convention on
Human Rights and Article 32 of the Commission's Regulations.
That the petitions are not pending settlement in any other
international forum, nor are they repetitions of earlier petitions
already examined by the Commissions.
That the petitioners have not been able to obtain effective
protection from the Haitian authorities as there has been no
investigation into the serious facts reported.
That in its 1992 Special Report on the Situation of Human Rights
in Haiti the Commission stated:
The institutionalized violence and corruption practiced with
impunity by members of the army and the police, whose function is to
protect the citizenry, has caused a series of abuses against Haitian
people . . . . At the same time, the judicial authorities have been neither
efficient nor decisive in prosecuting investigations into these
That the events described above is proof of "the existence
of a practice or policy ordered or tolerated by the government, the
effect of which is to impede [certain persons from] invoking certain
remedies . . . ."
As the Inter-American Court established in the Velásquez Rodríguez
case: "In such cases,
resort to those remedies becomes a senseless formality.
The exceptions of Article 46(2) [regarding the exhaustion of
domestic remedies] would be fully applicable in those situations and
would discharge the obligation to exhaust all domestic remedies as they
cannot fulfill their objective in that case."
That under such circumstances, the requirement that domestic
recourse be exhausted, as established in Article 46 of the American
Convention on Human Rights, is not applicable to the case in question.
That Haiti is a State Party to the American Convention on Human
Rights and is therefore obliged to adhere to the principles guaranteed
by Article 1 of that Convention which establishes:
The States Parties to this Convention undertake to respect the
rights and freedoms recognized herein and to ensure to all persons
subject to their jurisdiction the free and full exercise of those rights
and freedoms, without any discrimination for reasons of race, color,
sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social
origin, economic status, birth, or any other social condition.
That despite the time elapsed since the reported acts took place
and the fact that the Commission has repeatedly requested information
from those who exercise power in Haiti,
they have provided no response whatsoever in the matter.
By not responding, those who exercise power in Haiti have not met
Haiti's international obligation to supply information within a
reasonable time frame, as provided in Article 48 of the American
Convention on Human Rights, and that, regardless of the prevailing human
rights situation in the country, the Convention remains in force.
Consequently, the powers that be, though illegal, have the
obligation not only to respect the rights contained in that
international agreement, but also to guarantee the full and free
exercise of such rights.
That Article 42 of the Regulations of the Commission establish
the presumption of the facts reported if, by the deadline set by the
Commission, the government has not provided the relevant information,
and their refusal to so do has been demonstrated in the preceding
paragraphs. Article 42 in
fine provides for presumption of the alleged facts on condition that
the other evidence does not to lead to a different conclusion. In the instant case, there is no different conclusion as the
Commission previously indicated that the information received from
various sources enabled it to confirm that most of the human rights
violations in 1992 occurred in a political context which were encouraged
by those who exercise power in Haiti in their determination to
consolidate their power.
That the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti of 1987
establishes in Article 19 the following guarantees with regard to the
right to life:
The Government has the absolute obligation to guarantee the right
to life, health, and the respect of the human personality to all
citizens without distinction, in accordance with the Universal
Declaration of the Human Rights.
That the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in its judgment on
the Velásquez Rodríguez case, stated that:
The State is obligated to investigate every situation involving a
violation of the rights protected by the Convention.
If the State apparatus acts in such a way that the violation goes
unpunished . . . , the State has failed to comply with its duty to
ensure the free and full exercise of such rights to the persons within
its jurisdiction. The same
is true when the State allows private persons or groups to act freely
and with impunity to the detriment of the rights recognized by the
That the Commission recently indicated that numerous violations
reported to it were related to the resurgence of activity by the members
of irregular armed groups, supported by the Haitian armed forces.
That they who exercise power in Haiti have also failed to
discharge their duty to conduct an effective investigation, within their
jurisdiction, to identify the perpetrators of the acts reported and to
subject them to the penalties established in Haiti's criminal laws, and
also failed to provide the families of the victims with proper
That, in this regard, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
where the acts of private parties that violate the Convention are
not seriously investigated, those parties are aided in a sense by the
government, thereby making the State responsible on the international
That because the procedure for friendly dispute settlement
established in Article 48(1)(f) of the Convention and in Article 45 of
the Commission's Regulations are not applicable, given the nature of the
case and the refusal of those who exercise power in Haiti to provide
information, the Commission shall enforce Article 50(1) of the
Convention, issuing its opinion and findings on the matter submitted to
it for consideration.
That because the Government of Haiti has not presented its
observations as requested nor adopted the measures recommended by the
Commission in Resolution 34/93 within the requisite 90 days;
INTER-AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION,
To presume to be true the acts reported in the communications
concerning the deaths of Marcel Fleurzil, Frantz Delva, Jean Sony Philogène,
Jacques Derenoncourt, Wesner Luc, and the disappearances of Brunel
Jacquelin, Moises Jean Charles, and Justin Brezil.
To declare that the acts referred to involve violations of the
right to life, enshrined in Article 4, and the right to protection by
law enforcement recognized in Article 25 of the American Convention on
To declare that they, who exercise power in Haiti, have failed
to comply with Haiti's obligation to guarantee the full and free
exercise of human rights and fundamental guarantees pursuant to Article
1 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
To take note of the fact that the Government of Haiti, because it
was illegally overthrown, has been unable to investigate the actions
denounced or punish those responsible.
To publish this report pursuant to Article 48 of the Commission's
Regulations and Article 53.1 of the Convention, because the Government
of Haití did not adopt measures to correct the situation denounced
within the time period.