President-elect invites Duvalier to inauguration
[Translation of an article from AlterPresse Haïti for May 11. See original here and related article here.]
Statement by the Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains
The Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH – National Network for the Defense of Human Rights) has received with indignation the news that an invitation has been sent to former dictator and president Jean-Claude Duvalier to take part in the ceremony to inaugurate the new head of state, Michel Joseph Martelly, on May 14.
The RNDDH points out that former president-for-life Jean-Claude Duvalier, back in the country since January 16, has been charged with numerous crimes committed during his rule, for which he is accountable. However, because of his refusal to respond to summonses by the examining magistrate on the pretext that his state of health is precarious, measures restricting his freedom have been taken against him.
The RNDDH stresses that president-elect Michel Joseph Martelly has on several occasions shown his fondness for Duvalier’s totalitarian regime, characterized during its 29 years by reprehensible acts like torture, rape, gang rape, murder, disappearances, forced exile, inhuman and degrading treatment, illegal arrests, arbitrary detention, summary executions, assaults on property and on the freedom of expression, theft and pillage. Considering that the former dictator and the torturers of the Haitian people have always enjoyed official impunity, the indictment of Jean-Claude Duvalier offers the Haitian people, through a fair and equitable trial, a unique opportunity for shedding light on the numerous crimes committed during his regime.
Does the president-elect by sending such an invitation to former president Jean-Claude Duvalier, in total contempt for the tens of thousands of victims, intend to begin his term under the banner of forgetfulness and impunity? That invitation sent to the former president-for-life and dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier represents an obstruction of justice, a blow to the memory of the tens of thousands of people killed or disappeared. In any case, that invitation does not foster independence of judicial power and runs counter to the resolution of the criminal investigation opened against former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.
The image of a governing power preaching change and aligning itself with those who have plundered the state coffers and installed terror as a method of wielding political power is troubling and calls for vigilance.