Open Letter to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS)
May 27, 2002
M. César Gaviria, Washington, D.C.
Dear Mister Secretary General
In reference to Resolution CP\RES 806 (1302\02) approved January 15, 2002 by the Permanent Council of the OAS, providing the creation of an independent international investigation commission whose task it will be to evaluate the events of December 17, 2001 and to seek to establish possible link with those of July 28, 2001.
Having been arrested on July 31, 2001, under the order of the Commission which had for duty to investigate the events of July 28, 2001, then freed after a prolonged detention of 25 days;
Trusting in the independence and objectivity of the Investigating Commission of the OAS and knowing that it is still possible for this case to be manipulated by those who ordered my arbitrary arrest, I have the privilege of presenting these facts to you:
My name is Mario Andrésol, superior officer the Haitian National Police since September 4, 1995. I was alternately Superintendent of Police in Pétion-Ville (1995-1997), Principal Superintendent for the Port-au-Prince District (1997-1998), Central Director of the Judiciary Police (1998-2001), appointed to the General Direction of Police since March 2001.
At the Central Direction of the Judiciary Police, where I spent about 30 months, I was the number 3 of the Haitian National Police with five specialized units under my command: Anti Drug Bureau, Bureau of Criminal Affairs and crimes of political nature, bureau of Scientific Police, Rescue and Intervention Brigade, Brigade of judiciary intelligence. My jurisdiction covered the entire territory. In other words, I was the armed hand of the law and worked for the District Attorneys and investigative judges with total independence, respecting the law and procedure.
Having understood that the process of building a legitimate State that all Haitians long for is necessarily linked to an independent judiciary and the neutrality of the Police, I have worked with all my strength and intelligence to reenforce the law by playing totally my role of auxiliary of the judicial system during my thirty years of service. My independence and my determination to fight crimes under all its forms, cause me, unwittingly, to harm the interests of certain personalities who are very powerful today.
But imbued with the historical role I feel I was called on to play in this particular context, I deliberately chose to respect to the letter the noble ideal of President Aristide as it is spelled out in his political program in the following trilogy: Justice ? Transparence ? Participation.
Anxious to set the good example, I decided to strive as a messenger, even as a worker for this justice. And unexpectedly, I only reaped hostility from the President?s entourage and followers. Some of them even went as far as warning me that in the year 2001 they will make me pay for my audacity.
Captain of the dismantled Army, I never received any reproach from the regimes which succeeded each other since 1994, in regard to my behavior, the way I carried out my duties, even less in respect to my leadership, before, during and after the coup. Besides, this is the very reason why I stayed so long within the Police Force from 1995. The popular cohorts would have long pointed me out as a putschist, criminal, thieve or schemer if they had reasons.
In accomplishing my duty, I never thought I would have found myself face to face with the followers of the trilogy: Justice ? Transparence ? Participation. Today the friends of those whom my task forced me to pursue are: Secretary of State, Senators, high officials in the Administration, high-ranking Police officials, Superintendents or Officers. They have emerged or came out from the dark, thanks to the return to power of President Aristide on February 7, 2001.
Mr. Secretary General,
Convinced that I was working for the good of the country and for the Police institution, I never wavered from the objective I set for myself, despite the threats, the intimidations and the attempts against my life. The results speak for themselves.
Within the framework of the fight against drug trafficking, the destruction of of 1,93 kilos of narcotics was undertaken, that is to say, 1,092 kilos of cocaine and 201 kilos of marijuana, in the presence of Haitian judiciary authorities, the press and agents of the DEA, who tested them the previous day and on the day of their destruction.
A- Within the scope of the fight against money laundering, the seizure of U.S. $4,098,532.00 (four million 98 thousand and five hundred thirty two U.S. dollars), was carried out, in conjunction with the DEA, of which U.S. $1,131,841 (one million one hundred thirty one thousand and eight hundred forty one dollars) was returned to their owners by the Haitian judiciary authorities and U.S. $ 2,966,691 dollars (two million nine hundred sixty six thousand and six hundred ninety one dollars U.S.) was deposited at the General Direction of Taxes, therefore, in custody of the justice system, in conformity with transparency. (Justificative documents available).
B- In the name of justice, 151 criminal files and 177 individuals who were the accused of such crimes or were accessories to them were transferred to the prosecutor?s office after arrest for prosecution, while 100 others caught in the act of drug possession were brought before the judge. Yet they were freed without being tried or condemned, as required by Haitian law.
That is little, one may say. But for a country like Haiti where investigations go on forever, where the culture of impunity is always the norm, that is very much, particularly in the post-1994 era where criminals, drug traffickers, members of the Police and judges get on well. The way things are going, it will be difficult to do any better, for three months after my transfer from the Judiciary Police, I already had three successors. The first two were removed following a scandal linked to corruption, and the third, who was my assistant, is still at his post. If he intends to follow in my footsteps, he will also find himself in jail one day under the accusation of «plotting against the security of the State», «assassination of police officers» or of anything to impede the progress of justice.
The Police institution, the cornerstone in the building of a legitimate State, is held hostage today by politically influential external groups who intend, through their allies in the government holding key positions, to install a system of corruption.
No one is a prophet at home, goes the saying. For having shown the way, I was tagged an agent of the Foreigner, as though it was forbidden to a Haitian citizen to have noble aspirations and to want to serve his country in his sphere of action.
Mr. Secretary General,
As I expected, on March 27 2001, I was transferred to the General Direction of Police, but the chief of cabinet of the General Director asked me to stay home. I will be contacted by the Police, he told me. Informed that certain individuals linked to the Police had met on May 13, 2001, to plan my murder, I filed a complaint against X in a letter dated May 23, 2001 addressed to the then director of the Judiciary Police. In that letter I explained how my future assassins intended to carry out their plan. I even gave some clues to facilitate an investigation. To this date nothing has been done to either confirm or refute my claim.
On July 31, 2001, the Secretary of State for Public Safety called me on the phone to invite me to a meeting with the investigating commission on the events of July 28, 2001, which was being held at the Ministry of Justice. After the meeting, Mr. Jean-Gérard Dubreuil, the president of the commission, promised to call on me for future consultations. Which means that the Commission had nothing against me. Otherwise, why allow me to leave since it would have been much simpler to take pre-emptive administrative measures against me through the Chief General Inspector, who was present; then inform me of my arrest by way of the district attorney (the public prosecutor) who was also available. They let me go, knowing fully well that outside hooded policemen and, among them, other killers, equally hooded, and acting at the behest of my powerful enemies, were waiting for me.
As I mentioned in my letter of complaint filed May 23, once I left the Ministry, my vehicle was followed by two others in which heavily-armed hooded men were riding. On two occasions, they had held out their weapons to open fire, but maneuvering from my driver stopped them. Finally, my driver entered a gas station where there were numerous witnesses. There, those men held us at gun point, forced us to step out of the vehicle. My wife who was with me was manhandled, thrown on the ground before being bluntly hand-cuffed. Then taken to a police precinct, we were locked in separate cells.
There we were, arrested at an hour unprovided by the law, without warrants or reports and without any charge against us, in flagrant violation of the Haitian Constitution. It was 8 p.m.
On August 1st, without any explanation, my wife and my driver were set free. On August 7, the Judiciary Police sent to the office of the prosecutor an information report dated August 3 in which it is said that I was arrested within the context of the investigation of the events of July 28 2001. The 48-hour police custody having expired, the police had to antedate the report.
On August 10, after a hearing of habeas corpus, a judge ordered my release immediately. Despite this ruling I was kept in prison for fifteen more days.
Between August 10 and 24, my file was under three different proceedings at the same time.
On August 24, while the ruling of August 10 was not yet executed, I was invited to appear before an investigative judge. After the hearing he sent me back into custody.
On August 24, 2001, at about 10 p.m., I was let go, illegally, without a single order, no order of liberation, no paper whatsoever, like a prisoner who was being helped to escape.
I remain convinced that, on July 31, 2001, the plan to assassinate me had fallen through. My assassins and their accomplices had no choice but to have me arrested and to send me to prison in order to perpetrate their crime away from indiscrete eyes.
Since coming home after my liberation, I live almost underground, not wanting to give my ever more powerful enemies an occasion to try again.
Ten months after the events of July 28, 2001, we all wait for the light to be shed on this affair. Those who were killed with bullets or who have died from being thrown from a helicopter as well as those who were arrested, tortured and unjustly accused demand justice, true justice, the one for which I fought.
I follow with great interest the moves of Investigative Commission of the OAS, hoping that it will finally bring out the truth. I remain at its disposal and wish it success in its work.
La Ligue haïtienne des droits humains,
La Commission inter-américaine des droits de l?homme,
David Lee, chief of the OAS Mission in Haiti
The Diplomatic Missions in Haiti,