BAR OF PORT-AU-PRINCE
Courthouse of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
THE BAR OF PORT-AU-PRINCE
– Deeply alarmed and outraged by the accelerated deterioration of the socio-economic and political environment in the country, with serious negative consequences on a judicial system too often used by the executive branch of government for self-serving motives;
– Shocked by the careless and irresponsible attitude of the government, whose laxity seems to encourage, facilitate, and even condone the arbitrary and illegal arrests, arson of personal and real estate property (public buildings, police stations, courthouses, private homes, etc.) and acts of violence of all kinds occurring throughout the country, and threatening the life and liberty of citizens;
– Considering, on the one hand, the political situation in the country and, on the other hand, the problems intentionally created for the legal profession, namely:
1.- threats and intimidation
2.- systematic refusal or some judiciary authorities to hear any matter related to individual freedom.
3.- systematic refusal to execute court decisions ordering the release of citizens who have been detained arbitrarily and illegally.
– Aware of the serious dangers threatening the country in disarray.
– Hereby declares that the Bar expressly and formally supports the recent declaration made by the private sector on November 23, which eloquently represents the opinion shared by a wide majority of the population.
1.- the criminal acts perpetrated last week in Petit Goave by the National Police of Haiti against students participating in a peaceful demonstration, when the police used live bullets to shoot at close range, reminiscent of the Soweto events;
2.- the violent and criminal acts reported in Port-au-Prince on Friday, November 22, 2002;
3.- the violent and criminal acts perpetrated last Monday, November 25, by officers of the National Police of Haiti, with the complicity of illegally armed thugs, against students and other persons in Gonaives;
4.- the inexplicable and unacceptable acts of violence perpetrated this past November 25, 2002, by officers of the National Police of Haiti against students of the Faculty of Ethnology, within the Facultys facilities.
– Recalls the following:
1) Articles 19, 24, 28, 28.1, 31, 34, and 36 of the current Constitution guarantee certain rights, including:
– the right to life, health care, respect for human dignity, individual freedom, freedom of expression, freedom to work in the journalistic profession, freedom of assembly and association, and the inviolability of the facilities of educational institutions and private properties.
2) Articles 136, 145, 159, and 163 of the Constitution formally state that:
– The President of the Republic shall protect and defend the Constitution. He must ensure that the courts decisions are implemented. The Prime Minister shall implement the law. The Prime Minister and the ministers are accountable for the implementation of the law.
3) Article 27.1 of the Constitution states that:
– Government officials and employees shall be held personally liable, according to the Criminal, Civil, and Administrative Codes, for acts perpetrated in violation of the law. For that matter, the government also shares the civil liability.
4) Articles 269.1 and 274 of the Constitution state respectively that:
– the mission of the Police is to guarantee the public order and protect the life and property of the citizens;
– officers of the Public Force are liable in civil and criminal matters while carrying out their duties.
5) Violation of individual freedom, arbitrary and illegal detention, abuse of power and authority, escape of detainees, threats, arson, and voluntary destruction of homes or other types of property are described and punished by articles 85, 145, 150, 159, 195 through 206, 250 through 253, and 356 through 358 of the Criminal Code.
– Demands that the appropriate government authorities:
– do everything in their power to finally restore public order, the authority of the state, as well as the rule of law and justice throughout the entire country, without delay;
– that the courts decisions be implemented throughout the entire territory of the Republic;
– that the persons responsible for crimes and felonies related to the criminal acts described above, as well as their accomplices, be arrested and prosecuted according to the law;
– that the safety of our children be permanently guaranteed;
– and that all rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the law be respected and protected.
Port-au-Prince, November 25, 2002
JOSEPH RIGAUD DUPLAN.. PRESIDENT OF THE BAR
JEAN RENEL SANON SECRETARY
JEAN N. SEIDETREASURER
GERVAIS CHARLES JOSUE PIERRE PIERRE ROMAIN CHERY
IDONEL AUBRY MAURICE JEAN BAPTISTE RITH RATHON
EMMANUEL D. CLERSAINT LIONEL SAJOUS SERGE H. MOISE
MARTINE CHEVALIER TALLEYRAND LAMOTHE