Originally: Communique

The OAS Special Mission wishes to express concern following the public

statements made yesterday morning on radio stations in Port-au-Prince by Me.

Dameus Clame Ocnam, one of the Deputy Public Prosecutors of the Government

Commisioner attached to the Civil Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince, who

is reported to have left the country.

The Deputy Public Prosecutor spoke of pressure brought to bear on him by

representatives and advisors of the executive for him to sign legal warrants

intended to lead to the arrest of Messrs. Andre Apaid Junior, Coordinator of the

Group of 184, Herve Saintilus, President of the Federation of Haitian University

Students, and Me. Gervais Charles, Acting President of the Bar Association of

Port au Prince, in connection with events which occurred during the

demonstration held on December 22, 2003.

The Special Mission observed the public demonstration on December 22 during

which two persons lost their lives. The Mission calls for the conduct of a

serious indepth inquiry into those events in order for the facts to be properly

elucidated. Without prejudging the results of such an inquiry, the Mission is of

the view that without the benefit of a full inquiry and without other elements

of proof their personal involvement in the facts under reference, any arrest of

these persons would constitute a flagrant case of abuse of power.

The Special Mission invites the governmental and judicial authorities to apply

the law with moderation, impartiality and correctness, in order to avoid any

injustice or appearance of injustice, and in order to contribute to building

genuine rule of law in Haiti.

The Special Mission takes the opportunity to recall the December 17 statement of

the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Luigi Einaudi on the subject of

demonstrations, during a meeting of the Permanent Council. He emphasized that

“These events require urgent action by all concerned to support the rule of law”

and counselled that mob rule is unworthy of a democratic society. It is in this

spirit that, once again, the Special Mission exhorts all persons concerned to

avoid any action which might increase tension at this critical moment.