Originally: Open Letter to the Director-general of the Haitian National Police
OPEN LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE HAITIAN NATIONAL POLICE
Justice Jocelyne PIERRE
Of the National Police of Haiti (PNH)
Dear Madam Director-General,
The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) does not cease to draw the attention of those responsible within the State structures to the dangerous process of politicization and manipulation of the police institution, especially since the forced resignation and exile (for reasons of security) of the Director-General of the National Police of Haiti (PNH) who preceded you, Mr Jean Robert FAVEUR. NCHR firmly believes that the PNH ? the sole armed institution in the country and the institution which guarantees order, public security and stability of the State ? has to play a fundamental role in the ongoing process of democratization.
This is why NCHR has appreciated the notable courage of Mr Jean Robert FAVEUR, who chose to resign in protest against the integration into the PNH of armed thugs who are paid by the state. Furthermore, the Haitian National Police has fallen victim to fantasy when it comes to internal promotions, the granting of grades and the puppet position of the Chief of Staff of the PNH.
Your promotion from Doyen of Port-au-Prince?s First Instance Court to the position you currently hold, violates the law pertaining to such matters and is therefore not very reassuring. Indeed, your surprising appointment goes against the following stipulations in articles 21 and 22 of the law of 29 November 1994 pertaining to the creation, organisation, and functioning of the Haitian National Police:
Article 21: « The Directorate-General of the National Police, the central commanding body of the National Police, is a decentralized Institution with respect to the Ministry of Justice, based in the capital. It falls under the authority of a Director-General, who has the function of Chief of Staff of the Police and is appointed by the President of the Republic in accordance with the Constitution.»
Article 22: « The Director-General of the National Police, Executive Secretary of the CSPN, is chosen among the Central Directors or the Divisional Commissioners and in accordance with the Constitution appointed for an extendable term of three (3) years ».
Without having too many illusions or being overly naive, NCHR had hoped that your training as a magistrate would at least be useful for the administration, management and functioning of the PNH. Alas! Under your command the process of politicization and manipulation of the Haitian National Police has accelerated: the laws and regulations with respect to its functioning are bluntly ignored, while the public opinion is starting to consider the PNH a private militia rather than a state institution. The following cases should suffice to illustrate this:
I. Although Mr Faveur had refused to sign the promotion earlier on, Mr Jeanty EDNER, Agent II with the USGPNH, was effectively promoted to Inspector-General of the National Police at the beginning of this month. This violates article 60 of the law of 29 November 1994, which stipulates:
?The career of the different officials of the National Police consists of hierarchic grades in ascending order and without discontinuity within three levels. Within every level, promotion will be based on experience and competence. All candidates for a higher grade within the Police will have to pass internal exams, the contents and criteria for access of which will be determined by the Internal Regulations.
The grades are presented in the following table:
Level A: 1. Police Officers, class 1 to 4
Level B1 2. Police Inspector
3. Principal Inspector
4. Divisional Inspector
Level B2 5. Police Commissioner
6. Principal Commissioner
7. Divisional Commissioner
8. Central Director, Inspector-General
9. Director-General of the National Police
As you notice, Mr Jeanty EDNER moved from the first to the last level in the police hierarchy, passing in the period of one (1) day eight (8) grades, which would not be possible in the ordinary functioning of the police. One could quote Jean Pierre BOYER and rightly state that this man ?moves faster than the River of Artibonite?.
Can you possibly fathom the demotivating effect of such a decision on a hierarchically structured institution? Can Mr Edner impose his authority over his former superiors, after they have become his subordinates due to a political decision? What will the officers who are regularly promoted say about this?
II. Mr Germain SAINT-FLEUR, Police Officer II with the CIMO, is currently responsible for the Commissariat of Croix-des-Bouquets with the grade of Principal Commissioner. He was also on the list that Mr Faveur refused to sign ;
III. Mr Rony JACQUES, a Police Inspector of Canapé Vert, has been turned into Nippes? Departmental Director, a function which is generally granted to Divisional Commissioners;
IV. On 29 October, some thirty (30) women organized a silent sit-in in front of the Palace of Justice to claim justice for the militant feminist Professor Danielle LUSTIN, who was assassinated at her place Vivi Mytchel. The women also demanded an end to the impunity, a peaceful Haitian society, the rule of law and justice. Members of the OP Lavalas brutally ended this demonstration, looked upon impassively by police officers who did not intervene nor carried out one single arrest. Despite this, and despite the fact that you are a woman yourself, you do not seem to have been affected by this;
V. It is widely claimed that Police Commissioner Harold ADECLAT was involved in the heinous killing of Amiot METAYER. Without ever having had to answer the grave and persisting accusations, he has been promoted Director of Logistics at the Directorate-General of the PNH. Which spirit of justice motivates those in charge of the PNH?;
VI. Commissioner Negupe SIMON killed in cold blood Fernande JEAN, a young woman of twenty-four. In a fight with her husband, she had thrown a stone at the latter, but missed him and hit the Commissioner?s vehicle. Mr Simon has publicly admitted his fault, but he has not been handed over to the judicial authorities ; instead, he is being kept in isolation, as if it concerns a disciplinary penalty;
VII. The police officers who are responsible for the assassination of Viola ROBERT?s children still haven?t appeared before their judge, as the Police refuses to follow up on the warrants that have been issued against them. Several of them have been kept in isolation, but the matter has generally been dealt with in an informal manner. The truth is being hidden from the Haitian people, Viola ROBERT continues to mourn, and thanks to the official impunity the killers continue to « serve » and « protect ».
VIII. In Gonaïves the rather unprofessional interventions of the Police have caused a dozen dead and some thirty (30) injured among the population. The Police also set fire to some twelve (12) houses in the popular and poor areas of Jubilé and Raboteau. Not a single investigation has been launched, and no sanctions have been announced against the police officers involved. It seems that trigger-happy police officers have received carte blanche to continue their destructive work vis-à-vis the population;
IX. Under your command the role of the attachés has become considerably more important in Police operations, especially in Gonaïves, Cap-Haïtien, Port-au-Prince and Delmas. The Directorate-General allows this to continue ;
X. Police officers who are involved in kidnappings and killings, such as the attempt to kill attaché René Jean Thony, aka Sonnen, stay beyond the grasp of justice;
XI. Under your command police officers have openly and publicly showed partiality through repression and the illegal prohibition of anti-government demonstrations, such as in Cap-Haïtien, Gonaïves, Saint-Marc and Petit-Goâve. They have also shown tolerance or rather displayed a strange form of passivity with respect to the counter-demonstrators of Lavalas in Port-au-Prince, Pétion-Ville, Saint-Marc and Cap-Haïtien;
The worst has been noted on Friday 14 November 2003 during a demonstration that was organized by the Groupe des 184. The Police bluntly took over from the OP Lavalas to lead operation ?Vice shield? in order to prevent the citizens from expressing peacefully and publicly their disagreement with the government. A formidable effort was made by the police with the clear objective to prevent civil society from expressing itself without fear.
In presenting this non-exhaustive list of facts before you, NCHR believes it is of utmost importance to turn the tide before it is too late. We have to avoid the mistakes that were made with the Armed Forces of Haiti (FADH), in order to avoid starting over time and time again.