Originally: Chamblain?s Trial


In Keeping With Tradition, Haiti Delivers Swift Injustice

In less than 24 hours and under cover of darkness, Haiti settled the case of the People of Haiti vs. Chamblain, acquitting the latter of the murder of Antoine Izmery, a businessman killed in broad daylight in 1993 because of his opposition to military rule. Chamblain emerged earlier this year as the leader of the armed insurrection that forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide?s exile to South Africa. At the time of Izmery?s murder, Chamblain commanded a paramilitary organization known as the Front pour l?Avancement et le Progres d?Haiti (FRAPH) that used violence, intimidation and murder to support military rule.

The so-called trial exposed the judicial farce with the prosecution?s sole witness basically stating that he had no idea why he had been called to the stand. Among other things, prosecutors had also failed to conduct a proper investigation by not making use of the potential evidence contained in thousands of documents in government custody.

?It?s an outrage,? said Jocelyn McCalla, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights in NY. ?Haiti?s leaders knowingly and deliberately orchestrated a sham trial, rewarding Mr. Chamblain with an acquittal.?

Haiti?s highest legal authority, Justice Minister Bernard Gousse, is reported to have indicated that Chamblain might benefit from government pardon for ?any convictions? because of ?his great services to the nation?, according to the Associated Press.

?Minister Gousse has demonstrated that he?s politically compromised and unqualified to lead Haiti?s judicial reform efforts. He?s abused the trust placed in him. We believe that he should resign or be forced out, for neither democracy, respect for human rights nor the rule of law can rise on the basis of impunity? said McCalla.

?We also believe that the UN cannot remain silent in the face of such blatant denial of justice, which is a stain on the UN presence. Reasons for appealing the verdict and demand a retrial abound. They should be pursued forthwith.?