13 August 2005
The National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH) has observed that, since
its installation, the transitional government of Haiti has been
encouraging impunity in many forms within the country.
The question of Justice appears to mean nothing for the current leaders as
high profile criminals and lawbreakers, one way or another, are going
free, circulating in the streets without concern while their victims
continue to cry out for justice.
It has become apparent to RNDDH that for some time now, the Court of
Appeals of Port-au-Prince has been taking pleasure in liquidating several
big cases without any legal provisions as in the murder cases of Jean
Dominique and Jean Claude Louissaint, and of Father Jean Marie Vincent.
Take the case of Louis Jodel Chamblain, second in command of the
paramiliary group FRAPH (the Front for the Advancement and Progress of
Haiti). His name is well-known by all for his implication in various
crimes committed in the country, such as: the murder of Antoine Izmery in
1993, the Cité Soleil Massacre in 1993, and the Raboteau Massacre in
Gonaïves in 1994.
People have not forgotten the kinds of acts that FRAPH the organisation
that Chamblain led committed during the coup d?état years from 1991
1994, including summary executions, the rape of women, forcing children to
rape their own mothers, theft, burning down homes, brutal murders and
assaults, discarding and leaving for dead leaving for dead the bodies of
those they had tortured. Arlette Belance is living proof of the latter as
she was tortured, cut up and left for dead in Titayen by members of FRAPH.
After having returned to Haiti to assist in the armed movement against
former President Aristide, Chamblain turned himself into Haitian
authorities on 22 April 2004
In August 2004, in a farce of a judgment in the murder trial of Antoine
Izmery, Louis Jodel Chamblain was exonerated.
In May 2005, the Supreme Court threw out the 2000 ruling in the Raboteau
trial citing incorrect usage of procedures. It was clear that the Supreme
Court ruling did not include those who had been judged in absentia.
Chamblain had been tried and sentenced in absentia for his implication in
the Raboteau killings. Yet, in May 2005, the Public Prosecutor and the
Chief Justice of the Court of First Instance of Gonaïves decided to
authorize Chamblain?s release, without any legal grounds. Official
release papers were issued on 27 July 2005 and Chamblain was released from
a prison in Port-au-Prince on 11 August 2005.
Chamblain?s name has also been cited in the Cité Soleil Massacre in 1993,
during which several people lost their lives, not to mention hundreds of
families were left homeless as a result of the fires. Despite his
implication in the massacre, Chamblain has never responded in a court of
law to these accusations against him. And yet today, he is a free man.
Fourteen (14) years after the coup d?état against then President Aristide
in 1991, RNDDH remarks that several of those implicated in crimes
committed during the three (3) years that followed continue to benefit
from blatant impunity.
RNDDH considers it the right of all Haitians to obtain justice, this
includes the victims of the La Scierie Massacre, the families of Jean
Dominique-Jean Claude Louissant and of Father Jean Pierre Louis. It
includes Viola Robert who continues to seek justice for her three (3)
slain sons, and the families of Mireille Durocher Bertin, Fernande Jean
and the Cléonor Souverain family in the Central Plateau. The list goes
RNDDH believes that if Haiti is to establish a society based on the law,
the fight against impunity is one that must be fought and it must be won.
For RNDDH, last week?s release of Louis Jodel Chamblain is a slap in the
faces of the victims of the Raboteau killings, the victims of Cité Soleil,
and all the victims of the 1991-1994 coup d?état years.
RNDDH believes that serious consideration must be made concerning the
reform of the judiciary in Gonaïves. RNDDH strongly encourages the
Minister of Justice to take every measure necessary to provide the Court
of First Instance in Gonaïves with appropriate and adequate resources
needed to organize and hold a re-trial, without a jury, in the Raboteau
Massacre case as required by the law.