In Keeping With Tradition, Haiti Delivers Swift Injustice
New York, August 17,
2004 -- 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.”
For more information, contact:
(212) 337-0005 ext. 231