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Context of 'March 29, 2004-April 5, 2004: Lawyers Find Human Rights Violations in Haiti'

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In the Haitian town of Petit Goave, “Ti Kenley” and his followers burn the homes of Aristide supporters, including the homes of the national congress deputy, local elected political and civic leaders, student leaders, and family members of Aristide supporters. The burned homes are later photographed by a National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation (see March 29, 2004-April 5, 2004). [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file Sources: Unnamed witnesses interviewed by a National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation]

Entity Tags: Tom Griffin, Ti Kenley, Edward Carlson, March 2004 National Lawyers Guild Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, Judy DaCruz

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

The bodies of 800 Haitians are “dumped and buried” by the State Morgue in Port-au-Prince, which typically buries only about 100 bodies per month. The corpses are buried in a mass grave 200 miles north of the capital in Titanye. On March 28, the morgue buries another 200 bodies (see March 28, 2004). Many of the “bodies… had their hands tied behind their backs and had black bags over their heads, and had been shot.” This continues in April (see Early April 2004). [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file; Democracy Now!, 4/12/2004 Sources: Director of the State Morgue in Port-au-Prince]

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Forty to sixty bodies are transported in trucks to a field near the Piste D’Aviation, bordering the Delmas 2 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince along a road to the airport. The following day the bodies will be relocated and burned (see March 22, 2004). [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file Sources: Unnamed witnesses interviewed by a National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation]

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Forty to sixty bodies are moved from the roadside near the Piste D’Aviation (see March 22, 2004) to a remote field a quarter-mile away and burned. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file; Democracy Now!, 4/12/2004 Sources: Unnamed witnesses interviewed by a National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation] A National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation (see March 29, 2004-April 5, 2004) investigating the incident observes a “massive ash pile, and pigs eating flesh of human bones that had not burned at Piste D’Aviation.” The delegation photographs “fresh skulls and other human bones, some still tangled in clothes or with shoes and sneakers nearby.” The fuel for the fire had been transported in containers marked “Haitian currency.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file] The photographs are later shown on the April 12 program of Democracy Now!. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file; Democracy Now!, 4/12/2004]

Entity Tags: March 2004 National Lawyers Guild Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, Tom Griffin, Edward Carlson, Judy DaCruz

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

The bodies of 200 Haitians are dumped by the State Morgue in Port-au-Prince, which typically buries only about 100 bodies per month. On March 7, the morgue had buried some 800 bodies (see March 7, 2004). Many of the “bodies… had their hands tied behind their backs and had black bags over their heads, and had been shot.” This continues in April (see Early April 2004). [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file; Democracy Now!, 4/12/2004 Sources: Director of the State Morgue in Port-au-Prince]

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

A National Lawyers Guild Human Rights delegation, consisting of two lawyers and a journalist, travels to Haiti to investigate the various aspects of the human rights and security conditions in Port-au-Prince, Petit Goave, Gran Goave, Les Cayes, and Fond des Blancs, a remote village in the Southwest Department. After concluding its work, the delegation issues a preliminary report on April 11 which states: “[T]he delegation found overwhelming evidence that the victims of the threats and violence have been supporters of the elected government of President Aristide and the Fanmi Lavalas party, elected and appointed officials in that government or party, or employees of the government, including police. Many are in hiding in the mountains or in Port-au-Prince, others have been beaten and or killed. Many of their homes have been selectively destroyed, mostly by arson.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Tom Griffin, March 2004 National Lawyers Guild Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, Edward Carlson, Judy DaCruz

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

A National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation visits the offices of two Haitian “human rights” organizations, Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI) and National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR). During the visits, the delegation’s members become convinced that the two organizations are working with the opposition. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI) - In the case of CARLI—which publishes lists of alleged human rights organizations, which it disperses to the public, the police, other government agencies, USAID, and the US Embassy—there are several factors which cause suspicion among the delegation’s members: [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet Though the group insists that it thoroughly investigates “each of the 60 to 100 monthly calls and verifies all information beyond a reasonable doubt before publicly condemning a person by naming him/her,” CARLI “has no full time staff”—only two volunteer lawyers. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “Hotline” forms completed by the group include terms like “a supporter of the dictator Aristide.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet The delegation finds “no evidence that CARLI conducts any investigation before condemning the named person.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “The person ‘condemned’ to the list is never contacted to answer to the allegations.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet The lists have contained only Lavalas supporters. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet The leaflets dispersed to the public are written only in French, which is spoken and understood mainly by the educated elite. Most Haitians speak Creole. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet CARLI has never investigated cases involving Lavalas victims. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “CARLI was asked if it would consider ceasing the publication of the ‘list’ because it was forcing innocent people into hiding and to fear for their lives, preventing people from returning to their jobs and schools,and, as a non-judicial forum, was creating the possibility of a extra-judicial execution squads, and non-judicial arrest warrants. CARLI refused.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR) - The well-funded NCHR claims to represent victims of human rights abuses, regardless of their political affiliation. But the organization demonstrates an obvious bias in favor of the opposition. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet The NCHR cannot name even one incident where a Lavalas supporter was a victim of a human rights abuse. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “NCHR took the delegation into a large meeting room where the wall was adorned with a large ‘wanted’ poster featuring Aristide and his cabinet, in small photos, across the top. It named Aristide a ‘dictator’ guilty of human rights abuses. Among a long list of other charges, it condemned him for the murder of John Dominique and included a large photo of Dominique’s dead body. The poster calls for the arrest and imprisonment of Aristide and his associates.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “The Delegation suggested that NCHR’s neutrality and inclusiveness might be better expressed with additional posters condemning, for example, FRAPH, Jodel Chamblain, Jean ‘Tatoune’ Baptiste, Ti Kenley, etc. While the Director and the staff acknowledged the existence of all of those named, they laughed at the suggestion of adding other wanted posters to the office.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet Many of the newsletters, “open letters,” and advisories that were in the NCHR waiting room refer to Aristide as a “dictator.” None of the literature addresses abuses against supporters of Aristide. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “NCHR was asked if they would investigate the 1000 bodies dumped and buried by the morgue during the last few weeks at Titanye (see March 7, 2004) (see March 28, 2004), and the alleged malfunctioning of the refrigeration at the morgue. The director and his staff denied ever knowing about these events, laughed, and said none of it was true.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “NCHR was asked if it would investigate the dumped bodies at Piste D’Aviation (see March 22, 2004) (see March 23, 2004). The director and his staff laughed and denied that it was true. The Delegation then showed NCHR the photographs we had taken of the ashes and fresh human skeletons. In response, the NCHR director told us that the General Hospital routinely dumps bodies at the Piste D’Aviation.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI), USAID, Tom Griffin, Edward Carlson, March 2004 National Lawyers Guild Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR), Judy DaCruz

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

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