to the Secretary-General on the situation as of March 30, 2003
2 April 2003
Original: English / French
The OAS-CARICOM High Level Delegation (the High-level Delegation) which visited Haiti from March 19-20 offered a unique opportunity to move off the stalemate then existing. It opened some space for the Government in particular, but also for all those with responsibilities under the terms of Resolutions 806 and 822, to respond in the interest of the country. The Delegation put a series of points to the Government, civil society and opposition. But the overriding issue was for the Government to take concrete actions designed to demonstrate to Haitians, and the international community, that a climate conducive to the holding of free and fair elections was being created and would be strengthened satisfactorily over the period of the electoral campaign. The question that member states will have to ponder is whether the numerous actions taken by the Government during this short period adequately respond to that criterion.
Because of the importance, for the holding of credible elections this year, of creating a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) very quickly, the OAS Special Mission was asked to report on actions by all concerned taken by a cutoff date of March 30.
St. Lucian Foreign Affairs Minister Julian Hunte, the Chairman of CARICOM's Council for Foreign and Community Relations and Ambassador Luigi Einaudi, the OAS Assistant Secretary General, led a High-Level Delegation comprising 19 senior members representing 12 countries/organizations to Haiti from March 19 to 20 to support the implementation of Resolution CP/Res. 822, which had been approved on September 4, 2002.
The High -level Delegation's arrival statement emphasized "the international community's firm commitment that all sides in Haiti must honour their obligations under Resolution 822 so as to end the climate of violence and insecurity." It further urged the Government of Haiti to take immediate and concrete measures to improve the security situation, and all parties involved to participate actively in the formation of a CEP, with a view to holding credible elections in 2003.
Resolution 822 lists important and extensive obligations undertaken by the Government of Haiti. Accordingly, during their two-day visit, the delegation met first with President Aristide, and later with the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet. Delegation leadership met again before their departure with the President. Given the roles foreseen for them under Resolution 822, discussions were also held with the Convergence Démocratique and civil society including the Conférence Episcopale, as well as with the Friends of Haiti. In his March 19 declaration to the Delegation, President Aristide called for the formation of the CEP as he said it would send an important message to the population about the need for reconciliation. He said "In fact, it will serve as a vehicle for reconciliation, because it will be a forum for peaceful resolution of disputes by discussion and agreement, instead of conflict." He also emphasized the dysfunction in the judiciary and his commitment to fight impunity. In his declaration, the President committed himself to a series of actions, though he did not set a specific timetable for implementation. The text is attached as Annex A1.
The High-level Delegation informed representatives of civil society and the opposition Convergence Démocratique, with whom it met, that the international community would not support efforts to remove President Aristide through violent confrontation in the streets. The High-level Delegation emphasized further that internationally - supported elections are the way to solve Haiti's political crisis and that CP/Res. 822 called for elections in 2003. These representatives were also advised that for credible elections --the kind the opposition and civil society say they want- the CEP should be formed immediately as set forth in the Draft Initial Accord (DIA) and ratified by CP/Res. 822, as several months will be required to put in place the necessary technical steps and measures for credible elections in Haiti. The delegation underscored that if President Aristide showed significant political will by taking the concrete actions, notably on security, that it outlined, then the opposition Démocratique Convergence and civil society must move ahead to participate in the CEP as part of a democratic resolution of the political crisis in Haiti.
The High-level Delegation raised a number of previously agreed points with the Government side, as well as other considerations respectively in relation to their several Haitian interlocutors. In their departure statement, the Delegation emphasized inter alia that "it is now imperative that the Provisional Electoral Council be established, as agreed, so as to allow for credible elections to be held in 2003". They urged that all concerned take the specific, concrete steps which would allow the establishment of the CEP by March 30. The text is attached as Annex B.
The points put to the government are attached as Annex C. The points to civil society and to the Convergence Démocratique are attached as Annex D
The Government of Haiti undertook to provide all relevant information on action taken by March 30, 2003 to the OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti to enable a comprehensive report to be presented to the OAS Permanent Council by April 2, 2003. The Government's March 30 Report is attached as Annex E. It includes an important speech by President Aristide on March 28, inter alia responding to a number of the Delegation's points.
As of March 31, a CEP has not yet been established.
Since the 3rd Report of the Secretary General pursuant to Resolution 822, covering the period from January 4, 2003 to March 4, 2003, the political and security situation in Haiti did not improve. Arrests and illegal detention of political activists, police brutality at demonstrations and instances of intimidation against members of civil society were highly publicized; and were described by opposition sectors and human rights groups as concrete examples of State-sponsored political persecution. As a result, the political stand-off continued and calls for the removal of President Aristide from office persisted. A large march and demonstration against the Government was held in Cap Haitien on March 30 during which leaders reiterated their opposition to elections while Jean Bertrand Aristide is President; the Police collaborated effectively.
Specific violations during this period included the March arrests and illegal police custody (for more than 48 hours) of opposition leader Pastor Jackson Noel in Cap Haitien and of women's leader Carline Simon and her husband in Port au Prince; and the break-up, by police, of a women's demonstration on March 10 in Port au Prince. During the visit of the high level CARICOM/OAS delegation, police beat journalists and demonstrators in front of the French Embassy and in plain view of their personnel. On the same day, police allegedly stood by as government supporters from Hinche physically assaulted members of the Papaye Peasants Movement (MPP) as they attempted to travel to Hinche. These and other acts were strongly condemned by local and international NGOs, Embassies and the OAS Special Mission. They put into question the government's commitment to respect individual political and civic rights, particularly freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate.
Since March 4, the coalition of 184 civil society organizations' "Caravan of Hope" travelled to Hinche and St. Marc under police protection and without incident, as observed by the OAS Special Mission. During their March 15 meeting with civil society representatives in Les Cayes, however, government supporters allegedly threw stones and otherwise threatened the caravan members. The OAS Special Mission was not present. High level interventions (including by the Mission) helped calm matters and provide for the caravan members overnight. Their planned March 16 stop in Petit Goâve was accordingly postponed and they returned directly to Port au Prince.
Since the above-mentioned incidents on March 20 and the departure of the High Level Delegation, the OAS Special Mission has not received any reports of serious human rights violations. However the issue remains: how to assess the continuation of serious security and human rights incidents, mainly attributed to the police or government supporters, at a time when the Government was preparing to meet with, then hosting, the High Level Delegation, with an agenda to develop a climate of confidence such as to encourage the holding of credible elections over the next few months? Many observers, including some not involved in political parties or other groupings, are concerned that the government uses one language for the international community and another for the local community.
Since the departure of the High Level Delegation, the Government has been active on most fronts covered by the discussions with the Delegation. The sections below review developments, and should be read in conjunction with Annex A, the President's March 19 statement of intentions and commitments, and with Annex E the Government's March 30 Report on its actions, declarations and decisions. The sections generally follow the line of points raised by the High Level Delegation with the Government.
The OAS Special Mission would like to note its appreciation for those political and administrative representatives of Government who demonstrated during this hectic period their competence, dedication and willingness to seek constructive ways to carry out the mandate. The work of the newly established GOH/OAS Joint Committees was encouraging during this initial period.
I. REPARATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS REGARDING DECEMBER 17, 2001
a. Finalize reparations dossier, including MOCHRENHA.
The final portion of the total 30 million gourdes in reparations was paid to the political party MOCHRENHA on March 21, finalizing their dossier. This brings to a close the reparations dossier for political parties and other institutions. Of the 70 individuals listed as victims by the government, 35 accepted final settlements which were about 50% of the amount reported by the GOH; see Annex E.
Observation: Although very slow, and requiring continuing attention, this file appears on the way to resolution. The GOH/OAS Joint Committee will have to closely monitor the dossier with a view to transparency and fairness, and to be sure that all victims are justly paid.
b. Arrest of Amiot Métayer
This was not done. The Government of Haiti reported that, on the basis of instructions dated March 21 ( in Annex E), they made an unsuccessful attempt to arrest Métayer on March 23, but understood that he had fled the country. Documents were issued ordering that the borders be watched. Several subsequent unconfirmed sightings of Métayer in both Port au Prince and Gonaives were brought to the attention of the Special Mission, and reported to the Government.
Observation: The Special Mission told the President on March 25 that given the profile of Métayer in Gonaives over the past months, failure to arrest him would raise issues of the credibility of the Police effort.
c. In accordance with Terms of Reference on Justice/Impunity, set up a Task Force with Special Mission assistance in order to carry through investigations and prosecutions.
On March 29, the GOH/OAS Special Mission Joint Committee on Justice agreed to the composition of the Task Force as proposed by the government. The Task Force is comprised of the Port-au-Prince State Prosecutor, the Judicial Police Director, the Doyen of the Port-au-Prince jurisdiction, an attorney, OAS representatives and national and international consultants as required. The Task Force is mandated not only to assist in carrying through the December 17, 2001 investigations and prosecutions but also to follow through on the cases of Jean Dominique, Brindol Lindor and other cases discussed below.
Observation: This decision provided the Task Force is enabled to get to work quickly and to proceed effectively, could be significant in terms of tackling a number of key outstanding cases; and thus reducing the crippling weight of impunity in the public mind.
It may be noted that although there were reports of summonses issued in late March in regard to persons reportedly involved in the December 17 events, the Mission received no official account about developments in the case or the overall status of the criminal investigations and prosecutions throughout the country.
II. ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
a. Push forward on Dominique and Lindor cases. Arrest those already indicted for the murder of Brignol Lindor.
The final indictment in the Jean Dominique and Jean Claude Louissaint murders was submitted to the State prosecutor by the investigating judge on March 21 and subsequently released to the public. Six individuals, facing charges of either murder or complicity, will be brought to trial. Another six, including a high profile member of Parliament, were discharged in the indictment. Conclusions drawn in the report, following 3 years of investigation, were widely criticized and described as incomplete as no indication of the intellectual author (s) of the crime was presented. Michel Montas, Jean Dominique's widow, publicly stated her intent to appeal the case. President Aristide declared his support for an appeal and his dissatisfaction with the results of the investigation during a speech he made to a police unit on March 28 ( in Annex E).
Observation: Although finalizing prosecutions and releasing the indictment is an important step in any criminal investigation, it is very unfortunate that, after three years and for whatever reasons, the indictment was allowed to be incomplete in several respects; and disappointed all expectations it would tackle the basic issues in this landmark case. There is a widespread view that pressure was exerted, a view which undermines any otherwise serious efforts to combat impunity.
On 27 March, the Appeals Court rejected the appeal into the Brignol Lindor case on procedural grounds. The court pronounced that the Lindor dossier, presented to the court in a 13 March hearing, was not acceptable due to the fact that the Lindor family was not cited as the civil party. If presented, the case could still be reviewed by the Supreme Court. None of the remaining eight individuals indicted in the case have been arrested since the visit of the High Level Delegation.
b. Choose 5 of the 12 cases brought forward last June 17 following the Nunciature meeting and progress in their investigations and prosecutions.
On March 29, the GOH proposed the following five cases for treatment by the new Task Force (above), a list which was accepted by the GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Justice:
1. Mireille Durocher Bertin
2. Deputy André Diogène
3. Senator Yvon Toussaint
4. Deputy Jean Hubert Feuillé
5. Ramy Darant.
The remaining five cases are to be treated at a second stage by the Task Force. (The other two are the Dominique and Lindor cases.)
c. Abstain from bringing pressure to bear on judicial officials and allow justice to be dispensed in accordance with the rule of law.
President Aristide spoke directly to this issue during his speech to the police on March 28 in Annex E): "Whether it is people working for the State, or people in the minority private sector or the majority private sector, whether it is people in the minority or the majority of civil society, whether it is Haitians living in the provinces or in the city, none of us has the right to put pressure on a judge or prosecutor, who should be able, in his soul and conscience, to let the law guide him/her in rendering justice correctly". He also spoke of the importance of the rule of law.
The trial of Rosemond Jean commenced on March 24 without any indication of intimidation or other politically motivated interruption. (On March 31, Rosemond Jean was conditionally freed, with a return to court scheduled for April 7th.) However, with regard to the case of Prosper Avril, release orders issued by an appellate court were ignored; and on March 20, 2003 a lesser ranking judicial official issued a new incarceration order.
Observation: How the cases under b. and c. are handled will be touchstones for the perception of the independence of Haitian justice.
III. PROFESSIONALIZATION OF THE HAITIAN NATIONAL POLICE
a. Appoint new leadership before the end of March in consultation with OAS SM.
On March 24, 2003 the three top ranking police officials (Director General, Chief Inspector General and Administrative Director) resigned. On March 26, Mr. Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste was sworn in as the new Director General ad interim by the Prime Minister. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Pierre Evans Sainturné was named Chief Inspector General and Mr. Wilson Casséus named Administrative Director. The installation of Mr. Jean-Baptiste was highly criticized by members of the opposition and the human rights sector who reported that he had been involved in the 1991 killing of political party leader Pastor Sylvio Claude. Human Rights groups also criticized the nomination of Mr. Sainturné, whom they accused of threatening the judge (Claudy Gassant) investigating the murder of Jean Dominique in 2001.
Observation: The President in his Declaration of March 19, and subsequently, did not commit to consultation, but was aware of the importance attached to the matter by the High Level Delegation. In the March 25 meeting with the Special Mission, he mentioned the name Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste. When the Mission learned later from the President that the swearing-in ceremony was planned for the next day, it arranged for comments to be provided to the President urgently and prior to the swearing-in, which nonetheless proceeded as planned. There were no consultations of any kind regarding any other member of the HNP leadership.
It should be noted that the concerns of the Special Mission did not relate to the accusations, as such, against Mr. Jean-Baptiste. The Mission makes no judgment on the accusations, and indeed insists on the innocence of any person until proven otherwise. The issue rather was to what extent under present circumstances the Government's choice for this key post would foster the creation of a climate of confidence. A similar observation can be made in regard to Mr. Sainturné.
b. In order to improve professionalism and efficiency at all levels, from top to bottom, closely monitor performance, in conjunction with the Special Mission, replace any police official who can not perform his or her job properly and lawfully.
President Aristide declared his commitment to do this in his March 19, 2003 speech to the High Level Delegation, albeit without reference to the Special Mission.
Observation: It is understood, although the Mission has not been officially informed of this, that a high level security commission was formed on or about March 26, with members drawn from senior officers of the HNP, including the former Director General, Inspector General in Chief and others. It is not clear what role this group may play in the operation of the HNP.
c. Give the new Director General and Inspector General a clear public mandate to work with the Special Mission in order to implement the joint Terms of Reference on professionalization, election security and disarmament, as well as with the US on drugs.
During his March 19, 2003 speech to the High Level Delegation, President Aristide declared his commitment to give the HNP leadership a clear and public mandate to work with the OAS Special Mission to ensure strengthening and implementation of the TORs. He also spoke to the subject in his March 28 public speech to CIMO.
Observation: The OAS SM is prepared to recruit 25 - 30 international security experts to work on the professionalization of the force. The officers would be assigned in all nine departments and to police headquarters, the Inspection Générale, the Police Academy and other specialized units. The process is underway, with four additional police on the ground to assist in the work this week; as it gathers steam, additional resources will be required.
Plans to name a Commissioner responsible for organizational strategic planning are on-going. The high-ranking Commissioner would lead a committee tasked to formulate strategies for the development of the institution. It has been recommended that the committee would review and put into action the "Strategic Plan of Development", a document which covers the development of the police from 1999 to 2003 (but has been on hold for two years).
d. Strengthen training as per the joint Terms of Reference.
A decision was taken by the GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Professionalization of the Police to recommend to the Director General of the Police that a committee be formed to review the overall police training program, including initial training, in-service training, specialization, etc. Discussions for the selection process for the members of this committee are on-going.
It was also decided to organize training for all HNP personnel on election security, disarmament and human rights. The curriculum for this program is currently being developed by a representative of the Secretary of State for Public Security and a member of the OAS SM. The program is scheduled to begin in April.
Observation: There has been useful progress on some aspects of professionalization of the police and training questions. It is hoped that this can be sustained.
a. Begin with a public ceremony to destroy arms collected by the police, after first verifying in transparent fashion.
It has been agreed by the GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Disarmament that a public ceremony to destroy arms seized by the police will be held following a thorough audit/verification of the weapons. According to the Government Report, the ceremony will be held on April 7, 2003.
On March 29 the Secretary of State for Public Security provided the OAS SM a partial inventory of 77 weapons seized or confiscated during police operations in all 9 departments. On March 30, OAS SM security experts, in the presence of HNP, photographed 82 weapons presented by the police and verified their make, model and serial number. 20 revolvers, 46 pistols, 6 long-barreled guns, and 10 homemade weapons, six of which were not on the list, were examined. Many of the weapons were in inoperable condition, with either missing or broken parts. Others were old and rusted, and some had seizure tags dating back as far as 1998. Most of the weapons were not suitable for ballistic testing.
Observation: There are considerable discrepancies with the Government's Report of November 4, 2002 on the weapons reportedly seized by the Police (attachment to the First Report of the Secretary General pursuant to Resolution 822). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that 2,551 firearms had been seized in July and August of 2002 alone.
The Special Mission would only be able to be involved in events which were credible and fully in keeping with the Terms of Reference.
b. Move to confiscate unconstitutional heavy weapons in the hands of the security guards of mayors, members of parliament and other government officials.
The Prime Minister wrote to Ministers, Secretaries of State and Directors General on March 27 reminding all government officials that, with designated exceptions, use of assault weapons is prohibited throughout the national territory of Haiti; and that the HNP had received instructions to ensure the strict observance of this rule see Annex E).
Observation: There is no indication any moves were made to confiscate such weapons in the time frame of this Report.
c. Act against armed gangs.
The HNP reports it is in the process of preparing a detailed report outlining the efforts made to deal with gangs and other armed groups. However, there was no evidence of any such actions during the period of this Report.
Observation: On March 28, there were widespread news reports of interviews with several leaders of OPs (popular organizations) in various parts of the country, known to be close to the Fanmi Lavalas, including Paul Raymond and René Civil, decrying any idea of restricting the actions of OPs or their leaders, or arresting them in connection with the events of December 17, 2001.
d. Establish GOH National Committee on Disarmament.
A GOH National Disarmament Committee has been created and was reportedly scheduled to hold its first meeting on March 31. The composition, according to information provided by the GOH, is as follows: Mr. Frantz Gabriel and Mr. Aramick Louis, representing the Executive, Mr. Angelot Bell, the Director General of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste, the Director General a.i. of the HNP and Mr. Josué Pierre-Louis, a principal State Prosecutor, plus the police directors for the nine departments.
Observation: This body is to work closely with the GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Disarmament. However, as there is no pre-existing structure and little experience in the area, a great deal remains to be done. It will be important to work with others experienced on the matter, notably the UNDP.
e. Strengthen law.
A project is underway to introduce amendments to the law pertaining to firearms. The amendments will be in the form of a ministerial order or decree aimed at addressing specific administrative deficiencies in the existing law, such as expired permits to carry or possess firearms.
The GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Disarmament recommended the formation of a task force to examine the current legislation and to propose appropriate modifications.
V. ELECTION SECURITY
a. Start with bringing in key international police to help prepare election security plan, and arrange for security of CEP and CEG members and entourages.
The GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Elections Security presented a security plan to the Director General of the Police on March 29. It was approved and signed by him immediately. See Annex C. The Special Mission has identified international police to work in this area.
b. Agree to Special Mission proposals for placing a minimum of 100 international police; and work with the Special Mission to place them ASAP in departments and HQ.
The Terms of Reference signed between the GOH and the OAS Special Mission on November 15, 2003 specified that the OAS will engage some 100 uniformed and armed international police to assist the HNP, including the departmental directors, in the elaboration and implementation of plans of security for elections. On March 27, 2003 the State Secretary for Public Security wrote to the OAS Special Mission that the Government had no objection to the deployment of 100 international security experts across the nation, as was stipulated in the Terms of Reference. The recruitment process is underway.
c. Appoint a HNP Task Force for Election Security.
An HNP Special Committee for election security was appointed on March 29 and instructed to write to the 7 nominated CEP members to determine their specific security needs.
d. A competent, neutral respected person, with appropriate background, will be designated to head a Special Task Force for election security and to work with the CEP, the Special Mission and other elements of the HNP.
The Special Mission learned through the government's Report of March 30 that Fontane Frédéric Beaubien was named by the government to this new position. His CV is included in Annex E. He is not known to the Mission.
VI. HUMAN RIGHTS
Issue public instructions on demonstrations and freedom of expression, human rights violations and arbitrary acts by agents of the State, respect for the 48 hour requirement for appearance before a judge in cases of arrests and detentions and impediments to freedom of movement or to freedom of the press.
Four draft declarations (in Annex E) were prepared by GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Human Rights and signed by the Prime Minister on March 29. The declarations:
- promote the right to demonstrate and the freedom of expression
- support the respect for the 48 hour requirement for appearance before a judge in cases of arrests and detention
- forbid torture and any form of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, or other arbitrary acts, by agents of the Government
- support an end to the obstruction of freedom of movement through the use of barricades, violence and vandalism on public thoroughfares, through encouragement of state agents, public employees and police to take the necessary steps to that end..
Observation: These documents reflect the intent of the Terms of Reference and the points of the High Level Delegation. They are however but texts; and their value will come as they are implemented, and seen to be so, by the authorities. They cover statements and acts by persons and groups of all political stripes, for example from those in the OPs that back the government to those persons and groups who have been active in the Belladère/Pernal region of the Plateau Central, among other types of intimidation and violence or threats.
VII. POLITICAL COMITY
Cease inflammatory statements by government officials. Call supporters to end violence. End harassment of civil society and political party leaders. Call upon all the citizens of Haiti to stop all acts of political violence, harassment, intimidation or threat, and to respect the fundamental human rights of all their fellow citizens. Propose and publish a "Pact of Civility" to be agreed upon by all political parties and civil society representatives, pledging to cease inflammatory statements and refrain from all acts of political violence, harassment, intimidation or threats by their members or supporters.
Some of these points were addressed in whole or in part by the President in his March 28 speech to the special police unit, CIMO. His text can be found as part of Annex E. In this his only major speech in the period, the President spoke of the importance of police respect for the 48 hour limit, and underscored rights and responsibilities connected with freedom of association and assembly. A GOH text regarding the notion of a Pact of Civility can be found in the government's Report at Annex E. The President also addressed in this speech a number of the issues covered under section VI. Human Rights.
Observation: The President's text received no input from the Special Mission. , It is a policy speech which reminds the police and the Haitian public of their constitutional and legal responsibilities to each other, whether or not they agree with each other. It responds in a number of respects to certain of the High- level Delegation's points, and reflects undertakings in his March 19 declaration to the Delegation. It is worth reading at Annex E.
To prepare for elections, the GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Elections held its constitutive meeting. The GOH took decisive administrative action during the last week of March to organize the practical aspects for installation of the new CEP (when finalized). Ministry of Finance inspectors worked in collaboration with the CEP Administrative Direction to complete an inventory of material resources. The Ministry of Finance also closed the former CEP accounts and put special accounts into operation to cover administrative costs in the interim.
Observation: Work in this area will need to take account of concrete steps to establish the CEP; and be effected in close cooperation with other elements of the Haitian and international communities, including the UN system.
The GOH/OAS Joint Committee on Governance began implementation of the agreed Terms of Reference (TORs), deciding on the formation of a coordination unit within the Ministry of Justice and on the creation of a commission on judicial reform, to pursue its work on the basis of the elements of overall justice reform set out in the TORs.
Observation: This potentially important work on reform of the justice system will need to be done in liaison with other organizations operating in this field, including the UNDP.
ACTIONS BY OTHERS
I. OTHER HAITIAN GROUPS
It will be recalled that nine entities are called upon under Resolution 822 each to name one person to the CEP. Two have done so outright (the government political party, Fanmi Lavalas, and the Judiciary). Five other entities have named their persons, but refused their swearing-in until certain conditions were met, mainly regarding security concerns; these are the three religious groups (Roman Catholic, Protestant and Episcopalian), the business community and the human rights community. Two entities have refused to name anyone, citing various conditions; they are the main opposition grouping, Convergence Démocratique, and the eclectic non-grouping, "other political parties". This situation remains unchanged: none of the "civil society" nominees to the CEP moved toward swearing in. Their joint position was included in an annex to the recent Third Report of the Secretary General pursuant to Resolution 822 (CP/doc. 3715/03). The Episcopal Church of Haiti, which met with the High-level Delegation March 20 but was unable to present its position due to time pressures, has since provided a statement of its views, which is included as Annex F.
The Convergence Démocratique provided its latest views to the Special Mission on March 28, essentially underlining a number of events which in its view demonstrated that the current government was not carrying out Resolutions 806 and 822. It expressed the hope that the next meeting of the OAS Permanent Council would adopt "the right decision concerning a resolution of the crisis and the participation of the Haitian population in honest, credible and democratic elections", without further specifying what this meant. The text is attached at Annex G. Earlier statements of position have asserted that the CD would not participate in elections with Jean Bertrand Aristide as President, though they stated to the Delegation and since that should the President respond adequately to demands made, they could review their position.
For its part, the Group of 184 issued a declaration on March 31, drawing attention to a number of basic concerns about recent events. The document recalled the Group's communiqué number 2 (attached to the Third Report of the Secretary General pursuant to Resolution 822), and continued: "...Only the prior putting in place of sufficient conditions of security permitting respect for public freedoms and the right of citizens to assemble, to circulate, to express themselves freely on the civic and political level, should determine the participation of civil society in the effective formation of the CEP." The CEP would not be able to stand up to the power of the State, as previous experience had demonstrated. The Group expressed their conviction that both "the national interest and that of democracy lie in the setting in train, in a technically appropriate time frame, of an electoral process which is non-precipitate and credible, conducted in a reasonable climate of confidence and security." See Annex H for the full text.
Observation: Under Resolution 822 the five entities and the Convergence Démocratique are called upon to nominate members of the CEP, and allow them to be sworn in and act effectively, in order for the electoral process to unfold and elections to be held in 2003. That has so far not happened.
II. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
The local representatives of the High Level Delegation met on March 28 at their request with President Aristide, in order to review progress on the points raised by the Delegation, and in particular to press their concerns about changes in the HNP leadership, the importance of arresting Amiot Métayer, and other matters. The President for his part drew attention to his Declaration of March 19 (Annex A) as representing what he and his Government remained committed to carrying out on their schedule.
The Friends of Haiti Group met twice during the period to review the situation, including late on March 30.
III. THE SPECIAL MISSION
Since the departure of the High Level Delegation the Special Mission has worked intensively to pursue the aims of the Delegation as laid out in its departure statement (Annex B). It met with members of the Convergence Démocratique and the Civil Society Initiative/Group of 184 on March 23; and with other elements of civil society during the week. It joined with the Prime Minister on March 24 to sign the document establishing the seven joint committees pursuant to the Terms of Reference; and was heavily involved all week in the first and subsequent sessions of those joint committees. This included a combined meeting of all joint committees to review progress, led off by the Prime Minister on March 27. The Head and Deputy Head of the Mission met with the President and some of his associates on March 25; and joined the local representatives of the High Level Delegation in their meeting with the President and Ministers on March 28. Police representatives of the Mission on March 30 conducted an inspection of weapons reportedly seized by the HNP. The Mission also received the Report of the Government and used it and other material to prepare this document.
A core element of Resolution 822 is the holding of credible legislative and local elections in Haiti during the course of 2003. That required establishment of a CEP at a point in time which allowed the necessary number of months to organize the kind of elections that the Haitian people deserve, and the international community could support, financially and otherwise. While the time required is an art rather than a science, and can be affected by many factors, it is widely believed that anything less than nine months would create an extremely difficult situation, given the specific circumstances obtaining in this country.
The formula for selection of the CEP, reflected in Resolution 822, was worked out in the political negotiations held among Haitian actors between 2000 and 2002, with support from the OAS, and written down in the "draft initial accord" dated June 12, 2002. This text empowered nine entities to nominate members-or not to do so. The decision of a large majority of the entities not to name members or not to allow those named to be sworn in, has meant that the CEP has not been formed to date.
The basis of the package worked out in Resolution 822 was that all actors and stakeholders achieved certain objectives and had certain things to do. The Government of Haiti in particular undertook a series of important obligations, notably in regard to creating a climate of security, to disarmament, to tackling impunity, to settling the reparations issue. The entities (among others) that stood to gain from the increase in security, action against impunity and the other measures, were expected to send their representatives to the CEP, and thus allow elections to proceed during 2003, in the interest of the whole country.
The package has broken down in mutual recrimination: the government asserts that the others use any excuse to avoid allowing their representatives to sit, and thus block the holding of elections they fear to enter; while the others propound that the government has not only reneged on its commitments but never intended to hold credible elections.
The visit of the High Level Delegation was an attempt to break the impasse: the Government would carry out a set of named concrete actions; and the others would assume their responsibilities to ensure the CEP was completed. The international community would play its role of accompanying and assisting. Regrettably, however, the different elements contained in CP/Res. 822 have yet to come together in a positive manner.
Observation: In the current circumstances, the Mission has chosen to be transparent on a number of important, if sensitive, issues. The Mission is aware that this might unfortunately be misused for their own reasons by some sectors in Haiti and abroad, but has been swayed by the belief that clarity is the basis for good decision-making.
ANNEX A. STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI, HIS EXCELLENCY JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE, WELCOMING THE SPECIAL DELEGATION OF THE OAS
Welcome to Haiti! The Special Delegation, including senior officials and distinguished representatives of the OAS and CARICOM, Member States, Friends of Haiti and international organizations and financial institutions, is very welcome to our country, and very welcome to the Palais National.
The eight million people of Haiti are very glad that you are here. The Haitian people recognize that you have come to Haiti because you care very deeply about them, that you are alarmed by the suffering that they have endured, and continue to endure, as a result of the economic and political crises that have burdened this country for too long, and that you are here to help us alleviate that suffering.
Your presence, especially at this time, establishes all of you, as true friends of the Haitian people. We thank you profoundly for being here, and for your efforts to help us move forward to a peaceful, just, transparent, secure and democratic set of solutions to end the current impasse and improve the lives of the people of Haiti.
I am especially pleased and encouraged by your embrace of OAS Resolution 822 as the basis for resolving our present difficulties. The Government of Haiti supports full implementation of the Resolution as the only way to resolve the current crisis.
Resolution 822 was adopted unanimously because it is based on our shared hemispheric commitment to democracy. It imposes specific obligations on all of the parties - the Government of Haiti, the political parties and civil society, and the international community - to resolve the political crisis in Haiti on the basis of free, fair and democratic elections, held in the year 2003 in accordance with the Constitution of Haiti and the process proposed by the OAS in the Draft Initial Accord of June 12, 2002.
As set forth in the Resolution, this process begins with the formation of an "autonomous, independent, credible and neutral CEP no later than two months after the adoption of this resolution." The Government of Haiti believes that it is essential to maintain the formula for creation of the CEP as originally agreed in the Draft Initial Accord, and to establish the CEP at the earliest possible date, and as a matter of the highest national priority. Indeed, according to Resolution 822, this should have been done last November.
The formula set down in the Initial Draft Accord assures an autonomous and unbiased CEP that is completely independent of government control. Seven of its nine members must be drawn from civil society and opposition parties. As President, I have fulfilled my obligation by appointing to the CEP the representatives of five civil society organizations, as well as the representatives of the Supreme Court and Famni Lavalas, and by publishing an official decree on February 7, 2003 forming the CEP. I would gladly appoint the representatives of other political parties as soon as they furnish me with the names.
I have also not missed any opportunity to create a suitable climate for reconciliation and an end to the crisis. On January 13, 2003 I met with Representatives of the Convergence Democratique at the Residence of the Papal Nuncio regarding elections and the broadening of the Government.
With respect to the application of the Terms of Reference regarding the Joint Committees, the OAS and the Government of Haiti have agreed in principle to the institutional composition of the seven joint OAS/GOH committees. The parties are engaged in the process of nominating representatives to these committees before March 30, 2003.
Today, more than six months after the adoption of this resolution by the OAS the creation of the CEP is still not a reality but for the publication of a presidential decree announcing its formation. It has become in and of itself an obstacle to advancing the process. The tactics being played out by various actors do not conform to the letter and the spirit of the resolution.
The GOH has repeatedly expressed its willingness to go forward to elections. Unfortunately certain parties have hardened their positions and have sought to mobilize in favor of an option zero.
The blockage of the electoral process inspires, provokes and fuels various other types of obstructionist behavior with direct consequences on the quality of life and the economic development of the country. The national currency has depreciated dangerously. Inflation has reached historical levels and contributes to the accelerated pauperization of all classes of society. Government social and educational programs are seriously handicapped. A climate of uncertainty has developed which discourages all types of initiatives. The Haitian Government; with the slim resources available from its revenue collecting institutions allow it to maintain the bare minimum with regard to services for a population that is paying a high price for the democratization of the country.
Resolution 822 obligates the political parties and civil society to "participate in all relevant aspects of the elections and in the electoral process leading up to it," including the CEP. Yet, the five civil society representatives have thus far refused to take their seats on the CEP and, as I have said, the political parties have not tendered the names of their representatives. To move forward to elections, it is essential that civil society and the political parties comply with their obligations to participate in the CEP. This must be done immediately and without further delay in order to hold elections this year as called for by the Resolution.
Resolution 822 obligates the Government of Haiti, "with a view to establishing the conditions for elections to be held in 2003, [to] renew efforts to ensure a climate of security and confidence ... bearing in mind the need to strengthen independent police and judicial institutions as part of its renewed efforts to combat impunity..."
The Government of Haiti agrees that steps must be taken to enhance security so that there is a proper climate in which to hold free, fair and democratic elections. The most important security-enhancing step that can be taken is the establishment of the CEP. One of the principal causes of insecurity in this country, and the violence that sometimes grows out of it, is the climate of uncertainty, frustration, tension and vulnerability that comes from a crisis that has no end, no solution, in sight. Once the people of Haiti have confidence that elections will be held, and that the crisis will be resolved in that manner, tensions will be reduced, a sense of security and confidence will grow, and politically-related violence will cease to be a significant problem.
The violence must stop. It affects all sides. The attacks on opposition sympathizers are unacceptable. The attacks on Government officials, judges, police, local officials and Fanmi Lavalas members are equally unacceptable, even if less publicized outside Haiti. Attached to this statement is a list of assassinated Government and Famni Lavalas members.
The establishment of the CEP will send an important message to the entire population about the need for reconciliation. In fact, it will serve as a vehicle for reconciliation, because it will be a forum for peaceful resolution of disputes by discussion and agreement instead of conflict. It will give confidence to opposition parties and groups, especially, because they will be represented by seven of the nine members. Among the first items it might wish to include on its agenda is a "Pact of Civility," in which all political parties might agree to respect one another's rights, and to refrain from infringing on those rights by violence, intimidation, threats or harassment, or by inciting their supporters against one another with inflammatory language.
As Ambassador Einaudi is fond of saying, we must exchange the combat of the streets for the debate of the elections. The best way to begin this process, indeed the only way, is through immediate establishment of the CEP, as set forth in the Initial Draft Accord.
Of course, the Government of Haiti bears its own responsibilities for enhancing security to facilitate an electoral process. While much remains to be done, and will be done, it is important to recognize that, despite difficulties and shortcomings and with minimal resources, some positive steps have already been taken. In recent months, the Haitian National Police have done a much better job in protecting the right of the Haitian people to peacefully assemble and conduct political demonstrations. Many demonstrations have been held, by pro and anti government forces, without incident than to the efficient work of the HNP, and their respect for human rights. During Carnival at the beginning of March, millions were in the streets all night long, and the HNP managed to keep order while at the same time respecting the rights of the people.
To secure the progress that has been made, and to go beyond it to even greater protection of freedom of speech and assembly, I will issue public instructions on security for political parties, demonstrations and freedom of expression. My instructions will assure that security forces fully respect and protect the rights of all Haitians, regardless of political affiliation, to assemble and demonstrate peacefully, and free of harassment intimidation or threat from any quarter. I will also call upon all of the citizens of Haiti to respect these fundamental human rights.
We recognize that there is still much that needs to be done to improve professionalization of the HNP, and to assure proper security for the elections. We welcome the advice and assistance of the international community. We feel that one of the most important steps that can be taken to enhance security for the elections is to bring into Haiti a substantial contingent of professional police officers from other countries, from CARICOM, from Friends of Haiti, and from around the world. We will welcome as many of these police officers as the international community can provide, as well as a plan for their most effective deployment to assure security during the electoral process.
Within the HNP, we are constantly working to achieve improvement. We are very grateful for the excellent work by Ambassador David Lee and the OAS Special Mission, with which we have agreed upon Terms of Reference for professionalization of the police, training, election security and disarmament. I feel it is important that we examine these TORs to see how they can be strengthened, and that the Government of Haiti do everything in its power to implement them fully and without delay. To this end, I have decided to give the HNP leadership a clear and public mandate to work with the OAS Special Mission to assure strengthening and implementation of the TORs.
Important changes have already been made in the HNP leadership to improve professionalism and efficiency. The head of the Anti Drug Unit and other officers were arrested for involvement in illegal activities. A new Director of the Judicial Police was appointed, who previously served in the Internal Affairs Division. In a restructuring of command, a number of police chiefs or commissaries were reassigned. The need for improved professionalism and efficiency affects all levels, from top to bottom, and I will continue to closely monitor performance, and replace any police official who cannot perform his or her job properly and lawfully.
To further enhance security, especially during elections, I call upon the international community to make available to us one or more international experts on elections security, who can augment the OAS Special Mission, and render advice to the HNP, the CEP, and to the Office of the President. In this respect, I commit ourselves to the protection of all political parties before, during and after the elections, and I will instruct all relevant security forces in that regard.
I mentioned that we have agreed with the OAS Special Mission on TORs for disarmament. I will instruct the HNP and other agencies to fully implement the commitments that the Government has undertaken with respect to disarmament. I recently read that the new, democratically-elected Government of Kenya is also implementing a disarmament program, and that it held a public ceremony to destroy the weapons that it collected and confiscated. I think this is an excellent idea, because it demonstrates to the entire population our commitment to disarmament, and I plan to hold a similar public ceremony to destroy seized weapons.
I believe that the measures I have described above, some of which have already been taken, and others that the parties, including the Government, must take, will assure that free, fair and democratic elections can be held in 2003, in a climate of security and confidence.
Resolution 822 goes beyond elections and enhancement of securities in a number of important respects. In particular, it calls for critical steps directed at ending impunity. I personally feel that this must be one of Haiti's greatest priorities. We must establish the rule of law in this country. We must competently investigate crimes, especially crimes of violence, arrest the perpetrators, conduct fair and efficient public trials, and incarcerate the guilty. No one should be above the law, regardless of political office or affiliation.
At present, we must recognize that we fall far short of this ideal. Due to lack of resources, weak institutions and apolitical heritage of arbitrariness and corruption, we have had to start almost at the beginning to create a functioning criminal justice system. Our police are small, lack resources and training, as well as necessary equipment, a situation that has grown worse, not better, since the withdrawal of international assistance to the HNP several years ago. Our prosecutors are poorly trained, poorly paid, overworked, and vulnerable to threats and intimidation from the well-armed criminals they investigate. The same is true of many of our judges.
Nevertheless, we cannot make excuses. We have to do the best we can with what we have, all the while doing whatever we can to improve the system at all levels. One of the best ways to do so, and to fight impunity, is for the international community to develop and help us implement a comprehensive support program to improve the administration of justice, involving strengthening of police, prosecutors and judges. I hope you will give your most serious consideration to this request.
In the meantime, we are grateful for the support to our criminal justice system that is being provided by the OAS Special Mission. We have agreed to Terms of Reference on Justice and Impunity. In accordance with those TORs, and with the cooperation of the Special Mission, I will set up a Special Task Force on Ending Impunity, to assist and expedite investigations and prosecutions of high-profile cases, including cases of alleged political violence, such as those connected with the events of December 17, 2001.
I personally am frustrated by the slow pace of several of our prosecutions, in particular. I refer, especially, to the heinous assassinations of journalists Jean Dominique and Brignol Lindor. In the case of M. Dominique, the investigation and indictment of the alleged assassins was set back when the investigating judge left the country last June, and took up residence in the United States. After my personal pleas and assurances to him failed to bring him back, I appointed a new judge. I am pleased to say that the investigating judge prepared his preliminary findings, submitted them to the Chief Prosecutor as our system requires, and received them back from the Chief Prosecutor. All that remains now is for the investigating judge to finalize his report and publish his indictments, which we expect any day. Once his report is finalized, we will move immediately to arrest all of those charged, and to prosecute them for the murder of M. Dominique.
In the case of M. Lindor, a number of individuals were indicted by the investigating judge in Petit Goave. Some of these people have been arrested, are in police custody, and are being prosecuted. The rest either fled the country or are in hiding. The police continue to hunt for the ones who am hiding, and eventually will capture them. There has been an appeal of the indictment, and the appellate court is now considering whether to expand the indictment by adding more accused persons.
In these two cases, the strike called by an association of judges to protest the disciplinary measures taken against Judge Arnant, for releasing an individual arrested in possession of over 60 kilos of drugs, basically paralyzed the justice system during the entire month of February. Now that the activities of the courts are returning to their previous level, it is expected that the presiding judges will prioritize these two cases.
In the case of the prisoners who broke out of jail in Gonaives, in August 2002, including M. Amiot Metayer, M. Jean Tatoune, and other notorious persons, the Government was faced with a very difficult and delicate situation. These people violently took control of sections of the town, and hid behind hundreds of innocent citizens, placing them at grave risk in the event of an attempt to re-arrest them. They ransacked the jail and the court, destroyed files, and forced the judge to flee. Had we rushed in with guns blazing, there would have been a terrible loss of innocent life. We decided to proceed in two stages. First, we reestablished control of the town. We have even rebuilt the court and the jail. Now, we must enforce the law, by bringing the escapees, including M. Metayer, to justice. We will do this and we will do it without bloodshed.
Another element of Resolution 822 is reparations. The Government of Haiti has complied with its obligations in this regard. The settlement of the reparations matter according to the July 9, 2002 agreement is practically completed.
Mr. Evans Paul of KID has received four (4) million gourdes, Mr. Reynold Georges of ALLAH, ten (10) million and Mr. Victor Benoit from KONACOM twelve (12) million.
On January 29, 2003, the OPL signed an agreement with GOH for an amount of seventy (70) million gourdes, of which fifty (50) million was paid in cash and twenty (20) million is to be paid in four monthly installments of five (5) million each. In addition, a settlement of one hundred and five thousand American dollars (US$ 105,000) has been paid to the Institut Francais d'Haiti,
MOCHRENAH has reached an agreement with the GOH for thirty (30) million gourds. They have already received twelve (12) million gourds. The remaining eighteen (18) million gourds will be disbursed as follows: eight million gourds in cash and four treasury bonds of two million five hundred thousands each. This completes all negotiations with all parties and endless renegotiations must now come to an end. .
Regarding the people who were not a party to the July 9, 2002 agreement, a special fund of one hundred million gourdes (100,000) has been set aside for their compensation. They include ordinary citizens, policemen, civil servants and members of Famni Lavalas Party.
The final element of OAS Resolution 822 that I wish to underscore is its separation of political considerations from financial ones, and its call for normalization of economic cooperation between the Government of Haiti and the international financial institutions. This reflects, in my view, the appreciation of the international community of the severe humanitarian crisis that is affecting the people of Haiti, and the need to take prompt and effective action to alleviate their suffering.
The Minister of Finance has met with representatives of the IMF, IDB and World Bank in an effort to resolve all technical and financial issues in the shortest possible time, so as to facilitate capital inflows on an expedited basis to benefit the Haitian people. The Government has taken bold measures, including adjustments to oil prices that, although necessary, have had a dramatic impact on the Haitian population, and the presentation of a new budget to Parliament. The Minister reports that he and his team and working assiduously with the IMF this week, to achieve a Staff Monitoring Program by early-to-mid April, at the latest. The Government of Haiti will continue to work in good faith with the IMF and the other financial institutions to resolve all outstanding issues in the shortest possible time, and we call upon them to continue their good faith efforts toward the same end.
All of these efforts, however, will come to naught, if the international community continues to insist that, before the suffering of the people of Haiti can be addresses, the Government must clear its arrears with the financial institutions; or, if it fails to help Haiti clear these arrears. The Government does not have the resources to clear the arrears. They are approximately twice the amount of our current foreign reserves. Either the requirement must be waived, or the international community must step forward and help us satisfy it. In this regard, I am very pleased that the World Bank has convened a Donors' Conference for March 28, with the intention of calling upon the various donors to help Haiti clear its arrears. I hope that all of those present will participate, and provide whatever assistance they can to help us alleviate the terrible humanitarian crisis that the people of Haiti continue to face.
In closing, I pledge to work with you to facilitate full implementation of Resolution 822 by all of the responsible parties. And I pledge, as well, to the people of Haiti, that I will continue to do everything within my power to reach out to Opposition parties and civil society to achieve the reconciliation, security and democratic elections that all Haitians desperately need and have a right to expect.
Thank you very much for being here, for your desire to help the people of Haiti, and for all that you might do now and in the future to help this country and its people.
ANNEX B. Departure Statement of the OAS/CARICOM High-level Delegation, Port au Prince, Haiti, March 20, 2003
An OAS/CARICOM High-level Delegation led by St. Lucian Foreign Minister and current Chairman of the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations, Julian Hunte, and OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi visited Haiti from March 19 to 20, 2003.
The High-level Delegation also included Bahamian Foreign Affairs Minister, Frederick Mitchell, Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister (Americas) Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Marc Lortie, United States Presidential Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives, Ambassador Otto J. Reich and OAS Permanent Council Chairman, Ambassador Victor Hugo Godoy Morales of Guatemala. Representatives of Argentina, Mexico and France also participated. The OAS, CARICOM and the European Commission were represented. Representatives of the IDB, the IMF and the World Bank were present as observers.
The High-level Delegation met with President Aristide, the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet. Discussions were held with the Convergence Démocratique, civil society, the Conférence Episcopale as well as with the Friends of Haiti. The Delegation consistently expressed serious concern over the critical security, human rights and socio-economic situation in Haiti and underscored that the current political stalemate must be brought to an early end. It emphasized, repeatedly, that "it is now imperative that the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) be established, as agreed, so as to allow for credible elections to be held in 2003."
The Delegation's message has been clear: the Government of Haiti must implement OAS Resolution 822 now. It can take many steps immediately to improve public security and the observance of human rights. These steps require political will on the part of the government's leaders. Nor are they new or externally-imposed requirements; all are in accord with the terms of CP/Res.822 adopted last September with the agreement of the Haitian Government; Resolutions 822 and 806 outline all that is needed to end Haiti's political crisis and launch a credible, free and fair electoral process. In joining consensus at the OAS on resolutions seeking to resolve the political crisis, Haiti's Government acted in recognition of its obligations to its people.
As these obligations are met, opposition and civil society groups must respond by having their representatives participate in the CEP. By participating in the CEP and by making clear to their constituencies that their political will is best expressed through a peaceful and fair electoral solution, they can advance the resolution of Haiti's political crisis. All sides must also reject violence as a political tool and must demonstrate respect for democratic values and the rule of law. These values are at the heart of CP/Res. 822.
Against this background, the High-level Delegation welcomed the acceptance of all concerned of the need to improve radically the security climate in Haiti and to hold elections in 2003. The Delegation reiterated its conviction that the provisions of CP/Res. 822 are a sine qua non for resolving the current crisis and the commitment of the international community, as described in said resolution, to provide support, resources and technical assistance specifically for the professionalization of the HNP, improving security and for preparing for elections in 2003. The Delegation took careful note of the commitment given to it by the Government of Haiti to establish a security environment conducive to free and fair elections. It welcomed the commitment by civil society and political party organizations to react to such concrete steps. The High-level Delegation urged all concerned to take concrete steps to establish the CEP by March 30 in order to facilitate the holding of elections before the end of 2003.
The Government of Haiti undertook to provide all relevant information on action taken by March 30, 2003 to the OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti to enable a comprehensive Report to be presented to the OAS Permanent Council by April 2, 2003.
The High-level Delegation expressed appreciation for the courtesies and cooperation extended it by President Aristide and the Government and people of Haiti, by representatives of opposition political parties, by civil society, and by the Conférence Episcopale.
ANNEX C. OAS - CARICOM HIGH LEVEL DELEGATION
Thursday March 20, 2003
Actions to be taken by the President and Government of Haiti
1. Reparations. Finalise, including with MOCHRENHA. (Report GoH position)
2. December 17:
- Arrest Amiot Métayer.
- In accordance with Terms of Reference on Justice/Impunity, set up Task Force with Special Mission assistance in order to carry through investigations and prosecutions.
3. Administration of Justice cases:
- Push forward on Dominique and Lindor cases. Arrest those already indicted for the murder of Brignol Lindor.
- Choose five of the 12 cases brought forward last June 17 following the Nunciature meeting (list available on page 6 of the First Report of the SG on implementation of 822).
- Using the Terms of Reference on Justice/Impunity, set up a Task Force to investigate and prosecute. Other cases to receive same treatment in sequence.
- Abstain from bringing pressure to bear on judicial officials and allow justice to be dispensed in accordance with the rule of law.
4. Professionalization of Haitian National Police:
- Appoint new leadership before the end of March in consultation with OAS Special Mission.
- In order to improve professionalism and efficiency at all levels, from top to bottom, closely monitor performance, in conjunction with the Special Mission, replace any police official who cannot perform his or her job properly and lawfully.
- Give the new Director General and Inspector General a clear and public mandate to work with the Special Mission in order to implement the TORs on professionalization, election security and disarmament, as well as with the US on drugs.
- Agree to Special Mission proposals for placing a minimum of 100 international police; and work with Special Mission to place them ASAP in departments and HQ.
- Strengthen training as per TORs.
5. Disarmament: Implement TORs, including:
- Begin with public ceremony to destroy arms collected by the police, after first verifying in transparent fashion.
- Move to confiscate unconstitutional heavy weapons in the hands of the security guards of mayors, members of parliament and other government officials.
- Act against armed gangs.
- Establish National Committee on disarmament.
- Strengthen law.
6. Election Security: Implement TORS:
- Start with bringing in key international police to help prepare election security plan, and arrange for security of CEP and CEG members and entourages.
- A competent, neutral, respected person, with appropriate background, will be designated to head a Special Task Force for election security and to work with the CEP, the Special Mission and other elements of the HNP.
7. Human Rights: Carry out TORS, in particular:
- Issue public instructions on demonstrations and freedom of expression;
- Oppose violations of human rights and arbitrary acts by agents of the State;
- Respect the 48 hour requirement for appearance before a judge in cases of arrests and detentions;
- Stop impediments to freedom of movement or to freedom of the press.
8. Political Comity:
- Cease inflammatory statements by government officials
- Call supporters to end violence
- End harassment of civil society and political party leaders
- Call upon all the citizens of Haiti to stop all acts of political violence, harassment, intimidation or threat, and to respect the fundamental human rights of all their fellow citizens.
- Propose and publish a "Pact of Civility" to be agreed upon by all political parties and civil society representatives, pledging to cease inflammatory statements and refrain from all acts of political violence, harassment, intimidation or threats by their members or supporters.
9. Provide all relevant information on actions taken by March 30, 2003 to the OAS Special Mission to enable it to report to the Permanent Council on April 2, 2003.
ANNEX D. OAS - CARICOM HIGH LEVEL DELEGATION
Wednesday March 19, 2003
Points for civil society and the Convergence Démocratique
1. Position of the International Community
The international community will NOT support efforts to remove President Aristide through violent confrontation in the streets. These are contrary to democratic processes.
Inflammatory statements are not helpful and must be avoided.
- The international community is not going to invade Haiti.
- Power must and can only be won through democratic competition and elections as provided for under Res. 822.
- It is unreasonable and unacceptable to use security concerns, which can be addressed, as an excuse for blocking elections this year, and seeking to overthrow the Government--a President and Government which are recognized by the international community
2. Internationally supported elections are the way to solve Haiti's political crisis.
- Res. 822 calls for elections this year.
- For elections to be credible--the kind the opposition and civil society say they want- that means the immediate formation of a CEP as set forth in the Draft Interim Accord (DIA) and ratified in 822, because it take many months to carry out the necessary technical steps and measures for credible elections in this country.
3. If President Aristide shows significant political will by taking the concrete actions, notably on security, that we have outlined, then you MUST move ahead to participate in the CEP as part of a democratic resolution of the political crisis in Haiti.
- The CEP must be formed by the end of March, as part of steps carried out on the basis of a specific and tight timetable
- If the government takes good faith measures, you have an obligation to the Haitian people to participate in its formation under the process laid out in the Draft Initial Accord/822.
- Civil society and professional associations in particular should organize cooperation with and participation in Special Mission activities
- This means that the Five have now to assume the responsibilities which they have accepted in accordance with the DIA. Failure to act will mean condemning Haiti to further drift and the risk of chaos.
- This means that the Convergence Démocratique must understand that if elections move forward under 822, the International community will accept their validity whether or not the Convergence Démocratique participates in them. Abstention cannot be a permanent form of politics in a democracy.
- The ability of the CEP, with the help of the international community, to create conditions for acceptably free and fair elections depends on your good faith participation in its operation.
NB: Resolution 822 did not require that the security situation be acceptable for elections at the time the CEP is established. Rather, it calls for progressive movement towards a climate of confidence over the period leading to elections. Formation of a CEP would contribute importantly to that.
4. As you go forward in this process you will not be alone, but you must bear in mind that respect for the electoral process is key.
- The international community is prepared to provide substantial support for the elections, including electoral security and security for the CEP. This would be implemented through OAS, UNDP and other respected, neutral means.
- The international community is prepared to provide very significant support for security measures, to combat impunity and to hold credible elections this year, working in particular through the OAS and its Special Mission. You will not be left alone. You will be supported in a variety of ways.
- We are prepared to provide international police and security specialists, under the OAS Special Mission, not to replace the Haitian National Police, but to mentor, train and accompany them. We expect these to number upwards of 100, details are being worked out.
- Deployment can begin quickly and expand as the CEP and the Commission of Electoral Guaranties (CEG) begin operation and the electoral campaign gets underway.
- We are individually and collectively prepared to help political parties in a variety of ways
5. But you must take the step of allowing the CEP to begin its work. Such a newly established, Constitutionally-based institution will in itself contribute to a changed atmosphere in this country, give new hope to all democrats and allow the international community to play the role called for by Resolution 822 in the interests of Haiti's future.
ANNEX E. March 30, 2003
Dear Mr. Ambassador,
As agreed, I have the honor to transmit to you a brief report on activities carried out by the Government of the Republic of Haiti. You will find the supporting documents sent to me by the Office of the Prime Minister attached as annexes.
This report is to be viewed in the context of a follow-up to the visit to Haiti, from March 19 to 21, 2003, by the high-level delegation of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
The Government is continuing to fulfill its obligations, as defined at the signing of the Terms of Reference, but priority had to be assigned to respect for the commitments made by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in his preliminary statement at the opening of the meeting of March 19 in the National Palace.
The report gives a brief description of what has been done concerning the different topics indicated in the document.
In addition to a copy of the statement of March 19, I have attached hereto the speech of His Excellency Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President of the Republic, during his visit to the Corps d'Intervention et de Maintien de l'Ordre (Intervention and Law Enforcement Corps) (CIMO) on March 28 to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti. Various passages of this address expand on some of the commitments undertaken.
Moreover, I would like to point out that certain points could not be acted on in view of the procedures agreed to with the experts of the Special Meeting. Consequently, the ceremony for the destruction of seized weapons was to be preceded by a process of verification and technical review to ensure that it was serious and valid. The ceremony is scheduled to be held on April 7, 2003. By the same token, the retraining of PNH police chiefs and inspectors, which was to begin quickly, had to be preceded by a curriculum review, which ended yesterday, Saturday, March 29, 2003.
Lastly, I should like to insist on the Government's sense of commitment and responsibility in establishing the structure of the joint committees, which began to work on the very day of their official establishment, March 24, 2003. Since that time, many of these committee meetings have been held and resulted in major advances in the areas of governance, the rule of law, and professionalization of the Police and the Judiciary. At this time, I am prevented by deadlines from presenting concrete results in these complex areas.
I hope that this information will be helpful to you in presenting your report on the situation in Haiti to the next meeting of the OAS Permanent Council
Joseph Philippe Antonio
His Excellency Mr. David Lee
Special Representative of the OAS Secretary General and Chief of the OAS Special Mission to Haiti
ACTIVITY REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TERMS OF REFERENCE SIGNED BY THE OAS AND THE GOVERNMENT OF HAITI, IN THE CONTEXT OF OAS RESOLUTIONS CP/RES. 806 (1303/02) AND 822 (1331/02) AND AS A FOLLOW-UP TO THE MEETING OF MARCH 19 IN THE NATIONAL PALACE BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF HAITI AND THE HIGH-LEVEL DELEGATION OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS) AND THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM)
Set in the context of:
- Implementation of OAS resolutions CP/RES. 806 (1303/02) and 822 (1331/02).
- Implementation of the seven terms of reference jointly prepared and signed by the Government of the Republic of Haiti and the OAS Special Mission.
- And the follow-up to the commitments made by he Haitian Government at the March 19 meeting at the National Palace on the occasion of the visit of the high-level delegation. On the morning of March 24, 2003, the Government installed the various joint committees, made up of government officials and members of the OAS Special Mission in Haiti.
This brief report and the documents provided as annexes cover all the government's accomplishments and are being transmitted to Mr. David Lee, Chief of the OAS Special Mission to Haiti, for the purpose of preparing his report on the situation in Haiti, which is to be presented to the next meeting of the OAS Permanent Council.
2. Administration of Justice
a) Reparations (MOCHRENA case):
The case on reparations following the events of December 17, 2001, has been almost fully settled. This is clear from the attached report prepared by the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety. On March 21, 2003 (see annexes), MOCHRENA received the totality (check and treasury bonds) of the amounts agreed to. Part of the overall report concerns reparations for individuals. The file on police officer victims is being finalized.
b) Arrest of Amiot METAYER :
The National Police of Haiti (PNH) received instructions to track down Amiot METAYER and arrest him. The Police conducted numerous searches for him in the Raboteau neighborhood of Gonaîves. Information suggests that he has left the country. The Secretary of State instructed the Office of the Director General of the PNH to monitor borders to find him.
c) Formation of a Task Force:
The Prime Minister wrote to the Minister of Justice to request that a Task Force be established and this was done. On the Haitian side, it consists of several high-level officials such as the Government Commissioner, the Central Director of the Haitian Police, and the dean of the Civil Tribunal of Port-au-Prince. During the initial phase, it will take up the following cases: Mireille Durocher Bertin, Deputy André Dirogene, Senator Yvon Touissaint, Deputy Jean Hubert Feuille, and Rémy Darang.
d) J. L. DOMINIQUE case:
The examining magistrate for this case, Bernard Sainvil, handed down the closure of proceedings. Those charged, failing an appeal, may be tried by the competent courts. An extract of this ruling taken from the clerk's records has been attached to this report.
e) Brignol LINDOR case:
The examining magistrate for this case had handed down his ruling, and the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH) filed an appeal against it. The Court of Appeals has just declared the AJH appeal inadmissible, for insufficient quality. A copy of that ruling appears in the annexes.
f) Case of June 17:
The mandate of the Task Force is currently restricted to the cases listed above. Subsequently, it will be expanded to include other cases.
g) Judicial intimidation:
This point was clearly taken into account in the speech of the President of the Republic delivered on March 28, 2003, during the celebration of the 16th anniversary of the Haitian Constitution of 1987.
3. Professionalization of the Police
a) Appointment of a new Director General:
Following the resignation of the PNH Director General, Mr. Jean Nesly Lucien, the President proceeded to appoint and install a new Director General a.i., Mr. Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste. A copy of his letter of appointment is attached hereto. The President also seized the opportunity to make other changes in the High Command, in particular, the replacement of the Chief Inspector General, Mr. Harvel Jean-Baptiste.
b) Mechanism for approval of professionnalization:
The Secretary of State for Public Safety wrote to the new PNH Director General to inform him officially of this initiative and to invite him, if appropriate, to take corresponding measures.
c) Agreement on the arrival of 100 international police officers:
The Secretary of State for Public Safety wrote once again to the new Director General to convey this information and to ask him, accordingly, to take measures with regard to the arrival of 100 police officers.
d) Training activities:
The Joint Committee is working on this matter. A new date will be decided on soon to start retraining the PNH police chiefs and inspectors. The Joint Committee completed its review of the curriculum on Saturday, March 29, 2003.
a) Public ceremony for the destruction of weapons
This ceremony had been planned for March 29, 2003. As agreed to by the Committee and given the complexity of a ceremony to destroy weapons, it was suggested that it be postponed until a later date.
b) Confiscation of the weapons of certain officials:
The Secretary of State for Public Safety wrote to the new PNH Director General once again giving him instructions concerning the weapons of certain high-level officials. He was told, for example, to ask them to reduce the visibility of those weapons as much as possible. See a copy of the related correspondence in the annexes.
c) Establishment of a National Disarmament Committee:
By a letter dated March 27, 2003, PM/YN/jb-sd/1215, the Prime Minister, Mr. Yvon Neptune, informed the Secretary of State for Public Safety, Mr. Jean Gérard Dubreuil, that, in accordance with the President of the Republic, His Excellency Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, he had established a National Disarmament Committee, made up of the Secretary of State for Public Safety, Mr. Jean Gérard Dubreuil (Chair), Mr. Frantz Gabriel (Executive), Mr. Aramick Louis (Executive), Mr. Belle Angelo Bell (Director General of the Ministry of the Interior and the Territorial Divisions, Mr. Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste (Director General a.i. of the PNH), and Mr. Josué Pierre-Louis (Government Commissioner). A copy of that letter is attached hereto.
d) Strengthening of the disarmament law:
This item has not yet been completed. Draft legislation is being drawn up by the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety.
5. Electoral safety
a) Invitation to the international police advisers:
A special request will be made in the days ahead to the Representative of the Special Mission in Haiti. However, on February 28, 2003, the Government already sent a much more comprehensive request (copy of letter attached) to the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Haiti. The Government requested a mission to evaluate assistance needs in connection with the electoral process in Haiti.
b) Establishment of a Task Force:
A Task Force was established by government decision. It consists of high-level officials of the PNH and of a neutral eminent person, Mr. Beaubien Fontaine Frederic, former Colonel (Ret.) of the former Haitian Armed Forces (CV attached as an annex). This committee was instructed to contact the figures selected to serve on the future Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) in order to review with them a security plan that would ensure their safety.
c) Administrative measures to close the file of the former CEP:
The Prime Minister Mr. Yvon Neptune, by letter DGB/DA/000, instructed the Bank of the Republic of Haiti to close all accounts of the former CEP and to transfer their balances to account No.111204173 of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.
6. Human rights
Four press releases prepared by the Joint Committee on Human Rights were issued by the Government on March 29, 2003, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the 1987 Haitian Constitution. Copies of these press releases are attached to his report.
7. Political civility
This commitment was mentioned in the speech delivered by the President of the Republic on March 29, 2003. All aspects of it were pointed out. A copy of the speech has been attached as an annex. Moreover, the Government intends to propose to the sectors involved in the next elections a Civility Pact (see annexes) to ensure a peaceful climate in the interest of smoothly run elections.
The correspondence dated March 30, 2003, to Mr. David Lee, Chief of the OAS Special Mission in Haiti from Minister Joseph P. Antonio, is an integral part of this report.
This report is intended to provide an assessment of the progress made by the Government in implementing the Terms of Reference, in the context of OAS resolutions CP/RES. 806 (1303/02) and CP/RES. 822 (1331/02). This list of activities is not exhaustive and is just a beginning. The joint committees will continue to meet to establish more comprehensive schedules so as to achieve full implementation of the different Terms of Reference, capable of fostering a climate of security, confidence, peace, and mutual respect for the smooth holding of elections. It would also be desirable for the OAS Special Mission to define mechanisms for evaluating the progress made by all actors in the context of resolutions CP/RES. 806 (1303/02) and CP/RES. 822 (1331/02).
SPEECH DELIVERED ON MARCH 28, 2003 BY HIS EXCELLENCY JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, ON THE OCCASION OF HIS VISIT TO THE CORPS D'INTERVENTION ET DE MAINTIEN DE L'ORDRE (CIMO SWAT TEAM), TO COMMEMORATE THE 16TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HAITIAN CONSTITUTION
I am pleased to be welcomed by you and happy to be with you today. That is why the Prime Minister, the entire government, and I myself are paying a patriotic tribute to you on the eve of March 29, the day we commemorate the Constitution.
It is a great pleasure for me, too, to be accompanied on this visit by the Secretary of State, Mr. Dubreuil, the new Director General of the National Police, Mr. Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste, and by all the new members of the High Command.
We welcome also the presence of several departmental directors. Thus, we have with us today authorities who have taken the trouble to come, drawn by the power of our Constitution, the Constitution of Haiti. Tomorrow, the whole country will have a chance to ponder or reflect on our Constitution. As I paused to think about the Constitution, I asked myself if I should not pay a surprise visit, for several reasons. As Major Bleck put it, this decision forms part of a policy to visit and encourage the Police, above all in recent months. We have lost some of them. We have to go on administering this patriotic solution, this antidote we must protect and serve. At the same time, I have come here today because, for too long, this institution was synonymous with death. With the advent of democracy, with the Police, this institution has now become a symbol of life. Here, when this place housed the Criminal Investigation Department, with torturers who oppressed the population and, with the help of the army, killed people during the dictatorship, this institution represented death.
Thanks to the 1987 Constitution, which, with today's Police, gave us back our lives, we find ourselves once again in a place that engenders life not death. I am proud of that, because it is incumbent upon us to protect the life of all citizens, without distinction.
I think of the heinous murder of Eddy Volel's brother, Yves. That is a crime we shall never forget because in plain daylight, with the army there to protect the lives of citizens, it was death that prevailed. Yves fell. No verdict has yet been issued to determine who was responsible, but fortunately you others, you police officers, are here to give and safeguard lives.
I would like to congratulate all the police who go about their tasks as the Constitution demands. I would like to encourage all the police throughout Haiti, who do not yet have everything they need to do their jobs, but nevertheless are inspired by patriotism to protect people's lives.
My compliments to all you police officers, who fulfill the task the Constitution has entrusted to you: to protect and serve.
When CIMO restores order, some, it is true, will be scared, and others pleased. Generally, those who want to see chaos are those who will be scared. The bandits (zenglendo) among them will have every reason to be afraid. Crooks will be scared, just as bandits will be scared, because they do nothing but sow death and wreak havoc. When CIMO does its job and imposes order and protects life, people will rejoice. What is true of CIMO is also true of the Police, because we all have the same responsibility: to protect and serve.
Allow me to remind the nation what the Constitution means and why we have one, before I go on to outline the responsibilities it assigns to the Police as an institution.
The first page of the Constitution describes its raison d'être. There I read:
- The Haitian people proclaim this constitution in order to ensure their inalienable and imprescriptible rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
A little further down, it says:
- The Haitian people proclaim this constitution in order to implant democracy, which entails ideological pluralism and political rotation and affirm the inviolable rights of the Haitian people.
- To strengthen national unity by eliminating all discrimination between the urban and rural populations.
- To ensure the separation and the harmonious distribution of the powers of the State at the service of the fundamental interests and priorities of the Nation.
As a people, then, we bear a huge responsibility. To let ourselves be guided by the Constitution to forge this rule of law and promote harmony among all Haitian men and women.
As for the Police, Article 269.1 stipulates that it is established to ensure law and order and protect the life and property of citizens.
A little later, Article 273 reminds all policemen and policewomen that the Police, as an auxiliary of the Justice System, investigates violations, offenses, and crimes committed, in order to discover and arrest the perpetrators of them.
Not all the accomplices in the murder of Yves Volel have been arrested. We trust that the investigations will continue so that, thanks to the Police, which is a branch of justice, those who commit murder are identified.
We are glad to see that a positive phase has begun with the ruling on the murder of Jean Dominique and Jean-Claude Louissaint. For some that is a step in the right direction, for others the ruling is deficient. I myself think that, despite the ruling's shortcomings, there is now more of a chance that a proper and formal inquiry can be conducted and I would like to avail myself of the opportunity to encourage the next of kin of the victims, such as Mrs. Michel Montas, who is intending to appeal the ruling. There, I refer to all the other victims as well. Respecting the independence of the judiciary vis-à-vis the Executive and Parliament, the State, and the Head of State in particular, will continue to honor their commitment to stand by those who wish to file an appeal because they consider the ruling deficient. That is your right. There must be a safe environment to ensure that all victims are in a position to pursue their quest for justice in accordance with law. Your suffering is my suffering, and when justice is done the pain diminishes.
To the relatives of murdered police officers, I say we must find the perpetrators before long. I and the whole of the Executive share their grief. On the eve of the day we celebrate the anniversary of the 1987 Constitution, all of us have an obligation to tighten ranks so that we can march further down the path to justice and to encourage those who are courageous, abide by the law, and enforce the law.
While we accomplish that task, it is true that we must avoid pressure being put on the judicial authorities. And I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all citizens who acknowledge their obligations and therefore refrain from trying to influence the courts.
Be they government officials, persons in the minority private sector, or majority private sector, individuals belonging to minority or majority civil society organizations, Haitians living in rural or urban areas, the fact is no-one has the right to exert any kind of pressure on a judge, a magistrate who, in all conscience, must let himself be guided by law if he is to perform his function, which is to administer justice.
Similarly, there are several committees we have set up with the help of the OAS to expedite the professionalization of the Police, as a branch of the justice system. I call upon all police officers to support these committees so that, together, we can forge a more professional police force.
The police force has performed an extraordinary task with very few resources at its disposal, which is why I delighted to congratulate it today.
We have just had our three-day carnival. Nearly three million people took to the streets without the loss of a single life, which says a lot about the mutual understanding between the population and the Police. Such wonders are possible because we are a noble people. Carnival is only one example. It is in that same spirit that I call upon the population to provide the Police with all the information they need to simplify their work in finding culprits, criminals, bandits, and all those who have chosen a life of crime. Every bit of information may help.
Likewise, when disparaging remarks are heard because some people do not want the institution to do its job, it is best not to pay attention, not to lose one's temper.
As soon as we appointed a Director to head the Police, you saw how some were pleased, while others went about spreading false rumors so that they could fire their poisoned arrows. I think of someone I consider to be one of the most serious people in this country: Brother Franklin Armand, founder of the Community of Brothers and Sisters of the Incarnation, who works in Hinche. It was him I consulted before inviting Mr. Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste to come and work in the Office of the Presidency until he joined the private staff.
I am pleased that a serious person such as Brother Armand was able to give me, the serious person at his side, excellent advice. He did not recommend me to appoint Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste Director of the Police, but I am glad I was able to consult someone serious to help me to continue doing a serious job.
So, when there is disinformation, false rumors, we have to remain calm and ascertain the truth in order to get on with the job.
Soon elections will be held. That means that the Constitution, which requires elections to be held to strengthen democratic institutions, will need the police to provide support in that task and I am here today because I share the vision that leads us toward elections. If there are people in prison, they cannot go 49 hours without seeing their judge. While the judicial authorities respect the legal deadline of 48 hours, the police authorities have no desire, when they arrest someone, to have that person spend more time in prison before he or she sees a judge. At the same time they must make sure that corruption does not lead the police to take risks when arresting criminals, only to see them subsequently freed because of that corruption, which heightens the risks to which police officers are exposed.
Only when everyone has assumed his or her share of responsibility for respect for the Constitution and the law will better conditions be established allowing us to organize free, fair, and democratic elections.
In that context, there is actually one factor that will cause us problems along the way. I am referring to drugs. Those earning dirty money from drugs may well become a mafia and prevent the Police from doing its work and remaining united under the banner of the Constitution in order to combat drug trafficking, because elections, democracy, security, and peace do not operate with what is not right. What we do is right.
If we are to organize sound elections, we must continue to comply with the provisions of Article 28 of the Constitution.
Indeed, Article 28 of the Constitution recalls that every Haitian has the right to express his views freely on all topics by whatever means he or she chooses.
Article 28.1, journalists exercise their profession freely under the law.
I ask the Police to continue to comply with this article when they accompany the press, journalists. I encourage journalists to tell the truth, to publicize it, to make their job more and more enriching every day.
This is the respect we are talking about, the respect enjoyed by everyone, respect for journalists, respect for all organizations enjoying the right to express themselves freely without encouraging others to lie. However, all of this entails respect for the right enjoyed by everyone and by every organization to speak out without fear.
Let us read what Article 31 of the Constitution asks us to do.
Allow me to read out Article 31 of our Constitution to you:
Freedom of unarmed assembly and association for political, economic, social, cultural or any other peaceful purposes is guaranteed (Article 31.1).
Political parties and groups shall compete with each other in the exercise of suffrage. They may be established and may carry out their activities freely. They must respect the principles of national and democratic sovereignty.
The police authorities must be notified in advance of assemblies outdoors in public places.
It is sometimes difficult for the Police to do good work when demonstrations are held without it being notified. The Constitution establishes that the Police should be notified.
When the Police is notified, the Constitution calls on you to lend a hand, as I've just read, since, when the Police has been informed of a demonstration route, it will be better able to do its job for those of us who are demonstrating peacefully and for itself, which has to ensure law and order.
Should two groups want to demonstrate at the same time, they cannot do so, either at the same time or the same place. Otherwise, clashes will result. The Police is responsible for avoiding clashes. That is why I encourage all groups and all associations to continue to exercise their right to demonstrate peacefully. But obey the law. Explain to the Police the route that will be taken and the Police will respect your rights, just as you respect its rights. Consequently, together, you'll be able to establish better conditions in a better climate in order to organize elections that will be: free, fair, and democratic. As you will be able to realize, everything the Constitution calls for helps to bring you light.
When all of this has been enlightened for you, police officers will be proud, because they will consider themselves members of a body that understands them, in a society that understands them. And this society will also be proud because it will see that it has a body or a corps (the police corps) that protects it and serves it. If we pay attention, we'll see that, with the exception of the Director General, our police officers have white beards or are bald. In other words, the force is slightly old, as we can see. I'm not saying that it's very old, just slightly. But all those in authority are young. That is the future, the future belongs to you the young people. It is therefore in our interest to encourage everyone in the country to join with the Police to pave the way to elections in 2003.
Tomorrow we shall turn our thoughts to the Constitution. The Constitution is a beacon that will guide us along the path of elections in 2003. Toussaint Louverture, to whom we will be paying tribute on April 7, reminds of us our obligation in this regard since he was the first to publish the Constitution of 1801. Thus, on behalf of Toussaint Louverture and of a like mind, the 1987 Constitution asks us to do our utmost and to make every sacrifice possible so as to arrive at the moment that will lead us as brothers and sisters to elections. The Constitution already outlines the intention of all opposition political parties to follow the rules of the game. Whether Fanmi Lavalas or an opposition political party, we are brothers and sisters and we are obliged to draw closer to one another to prepare for elections together.
Those who are not party members should also contribute to the light of the Constitution. And so, on the eve of the commemoration of the Constitution, I would ask the Nation once again to unite, to consolidate our institutions, to support the youths making up the Police and those who do not. Let us set a good example of civility, of civilized people, so that every day, if a single Haitian feels discouraged, he or she will find thousands of other Haitians to give him encouragement. If a single Haitian feels like losing hope, he should find thousands of other Haitians to restore that hope. Because of the embargo, the cost of living has increased. Because of the embargo, people are obliged to make others spend twice as much to feed their children or to buy medications, pay for housing, and send children to school. We bear a twofold responsibility for forging unity in order to follow the provisions of the Constitution and to organize sound elections and advance more quickly along the road to development. The embargo must be lifted to lower the cost of living. The elections that we organize must be sound to allow all democratic institutions to benefit from the outcome.
In conclusion, I will read out in Creole what I have already read in French: the Declaration that appears on the first page of the Constitution. Since I am at CIMO headquarters, I would ask the CIMO to continue to show how we can carry on with maintaining law and order while I continue to give you a patriotic embrace and to congratulate you for the task you will undertake. All specialized units, all police officers, from officer-1 to the Director General, the country, everyone is counting on you. The Nation needs you; foreign observers are watching you. Hence, on the eve of the commemoration of our Constitution, we reaffirm our patriotic will to respect what the Constitution expects of us. I am counting on you. I know that we can do it. When I see that you were able to keep the country on track in the midst of these difficulties that could have resulted in chaos but didn't-difficulties like poverty, hunger (planned poverty, planned hunger), because of an embargo-it means that we can perform even more miracles than we have. When people are discouraged, they should simply look at what we have done over the last two years, during which the country did not explode despite all the sudden shocks. This means that all of us, the young people, the Police, the citizens, can perform miracles.
Once again, on the eve of the commemoration of the adoption of our Constitution, I am happy to be with you and proud to be Haitian, since we have shown over the past two years that we are able to perform miracles thanks to our patriotic roots and our human resources. May the entire nation remember these forces that guide us.
May the entire nation immerse itself in the wellspring of these resources-cultural resources, patriotic resources, human resources, and constitutional resources so as to continue to guide our future as a people, a free people that will never bend, a free people that will always stand tall to allow human rights to be observed and human dignity protected, and to allow democratic institutions to function better and better with each passing day. And our Constitution will doubtless be able to nurture what constitutes our greatness as a people.
Before concluding, let us listen to the Declaration set forth on the first page of the Constitution. The text is in French and in Creole and I will have it distributed to you as evidence of the Government's resolve, and in particular the resolve of the Police, to use the Constitution as a compass. From our vantage point today, we can say that all that existed earlier on with the Haitian army was death, cadavers, and torture. With the arrival of the Police, protection must continue to be afforded, life must continue to be protected, and the Constitution must continue to guide us. We say nevermore to lethal weapons because we are against war and for peace. We are against lethal weapons and for constitutional weapons that guarantee peace. And this is true both nationally and internationally. We are citizens of Haiti and of the world, and we are guided by this spirit of peace. We will not be able to embrace war. We support peace, we reject war!
May this reading of the Constitution strengthen the collective faith of a peaceful people-the victim of repressive structures, the victim of so many cynical plots, and nonetheless a people that is always proud to join hands to continue rebuilding the Haiti of today which will lead to the Haiti of tomorrow, our dear Haiti.
The first declaration to be distributed reads as follows:
The Haitian people declare: It agrees with this Constitution.
First, every Haitian has the right to life;
Second, every Haitian has the right to live free;
Third, every Haitian has the right to live without difficulties.
Thus, the right to life,
The right to live free,
The right to live without difficulties.
Second declaration: The Constitution exists to enable Haiti to be the master of its fate, so that it may possess its own resources and all Haitians may live on an equal footing and may truly obtain justice.
The Declaration goes on to say: The Constitution exists to enable democracy to take root in the country.
Lastly, the Constitution exists to enable Haiti to develop on the basis of the principle of respect for all rights enjoyed by all individuals. The right: to live free, the right to live without difficulties. Since we all want a good life, I would like to say the following here and now: let us seize this date, March 29, the anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution, to live well among ourselves so as to be able to live without difficulties.
Long live the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti!
Long live the Haitian people!
Long live the National Police of Haiti!
Long live our dear Haiti!
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
March 28, 2003
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ANNEX H. DECLARATION DU GROUPE DES 184
Suite au communiqué no 2 du Groupe des 184 concluant à l'impossibilité dans l'état actuel des choses de mettre en place les mécanismes et les structures nécessaires à la tenue d'élections libres, transparentes et crédibles ;
Suite au séjour en Haiti les 19 et 20 mars d'une délégation de haut rang de l'OEA, fixant l'échéance du 30 mars 2003 pour la formation du CEP moyennant l'adoption par le pouvoir d'un certain nombre de dispositions susceptibles de garantir la sécurité des citoyens dans le respect des libertés publiques
Vu l'expiration de ce délai du 30 mars;
Le Groupe des 184 soumet à la nation et à la Communauté Internationale les observations suivantes :
1. Des entraves à la liberté de rassemblement et d'expression:
Le comportement affiché ces dernières semaines tant par la police que par des autorités politiques accompagnées de civils armés à leur service a montré clairement à l'occasion de plusieurs rassemblements pacifiques de la société civile, que les pratiques de répression et de violations graves des droits humains loin de s'arrêter continuent à être renforcées. En témoignent les actes arbitraires et les violences perpétrés récemment en toute impunité contre des enseignants, des étudiants, et des journalistes devant l'Ambassade de France, contre la Caravane de l'Espoir du Groupe des 184 au Cayes, contre la manifestation des écoliers à Saint-Marc, contre les rassemblements de mouvements de femmes à Port-au- Prince, et contre la marche du Mouvement Paysan de Papaye dans le Plateau Central.
2. De l'arrestation avortée de chefs de gangs liés au 17 décembre 2001 et leur démantèlement :
Les mesures prises ces derniers jours par le pouvoir, en réponse à la demande faite par la délégation de l'OEA d'arrêter avant le 30 mars des chefs de gangs politiques liés selon le rapport de la Commission d'Enquête de l'OEA aux crimes du 17 décembre 2001 n'ont jusqu'ici pas abouti. Ce, même dans les cas les plus critiques comme celui d'Amiot Métayer de l'armée cannibale aux Gonaïves et des assassins inculpés de Brignol Lindor à Petit-Goave. Les dispositions apparentes prises par le pouvoir étant perçues dans l'opinion publique comme des mesures cosmétiques qui n'ont aucune chance de conduire au désarmement et au démantèlement des gangs politiques proches du pouvoir
3. Des changements à la Police Nationale d'Haïti:
Les changements opérés à la tête de la PNH à la demande de la délégation de l'OEA ont à nouveau introduits au niveau de la hiérarchie de l'institution, des personnalités hors-cadre dont la crédibilité est gravement contestée. Ces changements qui sont intervenus en violation des prescrits de la constitution et de la loi n'inspirent aucune confiance aux citoyens et à la société, victimes de la politisation et de la corruption à outrance au sein de la PNH.
Par ailleurs il a été constaté que les cadres supérieurs écartés de la PNH ont été récupérés dans une structure parallèle non définie, non prévue par la constitution et la loi,appelée « Haut Commissariat à La Sécurité Nationale ».
4. Des citoyens contraints à l'exil :
Les actes de répression et d'intimidation ont de nouveau contraint à l'exil durant ces dernières semaines plusieurs citoyens et fonctionnaires publics qui entendaient exercer leurs droits et accomplir leurs devoirs dans le respect de la loi et des principes démocratiques. Parmi eux, on peut citer notamment des journalistes de la province et de la capitale, des magistrats juges et commissaires persécutés et offensés par le pouvoir politique dans le cadre de l'affaire Amiot Métayer
5. Du dossier de l'assassinat de Jean Domminique :
L'ordonnance réclamée par la délégation de l'OEA dans le cadre de l'assassinat de Jean Domminique, loin de créer une lueur d'espoir que la justice triomphera, soulève plutôt des questions particulièrement troublantes relatives à l'absence d'indications sur les commanditaires et véritables auteurs du crime
De l'avis des hommes de loi, de la presse, des organisations des droits de l'homme qui ont pris connaissance de cette ordonnance, attendue depuis près de trois ans, celle-ci constitue davantage une gifle à la justice et une insulte à la conscience nationale.
6. De l'assistance internationale à la sécurité:
La mise en oeuvre de l'assistance internationale prévue par la résolution 822 en matière de sécurité et d'encadrement de la PNH ne s'est jusqu'à présent pas matérialisée de manière visible, significative et efficace. Ce, en dépit des termes de référence souscrits formellement entre l'OEA et le Gouvernement haïtien.
En conclusion, la position de la société civile exprimée clairement à travers le communiqué no2 du Groupe des 184 demeure inchangée.
Les catastrophes électorales de ces dernières années n'ont fait qu'enfoncer notre pays dans la crise et la souffrance. Seule la mise en place préalable de conditions suffisantes de sécurité permettant le respect des libertés publiques et le droit des citoyens à se rassembler, à circuler, à s'exprimer librement au plan civique et politique, devrait déterminer la participation de la société civile à la formation effective du CEP.
Le Conseil Electoral Provisoire, quelque crédible et courageux qu'il pourrait être, n'aura ni le mandat, ni les moyens pour se substituer au pouvoir établi dans sa mission de garantir la sécurité et le respect des droits des citoyens. Les expériences déjà vécues avec le Conseil Electoral Provisoire de 1987 et celui de 1999 premières versions, l'ont déjà largement prouvé.
Les organisations de la société civile demeurent convaincues que l'intérêt national et celui de la cause démocratique résident dans la mise en oeuvre dans des délais techniquement appropriés, d'un processus électoral non précipité et crédible, conduit dans un climat raisonnable de confiance et de sécurité.
Pour authentification, le Comité Ad Hoc:
Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie d'Haiti
Initiative de la Société Civile
1 Annexes A, B, and C are attached to this report and have been translated into the Organization's official languages. Annex E, the March 30 letter from Foreign Minister Antonio to the Chief of the OAS Special Mission and the Report of the Government of Haiti forwarded under cover of that letter, have also been translated and are appended to the current report . However, all other documents included in Annex E and all other annexes (i.e.F to H ) will be posted to the OAS website (www.oas.org) as attachments to the electronic version of the current report.