WASHINGTON, CMC - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is reminding the Haiti of its international obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish the serious human rights violations committed in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
The IACHR said it also wants the Michel Martelly government to ensure that the justice system operates with independence and impartiality.
“The IACHR reiterates that Haiti, as a state party to the American Convention on Human Rights, has an international obligation to investigate and if necessary punish those responsible for the gross human rights violations committed during the regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier.”
The IACHR said that since Duvalier returned to Haiti in January 2011, several groups of victims have filed complaints of human rights violations committed under his regime.
It said that Duvalier has defied several court orders and is now scheduled to appear in court on Thursday as the appeal continues against the January 27, 2012 decision of the investigating judge decided not to try Duvalier for human rights violations.
The IACHR said that it is urging Haitian law enforcement officials “to adopt all measures necessary to ensure that justice operators may work with independence and impartiality.
“The Commission notes that independence and impartiality constitute essential guarantees that allow judicial authorities to freely carry out their role of protecting the right of access to justice”.
It recalled that in its Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, the IACHR recommended that the States “Strengthen the mechanisms for the administration of justice and guarantee the independence and impartiality of the officers of the court, which are necessary conditions for performance of their functions of investigating, prosecuting, and punishing those who violate human rights”.
It said the “gross and systematic human rights violations committed under Jean-Claude Duvalier regime were documented by the Inter-American Commission in its 1979 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, prepared based on-site observation visit conducted from August 16 to 25, 1978.
“In that report, the IACHR recommended that the Haitian State "investigate and punish those responsible for the numerous violations of the right to life and physical security."
Two years ago, the Inter-American Commission issued a statement on the duty of the Haitian state to investigate the gross violations of human rights committed during the Duvalier regime “underscoring the standards of the inter-American human rights system in the subject area”.