Monday, February 24, 2014

War crimes investigations against 'Baby Doc' Duvalier to continue

Amnesty International has described the decision of a Haitian court to allow investigations to continue into crimes against humanity committed during the rule of “president-for-life” Jean-Claude Duvalier as "a major boost for the victims in their long quest for truth and justice."

“This much-needed green light to continue the investigations is a victory for the victims of torture, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations committed under the rule of Duvalier and their relatives,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor for Amnesty International.

He said it also "bolsters hopes for a new Haiti, founded upon the rule of law and equality of justice for all.”

The Court of Appeal in the capital Port-au-Prince on Thursday reversed a January 2012 ruling by an investigative judge. The earlier decision stated that Duvalier could not be charged with crimes against humanity, filed by victims of alleged forced disappearances and torture during his rule from 1971-1986 because the time for the prosecution of those offences had elapsed.

But the Court of Appeal has now ruled there is “substantial evidence” (“sérieux indices”) pointing to the indirect involvement and alleged criminal responsibility of Jean-Claude Duvalier for the alleged human rights violations during his presidency.

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