Wednesday, February 8, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
Part Two of The Current
Bringing Baby Doc Duvalier to justice in Haiti - Former UN Spokesperson
The country that gave the world the myth of the zombie is witnessing a disturbing political afterlife. Haiti's deposed president has not only returned after 25 years of exile, Jean Claude Duvalier has been wandering around the capital for more than a year. This is the scion of the Duvalier dynasty, a bloody reign that began with his Father, Papa Doc Duvalier in 1957. The Duvaliers are remembered for their iron-fisted rule that relied on a gruesome militia known as the Tonton Macoute to remove their opponents.
Human Rights Watch compiled a list of Duvalier era crimes that include torture, expulsion and massacre. Many Haitians hoped Duvalier might face justice. But last week, a Haitian judge suggested it was too late. He decided there were not enough legal grounds to charge Baby Doc Duvalier with human rights abuses and the statute of limitations had run out on crimes against humanity. However, he did recommend the former president to be charged with corruption and embezzlement in a lower court.
That is small solace for people who gathered in north-end Montreal last night to mark the anniversary of the end of the Duvalier regime. Some remember those days first -hand. Jan Dominique's father Jean Dominique was a journalist known for speaking out against the dictators. And Frantz Voltaire's documentary In the Name of the Father recounts some of the suffering under Duvalier. We aired a clip with what they told our producer Sarah Buck, at an event in Montreal last night to mark the 26th anniversary of the fall of the Duvalier regime.
Michèle Montas is a Haitian journalist and the former United Nations Spokesperson under Secretary General ban Ki Moon. She is also Jean Dominique's widow. Last year, following Duvalier's return to Haiti, she was among four Haitians to file formal complaints against him. That number has since grown to 21. Michele Montas was in New York City.
Bringing Baby Doc Duvalier to justice in Haiti - Haitian Journalist
To find out how people in Haiti feel about this, we reached Etienne Coté-Paluck.
He is is a freelance journalist and producer in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Bringing Baby Doc Duvalier to justice - Former War Crimes Prosecutor
The last six years, Canada has given more than a billion dollars in aid to Haiti - the bulk of it going toward police training and bolstering Haiti's judicial system. Our next guest says Canada has a duty and a responsibility to make sure Baby Doc Duvalier is brought to account.
Payam Akhavan is a professor of law at McGill University, and a former War Crimes Prosecutor at The Hague. Last year, shortly after Duvalier's return to Haiti, Professor Akhavan went to Haiti to work with outgoing president Réné Préval and his administration to help them put together a case against Duvalier.
We've reached Payam Akhavan at his office at McGill University in Montreal.
This half-hour was produced by Montreal Network Producer, Susan McKenzie.
Other segments from today's show: