Série organique S-1876 - Judicial and Legal Systems

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Judicial and Legal Systems


  • 1985 - 2001 (Production)

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Série organique

Étendue matérielle et support

No. of Boxes: 65

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Histoire archivistique

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International Civilian Mission in Haiti, OAS/UN (MICIVIH)
S-1876 contains records of MICIVIH’s Section des Affaires Juridiques et du Renforcement Institutionnel (SAJRI). SAJRI was tasked with: advising the Haitian justice system on legal and administrative measures in order to improve respect for law and legal procedures; assisting courts and prosecutors’ offices in correctly applying criminal prosecution; strengthening judicial and police capacity to address systematic impunity; and training judicial officers on human rights issues and the administration of justice. Rodolfo Mattarollo served as Director of SAJRI and as Deputy Executive Director of MICIVIH.

A large number of MICIVIH files document the technical assistance provided by MICIVIH at the request of the Government of Haiti for the trials of those convicted in the Raboteau massacre, which took place in the town of Raboteau, Gonaives, in northern Haiti between 18-22 April 1994. During a four-day period, members of the Haitian Armed Forces (FADH) and the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) raided homes and beat, tortured, and killed an unknown number of pro-democracy supporters of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Records pertaining to the Raboteau massacre consist of: summaries drafted by MICIVIH Observers which describe the town of Gonaives and its hospital in the days immediately following the massacre; witness testimony collected by MICIVIH Observers; summaries of visits by MICIVIH personnel to courts in Gonaives and briefs about court proceedings and the progress of trials; letters exchanged between the MICIVIH Executive Director and the Bureau de Coordination, Préparation de Procès du Massacre de Raboteau, Gonaives, of Haiti’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security; documents issued by both the Cabinet d'Instruction du Tribunal Civil des Gonaives and the Cour d’Appel des Gonaives; legal complaints by or on behalf of victims of the massacre; and lists of victims and perpetrators. There are also profiles gathered by MICIVIH Observers describing the human rights violations suffered by victims during the massacre, and background information about the perpetrators.

Also included are records documenting a ten-day mission to Raboteau from 24 July - 7 August 1999 by two military experts secured by MICIVIH, Colonel Horacio Pantaléon Ballester and Colonel José Luis García. Included are the experts’ draft and final reports prepared for the leading prosecutor (Juge d’Instruction) for the Tribunal Civil des Gonaives, Me. Jean Sénat Fleury. The reports analyze the structure and accountability of the Haitian military chain of command, the climate of repression, and the implication of military leaders in the events of 18-22 April 1994.

Other MICIVIH files relate to a lengthy report by MICIVIH officials titled "La lutte contre l'impunité et pour la reparation en Haiti" (The Fight Against Impunity and for Reparations in Haiti). The report identified the causes of impunity and examined the failure of the Government of Haiti to provide justice to victims of human rights violations that occurred during the coup d’etat period from 1991 to 1994. The report analyzed and presented statistics about the state of impunity evident in legal proceedings in five jurisdictions in Haiti – Hinche, Gonaives, Mirebalais, Port-au-Prince, and Saint Marc. Also covered in the report are the efforts made in the fight against impunity by Haitian civil society and the international community. MICIVIH’s recommendations in the areas of judicial reform, the promotion of the rule of law, and the respect for human rights are also discussed in the report. The report, based on three years of research, was released on 28 September 1999, the eve of the eighth anniversary of the coup d’etat of 29 September 1991. An earlier version of the report was presented to the Government of Haiti in May 1999.

Records pertaining to the 1999 report on impunity include lists of violations of human rights committed against Haitian civilians during the de facto regime, and lists of people in the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) and the former Haitian Armed Forces (FADH) suspected of carrying out human rights violations. The location, date and type of violation is also indicated. There is also correspondence between MICIVIH officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations, particularly the Haitian non-governmental organization Assistance to Victims of Violence Movement (MAPVIV). Questionnaires providing factual data about victims are also included. These were used for the compilation of statistics for the report. A large volume of questionnaires are about victims residing in the town of Gonaives who suffered human rights violations primarily in the years preceding the massacre in Raboteau on 18-22 April 1994.

SAJRI also monitored prominent cases of impunity involving Haitian civilians and high-profile Haitian political and military figures, including: Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former President of Haiti; Justice Minister Guy Malary, who was assassinated on 14 October 1993; Emmanuel Constant, the founder of the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haïti (FRAPH); and Antoine Izméry, a prominent Haitian businessman and pro-democracy activist who was assassinated on 11 September 1993. These records consist of: fact sheets and case summaries; medical reports about victims; aide memoire commenting on major developments in the case, such as the arrest and deportation of suspects; summaries of assizes (trials) observed by MICIVIH officials; summaries of meetings between MICIVIH officials and judges (Juges d’Instruction); copies of legal documents pertaining to the cases, such as court proceedings, arrest warrants, and witness testimony; hand-drawn maps of crime scenes; eye-witness accounts of events; and articles from the Haitian and international press about the cases.

SAJRI’s efforts to promote awareness of habeas corpus are documented in: memoranda on the legal evolution of habeas corpus in the Haitian Constitution; research on the application of habeas corpus in Haiti; a MICIVIH pamphlet “Le Recours pour la protection de la liberté individuelle dans la Constitution de 1987,” dated September 1998; and a speech which was broadcast on Radio Haiti by Rodolfo Mattarollo, Director of SAJRI and Deputy Executive Director of MICIVIH. The records also document a round-table debate about habeas corpus and individual liberties held on 6 April 1999 at the École de la Magistrature. Participants included the Minister of Justice, the Haitian National Police (HNP) Inspector General, the Director of the Haitian Prisons Administration Directorate (DAP), representatives of NGOs, and MICIVIH staff members. The event featured a panel discussion between MICIVIH's Deputy Director and MICIVIH consultants (historian Claude Moïse and former Justice Minister Me Jean Joseph Exumé).

MICIVIH records also document SAJRI’s information-sharing with the Criminal Investigation Brigade of the Haitian National Police (HNP). Set up in October 1995, the brigade received case investigation files from MICIVIH via the UNMIH Civilian Police. The investigations are primarily about assassinations, including the assassinations of several prominent individuals: Antoine Izméry, a pro-democracy activist, on 11 September 1993; Mireille Durocher Bertin, an anti-Aristide lawyer, on 28 March 1995; and Jean Hubert Feuille, former bodyguard of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Deputy of Port-Salut, on 7 November 1995. There is also accompanying documentation about the transmission of cases via CIVPOL, as well as press material and reports about violent crimes committed by members of the illegal paramilitary organization Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH).

The records relating to the National Truth and Justice Commission (CNVJ) primarily consist of case files for investigations of human rights violations perpetrated during the de facto regime between 29 September 1991 and 15 October 1994. The human rights violations include violations of individual rights such as the right to life, freedom, and security; violations of public rights such as freedom of expression; and violations of judicial rights such as the right to a fair trial. The incidents covered include rape, murder, assault, arrests without a warrant, torture, death threats, prevention of peaceful public demonstrations, and illegal imprisonment. Organized by geographical location, the case files consist of final reports, testimonies, medical and forensic anthropology reports, and memoranda prepared by Observers and base staff investigating complaints. Some case files contain memoranda about the transfer of the file from MICIVIH to the CNVJ.

There are also memoranda about: the creation of the CNVJ in December 1994 by an executive order issued by Jean-Bertrand Aristide; joint CNVJ and MICIVIH investigative field trips; base staff and Observers assisting with CNVJ case investigations; and the provision for technical assistance to the CNVJ.

There are also records documenting the work of forensic anthropology consultants secured from 1995 to 1998 by MICIVIH at the request of the National Truth and Justice Commission (CNVJ) and the Haitian Ministry of Justice and Public Security. The consultants provided training in the use of forensic sciences to members of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and the Haitian judiciary, and assisted in the investigation and judicial proceedings of the Raboteau massacre. Records consist of: Terms of Reference for the forensic anthropology consultants; correspondence between MICIVIH personnel and the consultants; summaries of DNA analysis performed on the remains of Raboteau victims; and final reports for field investigations carried out by the forensic anthropology consultants in 1997 and 1998. A separate report dating from November 1995 presents the consultants’ findings on investigations carried out in various locations in Haiti, including Raboteau, Gonaives, of incidents of human rights violations which occurred from 1991 to 1994 during the de facto regime.

The records of SAJRI’s Legal Officer Chris Thomas primarily relate to the Section’s oversight of Haitian prison administration. The Legal Officer’s correspondence, often exchanged with the Director of SAJRI and Regional Coordinators, concerns a variety of topics, including: prisoners released from the National Penitentiary, prisoners arrested without warrants, meetings with the Haitian Director of Judicial Affairs about prisoner deaths, trials, and foreign nationals in detention. There are also letters sent to Thomas by prisoners. Summaries of meetings of the Commission des Affaires Pénitentiaires (CAP) describe audits of the DAP and the investigation of human rights violations on the part of prison staff. There are also summaries of meetings between MICIVIH officials and representatives of the Office to Control Pre-Trial Detention (BUCODEP) of the National Penitentiary, law faculty, and Checchi and Company Consulting, Inc. Meeting minutes of the Mixed Working Group on the Problem of Prison Overpopulation concern research on lasting solutions to prison crowding. Lists of prisoners contain information about the gender, age, infraction, date of arrival, and sentence.

Summaries of the Legal Officer’s meetings with representatives of DAP and the National Penitentiary Administration (APENA) are also included. These cover issues such as collective warrants, proper prison documentation, recruitment of prison staff, prison escapes, human rights violations experienced by prisoners, repercussions for guards maltreating prisoners, the development of internal prison regulations, prison security, the requisition of prison supplies, and establishing radio communication between prisons. Also included are program outlines, manuals, and regulations developed by DAP and APENA and collected and reviewed by SAJRI.

The records of SAJRI’s Penal Reform Officer Heiner Rosendahl include memoranda, meeting summaries, and reports. The memoranda were primarily exchanged between Rosendahl, and: the Director of SAJRI, the Director for Human Rights, and the Director of the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Section (PPHR). They concern such topics as negotiation with the National Penitentiary Administration (APENA) staff, the establishment of APENA, releases of prisoners from the National Penitentiary, transfers of prisoners between prisons, corruption in the National Penitentiary’s security system, training and selection of prison wardens and staff, physical renovation of prisons, beatings of prison detainees by APENA officers, and hunger strikes by former Haitian Armed Forces (FADH) prisoners. There are summaries detailing meetings of the Prisons Steering Committee, which was comprised of representatives of MICIVIH, various Haitian agencies and NGOs. Rosendahl’s reports, some of which were forwarded to the Secretary-General for his reports to the General Assembly, cover: the standardization of prison documentation, prison nutrition and health care, human rights violations in prisons, medical conditions of prisoners, and prison crowding in individual prisons.

SAJRI files also include records originating from bases which pertain to MICIHIV-led judicial oversight and reform. Prepared by Observers, they consist of: briefs and reports describing the general state and organization of the judiciary throughout the department; plans for judicial reform; memoranda about the legal developments in cases being monitored by MICIVIH Observers, describing arrests, transfers and releases of detainees from prison, and decisions to refer cases to trial; profiles of cases awaiting trial; lists of judicial personnel present in communes; and organization charts of the Haitian court system.

MICIVIH base Observers’ records also include summaries of visits conducted to criminal assizes (assises criminelles) and tribunals (tribunaux de paix) in communes. These describe: the general functioning and atmosphere of the trial or hearing; the demeanor of judges and attorneys; the jury; arguments, testimony and cross-examination; the evidence; sentencing; the security presence inside and outside of courtrooms; and the public reaction to the cases. Additionally, there are summaries of Observers’ meetings with judicial personnel, including the Commissaire du Gouvernement, juges d'instruction, juges de paix, and doyen, regarding the functioning of the judiciary in communes, inaction on cases, and other obstructions in the judicial process. Crimes include murder, rape, armed robbery, illegal detention, beating and torture, conspiracy against the state, drug trafficking, extortion, infanticide, poisoning, forced evictions, and theft of property, cattle and goats. Also present are copies of legal proceedings obtained by MICIVIH.

There are also outlines and briefs about training seminars led by MICIVIH Observers for judicial, police, and prison personnel, and journalists. The seminars dealt with judicial reform topics such as: the application of the law, the preventive detention process, provisional release of detainees, and the rights of minors.

Of note are memoranda prepared by Observers stationed in Base 2 in Gonaives, which describe the legal proceedings involving Castera Cenafils, the former Captain of the Haitian Armed Forces (FADH), and other individuals on trial for the massacre of civilians in Raboteau on 18-22 April 1994. Included are Castera Cenafils’ handwritten letters sent to judicial personnel in 1996 and 1997.

International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH)
S-1876 also includes records of the MICAH’s Justice Section, which was tasked with assisting the Haitian authorities in reforming and strengthening the judicial system. Notable records of the Justice Section consist of: a report on the organization and structure of the Prisons Administration Directorate (DAP); a MICAH report, dating January 2000, about the Unit for the Protection of Women and Minors in Detention of the DAP; reports covering MICAH’s Projet d’Appui aux Juridictions; a summary, of the indictments from trials carried out in the latter half of 2000 for the Raboteau massacre of 18-22 April 1994, dated 20 October 2000 and prepared by a technical advisor for MICAH; and the End of Mission Report of the Justice Section.

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  • English, French, Creole

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    2001/0168, 2001/0171, 2008/0443, 2008/0449, 2008/0451


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