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Haiti - Justice : Beginning of hearings of victims of the regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier
08/03/2013 11:27:05

Haiti - Justice : Beginning of hearings of victims of the regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier
Thursday, March 7, at the second session of the Court of Appeal of Port-au-Prince, in a room less filled that at the hearing of former President Jean Claude Duvalier, February 28, the first complainant, who claim that the former President is accountable to the justice of his actions during his years in power [1971-1986] have began to testify, in the absence of Jean Claude Duvalier "he remains hospitalized, he will not be present," declared to the Court, one of his lawyers, Aurélien Jeanty.

At the opening of the hearing, Jean Joseph Lebrun asked the Public Prosecutor, represented by Me Florence Mathieu, Deputy Government Commissioner to submit to the Court a list of complainants to audition.

The first witness called, Marie Adrienne Gilbert was declared absent after three roll calls. Me Reynold Georges, one of the lawyer of Duvalier has asked the Court to take note of this absence, while Me Exumé, one of the plaintiffs' lawyer, told the court that her client was in the United States.

During this session, only two plaintiffs, former deputy Alix Fils-Aimé and the former footballer Robert Duval have testified.

When asked by Judge Jean Joseph Lebrun: Why have you filed a complaint against Jean-Claude Duvalier? Alix Fils-Aimé declared "I was arrested without reason and I filed a complaint for crimes against humanity committed by the regime [...] Judge, as all prisoners of the time, I was humiliated, mistreated [...] I was tortured and questioned by the secret police and locked in a cell for 18 months [...]" indicating that he had been released on 21 September 1977 "following a presidential decree calling for the release of all political prisoners."

Alix Fils-Aimé, who spent 18 months in the Dessalines Barracks to Fort Dimanche asked the judges to call the former military, Luc Désir and Albert Pierre, which questioned him regularly instead of a judge, to know the reasons for his arrest adding "I never appeared in court, I was kidnapped !"

For his part, Robert Duval, who was arrested April 20, 1976, accused at the hearing of 28 February 2013, by Jean Claude Duvalier, which had mentioned his arrest for illegal possession of firearms, has vigorously denied the allegations of the former President "I have never held a weapon illegally. I've never had been in contact with arms."

Robert Duval, who spent a total of 17 months in prison, at Dessalines Barracks and Fort Dimnache, has testified of the abuse whose it was the object. "During my stay in prison at Dessalines Barracks, we counted 180decease in the cells [...] When a prisoner died, his body was thrown into a common grave," he said, explaining that he owed ​​his life "to the intervention of Jimmy Carter [...] So far, I do not know the reasons for my arrest [...]" As Alix Fils-Aimé, Robert Duval was released on 21 September 1977.

After this first two hearings, the Court of Appeal scheduled to sit again on March 14 for the continuation of hearing of the plaintiffs.

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