Tags: Haiti | politics | court | Duvalier

Baby Doc's Victims Vow to Fight on Despite His Death

Sunday, 05 October 2014 07:30 PM

Victims of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier's brutal former Haitian regime vowed on Sunday that his sudden death would not rob them of a chance to seek justice for his crimes.

Many in this impoverished Caribbean nation, whose young population has suffered much since Duvalier fled into exile in 1986, have shrugged off his death on Sunday and gone about their lives.

But those representing the victims of his bloody persecution of supposed opposition figures, said they would continue to pursue him and surviving allies through the courts.

Baby Doc, who in 1971 came to office aged only 19 on the death of his ruthless father, died on Saturday of a heart attack at age 63 without ever having to account for the corruption and brutality of his rue.

An estimated 30,000 people were killed during his reign and that of his father, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, before him, rights activists say.

Baby Doc, who returned to Haiti in 2011 after 25 years in often luxurious exile, had been facing charges of crimes against humanity, torturing his opponents, and embezzlement.

After his death was announced, one of the plaintiffs, Nicole Magloire, vowed "not to give up."

Lawyers without Borders Canada, the main partner of an anti-impunity group that represents most of the victims in the case against Duvalier and his collaborators, said Baby Doc's death "doesn't put an end to prosecutions of the main people responsible for the serious human rights violations committed under the Duvalier regime."

"More than ever, the right to justice and the reparation for victims should be fully respected and put in place," the group said.

And the Haiti-based Center for Analysis and Research on Human Rights said Duvalier's death "does not in any way prevent the continuation of judicial processes against him and his regime."

The group said the legal process was essential for the establishment of the rule of law and democratic governance in Haiti.



But, apart Baby Doc's victim, the reaction among Haitians was muted, with no demonstrations so far in the capital or by the former dictator's residence.

At the private morgue where the body was taken, only two police officers were on guard.

No date has been fixed for a funeral, according to Abel Jerome, a friend of Duvalier's, who was waiting for word from the government on whether there will be a state service.

"He's a former president. He has the right to a special funeral," argued the former army colonel who served in Duvalier's regime. He said Duvalier's death would not be the end of "the Duvalier ideology."

But, while part of the current Port-au-Prince elite may dream of reviving the iron-fisted rule of the Duvaliers, those with less fond memories of the era took heart from Baby Doc's brief brush with justice.

Duvalier returned from exile in France in 2011, and has faced a number of legal challenges. In February last year, after much prevarication, he finally appeared at a court hearing, but the cases have made little headway.

Baby Doc explained his return as a gesture of solidarity with a nation that had been devastated the year before by a massive earthquake, which leveled much of Port-au-Prince and claimed more than 100,000 lives.

He was arrested on charges of embezzlement but after a brief moment of detention immediately on his return, never spent a night in prison for his regime's crimes and lived out his days in relative comfort.

Meanwhile, political tensions are rising once again in his long-suffering homeland, with long-delayed legislative elections due later this month.

Opposition activists protest that the electoral commission is too close to the current Haitian leader President Michel Martelly -- who paid tribute to Duvalier on Saturday -- and that the poll would not be fair.


© AFP 2020

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Victims of Jean-Claude Baby Doc Duvalier's brutal former Haitian regime vowed on Sunday that his sudden death would not rob them of a chance to seek justice for his crimes.Many in this impoverished Caribbean nation, whose young population has suffered much since Duvalier...
Haiti, politics, court, Duvalier
Sunday, 05 October 2014 07:30 PM
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