Baby Doc’s friends throws temper tantrums so Amnesty ups the volume

It's not often that an Amnesty press conference itself becomes the news story. The last time I can recall this happening was during a visit by Amnesty’s former Secretary General, which we blogged on here. Normally we hope that the news we provide generates the news attention. That was certainly the intention of Amnesty’s Haiti Research team in Port-au-Prince yesterday as they called on Haiti’s authorities to bring former President Duvalier – or “Baby Doc” as he’s otherwise known – to justice as soon as possible.

But as the press conference began, Baby Doc supporters began to protest and drown out Amnesty’s Haiti researcher with their shouts of disdain and reproach.

You can read more about that standoff in James Burke’s blog here.

Clearly supporters of Baby Doc Duvalier did not want Amnesty to report on its evidence of horrendous human rights abuses which occurred during the former President’s rule. But torture, deaths in custody, killings and disappearances are not exactly matters which can be drowned out by a few heckles.

Baby Doc is accused of ordering some of the worst human rights violations to be carried out in Haiti – some of which amount to crimes against humanity.  Now he’s returned to Haiti after seeking exile in France for 25 years he has to be held to account and brought to trial for these crimes.

As one member of Amnesty’s Research team said, we’ll probably never know the true extent of the horror, but investigating these crimes is the first step toward justice and reparation for the victims and also a great opportunity for Haiti to establish a justice system that protects and upholds human rights in Haiti.

You can read more about the evidence mounting against Baby Doc here including the report here.  

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