Haiti - Finite Justice
On the tenth anniversary of the military coup in Haiti, as an international 'war on terrorism' is declared, the Haiti Support Group is repeating its calls for the deportation back to Haiti of terrorist FRAPH leader, Toto Constant.
"Ours is a nation that does not seek revenge, but we do seek justice," said US President George W. Bush on 25 September 2001.
Haiti seeks justice too. Justice for the 5,000 people killed between 30 September 1991 and 19 September 1994 when a brutal military regime held power in Haiti. Justice for the tens of thousands who were beaten, tortured and raped. Justice for hundreds of thousands who were terrorised by the Haitian military, and the death squad organisation called FRAPH.
Many of the worst offenders from this time are still at large in Haiti. Others live comfortable lives in the United States. The most notorious of the latter group is Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, the leader of the FRAPH death squad.
Today, even though he is wanted for murder in Haiti, and even though US authorities ordered his deportation in 1996, Toto Constant walks the streets of Queens, New York City, a free man.
Victims of the human rights abuses during the 1991-94 military coup are still seeking justice through the Haitian courts. A notable success was the trial, late last year, of the perpetrators of the 1994 Raboteau massacre when over a dozen people were killed, and many more were brutally beaten, by soldiers and FRAPH gunmen. Toto Constant was one of those convicted, in absentia, of premeditated, voluntary homicide
Today, the US talks about an international coalition to fight terrorism on all fronts, using all available methods. On 20 September, US President Bush, speaking to the US Congress, announced, "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."
This last Wednesday, 26 September, during their weekly protest meeting at the Place des Martyrs in Port-au-Prince, members of the Haitian coup victims' organisation, the September Thirtieth Foundation, accused the US authorities of "giving refuge to the criminal terrorists who are guilty of the deaths of 5,000 victims of the 1991 coup d'etat."
On a Radio Nationale report, a Foundation spokesperson said, "The United States has declared war on terrorists throughout the world following the September 11th attacks against the American people, but the United States itself is hiding criminals from the 1991 coup d'etat who spread sadness and desolation among the families of the victims in Haiti."
This article was supplied by the (US) Haiti Support Group. To find out why the US refuses to extradite Toto Constant or return the FRAPH/FAD'H documents in their entirety, check the following Internet sites:
Virtual Truth Commission - Haiti
For more information see also "Haiti Under The Gun" by Allan Nairn in The Nation, 15 January 1996,
"U.S. Government Must Return Seized Haitian Documents. Deportation of Haitian Death Squad Leader Urged" - Human Rights Watch, 16 September 1999
"Giving "The Devil" His Due" David Grann in The Atlantic Monthly, June 2001
and the Haiti Support Group’s own site at http://www.gn.apc.org/haitisupport