Daily Archives: February 4, 2012

Haitian President Won’t Interfere with Case against Duvalier

English: Former President for life Jean Claude...

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Haitian President Michel Martelly says he won’t interfere in the case of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, the National Palace said Friday.

The office of the president issued a statement saying he respects the rule of law and has no right to meddle in the affairs of an independent judiciary that’s overseeing the case.

As evidence of the government’s commitment the law, the statement cites Pres. Martelly’s request for international legal experts to help Haiti’s judicial system.

The announcement comes five days after a magistrate recommended that Mr. Duvalier face trial for alleged financial crimes but not for human rights abuses.

The ruling prompted human rights groups to accuse the judge of disregarding testimony and laws that would have enabled prosecution on the more serious crimes. Some activists also complain that many of the new government’s officials have personal or family ties to the Duvalier regime that ruled from 1971 until it was overthrown in 1986.

Mr. Duvalier was nineteen when he assumed the presidency from his more ruthless father, Francois.

The younger Duvalier moved back to Haiti last year after twenty-five years in exile in France. Upon his return, he was charged with embezzlement and human rights abuses.

His defense attorneys contend that the statute of limitations against the alleged crimes has expired, a matter disputed by international rights advocates.

The Duvalier case is now expected to go before the attorney general, who must decide whether the case should go to a court that handles lesser crimes.

Via the Associated Press.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, World

On This Day…

In 1974, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped in Berkeley, California, by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

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Filed under History, On This Day

BREAKING: U.N. Resolution on Syria Fails

Photo taken during a demonstration in Montreal...

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A United Nations Security Council resolution to pressure Syria to end its crackdown on anti-government demonstrators failed today after China and Russia voted against it.

At least 7,100 people, including 461 children, have died since the start of the Syrian uprising in March, according to a Syrian opposition group.

The U.N. estimated in December that more than 5,000 people had died since March, but the global body has not been able to update that figure because of the insecurity.

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Filed under Activism, International Justice, World