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.