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Crimes Against Humanity

    January 21, 2011

    Haitian authorities have told Amnesty International they are launching an investigation into crimes against humanity committed during Jean-Claude Duvalier’s rule in the 1970’s and 80’s. Amnesty International’s researcher on Haiti, Gerardo Ducos, yesterday met the country’s Prosecutor, Harycidas Auguste, and Minister of Justice, Paul Denis, to discuss the need for an investigation into the abuses committed during Duvalier’s years in power.

    Ducos handed over 100 documents detailing dozens of cases of detention without trial, systematic torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions which took place in Haiti between 1971 and 1986.

    “Investigating Jean Claude Duvalier for the human rights crimes committed during his time in power is a massive step forward”, said Gerardo Ducos, “What we need to see now is a swift and impartial process, in line with international standards, that truly brings justice for those who have been waiting for too long.”

    “Torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions are crimes under international law and do not prescribe. Justice must be done if Haiti is to move forward,” said Gerardo Ducos.

    January 20, 2011

    The United States should investigate Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapksa, on a surprise visit to the US today, for his alleged role in perpetrating torture and war crimes, Amnesty International said today. Mahinda Rajapaksa reportedly left Sri Lanka early Wednesday morning with a delegation of 20 bound for the US.

    "The US has an obligation under international law to investigate and prosecute people who perpetrated war crimes and grave human rights violations such as extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa is commander in chief of Sri Lanka's armed forces, which face numerous allegations of war crimes, enforced disappearances, and torture. Under international law, military commanders may face criminal responsibility if they knew, or should have known, of such crimes being committed by their subordinates.

    January 20, 2011

    On Friday 21 January, at a press conference in Port-au-Prince, Amnesty International’s expert on Haiti, Gerardo Ducos, will provide an update on the organization’s engagement with the Haitian authorities regarding the legal case against former president Jean Claude Duvalier. Amnesty International has documented hundreds of human rights abuses committed during Duvalier’s rule (1971-1986), including detention without trial, systematic torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.

    Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti on 16 January after nearly 25 years in exile in France. He was briefly arrested on 18 January and is currently facing corruption-related charges.

    When: Friday 21 January, 9.30am Local Time (14:30Hs GMT).

    Where: Hotel Le Plaza, Salle Therese 2, 10 Rue Capois, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

    Who: Gerardo Ducos, Researcher on Haiti at Amnesty International.

    For more information, please contact:
    In Port-au-Prince: Carolina Roman, +509 3784 4619.
    In London: Josefina Salomon, +44 7778 472 116, jsalomon@amnesty.org

    January 18, 2011

    Amnesty International has urged the Haitian authorities to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by former president Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as 'Baby Doc', after he was detained in Port-Au-Prince. Jean-Claude Duvalier, who has been accused of presiding over numerous human rights violations during his rule from 1971 to 1986, was detained after being questioned by police on Tuesday 18 January. It is not yet clear what charges he will face.

    “This landmark arrest is a welcome first step towards bringing to justice a leader whose security apparatus carried out widespread and systematic human rights violations including torture, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances," said Javier Zuñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.

    "Haiti must investigate Jean-Claude Duvalier, and anyone else allegedly responsible for such crimes, some of which amount to crimes against humanity , in a trial that is thorough, independent and fair."

    January 17, 2011

    Amnesty International today urged the Haitian authorities to bring former president Jean-Claude Duvalier – also known as 'Baby Doc' -- to justice for human rights abuses committed during his regime in the 1970’s and 80’s. “The widespread and systematic human rights violations committed in Haiti during Duvalier’s rule amount to crimes against humanity. Haiti is under the obligation to prosecute him and anyone else responsible for such crimes," said Javier Zuñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.

    Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti on 16 January after nearly 25 years in exile in France. He fled Haiti in 1986 after a popular uprising which was violently repressed by the former Haitian Armed Forces and a local militia known as the “tonton macoutes”.

    Throughout his fifteen years in power (1971-1986) systematic torture and other ill-treatment were widespread across Haiti.

    January 13, 2011

    Amnesty International has urged the United Nations not to help fugitives from international justice after a Sudanese official wanted for war crimes in Darfur was provided with a helicopter to fly to a meeting in the Abyei region. Ahmed Haroun, the Governor of Southern Kordofan, who is the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was given assistance by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) so that he could attend a meeting with members of the Missirya community in Abyei.

    "It's outrageous that someone who is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes is given transport by UN without being arrested," said Renzo Pomi, Amnesty International’s representative at the UN.

    In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday, Amnesty International called for directives to be issued to "all peacekeeping operations and other UN offices and agencies to refrain from providing such assistance except for the purpose of facilitating the arrest of a person as required by the ICC or other competent judicial body."

    December 23, 2010

    Amnesty International has welcomed the sentence handed to a former Argentine president responsible for crimes against humanity in the 1970s and '80s. Jorge Videla, a former military general, was found guilty of killing dissidents during the country's "Dirty War" - a period of military rule between 1976 and 1983.

    The 85-year-old, who was the de facto president of Argentina between 1976 and 1981 after becoming the first leader of the military junta, was ruled "criminally responsible" for the torture and deaths of 31 prisoners in Córdoba.

    Twenty-nine other military officers were also found guilty for the murders by a court in the city of Córdoba on Wednesday. Among them was General Luciano Benjamín Menendez, who was also sentenced to life in prison.

    "This judgement represents another important step in the fight against impunity. Finally those responsible for the grave human rights abuses committed under past military regimes are being brought to justice," said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International's Americas Deputy Director.

    Videla was already serving a life jail term for abuses committed during the "Dirty War".

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