Kim Ives – July 8, 2020
Alarm and indignation are growing over former CIA agent and death-squad leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant’s deportation by the U.S. back to Haiti last month.
Haitian police arrested Constant when he stepped off the plane on Jun. 23, but now it remains to be seen if Haitian authorities will bring him to justice for the many crimes against humanity of which he is accused.
“Is Haiti’s justice system up to the job” of retrying Constant? That was the question asked by a Jul. 5 Washington Post editorial.
Constant was convicted in absentia in 2000 for crimes against humanity committed when his Revolutionary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) helped carry out a massacre in the Gonaïves’ neighborhood of Raboteau in April 1994. But now he is entitled to a new trial.
The Post already recognizes that “Haiti’s judicial system is fragile at best, and [President Jovenel] Moïse’s own commitment to human rights and justice is highly suspect: He named another man convicted in the Raboteau massacre to a top position in the country’s reconstituted army — an institution that itself has a bloodstained history. If Mr. Constant goes free or is subject to a trial manipulated in his favor, it will be a conclusive sign that impunity once again has triumphed over rule of law in Haiti.”
We’ve heard such pious concerns before… from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, no less.
In secret diplomatic cables provided by the media organization WikiLeaks to Haïti Liberté in 2011, we learn that the de facto government assured the U.S. Embassy that it would not release another convicted FRAPH leader, Louis-Jodel Chamblain, the death-squad’s #2.
“The Gonaïves prosecutor and the chief judge of the Gonaïves court have connived in an effort to get Chamblain released illegally, but the IGOH [Interim Government of Haiti] has pledged not to do so,” reported the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Douglas Griffiths in a May 13, 2005 cable classified “Confidential.”