Human rights groups are calling for
Haiti to arrest and prosecute former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier for
crimes against humanity after his surprise return from 25 years in exile.
Analysts said the unexpected arrival
in Port-au-Prince of “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who had fled his homeland
in 1986 to escape a popular revolt, could only complicate the political
uncertainty in earthquake-battered Haiti.
Tensions are already high following
chaotic and inconclusive 28 November elections.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty
International said Duvalier, 59, should be brought to trial for the killings
and torture of thousands of opponents at the hands of the thuggish Tonton
Macoutes militia during his 15 years in power.
As a chubby playboy and the world’s
youngest head of state at 19, Duvalier assumed power in Haiti in 1971 on the
death of his father, the feared dictator Francois “Papa Doc”
Duvalier. “Baby Doc” continued the Duvalier dynasty, which inspired
fear and loathing among many in Haiti, until going into exile in France in
Duvalier says he returned to show
solidarity to the people of Haiti, still the poorest state in the Western
Hemisphere, which is grappling with a cholera epidemic and struggling to
recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake. He said he wanted to participate in
Analysts said his return could not
come at a worse time for Haiti, which is on edge after confused legislative and
presidential elections in November.
Preliminary voting results have
triggered fraud allegations and violent street protests.
Duvalier had faced accusations of
corruption and human rights abuses when he fled the country in 1986 during
massive street protests and diplomatic pressure from Washington.
It was not clear whether arrest
warrants still existed against him.
Because Haiti’s constitution bans
the practice of exile for Haitians, there was nothing legally preventing his
A source close to Duvalier said he
had returned under a diplomatic passport but was required to inform Haiti’s
Interior Ministry of his whereabouts.