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Aristide Lawyers Demand U.S. Prosecute "Kidnappers" Of Aristide and His Haitian-American Wife
March 09, 2004
Lawyers representing Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide today are serving Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell with papers asking that the US prosecute the people involved in what they call the kidnapping of Aristide and his wife Mildred, who is a US citizen. The lawyers are invoking the Multilateral Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons.
The request that the United States fulfill its obligations under the Convention stems from what Aristide's lawyers call the intentional commission of internationally recognized crimes that were "part of a coup d'etat organized and implemented by officials of the Government of the United States of America to remove and replace the democratically-elected President of Haiti..." The demand specifically references the kidnapping of the Aristide while on board an aircraft belonging in whole or in part to the United States.
In a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Aristide's lawyers said, "These criminal acts appear to have been carried out by U.S. government personnel acting under the orders of high-ranking United States government officials, including the United States Depute Charge de Mission in Haiti, Luis Moreno, and possibly Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega (Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs), Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld."
Aristide's lawyers are also calling on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to initiate a fact finding mission to Haiti to investigate what they say are summary executions and continued violence against Lavalas supporters.
Ira Kurzban, a Miami-based lawyer. Since 1991, he has served as General Counsel for the government of Haiti.