Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier after his return to Haiti; photo altered to provide Baby Doc with Papa Doc’s thick spectacles
So for the second time, Jean-Claude Duvalier didn’t see fit to attend an appellate court hearing on his human-rights abuses on Thursday. His lawyers hopped up and down, denouncing the appeal for various picayune and Kafka-esque points of “law.”
I’m not surprised. Are you? Why would a person like Duvalier, raised and then elevated to power on an utter disrespect for any concept of the rule of law in Haiti (although he probably has come to respect the Swiss courts…) — why would such a one agree to come before a Haitian court to be judged?
In fact he knows that for him and for his people to remain powerful, it is of paramount importance to disrespect the rule of law, and the courts, in Haiti. Duvalier’s arrogance is natural and even predictable in someone with his tragic and disastrous upbringing. He has always been certain that he is above the law. Daddy said so.
From the Haitian media on Thursday:
After more than 3 hours of debate, the court ordered the hearing of Jean-Claude Duvalier before the Court of Appeal and issued an arrest warrant against the former President “It is necessary for the court to declare that the appearance of Jean-Claude Duvalier is imperative […] It is therefore appropriate to order that he be brought to be heard by the court,” setting a new court date for February 28.
So yet again, we will see whether the Haitian courts hold any sway over the Haitian government. We will see their decree respected or disdained. And we will find out whether the U.S.-supported, OAS-ordained President Martelly will side with justice or with his friend, and perhaps his hero, Duvalier.