The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay [official website], offered technical assistance [press release] on Tuesday to Haitian authorities in the prosecution of former Haitian president Jean-Claude Duvalier [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for serious human rights violations. Pillay urged prosecutors to move forward, indicating that violations like torture, extrajudicial killings and rape are not subject to a statute of limitations [UN News Centre report]. The charges stem from alleged abuses that occurred from 1971 to 1986 when Duvalier was in power in Haiti. Pillay called on Haiti to provide justice to the thousands who suffered [Reuters report] well-documented violations.
Last month, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] announced [press release] that Haitian authorities will investigate crimes committed against humanity [JURIST report] allegedly committed under the rule of Duvalier. The announcement followed the filing of criminal complaints [JURIST report] against Duvalier by four people, including former UN spokesperson Michele Montas. Duvalier was charged [JURIST report] with corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds and other unnamed crimes days after he returned to Haiti unexpectedly on January 16 after 25 years in exile. An anonymous Haitian government official, however, told Reuters that they had not yet decided to prosecute [Reuters report].