Haiti president vows to continue legal proceedings against Duvalier

Haiti president vows to continue legal proceedings against Duvalier

[JURIST] Haitian President Rene Preval Tuesday declared his intent to continue investigating former Haitian president Jean-Claude Duvalier [BBC backgrounder], despite the latter's recent plea for forgiveness from the people of Haiti [JURIST news archive]. Duvalier, who became president in 1971 at the age of 19, is accused of embezzling money from the national treasury and of killing and imprisoning thousands of dissenters. He has been living in exile in France since his ouster in 1986. Over the weekend, a recorded message from Duvalier was broadcast around Haiti [Guardian report] saying that the former president accepted responsibility for wrongdoing during his administration and suggesting that he might attempt to return to power.

Preval said Tuesday that prosecutors are collecting evidence to begin a trial aimed at recovering the stolen national funds from Duvalier. His assets have been frozen, and Preval is collaborating with the World Bank [official website] to locate assets that Duvalier has placed in foreign countries. The Bank and the United Nations are working with Haiti as part of the new Stolen Asset Initiative [press release], which will assist developing nations in recovering money stolen by former leaders. BBC News has more. Reuters has additional coverage.