[News] Haitian Death Squad leader accused

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Mon Jan 17 16:31:00 EST 2005

16 JANUARY 2005

FROM: News HaitiAction.net




New York, NY: Emmanuel "Toto" Constant was served with a lawsuit today that 
accuses him of responsibility for torture, crimes against humanity and the 
systematic use of violence against women, including rape, for the purpose 
of terrorizing the Haitian population during that country's brutal military 
regime in the early 1990s.

Despite being the outspoken leader of the paramilitary death squad known as 
FRAPH (Revolutionary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti), Toto 
Constant has lived and worked openly in Queens, New York, for the last ten 
years. The U.S. government tried to deport Constant in 1995, but suspended 
its efforts and released him from detention after he threatened on the 60 
Minutes news program to expose information about the CIA's role in the 
formation of FRAPH.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York 
by the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), based in San Francisco, 
on behalf of several women who survived savage gang rapes and other forms 
of extreme violence, including attempted murder. The Center for 
Constitutional Rights (CCR), based in New York, is serving as local counsel.

Following a violent military coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide 
in 1991, the Haitian Armed Forces trained and armed members of FRAPH to 
maintain control over Haiti's poor masses. After democracy was returned to 
Haiti in October 1994, the government of President Aristide issued a 
warrant for Constant's arrest. He fled and came to the United States.

All three plaintiffs in this case are women who were targeted by Constant 
and FRAPH as part of a systematic campaign of violence against women. Two 
of the women were gang raped repeatedly by FRAPH members in front of their 
families. One of the plaintiffs became pregnant and bore a child as a 
result of the rape she suffered. FRAPH operatives attacked the third 
plaintiff, leaving her for dead. Due to the fear of reprisals, the 
plaintiffs in this case have filed their claims anonymously.

The lawsuit is especially timely because Haiti is again suffering from the 
massive, sytematic human rights violations committed during the 1991-94 
military dictatorship. Many of Constant's former subordinates in FRAPH are 
again wielding considerable power. They have embarked on a campaign of 
abuses, including widespread rape, since President Aristide was forced from 
office in February, 2004. Among the leaders of this renewed violence are 
FRAPH's former second-in-command, Jodel Chamblain, and local chief Jean 
Pierre (alias Jean Tatoune), both convicted murderers. In addition, three 
members of the military government's High Command who were deported from 
the U.S. for their involvement in human rights violations - General 
Jean-Claude Duperval, Lieutenant Colonel Hébert Valmond, and Colonel Carl 
Dorelien - were freed from prison and have not been re-arrested. CJA 
brought a case against Dorelien before he was deported and obtained a court 
order preventing him from receiving nearly $1 million he won from the 
Florida State Lottery.

The types of attacks suffered by the plaintiffs in this case - the gang 
rape of women by paramilitaries as a form of punishment for the women's 
political beliefs - have been occurring in alarming numbers in recent 
months. One of the plaintiffs in the suit against Constant, speaking on 
behalf of all of the plaintiffs, said: "We hope that the suit will deter at 
least some of the violence, by sending a message that anyone who commits 
atrocities will no longer be able to visit or live in the U.S. with impunity."

CJA's Executive Director Sandra Coliver stated: "Toto Constant's 
comfortable lifestyle in Queens has enraged and offended the Haitian 
community in this country as well as human rights activists around the 
globe. We are honored to represent these courageous women who are taking 
great risks by coming forward. They brought this lawsuit in the name of the 
hundreds of women who cannot speak out because of the violence that reigns 
today in Haiti."

Commonly referred to as "The Devil," Toto Constant has been the target of 
several community protests in Queens. In November 2000, he was convicted in 
absentia in Haiti for his role in the notorious "Raboteau Massacre" of 
April 1994. Until now, no court in the U.S. or Haiti has forced him to face 
trial in person for the human rights abuses he committed against the people 
of Haiti. No one from the ranks of FRAPH or the Haitian Armed Forces has 
been held accountable for the hundreds of politically motivated rapes that 
were committed and continue to be committed against the women of Haiti.

CJA, based in San Francisco, has obtained favorable verdicts in similar 
cases involving human rights abusers from Bosnia, El Salvador and Chile who 
had come to live in the U.S. The Center for Constitutional Rights has 
brought human rights cases against individuals and corporations responsible 
for human rights violations since 1980, when CCR filed the groundbreaking 
case which allowed those who have suffered human rights abuses to bring 
their claims in U.S. courts.

Jennie Green, CCR Senior Attorney, commented: "The U.S. government claims 
to be fighting a war on terrorism, all the while allowing a man who 
terrorized people in Haiti to prosper in our midst. Documents released by 
the U.S. government show FRAPH's role in human rights violations. Constant 
as its leader must be held accountable."

For additional information about the case, please see CJA's website: 
www.cja.org. For more information on the current human rights situation in 
Haiti please contact the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti at 

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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