[News] Haitian Colonel guilty of human rights abuses

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 27 16:58:10 EST 2007



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Dear Friends of CJA,

We are pleased to announce that on Friday, after 
a four day trial, a federal jury in Miami found 
Colonel Carl Dorélien, former member of the 
Haitian High Command, liable for torture, 
extrajudicial killing, arbitrary detention and 
crimes against humanity suffered by plaintiffs 
Lexiuste Cajuste, Marie Jeanne Jean and Ms. 
Jean’s two young children. Colonel Dorélien was 
ordered to pay a total of $4.3 million to the 
plaintiffs in compensatory and punitive damages.

Special congratulations and thanks to our heroic 
clients and their families; the Haitian community 
of Miami; co-counsel Dwayne Williams, Leon 
Fresco, Stephen Hanlon and Joyce Dooley-Rodriguez of Holland & Knight,
LLP; co-counsel John Thornton; witnesses Colonel 
Jose Luis Garcia, Dr. Karen Burns, Dr. Robert 
Shannon, Brian Concannon and Mario Joseph; CJA 
Legal Interns Jeff Graham, Christine Keller and 
Alicia Adornato; CJA assistant in Haiti and at 
trial, Daniel Tillias; therapist Sandra Zakowski; 
interpreters CreoleTrans and Francis Icaza; and, 
of course, CJA attorneys Matt Eisenbrandt and 
Moira Feeney. Below is a copy of the press release that was issued late Friday.

This case represents the first time that a U.S. 
jury has held a former member of the Haitian 
military responsible for the widespread human 
rights abuses that were committed by the military 
against the civilian population during the 
dictatorship that was in power from 1991 through 1994.

All the best,

Pamela Merchant
Executive Director

PS: CJA relies on contributions from individuals 
like you to continue our work. Please consider 
making a donation today at 
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=g6qfc6bab.0.7sc8kwbab.z5aocvbab.2900&ts=S0234&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cja.org%2Fdonate%2Fdonate.shtml>http://www.cja.org/donate/donate.shtml. 
___________________________________________________





For Immediate Release
February 23, 2007

Contacts:
Center for Justice & Accountability
Moira Feeney, Staff Attorney, mfeeney at cja.org, (415) 544-0444 x302
Pamela Merchant, Executive Director, pmerchant at cja.org, (415) 544-0444 x307

Holland & Knight LLP
Susan M. Bass, Marketing Communications Manager 
for Holland & Knight LLP susan.bass at hklaw.com, (813) 769-4326


HAITIAN COLONEL AND MEMBER OF THE HIGH COMMAND 
ORDERED TO PAY $4.3 MILLION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES


(Miami, Florida, February 23, 2007). A federal 
jury in Miami found Colonel Carl Dorélien, a 
former member of the Haitian Military’s High 
Command, liable for torture, extrajudicial 
killing, arbitrary detention and crimes against 
humanity suffered by plaintiffs Lexiuste Cajuste, 
Marie Jeanne Jean and her two young children. 
Colonel Dorélien was ordered to pay a total of 
$4.3 million to the plaintiffs in compensatory and punitive damages.

Lexiuste Cajuste was arbitrarily detained and 
severely tortured by Haitian military forces 
under Dorelien’s command because of his role as a 
union organizer and pro-democracy activist. 
Miraculously, he survived the beatings but, 
fourteen years after the ordeal, still suffers 
severe physical disabilities relating to his 
torture. Upon learning of the jury’s verdict in 
his favor Cajuste stated, “Today I have finally 
found justice, but I am only one person amongst 
an entire population who suffered abuses. My wish 
is to see that all the people of Haiti receive 
justice.” Cajuste went on to say, “Although 
today’s judgment was rendered against Colonel 
Dorélien, I see this is as a judgment against the 
entire armed forces of Haiti under the military 
dictatorship. This is a wonderful day for justice 
for me and my family and for the Haitian people.”

Marie Jeanne Jean lost her husband Michel Pierre 
during the massacre by the Haitian military 
against the citizens of the Raboteau neighborhood 
in the seaside city of Gonaives. Raboteau was 
known for being a stronghold of pro-democracy 
activism. The Raboteau massacre was one of the 
worst atrocities committed against the civilian 
population in Haiti while Dorélien was part of 
the High Command. She brought this suit on behalf 
of herself and her two minor children. “Today is 
a proud and happy day. This judgment is not just 
for me and my family, but for all of the many 
victims of the Raboteau Massacre. It is in their 
name that I am here in Miami today,” said Marie Jean about the jury’s verdict.

Colonel Dorélien was a member of the High Command 
of the Haitian Armed Forces during the military 
dictatorship in Haiti from 1991 to 1994. 
Dorélien’s presence in the U.S. became widely 
known after he won $3.2 million in the Florida 
state lottery in 1997. Dorélien, along with many 
other members of the Haitian military, fled to 
the U.S. where they lived with impunity. This 
case represents the first time that a U.S. jury 
has held a former member of the Haitian military 
responsible for the widespread human rights 
abuses that were committed by the military against the civilian population.

Matt Eisenbrandt, CJA Legal Director and member 
of the trial team said, “It is an honor to 
represent Marie Jean and Lexiuste Cajuste, their 
courage is an inspiration. Justice has been served.”

The plaintiffs are represented by the Center for 
Justice and Accountability (CJA) and Holland & 
Knight. CJA is a San Francisco-based human rights 
organization that works to end impunity by 
bringing to justice perpetrators of human rights 
abuses, especially those who live in or visit the 
United States. 
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=g6qfc6bab.0.6sc8kwbab.z5aocvbab.2900&ts=S0234&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cja.org>www.cja.org. 
Holland & Knight is among the world's 15 largest 
law firms, providing representation in 
litigation, business, real estate and 
governmental law. 
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=g6qfc6bab.0.cww7v7bab.z5aocvbab.2900&ts=S0234&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hklaw.com>www.hklaw.com.

For more information and background on the case, 
please visit 
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=g6qfc6bab.0.6sc8kwbab.z5aocvbab.2900&ts=S0234&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cja.org>www.cja.org. 


Center for Justice and Accountability

email: <mailto:center4justice at cja.org>center4justice at cja.org
phone: 415-544-0444
web: 
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=g6qfc6bab.0.6sc8kwbab.z5aocvbab.2900&ts=S0234&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cja.org>http://www.cja.org 




Center for Justice and Accountability | 870 
Market Street | Suite 688 | San Francisco | CA | 94102


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