In the impunity's core February 7, 1986 : rejection of dictatorship Virtual Exposition Library Submit a Document




On 7 February 2014,  the project "Haiti fights against impunity" was launched simultaneously in Port-au-Prince and Montreal.

Why this project ?


In Haiti state crimes, political crimes, as well as individual crimes are rarely sanctioned by the law. More often no investigation or legal procedure is initiated following the perpetration of illegal and criminal acts. The rare investigations initiated seldom or never come to closure. And defective justice when it is rendered seldom respects the law or the truth. The victims and their families do not truly have any recourse when faced to the criminals and often they must deal with the contempt for their suffering and the arrogance of their tormentors. They are forced to remain silent out of fear of experiencing the reprisals of their tormentors or they choose to remain silent for they are convinced that the Haitian judicial system is incapable of rendering genuine justice. When they decide to file complaint, they run into the wall of impunity as they find themselves confronting a judicial system that is deaf and mute. More and more, the impunity embedded in the Haitian social body imposes itself to the citizens as a normal dimension –indeed a fatality-- of their lives. This is such that today we are witnessing a normalization of crime and corruption in Haiti.  This is such that the victims are asked to remain silent and to forget, to forget the dead, the massacres, the disappeared, the tortured, the rapes, the kidnappings, the suffering, and the thefts because Haitian society cannot or doesn't want to deliver justice. Silence and amnesia imposed on the victims, combined with a dysfunctional judicial system, constitute the three threads with which is woven the veil of impunity that covers the whole of Haitian society over time.

Impunity is the absence of judicial or legal sanction against illegal and reprehensible ideas, practices and acts. Impunity also refers to the absence of rules and laws as well as the non-application of those. Every time a society does not take punitive measures against the violations of laws there is impunity. Every time a society does not apply the punishment deserved by an individual or moral person following criminal acts, the criminal benefits from impunity for the crime that remains unpunished.



Generally, impunity has always been present in Haiti. From slavery to independence, from foreign occupation to the duvalierist dictatorship, and from 1986 to today. Haitian territory seems to be fertile ground for all forms of impunity. And more particularly so during the period of the Duvalier dictatorship, impunity was established as a system of governance over the whole country. Since then, Haiti has in fact known absolute impunity.


Given the scope and persistence of the phenomenon of impunity largely propagated since the Duvalier dictatorship in the Haitian social body;

Given the absolute impunity that reigns in Haiti, generates and maintains the climate of fear and of silence;

Given the enormous deficit facing by  the Haitian society in terms of institutions whose principal functions would be to protect and transmit collective memory;

There is an urgent need for a systematic citizen’s struggle against impunity and the programmed destruction of collective memory.  Therefore this is the following project's first motivation.


The project “Haiti fights against impunity”, conceived as a virtual library accessible on the Web,  has a given mission to inform on the nature and scope of the system of impunity in Haiti. The project offers particularly to the younger generations documents based on real facts, events that took place in Haiti and whose analysis sheds light on the mechanisms and forms of impunity since the rise of Duvalierism in 1957 until today.

The implementation of this project by a transnational team is a long-term endeavor and requires your multi-faceted contributions. In order to help in the enrichment and development of this project, please send us testimonies, photos, documents and your proposal for rubrics. The project also needs your financial support so that it may continue to pursue its mission and reach out to successive Haitian generations in the context of a lasting struggle against impunity in Haiti.

The documentary site "Haiti fights against impunity"  has been created from an original idea of the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights (CEDH) in Haiti. It was initiated by the Collective against impunity with the support of the Platform Haiti from Switzerland (PFHS). Quickly rallied around the project personalities from the Haitian diaspora and institutional partners abroad and in Haiti: Association for the Defense of Human Rights and Democracy in Haiti (ADDHDH, Paris); International Center for Documentation and Information Haitian, Caribbean and African-Canadian (CIDIHCA, Montreal); Duty to Remember-Haiti. The site's  implementation - supported by CEDH, PFHS and FOKAL (Knowledge and Freedom Foundation) - is provided by a multidisciplinary team based in California, Montreal and Port-au-Prince. "Haiti fights against impunity" is a collaborative work managed by the CEDH.


Haiti fights against impunity because the new Haiti must be founded above all on law, justice and truth.


Justice elevates a nation, but impunity destroys it…