- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

A Haitian national linked to the 1994 Haitian Raboteau massacre was arrested yesterday in Miami by agents of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of the agency’s “no safe haven” initiative, ICE officials said.

Frantz Douby’s arrest came as a result of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals to remand his case based on new evidence that proves he was tried and convicted in absentia in Haiti for his involvement in the 1994 massacre, said ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez. The initiative targets human rights violators hiding in the United States.

Douby, a former colonel in charge of logistics for the Haitian military, was among a group of Haitian military officers involved in a violent coup against Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide in September 1991. Mr. Aristide, a former Catholic priest who had been democratically elected as president, had taken office seven months earlier, but was overthrown in the coup supported by many of the country’s economic elite.

From October 1991 to September 1994, an unconstitutional military regime governed Haiti.

At least two dozen, and possibly as many as 100 unarmed civilians, were shot and killed during the massacre, and more than 50 homes were destroyed, according to the Center for Justice and Accountability, a human rights organization. Many of those killed were shot in boats and fell or were later thrown into the ocean, where they were mutilated by their attackers or by sharks.

Several of the Haitian military officers involved in the coup later, including Douby, were sentenced in absentia in Haiti to life in prison with hard labor for their role in the April 1994 massacre. The sentences came after a Haitian jury found 16 military officers guilty of taking part in the rampage, in which residents of Raboteau, an impoverished seaside slum on the outskirts of the City of Gonaives, were beaten and shot to death.

Raboteau had been an Aristide stronghold. In September 1994, a U.N.-sanctioned multinational force restored the country’s democratically elected president and the Armed Forces of Haiti were disbanded. Mr. Aristide was re-elected in November 2000.

ICE boss Michael J. Garcia, who heads the agency as an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, said the Douby arrest was part of a high-priority program within the bureau to apprehend and remove those accused of human rights violations.

“The United States will never be a safe haven for criminals who commit these types of atrocities,” Mr. Garcia said. “The investigation and removal of those who commit these crimes is a top priority for ICE and the Department of Homeland Security.”

Ms. Gonzalez said Douby is the fourth Haitian human rights violator arrested. Carl Dorelien, Herbert Valmond and Luc Asmath were also linked to the Raboteau massacre and have since been deported.

“This country will not serve as a safe haven to human rights violators,” said Jesus Torres, who heads the ICE field office in Miami. “ICE is committed to locating individuals who have committed egregious crimes in their home countries, and who are attempting to obtain an immigration benefit in the United States.”

Mr. Torres described the Douby arrest, along with the arrest of the three other Haitians, as a reflection of ICE’s ongoing efforts to identify, apprehend and remove human rights violators.

Ms. Gonzalez said Douby is being detained at the Krome Detention Center in Miami as deportation proceedings continue.

No hearing date has been set. Since the inception of the “No Safe Haven” investigative effort three years ago, ICE has arrested 48 human rights violators from around the world.

Ironically, Dorelien, also a former Haitian army colonel who helped lead the coup against Mr. Aristide, won $3.2 million in the Florida state lottery in 1997. But he cannot withdraw more than $159,000 a year or assign his rights without a court order.

ICE, the primary investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, was established to bring a unified focus to the enforcement of U.S. immigration and customs laws, with the principal goal of preventing violation by terrorists and other criminals who threaten the nation’s security.


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