- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2004

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Agence France-Presse) — Haiti is to seek the arrest of its exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on charges of fraud and political crimes, Prime Minister Gerard Latortue said yesterday.

Mr. Aristide is now in South Africa.

Mr. Latortue said that formal instructions had been sent to the Justice Ministry for an international warrant to be issued “as quickly as possible.”

The prime minister spoke at a ceremony to mark the start of a commission looking into the diversion of funds during Mr. Aristide’s administration between 2001 and 2004.

Haitian authorities and Mr. Aristide’s political opponents accuse the ex-president of large-scale theft from state coffers and of being the inspiration for political killings in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Mr. Aristide fled a popular revolt in Haiti in late February, flying to the Central African Republic and later Jamaica before arriving in South Africa on May 31.

His supporters have been accused of a wave of political violence in recent weeks that has left dozens dead.

The former president has lashed out at Mr. Latortue in recent weeks, accusing the prime minister of seeking a “scapegoat” for the violence.

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