crime - Haiti Observer Blog

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Cite Soleil Smuggling Case Suspects to be Indicted Soon

There was a case of smuggling in Cite Soleil that will soon be coming to a head. In a country as desperately poor as Haiti, contraband or the transportation of illegal goods, also known as smuggling, constitutes a major portion of crimes committed in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. Recently, a crack-down on the crime of smuggling has been initiated at the Institutional Committee, in the office of Prime Minister-Elect Laurent Lamothe.

The genesis of the crack-down began when Director General Fresnel Jean-Baptiste of the General Administration of Customs (AGD) sent his agents to lock-down a warehouse in Cite Soleil, whose contents held a wealth of smuggled merchandise from outside the country that had snuck through Port-au-Prince customs. Among the items discovered were 74 bags of frozen peas, 1,500 bags of milled corn, 250 cases of Mazola oil, and 495 gallons of Alberto oil.

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The Cannibal Army in Haiti

The Cannibal Army, which initially was known as Popular Organization for the Development of Raboteau came into being in the 1980s under the stewardship of Amiot Metayer. It was formed with an aim of resisting the dictatorial rule of Duvalier and was a major oppose of the 1991-1994 military regime. This made it vulnerable and increased its risk of being attacked by the army, a fact which led to what is known as the Raboteau massacre.

Following the restoration of the rule of law, the Cannibal Army became one of the most powerful gangs to be hired by politicians to bring down opponents. This was done by often utilizing some crude and uncivilized means to achieve their goal. It is said that its leader, Amiot Metayer, swore his allegiance to President Aristide and was often called upon to rein terror upon his political enemies.

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Four People Linked To Clifford Brandt Case so Far

Four individuals have been dragged into the case of Clifford Brandt, who was arrested over the abduction of Coralie and Nicolas Moscoso. The four other suspects are Brandt's secretary, Swadienne Jean and her husband Franck Sainterine, as well as Ricot Pierreval and Carlo Saint-Fort. They, along with Brandt, were arrested, with Pierreval and Saint-Fort caught as they were trying to cross the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The five suspects have appeared before the Prosecutor of Port-au-Prince on Thursday with Geral Norgaisse as the acting Government Commissioner. After presenting a set of evidence, the prosecution made a decision to incarcerate the suspects. Instead of the National Penitentiary, the suspects were sent to the Civil Prison of Carrefour due to safety issues. Norgaisse refused to divulge too much information about the case because of its sensitivity. He said though that a judge will be assigned to take and oversee the case.

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Haitian National Police Protection Response and Living Conditions in Haiti Make Visiting Risky

Haiti national Police

Visitors contemplating a visit to Haiti should be forewarned about the pitfalls that accompany being in the country. Security in Haiti is uncertain. The Haitian National Police (HNP) is a compromised law enforcement agency. They have been subjected to internal militant politics, which have caused them to mistreat detainees, violating human rights laws. Under-staffed, under-paid, and awash with corruption, some of its members are suspected to be gang-affiliated.

Haiti National Police is supported by the UN stabilization peacekeeping police, who keep barely acceptable security levels in Haiti in place. Because the HNP lacks the capacity--even with an adjunct policing body in the UN forces--to investigate every crime committed towards visitors to the island, they remain largely ineffective. The HNP warns travelers landing at Port-au-Prince Airport to not use public transit, but to call someone ahead of time to come and pick them up.

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Historic Convictions of Eight Police Officers Show Haiti Judicial System Capable of Integrity

Haiti national Police

The Haiti National Police (HNP), an historically under-funded, under-recruited, and politically-influenced by ex-members of the Haitian Army, have been accused of killing-at-will suspects believed to have been involved in criminal activity. They have also been implicated in gang-related crimes either on- or off-duty.

Haiti's judicial system has failed to adequately address either alleged police abuse, or on-going gang activity in Port-au-Prince. Haiti's police force does investigate criminal incidents, but stops short of securing convictions. The problem of witness fear in testifying is one of the obstacles. Another barrier is that oftentimes police officers resume their duties before completion of the investigations.

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Clifford Brandt, Haiti Prominent Businessman's son arrested for Kidnapping

Clifford Brandt answering questionf from Haiti National Police

Clifford Brandt, son to a prominent Haitian businessman, was locked up on Monday following allegations of kidnapping.

The matter is being investigated by Haitian police. Authorities on Wednesday said Clifford Brandt played a central role in the kidnapping of two children.

Frantz Lerebours, the police spokesman said the arrest of Clifford Brandt was because he was a suspect for having been involved in the kidnapping of two children of a family in Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

Brandt led the investigating policemen to the place where the two children were held. The police freed the children and arrested Brandt.

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Kidnapping, the most critical crime in Haiti

Haiti kidnapping

The ongoing social-economic challenges facing Haiti has led to search of alternative sources of income by citizens. High level of unemployment has found many people indulging themselves in illegitimate ways of raising a living.

Due to these challenges the crime rate in Haiti is high. The most rampant crime in the recent past has been kidnapping and the threat is more likely to increase due to inability of the security forces to curb the situation. The Haitian National Police have experienced significant strain in bringing kidnappers to custody. Since the 2006 kidnapping peak period security has been reinforced by the presence of UN-formed police and the UN stabilization forces (MINUSTAH).

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Haiti Secret Service Chief, Marc-Arthur Phebe, Linked To Brandt Kidnapping Case

Another big and prominent name has been dragged into an ongoing kidnapping case involving business tycoon Clifford Brandt. According to reports, Brandt, one of the main suspects in the crime, claimed that Marc-Arthur Phebe was the mastermind behind the kidnappings. Phebe is a National Police officer, as well as the head of the National Palace's CAT Team. He is also Brandt's family security chief.

In order to defend himself, Phebe sought the services of lawyer Carlos Hercule, who is the president of the Federation of Bar Associations. This move is seen to favor Phebe as Hercule is considered one of the most powerful lawyers in the country.

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Latest wave of insecurity in Haiti attrutibuted to gang wars

Ivan Simonovic of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights informed The Associated Press recently that he had learned from Haitian officials that the latest wave of insecurity, specially in Port-au-Prince, has been a result of gang warfare. The information was provided to him by Haitian police officials as well as Mr. Jean Renel Sanon, Justice Minister in Haiti.

Also record from United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti indicated that last July was the most violent Month for the past two years. However, something very interesting happened at the same time. The level of kidnapping decreased remarkably during that same Month.

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Is Minustah in Haiti For life?"A Vie"

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, just recommends the renewal of the Minustah mandate for one year. He recommended that the Security Council extend its mandate of yet another, which is until October 15, 2013.

Le'ts face it folks, MINUSTAH is here for good.

Based on my analysis, the decision on whether these people stay or leave does not depend on us.

If we have to put up with them, shouldn't they at least protect the population?

According to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, "the security situation remained relatively stable although punctuated by sporadic civil unrest due mainly to socio-economic demands and to the instability caused by members of the former armed forces". The General Assembly is expected to spend nearly $650 million to finance the operation of the Minustah in Haiti for the period from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013

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