Eight Perspectives on Yvon Neptune v. Haiti
27 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2009
The purpose of this article is to examine a recent decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Yvon Neptune v. Haiti from a number of complementary viewpoints. In doing so, I hope the article can be of use to a variety of groups, and help those groups to understand and work with each other more successfully.
Yvon Neptune v. Haiti is noteworthy in a number of respects. It is the only available final decision from the Court regarding human rights violations in Haiti. The Petitioner, Yvon Neptune, was the Prime Minister of Haiti from 2002-2004. He was also one of scores of victims of detention without due process, along with other of political opponents of the Interim Government of Haiti. His detention was nominally based upon human rights abuses he had allegedly committed. Thus in this case, human rights rhetoric was not only a shield against state power, but also a sword used by the state.
Yvon Neptune’s 25-month detention was found to be in violation of eleven provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights by the Court. The Court determined that Haiti’s substandard judicial processes and conditions of detention amounted to human rights violations, and ordered Haiti to provide not only individual reparation and satisfaction but also system-wide reform of its judiciary and detention system. Whether Haiti will ultimately comply with the decision remains to be seen, although in the meantime it is clear they have done nothing. The degree to which pervasive, systematic human rights violations continue will rely on a variety of actors. All of these actors are part of the story of this case. At least some of these actors will be considered in this Commentary.
Keywords: Haiti, Yvon Neptune, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, detention, due process, American Convention on Human Rights, American Convention, conditions of detention, prison conditions
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