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29 juin 2003

PORT-AU-PRINCE, 29 juin (AFP) - Une femme, ancienne avocate et magistrate de carrière, Jocelyne Pierre, a été nommée samedi nouveau directeur général de la Police nationale d’Haïti (PNH), a-t-on annoncé de source officielle à Port-au-Prince.

Madame Pierre, deuxième directeur général de la PNH a être nommée en trois semaines, a été installée dans ses nouvelles fonctions par le Premier ministre Yvon Neptune.

Le nouveau directeur général de la PNH, qui occupait les fonctions de doyen du tribunal civil de première instance de Port-au-Prince, a été formée à l’école de la Magistrature de Bordeaux (France).

Elle a brièvement été nommée commissaire divisionnaire avant de prendre ses nouvelles fonctions.

Le précédent directeur général de la PNH, Jean-Robert Faveur, nommé le 6 juin en consultation avec l’Organisation des Etats américains (OEA) qui s’était félicité de ce choix, avait démissionné le 21 juin dernier en accusant le pouvoir exécutif haïtien et le parti au pouvoir, le parti Famille Lavalas du président Jean Bertrand Aristide, d’ingérences politiques dans ses fonctions, affirmant avoir choisi l’exil aux Etats-Unis plutôt que de se laisser « corrompre et asservir ».

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Jocelyne Pierre, right
Haiti’s new General Director of the Haitian National Police, former Judge Jocelyne Pierre, right, accompanied by an unidentified bodyguard, left, heads into the Prime Minister’s office for her first official meeting just after being sworn in on Saturday, June 28, 2003. Pierre was named to replace Jean-Robert Faveur who fled into exile last Sunday, only 17 days after taking office, saying President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his government were preventing him from doing his job and that he feared for his life. (AP Photo/Daniel Morel)

Judge replaces Haiti’s former police chief who fled to United States for fear of his life

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A week after her predecessor resigned and fled to the United States, a judge took on the job Saturday of running Haiti’s much-criticized police force.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide appointed lawyer Jocelyne Pierre, dean of Port-au-Prince’s civil court, to be Haiti’s interim police chief. She took the oath of office Saturday at the police headquarters in the capital.

Pierre’s appointment ``proves the president has chosen to orient the police toward the construction of a state of law,’ government spokesman Mario Dupuy said.

``I will put all my knowledge and experience to work, like all the other women who have served the nation,’ Pierre said at the swearing-in ceremony.

Aristide has been under intense pressure to reform the police force, which has been accused of criminal activity, human rights abuses and repression of political dissent.

The political opposition, human rights groups and the U.S. State Department have all accused the 4,000-member force of helping armed bands of Aristide supporters break up opposition protests.

Pierre is the third acting police chief in the past month, and the first woman to hold the post since the police force replaced the demobilized army in June 1995.

Her predecessor, Jean-Robert Faveur, resigned after two weeks in office and fled with his family to Miami, saying he feared for his life.

In an open letter to Aristide on June 22, Faveur said the government had been undermining his position. He alleged Friday in Washington D.C. that Aristide was filling police ranks with people loyal to him regardless of their qualifications.

The government denied the charges, saying Faveur had ``abandoned his post’ and should be extradited and arrested.

Haiti’s opposition parties said Faveur’s flight indicated secure elections would be impossible under Aristide, and questioned Pierre’s competence for police work.

Pierre’s ``appointment is not conducive to establishing a secure environment for the electoral process,’ opposition politician Mischa Gaillard said. The entire force must be reformed, he said.

Before Faveur, the force was headed by Aristide supporter Jean-Claude Baptiste, who resigned under international pressure after less than three months.

Baptiste had been accused in the killing of politician Sylvio Claude on the eve of a 1991 army coup that ousted Aristide and sent him into exile. Baptiste has denied involvement in the killing.

The opposition and Aristide have been at loggerheads since May 2000 legislative elections, which the opposition says were rigged and international observers deemed flawed.

Two opposition blocs and five civil society groups have refused to participate in planning new legislative elections until Aristide creates a secure environment for credible elections.

In an effort to break the stalemate last year, the Organization of American States passed two resolutions for establishing security - disarming partisans and reforming the police force.

JPEG - 35.2 ko
Jocelyne Pierre, right
Haiti’s new General Director of the Haitian National Police, former Judge Jocelyne Pierre, right, accompanied by an unidentified bodyguard, left, heads into the Prime Minister’s office for her first official meeting just after being sworn in on Saturday, June 28, 2003. Pierre was named to replace Jean-Robert Faveur who fled into exile last Sunday, only 17 days after taking office, saying President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his government were preventing him from doing his job and that he feared for his life. (AP Photo/Daniel Morel)

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