Support the International Tribunal on Haiti
s, 2005
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Support the International Tribunal on Haiti

Dear Supporter of Justice and Peace,

Haiti today is a killing field. Thousands of Haitians have been murdered and over 1,000 jailed without trial since the US-sponsored coup on February 29, 2004. The slaughter is taking place hidden from view by a complacent international press and complicit governments.

Each morning residents of Cité Soleil and other poor neighborhoods, the neighborhoods which twice elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide by huge margins, awake to find bodies in the streets; victims of the previous night's terror by US-trained police and increasingly by UN occupation troops. Legitimate Prime Minister Yvon Neptune remains in solitary confinement over a year since he was arrested, and Fr. Gérard Jean-Juste, who recently returned to Haiti, was beaten and arrested while helping to officiate at a funeral. Jean-Juste is charged with involvement in the murder of a journalist, a murder that took place while he was still in the United States.

The killings and jailing of political prisoners, abetted by the Brazilian-led UN occupation force, will continue unless you and I respond to the cries of the Haitian majority and come to their aid.

I am writing you today on behalf of a coalition of Haiti solidarity groups, supported by the Latin America Solidarity Coalition, that have banded together to bring international attention to the Haitian killing fields.

We need your generous financial support for an International Tribunal on Haiti that will hold its first session on the evening of September 23, 2005 at George Washington University in Washington, DC, the evening before the huge anti-war march organized by the September 24 March on Washington Coalition. I urge you to come to Washington to participate in both events.

What Will the International Tribunal on Haiti Do?

At the Tribunal's opening session, prosecutors will present a detailed background of the coup and preliminary indictments, similar to a grand jury proceeding.

The background to the indictment will cover the pre-coup period when the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute were training the Tonton Macoute and paramilitary thugs whose violence gave a pretext for the removal of popularly elected President Aristide and created the conditions for Haiti's present misery. The actions of the governments of the United States, France, and Canada to destabilize the Aristide government will be exposed. The Tribunal will urge, at such time as the legitimate government is returned to Haiti, that Haiti take those countries before the International Court of Justice (World Court) at the Hague.

But, most importantly, the International Tribunal on Haiti will expose, through eye-witness and expert testimony, the truth about the daily slaughter being carried out by masked policemen with the criminal complicity, and increasingly participation, of the UN occupation force. And, in the end, the Tribunal will forward individual indictments for those on the ground directly responsible for the massacres and crimes against humanity to the new International Criminal Court in Geneva.

The first session of the International Tribunal on Haiti will begin a seven month campaign to expose to the world the human rights violations by the Brazilian-led "peacekeeping force" and the de facto government put in place by the Bush administration.

Other sessions of the Tribunal will be held in other cities. Public education forums drawing on the work of the International Tribunal on Haiti will be organized in yet more cities and university campuses.

A blue-ribbon Commission of Inquiry, led by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, will be announced at the Sept. 23 session of the Tribunal. A delegation of the Commission of Inquiry will travel to Haiti to take eye-witness testimony and to determine what commanders and officials were responsible for which massacres and other crimes. It will be impossible for the international press to continue ignoring the crimes against humanity being committed with the knowledge of US and UN officials.

We Need Your Help Immediately

But, you can imagine how costly an ambitious campaign in the face of the media conspiracy of silence will be. We do not have the resources to do it alone and that is why I am writing to you today to ask for your help. Travel expenses for the Commission of Inquiry alone will run over $5,000. Renting auditoriums for the public sessions of the Tribunal and travel costs for Haitian witnesses will cost at least that much. We must also subsidize buses to bring the Haitian community from New York to attend the opening session. We simply cannot do it without you.

All of the organizers and lawyers are contributing countless hours of their time to save the lives of innocent Haitians, but still, the unavoidable costs of this campaign to stop the slaughter and expose the crimes will not be cheap.

Unless we act now, the killings will intensify in the next three months leading up to the phony elections that are meant to legitimize the coup government.

Only ten percent of eligible Haitians have been registered to vote and almost none of them in communities that support Aristide and his Lavalas Family party. The elections will be even less legitimate than those held in Iraq under US occupation. Unless we expose the truth about what is happening in Haiti, the US and French governments, and the United Nations, will declare the elections "free and fair" and the new government of the Haitian elites will continue killing those who seek freedom and democracy.

The vast majority of Haitians want their democracy back - a democracy that was stolen from them by the U.S. government. Tix.cast majority of Haitians want justice, a secure future for their families, and an end to the killing.

But, the vast majority of Haitians live in poverty and need our solidarity and advocacy. They accomplished what many thought impossible when they came together in 1990 to first elect Aristide president by a landslide and then beat back a three-year coup. They will continue to choose democracy over the dictatorship of the Haitian elite and domination by US and European transnational corporations if given the opportunity. They are risking their lives, and in all too many cases, giving their lives for the dream of self-determination. That dream must begin with the return of the constitutional government and continue with periodic free and fair elections.

That's not what the US and the UN have in mind for them. They plan a rigged election after having overthrown the democratically elected government. The Haitian people have, on principle, refused to register, which means lining up to be fingerprinted and photographed, further endangering them to the death squads.

We have no one to turn to but you to help build our solidarity with the Haitian poor majority. Please give generously. Make your tax-deductible check out as soon as you read this letter because time is running out and the situation is dire. This Tribunal is a way that we outside of Haiti can help stay the hand of those carrying out massacres in Haiti. Your contribution can concretely help to save the lives of mothers, fathers and children who are daily being killed.

Make your tax-deductible check out to:

International Tribunal on Haiti/CISPES Education Fund

and send it to P.O. Box 8560, NY, NY 10116.

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