In 1996, CJA’s longstanding Haitian partner, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), filed criminal complaints on behalf of the victims of the April 22, 1994 Raboteau massacre against senior military and paramilitary leaders, including former Colonel Carl Dorélien. In 2000, the Court of First Instance of Gonaives held what was then the largest criminal trial for crimes against humanity in Haiti, and indeed in the Western Hemisphere. The court convicted 52 members of the Haitian Armed Forces and associated paramilitaries, and awarded damages to the victims who had intervened as civil parties, including CJA client Marie Jeanne Jean.
CJA moved to enforce the civil judgment in the Raboteau Massacre Case and in August 2006, a Florida state court recognized the Haitian judgment and held that it was enforceable in the United States against Dorélien’s assets. After CJA won an appeal of the decision in 2007, we were able to seize Dorélien’s remaining Florida state lottery winnings.
Enforcing the Haitian Raboteau judgment was the culmination of a transnational strategy to seek justice for victims in Haiti.