Colonel Carl Dorélien
Carl Dorélien joined the Haitian Armed Forces in the 1970’s under the repressive regime of Duvalier (“Papa Doc”). He rose through the ranks of the military until he eventually became Assistant Chief of Staff G-1 in 1992. As a member of the high command of the Haitian Armed Forces during the period of military dictatorship in Haiti, Dorélien was responsible for all discipline of military personnel. Despite widespread atrocities that were visited upon the civil population by the military, virtually no members of the military were ever held accountable while Dorélien was in command. Dorélien fled Haiti shortly after the restoration of the democratically elected government in October 1994.
In 1995, Dorélien came to live in the U.S. In 1997, in a surprising development, Dorélien won $3.2 million in the Florida lottery. From 1997 through 2003 he collected approximately $180,000 annually from his winnings. Dorélien presence eventually attracted the attention of U.S. immigration authorities, who placed him in immigration detention. He continued to collect his lottery winnings until he was deported to Haiti in 2003 in connection to his past record of human rights abuses in Haiti.
During the period of democratic government in Haiti, some strides towards accountability for human rights abuses were made with the prosecution of former members of the Haitian military and FRAPH. Dorélien was tried and convicted in absentia (without being present in Haiti) for his role in human rights abuses committed during the military dictatorship including the infamous Raboteau Massacre of 1994.
On his return to Haiti in 2003, Dorélien was arrested by authorities and jailed based on the in absentia conviction. Dorélien chose not to exercise his right to a new trial and remained in prison.
Dorélien had been in Haiti for one year when President Aristide was ousted from office for the second time. The day that Aristide was ousted, February 29, 2004, Dorélien, along with other Raboteau trial convicts, was freed from prison. He remains at large in Haiti.