Few Answers In Haiti After 'Baby Doc' Duvalier's Surprise Return


Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude ""Baby Doc"" Duvalier remained huddled inside his hotel Monday, as the reasons behind his unexpected return to Haiti and what he hopes to accomplish there remain unclear.

Duvalier returned to his homeland Sunday after some 25 years in exile, injecting a further dose of uncertainty into an already turbulent political situation.

A news conference at his hotel Monday was canceled at the last minute because the space was not equipped to handle the crowd, and no other location could be found, Henry Robert Sterlin, a Duvalier associate, told reporters.

Sterlin said that the former dictator had returned because he was moved by the anniversary of last year's tragic earthquake and because he missed his homeland.

The associate said he did not know how long Duvalier was planning to stay. His arrival in Haiti coincides with an ongoing political crisis there, sparked by fraud allegations in a presidential election. The first round remains contested. A runoff election, scheduled for January 16, was postponed.

Human rights groups urged Haiti to arrest and prosecute the former dictator.""Duvalier's return to Haiti should be for one purpose only: to face justice,"" said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch. ""Under the presidency of Duvalier ... thousands were killed and tortured, and hundreds of thousands of Haitians fled into exile. His time to be held accountable is long overdue.""

Amnesty International similarly said Duvalier should be brought to justice.

""The widespread and systematic human rights violations committed in Haiti during Duvalier's rule amount to crimes against humanity,"" said Javier Zuniga, special adviser at Amnesty International. ""Haiti is under the obligation to prosecute him and anyone else responsible for such crimes.