* Rapes, torture and killings documented under his rule, UN
* No statute of limitations for such crimes under int'l law
* Duvalier alleged to have embezzled up to $800 million
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, Jan 31 Former Haitian dictator
Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier should be tried for torture,
rape and killings committed during his rule, not merely on
corruption charges as proposed by a Haitian judge, the United
Nations human rights office said on Tuesday.
The judge handling the case, Carves Jean, told Reuters in
Port-au-Prince on Monday that Duvalier will face trial for
corruption during his 15 years in power, which ended in 1986,
but not for human rights abuses.
But the office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay voiced deep disappointment and called on Haitian
authorities to ensure he is prosecuted for international crimes.
"Very serious human rights violations including torture,
rape and extrajudicial killings have been extensively documented
by Haitian and international human rights organisations to have
occurred in Haiti during the regime of Duvalier," U.N. human
rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva.
"Impunity for such serious crimes cannot be allowed to
prevail and we urge the relevant authorities to ensure that
justice is, albeit belatedly, delivered to the many victims of
human rights abuses committed under the government of Mr.
Duvalier," he said.
Pillay's office had repeatedly reminded judicial authorities
in Haiti of their "an absolute obligation" to investigate the
violations and prosecute those responsible, he said.
"It is clear under international law that there is no
statute of limitations for such crimes," Colville added.
Judge Jean told Reuters that he did not find enough legal
grounds to retain human rights charges and crimes against
humanity against Duvalier and that a 20-page ruling had been
delivered to the government prosecutor's office on Monday.
Duvalier is alleged to have embezzled between $300 milllion
and $800 million of assets during his rule, stashing some of it
in Swiss coffers before fleeing to exile in neighbouring France.
Colville, asked why Duvalier would face corruption charges
but not for human rights crimes, replied: "We're puzzled too,
because under international law it is the very serious crimes
such as crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, serious
violations like torture which can also be a crime against
humanity, these have no statute of limitations."
"In Haiti, our understanding is that under the constitution,
international law is given supremacy so it does seem rather
bizarre that financial charges appear to be possible but not
international crimes," he added.
Pillay sent a senior expert to Haiti last March to provide
legal and technical advice to Haitian authorities on the issue
of prosecuting a former head of state for serious human rights
violations, according to Colville.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Giles Elgood)