Switzerland court rejects assets claim by family of Haiti ex-president Duvalier

[JURIST] A Swiss court has denied an appeal by the family of former Haitian president Jean-Claude Duvalier [BBC backgrounder] to claim money hidden in Swiss banks by Duvalier while he led the island nation. The family's claim was rejected by the Federal Criminal Court of Switzerland [official website, in French], because the family could not prove that the money had come from legal means. Duvalier's family may appeal the decision [Swissinfo report] to deny recovery of the nearly $7 million to the Federal Supreme Court [official website, in French] within 10 days. In the event the Supreme Court rejects the appeal, it seems certain that the funds will be returned to Haiti [AP report] to provide aid to what is one of the poorest nations in the world [UN report].

Duvalier, also known as "Baby Doc," is the son of former Haitian leader Francois Duvalier, or "Papa Doc," whom he succeeded as leader [BBC report] in 1971. Following a tumultuous reign, which included accusations of thousands of murders by his regime [HRW report], Duvalier fled Haiti in 1986, and has since resided in France. In 2007, current Haitian leader Rene Preval expressed a renewed commitment to bring Duvalier to justice [JURIST report], despite Duvalier's pleas for forgiveness [Guardian report].



 

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