U.N. implicates Haitian army in assassination

November 27, 1993|By Newsday

UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations said yesterday that "highly placed members" of the Haitian army were involved in the killing Sept. 11 of Antoine Izmery, a wealthy merchant and supporter of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In a 17-page report, the United Nations also said the killing of Mr. Izmery marked a new stage in Haiti's political violence and sent a message that "no one was untouchable" in the campaign to keep Father Aristide from returning to power.

"This symbolic dimension has shown itself to be effective, because no public demonstration of support for the president of the republic [Father Aristide] has taken place in Haiti since the assassination of Izmery," according to the report.

In what the United Nations called a highly organized "commando operation," Mr. Izmery, 50, was abducted from a church in front of several dozen witnesses. He was shot to death on the street outside.

Dozens of military men and civilian allies took part in the operation, in which streets were closed off to reduce the number of witnesses to the actual slaying, the United Nations said in its report.

"The assassination team arrived and departed the scene protected and escorted by police vehicles," it said. In Haiti, the police are part of the armed forces.

The report was prepared by an investigative team of the International Civilian Mission in Haiti, which was established jointly by the United Nations and the Washington-based Organization of American States.

In the past, the army has reacted angrily to suggestions that its commanders were tied to political violence against Aristide supporters.

At least a dozen other Aristide backers were killed the weekend of Mr. Izmery's slaying. Mr. Izmery, who was of Palestinian descent, was an importer.

The United Nations linked the army yesterday to scores of other killings in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, over the past three months.

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