Organization of American States


April 4, 2002



The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), César Gaviria, today announced that Canadian diplomat David Lee, the former Special Coordinator of Canada for Haiti, will head a Special Mission to Strengthen Democracy in Haiti. Ambassador Denneth Modeste, an advisor to Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi, will be Deputy Chief. 

Gaviria also today designated a Commission of Inquiry to examine the circumstances surrounding the violence in Haiti on December 17, 2001. The Commission, comprised of three distinguished jurists from the Americas, will travel to Haiti on Monday. 

"This is a critical juncture in efforts to find a lasting solution to the political crisis in Haiti," Gaviria said. "We want to move forward with all speed, and are grateful that public servants of such caliber will be working with us on these complex issues." 

The creation of both bodies responds to a January 16 mandate from the OAS Permanent Council in which the OAS member states agreed to work with the Haitians to help resolve that country's two-year-old political crisis. 

            The Commission of Inquiry will examine all aspects of the violence of December 17, and make recommendations to the Haitian authorities based on its findings of fact. The members of the Commission are: Nicholas Liverpool of  Dominica, a veteran diplomat and legal consultant nominated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Roberto Flores Bermúdez, a lawyer and former Foreign Minister of Honduras; and Alonso Gómez Robledo, a scholar of international law from Mexico.  

The Special Mission to Strengthen Democracy will establish working relationships with appropriate Haitian institutions to address issues related to security, justice, human rights and good governance. The Special Mission will begin operations later this month. 

            Attached are brief biographies of the leaders of the Special Mission and the members of the Commission of Inquiry.





Chief of Mission David Lee, of Canada, has served his country in a number of diplomatic posts. From 1997 to 2001, he was Special Coordinator of Canada for Haiti and Advisor for the Management of Political and Security Policy at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) in Ottawa. Previously Lee was the DFAIT Director General for International Organizations. From 1986 to 1994, he was Canada's Assistant Chief Negotiator to the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations. 

Deputy Chief of Mission Denneth Modeste, of Grenada, is an Advisor to the OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi and former Director of the OAS National Office in Haiti. Prior to that, he was the Ambassador of Grenada to the United States and to the OAS.    




Dr. Nicholas Liverpool, of Dominica, is a jurist and legal consultant who has served on several tribunals and law reform commissions in the Caribbean, including his current post as Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission for Grenada. A former Ambassador of Dominica to the United States, Liverpool has also served as a Justice of Appeal in Belize, the Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.  

Roberto Flores Bermúdez until recently was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Honduras. A lawyer and career diplomat, Flores previously had represented his country as Ambassador to Great Britain, the United States and the United Nations. In the late 1980s, he played an active role in the peace negotiations and return to democracy in Central America.  

Dr. Alonso Gómez Robledo Verduzco has been a Law Professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico since 1978. A specialist in international public law, he has published and lectured extensively on human rights, extradition issues, international treaties and other subjects. He has also served as an advisor to the Mexican government.



# # #