General Philippe Biamby was born on September 21, 1952. He was a member of the military high command of the military forces of Haiti (Forces Armées d’Haiti: FADH), an unconstitutional and brutal military regime led by Raoul Cédras (see “related cases”) that governed Haiti from October 1991 to October 1994. General Biamby was Cédras’ deputy and served as the Haitian army’s Chief of Staff.
From the beginning of the military dictatorship, the Haitian Armed Forces used civilian attachés or paramilitaries to support their campaign of intimidation and repression against the people of Haiti. The three-year military dictatorship was characterised by widespread state-sponsored human rights violations committed by the Haitian Armed Forces and the paramilitary organization FRAPH (Front Révolutionnaire Armé pour le Progrès d’Haiti), in Haiti. The practices of the military and FRAPH included extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, rape and other torture and violence against women. Several thousand people were killed during the period of military rule. These abuses also caused thousands of Haitians to flee the country, often in crowded, unseaworthy boats.
FRAPH members received arms and training from the Haitian Armed Forces who were running the government, and FRAPH was used by the military to maintain control over the population. With the financial and logistical support of the Haitian Armed Forces and certain Haitian civilians, FRAPH killed, arbitrarily detained, raped and otherwise tortured or mistreated civilians in the poorest neighbourhoods and regions of Haiti. They also looted and burned or destroyed homes in an effort to break the resistance of the population to military rule. Rape of women was utilised in Haiti as a technique to terrorise the civilian population after the coup d’état in 1991.
Philippe Biamby was accused of having been involved in the Raboteau massacre. This atrocious event, which took place April 18 to 22, 1994, in Raboteau, Haiti, consisted of an attack by military and paramilitary units on pro-democracy activists under Haiti’s 1991-1994 dictatorship (see “spotlight” for more information about the Raboteau Massacre trial). As a member of the military high command of the FADH, Biamby was considered to have been an intellectual author and principal of the massacre.
In September 1994 the United States military arrived in Haiti to secure the return of the democratically-elected government headed by President Aristide. On October 15, 1994, President Aristide was returned to power and moved to disband the Haitian Armed Forces. The high command of the military regime, including Philippe Biamby, fled Haiti, escaping to nearby countries. After having given him political asylum, Panama refused to extradite Biamby to Haiti in 1998.