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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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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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