Police officers take ex-dictator Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier out of his hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 18. Mr. Duvalier returned to Haiti on Jan. 16 after nearly 25 years in exile, a surprising move that comes as Haiti struggles with a political crisis and the stalled effort to recover from last year's devastating earthquake. Ramon Espinosa/AP
Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier waves to supporters from a hotel balcony after his arrival in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 16. Dieu Nalio Chery/AP
A supporter of Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier holds up an image of Duvalier (l.), and Duvalier's father, Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier (r.), outside the courthouse where Jean-Claude Duvalier is being questioned about corruption and embezzlement in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 18. Dieu Nalio Chery/AP
A supporter of Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier holds up the civil flag from the Duvalier-dictatorship era (1957-1986) to a police officer outside a court in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 18. Dieu Nalio Chery/AP
Jean-Claude Duvalier gives a news conference at his ranch on the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince in 1980. Kathy Willens/AP/File
Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, then President of Haiti, gives a news conference in Port-au-Prince in 1963. AP/File
This undated photo shows former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier with his father, Francois Duvalier. 'Baby Doc,' who replaced his father as President for life in 1971, fled Haiti in 1986 amid accusations that he was responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands during his rule after a military junta took power. AFP Photo/Newscom/File
Jean-Claude Duvalier skis at Isola 2000 in the French Alps in 1987. AFP Photo/Newscom/File
Then Haitian president Jean-Claude Duvalier sits with his bride, Mme. Michele Bennett, during their wedding ceremony in the Port-au-Prince National Cathedral in Haiti in 1980. AP/File
Jean-Claude Duvalier is photographed in Port-au-Prince in 1982. Giovanni Coruzzi/AFP Photo/Newscom/File
The former dictator is accused of multiple human rights abuses, but his presence in court this week raised hopes for some that Haiti’s pattern of privileging the elite may be slowly changing.
ByRashmee Roshan Lall, Contributor
Dieu Nalio Chery/AP
Haiti’s former dictator, Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, surprised critics yesterday when he showed up in court to answer questions to determine whether he could be prosecuted for human rights abuses dating back to his 1971- 1986 regime.