Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier was more swinger than dictator.
He liked money and women, and as long as both were in easy and abundant supply, it mattered little to him whether journalists or dissidents disappeared from Haitian prison cells.
But the former teen despot's 15-year legacy of cars, cash and mounting human rights violations may finally have caught up to him. After Duvalier was charged this week with plundering state coffers, activists and torture victims around the world are poring through legal books to determine whether the 59-year-old can finally be criminally charged for the human rights violations that took place under his watch.
While his lawyers say the statute of limitations has run out, at least four abuse victims filed complaints in Haitian courts Wednesday, local media reported.
"He inherited a system of government that was based on killing people,'' said Jean-Claude Bajeux, a democracy activist in Port-au-Prince. "I think that was the tragedy of this guy: He was not aware of the monstrosity of what he was doing every day. To him, killing people and torturing people was normal life.''
Duvalier was just 6 when his father, Francois Duvalier, became president of Haiti. Using rigged elections and constitutional referendums, the leader known as "Papa Doc'' became "president for life,'' establishing a killing machine dubbed the Tonton Macoutes to jail enemies or execute them.
His young son, meanwhile, remained largely sequestered at the National Palace after an attempted kidnapping left a driver and bodyguard dead, said former journalist Bernard Diederich, whose biography of Duvalier will be released this month.
``His parents did not let him out of the palace,'' Diederich said. ``He watched movies over and over again and suffered a terrible depression. When I interviewed him, he told me: `I used to sleep a lot.' ''
The unremarkable teenager inherited his father's presidency and loyal killers in 1971.
He was 19.
``He was a spoiled rich kid who was interested in cars, a lot of sex and women,'' said University of Toronto professor Elizabeth Abbott, a Duvalier family biographer. ``He was so unexceptional that it's hard to find boring enough words to describe him.''
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