By ISABEAU DOUCET and RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former dictator known as Baby Doc accused of bearing responsibility for the deaths, torture and the disappearance of hundreds of people, walked into a muggy, packed courtroom here on Thursday, sat down next to shocked victims and for the first time answered questions in a court of law about his brutal, 15-year reign.
The judge, Jean-Joseph Lebrun, presiding over a hearing to determine if a trial should go forward, informed Mr. Duvalier that he was accused of ordering illegal arrests, torture and political killings during his tenure from 1971 to 1986.
“Were there deaths and summary executions under your government?” the judge asked.
“Deaths exist in all countries,” Mr. Duvalier, 61, replied, speaking so softly that the stenographer had to repeat his answers. “I didn’t intervene in the activities of the police.”
“Upon my return, I found a country in ruins and engulfed by corruption,” he said. “It is my turn to ask, ‘What have you done with my country?’ ”