Haiti's Duvalier appears at court hearing

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier appeared in court Thursday for a hearing to determine if he can be charged with crimes against humanity.

Duvalier, who was observed at the court by an AFP reporter, was summoned by a judge after failing three times previously to show up in court.

Duvalier ruled from 1971 until his ouster in a popular revolt in 1986. He returned from exile in France two years ago.

Former opposition figures have accused Duvalier of deploying the feared Tonton Macoute militia and of complicity in murder, torture and kidnapping.

Duvalier, 61, wore a dark suit and white shirt as sat in the packed courtroom with his companion Veronique Roy. Many of those on hand were former victims of the Duvalier regime who planned to testify against him.

The issue at stake is whether the statue of limitations on the alleged human rights abuses has expired.

Outside, several dozen supporters wearing the red and black colors that symbolized the old regime shouted out support for the former ruler, saying "Long live Duvalier."