Swiss court awards Haiti funds to Baby Doc Duvalier (Haiti)
A lower court had previously awarded charities the money - but that decision was overturned on 12 January and the ruling released on 3 February.
However, the Swiss government has blocked the release of the money until a law is passed to return it to Haiti.
The exile, known as Baby Doc, allegedly looted millions. He denies wrong-doing.
The court decision was made hours before the Haiti earthquake killed at least 150,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.
The three-week delay before the ruling had been released was a common feature of Swiss courts, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The Federal Supreme Court reversed the lower court's ruling that the money should go to aid groups in Haiti because the statute of limitations on any crimes committed by the Duvalier clan expired in 2001.
The court decision cannot be appealed.
But the Swiss Foreign Ministry said it would continue to block the release of the money while it formulated a better law dealing with assets of "criminal origin".
The government was keen "to avoid the Swiss financial centre serving as a haven for illegally acquired assets," it said in a statement.
"We assume that this money doesn't belong to the Duvalier family," said Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, according to AP.
"We've blocked the money again... to prevent that it goes somewhere that it shouldn't for political reasons.
"We really hope that this money finally goes back to the country."
The Duvaliers ruled Haiti from 1957, when Papa Doc came to power, helped by his brutal private militia, the Tontons Macoutes.
On his father's death in 1971, 19-year-old Baby Doc was named president for life.
Haiti first asked for the money to be returned in 1986 shortly after Baby Doc fled unrest and settled in France.
But Switzerland refused to return it because the Haitian government was not pursuing Mr Duvalier under its own justice system.
And as an alternative, the Swiss government had proposed giving the money to aid groups working in Haiti.
comments powered by Disqus
- West Point historian says if his cadets can understand the history of war, so can Congress
- Australian historian Alan Atkinson wins $100,000 literary prize
- From his perch in Saudi Arabia, Princeton’s Mark Cohen says Jews and Muslims should remember they used to get along
- Duke honors historian John Hope Franklin with year-long series of events
- What New Left History Gave Us