Haitian Judge Resigns From Assassination Case

Haitian Judge Mathieu Chanlatte, chosen to oversee President Jovenel Moise’s assassination case, has resigned from the investigation, citing personal reasons, in a letter Friday that bears his signature and the stamp of the court.The letter, obtained by VOA Creole, states that he is sending the case back to the dean of the civilian court of Port-au-Prince.The dean, Magistrate Bernard Saint-Vil, announced Monday that security had been tightened for the judge shortly after naming Chanlatte. Judges on the short list to oversee the case previously turned down the opportunity after reportedly receiving death threats.Moise was assassinated early on July 7 inside his home in a luxury suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince. His wife, Martine Moise, was gravely injured and evacuated to Miami, Florida, where she received treatment.The case is now under the purview of the Haitian Justice Ministry. National Police spokesperson Marie-Michelle Verrier said earlier this week that the police had arrested 44 people in connection with the crime and had seized weapons, ammunition and cash in both U.S. and Haitian currencies.”Among them are 18 Colombians, four Haitian Americans and 22 Haitians,” Verrier said Monday during a news conference. “Among these 22 Haitians are 20 police officers.”FILE PHOTO: Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph gives a press conference, July 20, 2021.Haitian Foreign Minister Claude Joseph expressed concern about the ability of the country’s justice system to adequately prosecute the case.”I would like to highlight the limitations, weaknesses and lack of experience of the Haitian judicial system in handling cases of such complexity, which have resulted in serious doubts about the capacity, on one hand, to justly carry out this investigation and, on the other hand, to find and bring to justice to those responsible,” Joseph wrote in French to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Joseph has asked the U.N. to open an international inquiry into the Moise assassination.Guterres has not yet responded.”We’ve received the letter … which asked for assistance into the investigation of the assassination of President Jovenel and the prosecution of those who are responsible. We’re taking a look at the letter, and that letter will be answered,” U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told VOA.FILE – In this June 20, 2017, file photo, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric fields questions for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, March 19, 2021.The letter also requests an international tribunal. Dujarric told VOA that one of the U.N.’s legislative bodies would decide on that.”Those [requests] would have to go through competent legislative bodies of the U.N., as we’ve seen them in the past for other various incidents around the world, be it the Security Council, the Human Rights Council or others,” he told VOA.American law enforcement officials from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are assisting Haiti with the investigation. Dujarric told VOA the U.N. mission in Haiti currently has four police advisers working with the National Police Inspector General and the Judicial Police.Jean Robert Philippe and U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

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