In Haiti, the investigation into the assassination of Jovenel Moïse gets bogged down in political conflicts

More than two months after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, the investigation is stalled and takes an increasingly political turn, bogged down in internal struggles for the succession of the Head of State. On September 10, the government commissioner (equivalent to the attorney general), Bed-Ford Claude, summoned the interim prime minister, Ariel Henry, to appear before the trial court in Port-au-Prince, so that he ‘explains on two telephone conversations with one of the main suspects of the assassination, now on the run.

The Prime Minister’s response was not long in coming: on September 13, he sacked the prosecutor, as well as the Minister of Justice. Far from being intimidated, and before the dismissal is effective, Bed-Ford Claude added, asking the judge instructing the investigation to indict the Prime Minister for “Serious suspicions of murder” – what the judge had not done on September 15. The Prime Minister attributed the accusation to “Diversionary maneuvers to sow confusion and prevent justice from doing its job calmly”.

An investigation by the National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH), published on August 20, revealed that two hours after the assassination of Jovenel Moïse on July 7, two calls had been made between Ariel Henry’s phone and Joseph Félix Badio, who was then near the president’s house. According to the RNDDH, Mr. Badio, a former official of the Ministry of Justice in the anti-corruption unit, was in particular responsible for recovering the members of the commando – a team of Colombian mercenaries – after their crime. According to Colombian sources, it was he who ordered the mercenaries to execute the president.

“A political battle for his succession”

Tuesday, the protector of the citizen (defender of rights), Renan Hédouville, said “Revolted and flabbergasted” by the revelations, demanded the resignation of the prime minister and demanded “To the international community (…) to avoid supporting or supporting the Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, who now becomes one of the suspects in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse ”.

However, some believe that the dismissals mainly follow the signing, Saturday September 11, between Mr. Henry and certain opposition parties, of an “agreement for good governance” negotiated to get out of the political crisis. The text provides in particular for the holding of elections by the end of 2022, before which the country would be governed by a council of ministers chaired by Ariel Henry. “In exchange for signing this agreement, these parties would have asked for the head of the Minister of Justice [un bouclier du président Moïse face à l’opposition], assures Frantz Duval, editor-in-chief of the daily The Nouvelliste. The assassination of the president has taken a back seat. This is all a political battle for his succession. Everyone will use the corpse of Mr. Moïse to settle their affairs. “

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