Haiti chooses judge to probe President Jovenel Moise’s killing

Judge Mathieu Chanlatte chosen for the job after weeks of struggle following the July 7 assassination.

A man touches a portrait of Moise outside a cathedral where a memorial service for him took place in Cap-Haitien, Haiti on July 22 [File: Matias Delacroix/AP]

After weeks of struggling to fill the job, a judge has been named to lead the probe into the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, a senior magistrate has announced.

The dean of the Court of First Instance in Port-au-Prince, Bernard Saint-Vil, said that Judge Mathieu Chanlatte had been chosen for the job.

Chanlatte “will not be intimidated,” said Jean Wilner Morin, president of the National Association of Haitian Magistrates.

“It is an investigation that will take time. We also hope that the authorities will put all the necessary resources at the disposal of magistrate Chanlatte and will also ensure his safety,” Morin said.

A hit team burst into the presidential residence on July 7 and shot Moise dead. His wife Martine was wounded but survived.

Human rights defender Pierre Esperance said he hoped Chanlatte would treat the case “with the law as a compass, without falling into political persecution.”

Minister of Justice and Public Security Rockefeller Vincent said his ministry would take all measures necessary to guarantee the safety of judges as well as courtroom evidence.

Police say they have arrested 44 people in connection with the killing, including 12 Haitian police officers, 18 Colombians who were allegedly part of the commando team, and two Americans of Haitian descent.

The head of Moise’s security detail is among those detained in connection with the plot allegedly organised by a group of Haitians with foreign ties.

Moise had been ruling the impoverished and disaster-plagued nation by decree as gang violence spiked and coronavirus spread.

Police have issued wanted-persons notices for several other people, including a judge from Haiti’s highest court, a former senator and a businessman.

Source: AFP