Murder Case of Haitian President Moise Dropped by Fourth Judge in Row
© Matias DelacroixA billboard of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise is used to block a road during an anti-government protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021.
© Matias Delacroix
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Sputnik) - Haitian Judge Merlan Belanbre disassociated himself from the case of the murder of the country’s former president, Jovenel Moise, as he had not received the file of the inquiry two months after taking the case, becoming the fourth judge to drop or be dismissed from the case in nine months.
"I declare that there is no need for the Investigating Judge Merlan Belabre to examine this case, therefore, we order its transfer to the chairman and the representative of the government of this jurisdiction so that the appropriate action may be taken," the judge said in a statement.
Belabre was put in charge of the investigation on March 4 with advance notice that his term would expire on April 25. According to the statement, he did not have access to the case file, nor did he have the means for the investigation.
Previously, judges Mathieu Chanlatte and Chavannes Etienne left the case citing personal and security reasons, while judge Garry Orelien was dismissed by the dean of the Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince after missing the court’s deadlines.
Belabre's dismissal once again halts the investigation which has made little progress since the assassination of the president, while at least two of the main suspects are in custody in the United States and a third, former Haitian senator John Joel Joseph, will be extradited to the United States from Jamaica.
Moise was shot at his residence on July 7, while his wife sustained injuries and subsequently received medical treatment in the United States. Haitian authorities have detained over 40 suspects in Moise's assassination, including 18 Colombian citizens and five US citizens.