Following the death of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, shot dead at his home in Port-au-Prince by an armed commando on July 7, Bed-Ford Claude sent a letter to the capital’s court of first instance on Tuesday. In it, the government commissioner – a position equivalent to that of prosecutor – asked the judge in charge of the murder investigation to accuse the prime minister, Ariel Henry.
There are “enough incriminating elements” to justify “the prosecution of Mr. Henry and the request for his indictment,” wrote Bed-Ford Claude, who had already invited the head of government on Friday to appear before the prosecution on Tuesday. He had claimed that Ariel Henry had had telephone conversations with Joseph Félix Badio, one of the people actively wanted in the investigation of the murder of Jovenel Moïse. These calls allegedly took place a few hours after the president’s death.
The government commissioner also requested a ban on leaving the country
Joseph Félix Badio’s phone was geolocated in the area where Jovenel Moïse’s private residence is located during the calls made to Ariel Henry at 04:03 and 04:20 on the night of the attack. On Saturday, the Prime Minister rejected these accusations: “The diversionary maneuvers to sow confusion and prevent justice from doing its job with serenity will not pass! The real culprits, the intellectual authors and sponsors of the atrocious assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, will be found, brought to justice and punished for their crime ”.
Despite Ariel Henry’s defense, the government commissioner insisted on Tuesday. Bed-Ford Claude asked that the Prime Minister be prohibited from leaving Haitian territory “due to the seriousness of the facts exposed.” In a second letter, addressed to the Director of the Migration Administration, he justified this request for a ban “due to serious presumptions of assassination of the President of the Republic.”
Threatened with charges, Ariel Henry fired Bed-Ford Claude a few hours later. “I am pleased to inform you that it has been decided to end your function,” said the head of the Government in a letter made public. It considers that the government commissioner made a “serious administrative error.”
Politicization of justice
By calling for Ariel Henry to be charged and banned from leaving the country, Bed-Ford Claude had no right to do so, as the case of the president’s assassination is in the hands of the investigating judge, explains our correspondent in Port-au-Prince, Amélie Baron.
The lawyer Samuel Madistin regrets the politicization of justice by the two clashes within the government: “The action of the government commissioner against the Prime Minister has nothing to do with law and justice. They are political acts, part of the struggle for control of political power ”.
The lawyer for the human rights foundation Je Klere is concerned about this drift on the future of the investigation: “There is a desire on the part of the president’s supporters to exploit the president’s corpse to the maximum for political purposes, which runs the risk of hampering the good image of the investigation. I fear that this will hinder the outcome of the trial.
Faced with this tug of war between the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of Justice, the mystery of who ordered the assassination of the president and why remains.