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Haiti - Justice : An unacceptable verdict...
22/04/2015 10:59:31

Haiti - Justice : An unacceptable verdict...
Friday, the verdict of the judge Lamarre Belizaire rendered after 6 hours of hearings, declaring not guilty the alleged leaders of the gang Galil, Woodly Ethéart, aka "Sonson Lafamilia" and Renel Nelfort, nicknamed "Le Récif", accused of being the masterminds of a wave of violence in the Haitian capital, including assassinations money laundering, kidnapping and robbery, for lack of evidence, since constantly provoke strong protest reactions.

"[...] The court, on the conclusions of the Public Ministry, said and declares not guilty defendants Woodly Ethéart and Renel Nelfort kidnappings facts, confinement, money laundering, illicit drug trafficking, murder and criminal conspiracy," declared Judge Lamarre Belizaire has the outcome of the hearing, stating that "no piece of evidence and no corpus delicti have been admitted into evidence," and that all the witnesses called by the prosecution never presented.

Reacting Tuesday to the verdict, Pierre Richard Casimir, Minister of Justice and Public Security declared that in the case Woodly Ethéart aka "Sonson Lafamilia" the Government has exercised an appeal stating that "The prosecution has misbehaved. The Government disagrees with the decision."

That same day, in a statement, Sandra Honoré, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the members of the international community in Haiti represented in the "Core Group" (the Ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, the United States of America, the European Union and the Special Representative of the Organization of American States) note, "with grave concern, the judicial process that resulted in the acquittal and release on April 17, 2015 of defendants Woodly Ethéart and Renel Nelfort on serious charges including kidnapping for ransom, assassination, drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime.

Based on expert Haitian legal opinion, the Core Group understands that this case, accusing multiple defendants of serious and infamous charges, was on appeal and should never have been set for trial until after the appeal was decided. This is a serious error and a breach of established procedure which calls into question the impartiality of the process. The Core Group takes note of the swift actions by the Minister of Justice and Public Security in holding the prosecutors accountable and in filing a legal recourse before the Cour de Cassation in order to reverse the trial court’s decision to hear the case.

In order to restore the confidence of the public in the judicial system, the Core Group exhorts the Superior Council of the Judiciary to exercise the authority conferred upon it by the Consitution and promptly investigate the role played by the judges of the trial court in this matter and to take appropriate steps as necessary."

SL/ HaitiLibre

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