Haiti - Justice : Forensic medicine has ceased to exist in Haiti... - HaitiLibre.com : Haiti news 7/7
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Haiti - Justice : Forensic medicine has ceased to exist in Haiti...
14/03/2023 09:42:30

Haiti - Justice : Forensic medicine has ceased to exist in Haiti...
It will soon be 2 years since the Institut Médico-Legal (IML), the only institution responsible for carrying out autopsies in the service of Justice in Haiti, ceased to operate for lack of budget, staff and equipment due to the total indifference of the authorities concerned.

According to Haitian law, in all criminal and homicide cases (suspicious or violent death), an autopsy is necessary to determine the causes and circumstances, for Justice to be able to investigate correctly and make an objective decision, a medico-legal investigation is required. It makes it possible to collect clues, alongside the scientific police, by carrying out an autopsy "Criminal justice cannot function without forensic medicine. Whoever the criminal is, he will be free if the court does not have clear information showing that the victim is not only dead, but also of what [...] Our legal system is based on evidence, In the case of a rape for example, it is sometimes the word of the victim against that of the accused. Forensic medicine can find this evidence," reminds Dr. Jean Armel Demorcy, the Director of the IML, one of the 2 forensic pathologists in Haiti, his colleague living between Haiti and the United States after having escaped an attempted kidnapping.

"I am often asked why an autopsy, if it is obvious that a person was killed by bullets," says Jean Armel Demorcy, emphasizing "[...] the autopsy gives additional details on the distance of the shot, for example. It also makes it possible to identify a body, in case it is not identifiable at sight [..] Sometimes, criminals stage things, but they leave traces. There is no perfect crime, even for a suicide by gunshot, we can find out if it was wanted or not. The injuries will not be the same."

Dr. Demorcy deplores "it is rare that the Public Prosecutor's Office, through an investigating judge, requires an autopsy as part of an investigation that it is conducting" adding "In 20 years of periodic autopsies, justice never called me to ask what I found."

Without a laboratory, without staff, without equipment and without a budget, forensic medicine in Haiti no longer exists. Since the end of 2021 the institute has become totally dysfunctional after receiving a final payment from the Ministry of Justice. Since "We don't do autopsies anymore. We are totally dysfunctional. We cannot carry out any expertise," said Demorcy.

He recalls that according to the presidential decree of 2012, it is the Ministry of Public Health which provides the staff of the Forensic Institute and it is the budget of the Ministry of Justice which guarantees its operation.

PI/ HaitiLibre

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