Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

The Lucius Affair: The Senate forms a commission to look into the dossier; Judge Saintil succeeds in removing senator Latortue from the commission

Nov 8, 2006
The Lucius Affair:  The Senate forms a commission to look into the dossier; Judge Saintil succeeds in removing senator Latortue from the commission

Port-au-Prince, November 8th 2006 (AHP).  On Wednesday the president of the Senate, Joseph Lambert, announced the creation of a special senatorial commission to try to shed light onto the dossier of the central director of the judicial police (DCPJ), Michaël Lucius.

A bench warrant against Mr. Lucius was issued last week by the examining magistrate Napela Saintil after three invitations and a warrant to appear before the court failed to bring Lucius to the courthouse to respond to serious accusations of alleged complicity in acts of kidnapping.

The bench warrant has remained a dead letter since the police (an institution to which Lucius belongs) still have not acted on it.

The leader of the senate indicated that the upper chamber has the right to become involved in the case “in light of the fact that it has become an affair of state and also because of the constitutional prerogatives of this august body [the Senate].”

Before adopting any measures, Senator Lambert remarked,  the commission should meet with the Minster of Justice, René Magloire, the examining magistrate, Napela Saintil, the divisional commissioner, Michaël Lucius, the president of the High Court, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, and President Préval himself.

Senate president Lambert nonetheless indicated that he received a letter from Judge Saintil objecting to the presence, at the very heart of this commission, of Youri Latortue,  the chair of the Justice Commission of the Senate, since the judge himself confirms having already indicted Youri Latortue, the former military man who joined the parliament.  He did not confirm what type of dossier the accusations referred to.

Joseph Lambert made it known that Mr. Latortue agreed not to participate in the commission.

The association of Haitian magistrates had, at the beginning of the week, denounced the mingling of parliament members in the affairs of the judiciary, accusing Senators of having exerted pressure to have judges removed.

With a judicial system in further paralysis, discussions continued again Wednesday to find an exit strategy for the Lucius-Saintil affair before the end of the week.

For more than a week, the government prosecutor has refused to receive individuals arrested by members of the DCPJ.

“How can one receive those accused by an institution whose chief is the object of a bench warrant? “, asked a source close to the prosecutor, responding to the sectors that have been critical of prosecutor Gassant’s decision.

Meanwhile, the examining magistrate, Napela Saintil, says he is extremely worried about his safety.

In spite of steps he says he has taken with higher-ups of the national police, no arrangements have been made to insure his safety and to help him do his work.

AHP November 8th, 2006 1:00pm

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