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AHP News – November 14, 2006 – English translation (Unofficial)
The Prime Minister makes an official announcement confirming the dismissal of the Central Director of the Judicial Police, but the DCPJ claims that he resigned instead
Port-au-Prince, November 13, 2006 (AHP); The decision to dismiss divisional police commissioner Michael Lucius from his position at the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) was officially announced this Tuesday.
An arrest warrant has been issued against Mr. Lucius because of his refusal to appear before the judge investigating allegations that he has been involved in kidnappings.
At the conclusion of a meeting this Tuesday with the Finance Commission of the House of Deputies, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis said that the government has decided to relieve Mr. Lucius of his position in order to enable him to respond to the accusations against him.
” It is up to the justice system to act in this case”, said Mr. Alexis, emphasizing that the authorities also urged Judge Napela Saintil to step aside from his role in the Lucius case.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Lucius said that he has decided on his own to resign from the DCPJ to allow justice to proceed.
He said he hopes that fair and impartial justice will be applied in his case.
A new judge will be named to continue the investigation of the case now that Judge Saintil has stepped aside. The judge has said he has been the object of a wide range of threats and impediments to his work in moving the case forward.
After Judge Napela Saintil stepped down from the case, the former DCPJ head said he is now ready to appear before a judge.
Several sectors are urging the new judge to take into consideration the investigative work already accomplished by Judge Saintil.
The crime of kidnapping, at the heart of this case, is one of the most devastating challenges facing Haitian society.
Thousands of individuals of all ages and social categories, whether children, women, the elderly or foreigners , including MINUSTAH employees, have been kidnapped over the past two years.
Tens of millions of dollars in ransom have been paid to the kidnappers, who themselves come from all social strata.
Generally, however, the kidnappers from the populist neighborhoods are the ones who end up being arrested and held in prison.
As to the others, their names are kept secret most of the time. They are generally released immediately, that is, if they ever manage to get arrested, or else they are sent abroad, while some of the local human rights organizations show no interest in these goings on.
This led to a foreign diplomat being asked the question: is the fight against kidnapping in Haiti a selective campaign?
AHP November 14, 2006 1:45 PM
AHP News – November 13, 2006 – English translation (Unofficial)
The government prosecutor for Port-au-Prince affirms that the arrest warrant issued for Michael Lucius is still in effect
Port-au-Prince, November 13, 2006 (AHP); The public prosecutor in Port-au-Prince, Mr. Claudy Gassant, declared Monday that the arrest warrant issued against the former head of the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police, Michaël Lucius, is still outstanding.
According to Claudy Gassant, it is the Republic that issued this warrant against Mr. Lucius. It wasn’t merely Judge Napela Saintil who did so. The judge stepped down from the case last week.
Nevertheless, there is a problem, said the chief prosecutor: Michael Lucius in terms of the law has taken flight, but physically he can be found in the streets, said a worried Mr. Gassant, explaining that until this case is cleared up, he is unable to receive new criminal cases from the DCPJ.
The government prosecutor said he is even ready to resign if this situation persists.
Accused of involvement in acts of kidnapping, Michael Lucius has for the past two months refused to appear at the office of the judicial investigations on the pretext that he has no confidence in Napela Saintil, who until Friday, November 10, was the judge in charge of investigating his case.
Sources close to the Superior Council of the National Police (CSPN) have said that efforts are underway to find a replacement for Michael Lucius to head the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police.
One of the attorneys representing Mr. Lucius, Edwin Coque, gave his assurance that whatever position Mr. Lucius will hold in the future after his being recalled from the DCPJ, he will respond to the accusations brought against him by the new judge who will be named to take over the case from Napela Saintil.
Prosecutor Gassant also announced that his office at the civil court of Port-au-Prince, which is under 24-hour guard by the Haitian National Police, was vandalized about three weeks ago.
Some articles of evidence, including weapons, were stolen. The prosecutor said that an investigation has been launched into the incident and that arrest warrants were issued against police officers who were on guard that day at the prosecutor’s office.
Claudy Gassant said he had personally asked national police director general Mario Andrésol to station more police as guards in front of the prosecutor’s office in Port-au-Prince to prevent, he said, the disappearance of other important pieces of evidence from his office.