On April 26, 2017, managing director of Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), Mario Joseph, in consultation with several representatives of organizations for disabled people (SHAA, RANIPH, UFMORF and AFAS) met at the BAI office locate in downtown Port-au-Prince to pay tribute to Sophonie Gelin, Vanessa Prévil and Monique Vincent, the three death women who were assassinated in Cabaret on March 18, 2016.
During the meeting, Mario and the representatives of other organizations made a resolution to work on honoring the memories of these three deaf women, while continuing to advocate for justice and reparation for them in particular, and for the whole disability community in general.
It was an opportunity for Mario Joseph, the lawyer of the three deaf women to review the recent development of the case while showing the positive impact of advocacy on this development. Mario said,“Following the sit-in on March 10, 2017 in front of the Court of First Instance (lower court) of Port-au-Prince, and the march of the organizations for disabled people in Cabaret to protest against the slowness of Haitian justice system on March 17, a year after the assassination of the three deaf women. The judge has finally decided to take necessary steps to hear key individuals in the investigation of the case.”
Mario added that the judge invited two people: one of them is a police officer who was present at the time of the assassination and did nothing to prevent these reprehensible criminal acts, and the mother of the alleged criminals who was inside the house when the criminal acts were committed. “ The judge also sent letters rogatory (letter of request) to the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire (DCPJ) requesting to hear other individuals involved in this assassination,” Mario concluded.
Additionally, Dr. Michel Pean of the Société Haïtienne d’Aide aux Aveugles (SHAA) also gave an update on the progress with the Mayor of the town of Cabaret who welcomed the idea of changing the name of the place ‘Haut-Damier’ where the bodies of the three women were thrown after their assassination, to a name that will forever remind people of these acts of barbarism. The participants suggested the name Rue des trois femmes sourdes (Road of the three deaf women) to the Mayor.
The meeting was also a time for the attendees to demand a symbolic reparation for victims women, by erecting three sculptures representing the portraits of these three deaf women on the street to be renamed.