Joint OAS-CARICOM Electoral Mission in Haiti Takes Note of Publication of Final Results of 18 Cases Verified by Special BCEN

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The Joint OAS-CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission (JEOM) in Haiti takes note of the publication of the list of results of the 18 cases that had been revisited by the Special National Complaints and Challenges Bureau (BCEN).

The Mission recognizes the efforts made by the members of the special tribunal, particularly with regard to reviewing the files and verifying the result sheets (PVs) at the Vote Tabulation Centre (CTV) in response to requests made by complainants or challenged parties. The JEOM as well as observers of the Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) were present when the Special BCEN carried out its verification of the result sheets at the CTV and were reassured that these efforts were undertaken in a thorough and transparent manner. After reviewing the files and completing the work at the CTV, the judges deliberated, though without allowing the observers to be present. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) informed the national and international observers of the results of the decisions of the Special BCEN shortly before announcing the results late last night.

At this meeting, the Mission and other observers expressed reservations about the treatment of three cases in particular. For these cases, the JEOM recommended that the Special BCEN apply the same verification procedures it had used for all the cases examined and which had helped to determine the accuracy of the results.

The Mission expressed its reservations and made new recommendations with regard to the results of the constituencies of Belladère, Jacmel and Vallières/Carice/MombinCrochu. In the constituency of Jacmel, a PV that was set aside for reasons related to the electoral list was included following the decision of the Special BCEN, without prior verification. As concerns the constituency of Belladère, the Special BCEN excluded from the final vote count PVs that had been tabulated by the CTV without verifying and comparing them with the evidence provided in the file. These two decisions taken by the Special BCEN resulted in the confirmation of the controversial position of the candidates published last 20 April. Regarding the third case, the Mission observed that the petition presented in the complainant's case was not signed, which led to the decision of inadmissibility taken by the BCEN. Nevertheless, it is clear that in this case the Departmental Complaints and Challenges Bureau (BCED) exceeded the authority conferred on it by the Electoral Law by tabulating PVs that had been set aside by the CTV. As the guarantor of respect for the Electoral Law, the BCEN should have corrected this serious mistake. It is regrettable that the recommendations made by the observers to have the necessary verifications carried out and the Electoral Law enforced in the cases mentioned were rejected by the CEP. Though the BCEN decisions would not be available before Thursday 12 May, the CEP President hastened to have the results proclaimed without first posting the BCEN decisions.

The questioning of the decisions taken by the BCEN which led to the publication of the controversial legislative results on 20 April underlined that a rigorous and evenhanded approach in the electoral claims and challenge process is a sine qua non for the credibility, fairness and legitimacy of the electoral process. In accordance with article 190 of the Electoral Law, the PV verification phase at the CTV carried out by the BCEN in cases that so require, is an obligatory step in order to proclaim results that reflect the will of the people.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Reference: E-662/11