Port-au-Prince, 21 April 2015 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the members of the international community in Haiti represented in the « Core Group » (the Ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, the United States of America, the European Union and the Special Representative of the Organization of American States) note, with grave concern, the judicial process that resulted in the acquittal and release on April 17, 2015 of defendants Woodly Ethéart and Renel Nelfort on serious charges including kidnapping for ransom, assassination, drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime.
Based on expert Haitian legal opinion, the Core Group understands that this case, accusing multiple defendants of serious and infamous charges, was on appeal and should never have been set for trial until after the appeal was decided. This is a serious error and a breach of established procedure which calls into question the impartiality of the process. The Core Group takes note of the swift actions by the Minister of Justice and Public Security in holding the prosecutors accountable and in filing a legal recourse before the Cour de Cassation in order to reverse the trial court’s decision to hear the case.
In order to restore the confidence of the public in the judicial system, the Core Group exhorts the Conseil supérieur du pouvoir judiciare to exercise the authority conferred upon it by the Consitution and promptly investigate the role played by the judges of the trial court in this matter and to take appropriate steps as necessary.