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In Haiti, the impossible investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse

In the space of a few minutes, Haiti has experienced the exact combination of violence and macabre spectacle that has accompanied the country’s vertiginous fall for too many years. This October 17, 2021, more than three months after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, shot dead at his home, in his private residence, with a dozen bullets in the body, the Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, is dislodged, with firearms, a ceremony in tribute to Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the father of independence.

The author of the coup, the gang leader Jimmy Chérizier, nicknamed « Barbecue » for his propensity to burn his victims in their house, then solemnly came to lay the traditional wreath of flowers on this place of celebration of Pont-Rouge, a district of Port-au-Prince.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Haiti, the investigation into the assassination of Jovenel Moïse gets bogged down in political conflicts

With his face uncovered, this ex-police officer all in white dressed with a black tie, the attire required by the authorities, bowed before a portrait of the late president whom he presented as  » A model «  and « An extraordinary man » who fought the corrupt system of the island. On the t-shirts of the gang members, all hooded, we could read « Jistis pou Jovenel », « Justice for Jovenel Moïse ». Then, before leaving the scene, promising to avenge him, « Barbecue » harangued the crowd with cries of:  » We are hungry ! We are hungry ! « 

The scene, as grotesque as it is tragic, illustrates the abyss into which the country, already the poorest and most violent on the continent, has plunged. The gang war, which was said to have peaked in the weeks leading up to the president’s assassination, escalated further. At least 950 kidnappings were recorded in 2021 according to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, based in Port-au-Prince, with an acceleration in recent months. 1er January, the Prime Minister, who is in charge of the day-to-day management since the disappearance of Jovenel Moïse, had to flee the city of Gonaïves, 150 kilometers north of the capital, after clashes between the police and armed groups during the national holiday.

« State compromises »

The investigation into the president’s murder is at a standstill. Several Haitian citizens, including 20 agents of the Haitian National Police (PNH), three Americans of Haitian origin and 18 Colombian nationals were admittedly incarcerated during the summer in the prison of Port-au-Prince, for their alleged role. in the assassination. But six months after the facts, unbelievable as it may seem, no judicial investigation is currently being conducted by the magistrate in charge of the case.

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