The judge appointed to lead the investigation into the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has already withdrawn. Judge Mathieu Chanlatte was given the order by the dean of the court in the capital Port-au-Prince less than a week ago but has renounced the case within a few days due to ‘personal reasons’.
According to Bernard Saint-Vil, Judge Chanlatte announced his decision in a letter, the dean of the court in Port-au-Prince. Chanlatte’s appointment was long overdue. He was not appointed as leader of the judicial inquiry until more than a month after Moïse’s murder and after several investigating judges had refused the assignment.
Chanlatte did not elaborate on any personal circumstances that compelled him to relinquish the case in his letter. His departure comes a day after one of his assistants, Ernst Lafortune, died under unexplained circumstances. The Haitian Association of Court Clerks issued a statement on Thursday asking for an investigation into Lafortune’s death.
Several days ago, court officials investigating Moïse’s death said they would have had to go into hiding after receiving death threats if they did not change names and statements in their records.
Motives of Moïse’s murder still unclear
Moise was killed on July 7 in an attack on his home that allegedly involved at least 28 people. Little is known about the motives of the attackers and who their client was. According to Joverlein Moïse, the son of the slain president, the family has still not received unambiguous information about the circumstances. “What they have told us so far is not the truth,” he recently wrote on social media. “But we’re waiting.”
Among the attackers were Colombian mercenaries engaged through a Florida-based security firm. According to American media, several suspects in the assassination of the president previously worked as informants for security services in the US such as the anti-drug agency DEA and the federal police agency FBI.
A total of 44 people have been arrested in connection with the murder so far. Among them are 20 Haitian police officers, 18 former Colombian soldiers, and two Americans of Haitian descent.