PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI- Judge Gary Orelien has stepped down as the chief investigator in the assassination case of former Haitian president Jovenel Moise.
Following a higher court’s refusal to extend the investigation deadline, the decision was made on January 21, days after corruption allegations against Orelien were made public.
As reported in the January 19 issue of Le Nouvelliste, the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH) accused Orelien of using the investigation “for his own enrichment.”
RNDDH officials asked for an investigation into Orelien after it was revealed he had received US $20,000 to lift a ban on leaving the country imposed on one individual tied to the murder.
Additionally, Orelien attempted to obtain funds from fugitives against whom arrest warrants had been issued.
Martine Moise, the widow of Jovenel Moise, also asked the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ) to look into the RNDDH report of Orelien, the Le Nouvelliste reported.
The RNDDH allegations were rejected by Orelien, who challenged them to produce evidence.
A few months prior to the allegations, Orelien had also been denied an extension of time to complete the inquiry by the Port-au-Prince Court of First Instance.
Two weeks after Judge Mathieu Chanlatte stepped down because of personal reasons, Orelien took on the international assassination case on August 21.
The announcement was met with criticism from activists who questioned the credibility and competence of Orelien.
During his tenure, Orelien has interviewed Moise’s widow, former lawmakers, police officers, and many suspects. Despite this, no formal charges have been filed against more than 30 people arrested during this investigation.
The judge’s resignation is not only a sign of turmoil but also an indication that Haiti lacks stability.
Haiti has been struggling with poverty, corruption, and natural disasters. The country has been going through a political crisis ever since President Jovenel Moise was assassinated on July 7, 2021.