Earlier this week, the judge appointed to conduct the judicial investigation into the murder of Haitian president Jovenel Moise said declined to carry on with the case.
Judge Mathieu Chanlette made the decision clear on Friday, after being named on Monday.
“We are removing ourselves from the said case for personal reasons and ordering its return to the dean of this court,” judge Mathieu Chanlatte said in a letter to the Port-au-Prince Court of First Instance.
Moise was assassinated on July 7 when a hit squad invaded the presidential home and shot him dead. His wife Martine survived the attack with injuries.
Moise had been leading the poor and disaster-plagued nation by decree, as gang violence surged alongside the spread of Covid-19.
Jean Wilner Morin, the head of the National Association of Haitian Magistrates, said he was not surprised by Chanlatte’s decision given conceivable threats to the appointed judge.
“I had said this would be difficult for judge Chanlatte: He still has the same car, he doesn’t have additional security agents in his service,” he told AFP.
“Armed gangs are in the immediate vicinity of the Port-au-Prince Court of First Instance, so it is very difficult for any magistrate to carry out this case,” he added.
Minister of Justice and Public Security Rockefeller Vincent has said his ministry would carry out necessary actions to protect the judges as well as courtroom evidence.
However, Wilner Morin said lack of security guarantees was an obstacle to progress on the case.
“When a judge is not given the necessary means to deal with such a case, it is blocking the case,” he said.
“When the court where the magistrate’s office is located is not secure and the documents are likely to be stolen, it is blocking the file.”
According to Police, 44 people have been detained in relation with the killing, constituting 12 Haitian police officers, 18 Colombians who were allegedly part of the commando team, and two Americans of Haitian descent.
Police have granted wanted-persons notices for various other people, including a judge from Haiti’s highest court, a former senator and a businessman.
The head of Moise’s security detail is among those arrested in connection with the plot allegedly organized by a group of Haitians with foreign relations.