5th judge sought to oversee Haiti presidential slaying case

May 31, 2022 GMT

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s government has nominated a fifth judge to oversee the investigation into the killing of President Jovenel Moïse, magistrate Bernard Saint-Vil told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

It’s not clear yet whether Judge Walther Wesser Voltaire would accept the nomination. He could not be immediately reached for comment.

Wesser’s appointment comes as the investigation into the July 7 shooting at the former president’s private home stalls amid a high turnover of judges.

The previous nominee, judge Chavannes Étienne, told the AP in February that his family was pressuring him not to take the case because they feared for his life.

Étienne was expected to replace Garry Orélien, who had requested more time to probe the case, but Saint-Vil refused to grant an extension.

Orélien had replaced judge Mathieu Chanlatte, whose resignation was announced last August. He cited unspecified personal reasons but left the position a day after one of his assistants died in unclear circumstances.

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More than 40 suspects have been arrested in the slaying, including at least 18 Colombian soldiers and 20 Haitian police officers as the investigation continues.

Three other suspects, including a former Haitian senator, have been extradited to the U.S. where they face federal charges including conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap.