Monday, August 20, 2018
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Court Controversy Erupts over Presidential Election Results

Samuel Maxime

Editor-in-Chief

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Litigation over the election results got off on the wrong foot Monday where it was due to be held, the first day of hearings. The three plaintiffs arrived at the First West Departmental Bureau for Electoral Disputes (BCED Ouest I) to find that the bureau had undertaken the “random” selection of justices without the audience of the parties involved.

BCED Ouest
Justice Duclair sits between Demosthenes Bazelais (member of the West BCED) and Emmanuel Louicéus.

The plaintiffs complained and spent the day arguing for the re-selection of three-judge tribunal that had been formed in secret with Fritzner Duclair, Merlan Bélabre and Martel Jean-Claude. One attorney, Levelt Fanfan, who is representing Jean-Charles Moise of Pitit Dessalines, said “it’s impossible to trust judges given by CEP whose decision is being challenged.”

The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) of Leopold Berlanger and the West BCED are expected to select judges by random drawing from lists provided by the Port-au-Prince Bar and the Dean Magistrates, plaintiffs have a right to ensure the integrity o this process. The bureau eventually retracted the tribunal and rescheduled hearings for Wednesday, December 7.

The CEP somehow managed to retain Judge Fritzner Duclair, who was on the original, disputed tribunal, and would preside as chief justice over the court. Justice Duclair was joined by Demosthenes Bazelais (member of the West BCED) and Emmanuel Louicéus. The pleaders objected to appointments but were forced to present their case Wednesday either way.

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About The Author

Samuel Maxime is a Haitian-born citizen living in the United States. He founded The Haiti Sentinel to bring Haitian issues to an English language audience.