Accusing President Martelly of Lying and “Treason,” Senate Report Calls for His Impeachment

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
A special Senate Commission of Inquiry into the sudden and
suspicious Jul. 13 death of Investigating Judge Jean Serge Joseph released a
bomb-shell on Aug. 8. Its highly detailed 29-page report charges President
Michel Martelly, as well as his Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and Justice
Minister Jean Renel Sanon, with lying to the public and calls for Haiti’s
Deputies to remove them all from office.

Joseph was investigating charges of massive corruption against Martelly’s wife,
Sophia St. Rémy Martelly, and their son, Olivier Martelly. On Jul. 2, he had
issued a summons for them along with several high government officials to
testify before him. Since then, he had been pressured and threatened personally
by Martelly and, finally in a secret Jul. 11 meeting, by Lamothe, Sanon, and
others official as well, to call off the investigation, according to the five
senators of the Special Commission.
Senators called on Deputies to “recognize the interference of the Head of
State, the Prime Minister, and the Justice Minister in the sovereign exercise
of judicial power so as to obtain court decisions in their favor,” to take note
of the “perjurious nature of the executive authorities who have denied their
participation in the meeting of Jul. 11, 2013 while the investigation confirms
their participation in that meeting,” to “recognize the betrayal of the Head of
State who had sworn to uphold the Constitution and laws of the Republic,” and
finally “to charge the Head of State with the crime of high treason.”
senators who authored the report were Pierre Francky Exius, Westner Polycarpe,
François Anick Joseph, Steven Irvenson Benoit, and John Joel Joseph.
Commission gathered compelling testimony from many quarters including Judge
Joseph’s widow Rachel, prominent lawyer and close friend Samuel Madistin,
fellow judges Jean Wilner Morin, Bernard St. Vil, and Berge O. Surpris, and
also Ms. Ketly Julien, who works with the USAID-linked NGO Mobile Institute for
Democratic Education (IMED), which is providing logistical support to Haiti’s
            “He told
me: ‘My dear, I’m in a real bind, a fatal situation,’” Ketly testified to the
Senators of a conversation she had with Judge Joseph on the eve of his death
about the secret Jul. 11 meeting which was held at the law office of Martelly’s
legal counselor Garry Lissade. “He told me: ‘It wasn’t just Garry Lissade who
was at the meeting with the Justice Minister. President Michel Martelly was
there too, along with Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.’… He told me that as
Michel Martelly spoke to him, [Martelly] purposefully let the spit from his
mouth spray on [the judge’s] face, then [Martelly] put his finger in [the
judge’s] face as he threatened him, using all kinds of words to humiliate him.”
The judge told her that Martelly “was very evil and used many bad words,” Ketly
            The report
devotes considerable time to dissecting the contradictory testimony of Judge
Raymond Jean Michel, the dean of the Port-au-Prince court, who allegedly drove
Judge Joseph to the fateful Jul. 11 meeting. Dean Michel claims that the two
men left a practically deserted courthouse (a hurricane was approaching Haiti)
and went, not to Lissade’s office, but to a Port-au-Prince restaurant where
they sat in the Dean’s car in the parking lot for 20 minutes. Once there, the
Judge asked the Dean one question: “Have you received calls from people in
the executive branch about the decision that I made?” The Dean said he
responded “no.”
            Not only
was the Dean’s testimony contradicted by all the other people interviewed, but,
as the Commission concluded, “the story of Dean faces serious problems in its
logical consistency.”
example, the Senators asked: “Why, if the Dean has at his disposal an office
that is supposedly protected from the intrusion of non-invited people, would he
feel the need to go… to the parking lot of a restaurant to answer a simple
question of a judge?” and “Why would this simple conversation have lasted 20
minutes while the monosyllabic answer the judge received takes only a second?”
and “Why not stay in the vehicle and talk that day at the Palace of Justice
when the courthouse was virtually empty, so there was no risk of being heard?”
and finally, “What was it in that conversation that had to be kept from being
heard by intruders?”
            “None of
this [affair] could have happened without the approval, support, and
involvement of the Dean,” the report notes, calling for his dismissal. “That’s
why Dean Jean Michel has became the central figure in the case.”
after witness told of the high state of panic that gripped the judge in his
final days before dying of a brain hemorrhage at the capital’s Bernard Mevs
Hospital. The body was transported to Montreal, Canada, where Judge Joseph had
been a citizen and had lived for many years. A preliminary autopsy done there
has not been made public by the Canadian coroner or by the family, and a
definitive verdict on the cause of death may come as late as November. Senator
Moïse Jean-Charles and Joseph’s brothers have charged that the judge was
poisoned with a spiked glass of whiskey that he was all but forced to drink at
the Jul. 11 meeting, but the report said that the important matter was the
meeting itself.
            “Having not
examined the thesis of poisoning which, even if proven, would be difficult to
pinpoint in space and time, the Commission has become convinced that the
threats and pressures made against this honest but fragile judge were what did
him in,” the report concluded. “The intra-parenchymal hemorrhage diagnosed [as
the cause of death] is very likely to have resulted from the intense
psychological pressure he was under.”
pressure was building for days before the Jul. 11 meeting, and the doomed judge
told almost anybody who would listen about the ordeal he was enduring. “For
example, one witness said that Monday, Jul. 8, 2013, returning to
Port-au-Prince, the judge was stopped on Highway #1, near Arcahaie, by a white,
all-terrain pick-up,” the report says. “The driver lowered his right window to
address the judge who lowered his left window: ‘You are keeping me from
sleeping, right?’ A conversation ensued in which serious threats were made
against the judge. It turns out the driver was identified as President Martelly
himself. He was driving and had two police officers in USGPN [Palace Guard]
uniforms in the back. One of them took pictures of the three occupants of the
judges’ vehicle. After a litany of insults and threats, [Martelly’s] vehicle
headed back South, but the flabbergasted judge thought only of his death. He told
his security guard Johnny and his cousin Berlens that they were about to die.”
            The next
step in implementing the report’s recommendations is to have the Senate ratify
the report. This requires a quorum of 16 Senators out of the 20 seated.
(Elections for the Senate’s expired third – 10 seats – has been delayed,
critics say purposefully, by the Martelly government’s foot-dragging. The whole
Parliament will expire in January 2014 if new elections are not held.)
            The House
of Deputies is also heavily bribed by the Martelly clique, with envelopes of
cash openly distributed during key votes. This will make impeachment
the report of the Senate’s Special Commission of Inquiry is a milestone and an
important official document which painstakingly and clearly lays out an
incontrovertible case of corruption, intimidation, and intrigue which ended in
Judge Joseph’s tragic demise.