Haitian Senate wants to charge Minister of Justice with High Treason after deporting elected-Senator to the US

Posted by hougansydney.com on Saturday, March 18, 2017 Under: Law

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The Haitian Senate has not only passed a strong-worded resolution to formally condemn the arrest and extradition to the United States of Senator-elect, Guy Philipe in January, on drug trafficking and money laundering charges three days before he was due to officially sworn in, but to also propose the impeachment of the Minister of Justice, Edouard Camille Jr, who had authorized the arrest and deportation without consulting any Haitian court, so he could be tried for High Treason; a very serious crime which only the Senate, convened as a High Court of Justice, could prosecute someone for. 

Breaking News: Haitian Senate passes resolution "strongly condemning" extradition of Guy Philippe to the United States

If convicted, Camille could face life of forced labor in prison.

Prosecuting the former Minister of Justice for High Treason for having authorized the deportation of Guy Philippe, could be very difficult, or even unconstitutional, because according to Article 21 of the Haitian Constitution:

"The Crime of high treason consists in bearing arms in a foreign army against the Republic, serving a foreign nation in a conflict with the Republic, in any official's stealing state property, incrusted to his management, or any violation of the Constitution by those responsible for enforcing it.

The Minister of Justice did not bear arms in a foreign army against the Republic of Haiti nor served a foreign nation in a conflict with Haiti, however the 19 out of the 24 senators who voted for the resolution contended that the Minister of Justice, the chief law enforcement officer of the country, violated the constitution, because Guy Philippe as an elected Senator, enjoyed immunity under Haitian laws, even though he was arrested three days before he was officially due to be sworn in as Senator.

Guy Philippe, a former colonel in the disbanded Haitian army, who became the Chief of Police, led an armed coup that resulted in the ousting of the democratically elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide, on February 29, 2004.

Despite the international search warrant emitted by the US Drug Enforcement Agency since 2006, Guy Philippe was never in hiding, he made numerous public appearances and moved freely around the country, mainly in the Grande Anse Department, whose senate's seat he won. 

On Friday, a Miami Federal Judge rejected the immunity claim by Guy Philippe, ruling that the elected Senator cannot avoid prosecution in the United States, because his arrest occurred three days before his inauguration. The judge also rejected Philippe's attempt to get the charges dismissed for several reasons, including claims that he was essentially kidnapped and illegally brought to the U.S.

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