By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Following the presentation of motion for recusal against judge Lamarre Belizaire, who is conducting an investigation into acts of corruption blamed on former Haitian president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, there has been intense debate about whether or not an accused can challenge the investigating judge under the laws in force in the Caribbean country.
Judge Lamarre Belizaire
Contrary to the views expressed by a number of people, including lawyers, about the legal relevance and the appropriateness of an action for disqualification of a judge acting in his capacity of Officer of the Judicial Police (known as OPJ), the texts and jurisprudential notes suggest the opposite.
Articles 8 and 9 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CIC) and the decisions of Haiti's Supreme Court (the jurisprudential notes) establish, unequivocally, the unimpeachable character of the office of the investigating judge, when acting as Officer of the Judicial Police.
In addition, to being an officer of the judicial police searching for crimes and offences, to bring perpetrators before competent courts, the investigating judge is also a sitting judge.
It would be almost impossible for an investigating judge to conduct a criminal investigation, if it were possible for a defendant to challenge the judge who would automatically be forced to stop performing acts within the scope of the investigation pending a decision of Haiti's Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation), which may take forever to decide.
And in the meantime, individuals against whom there would be substantial evidence of guilt could be allowed to continue to roam the streets, even if a warrant for arrest had been issued against them.
This could be viewed as absurd. But "the law cannot want and allow the absurd," read the case law notes from the Supreme Court (Judgment of December 24, 1872).
The investigating judge, the prosecutor, or other OPJ as the justice of the peace, or investigators of the Central Department of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) are undeniable, according to the texts and the conclusions of the magistrates at the Supreme Court of the country.