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a265: BBC: Haiti's Aristide fails to renew Examining Judge Gassant'smandate (fwd)




From: Robert Benodin <r.benodin@worldnet.att.net>

Haiti's Aristide fails to renew Examining Judge Gassant's mandate
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 7, 2002


Judge Claudy Gassant's mandate has expired and has not been renewed by the
head of state. Gassant [who is in charge of investigating the Jean Dominique
murder case and was allegedly the victim of intimidation by National Palace
security guards on 21 December] says he does not know exactly why it has not
been renewed. He explains that he will now remain a simple judge while he
will not have the means and the opportunity to work on any other case. Let
us listen to his statements:
[Gassant - recording] Actually, like everyone else, we have observed that
our mandate has expired and has not been renewed. This is the information.
In fact, this is the current situation. //The mandate has not been renewed.
Well, it is not the responsibility of the judge to try to have his mandate
renewed.// Normally, it is the responsibility of the president of the
republic, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to renew this mandate, according to
statements by the minister of justice and also according to the law. Anyway,
the law says that the president must give his approval. For the time being,
the mandate has not been renewed. This means that as examining judge, we
cannot say that we can process whatsoever case again as a result of this
mandate expiration. This means that we are no longer an examining judge. We
remain only a simple judge whose mandate will expire in 2006. Will the
mandate be renewed or not? According to the information we obtained, the
mandate will be renewed this week at all costs. The sure information is that
the mandate will be renewed this week. Well, the renewal of the mandate does
not depend on us. This depends on the executive branch. This means that if
the executive branch actually renews the mandate, this will indicate that it
has confidence in us whereas it did not prove that.
[Unidentified correspondent] What reasons might explain that they do not
renew your mandate as examining judge?
[Gassant] Well, we avoid interpreting. We avoid thinking of things that we
do not quite control. What reasons might explain that they do not renew it?
I think that only the executive branch knows. The only thing is that legally
there is evidence that justice is not independent because if the renewal of
an examining judge depends on the caprice of an executive power, I think
that there are risks that an examining judge who does not behave in
accordance with the dictates of the executive branch may find himself at any
time out of the position of examining judge. We do not know the reasons they
might have, but we know that they could do it legally. [End of recording]
Source: Signal FM Radio, Port-au-Prince, in Creole 1230 gmt 7 Jan 02
/BBC Monitoring/  BBC.