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Haiti: No Warrant Out for the Arrest of Aristide says Justice Minister

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Monday, 27 February 2012 23:42

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - There are no arrest warrant, no complaints pending, against former President Jean Bertrand Aristide said Justice Minister, Michel Brunache on Monday, denying rumors gone viral.

Drug trafficking, extortion, embezzlement of public funds, even manslaughter were among the charges speculating on social networks. But the Haitian Ministry of Justice and Public Safety, speaking to Le Nouvelliste on Monday night, made a "formal denial to the rumors that warrants were issued..."

A lawyer for the former president, Newton St. Juste, did confirm the existence of two cases. One against the former president and five of his relatives and another against the Aristide Foundation.

Aristide's counsel said that records are being reviewed by the Central Unit of Financial Intelligence (UCREF), and if cause is found, UCREF will make recommendations to government officials to prosecute.

These reports were first commissioned by prosecutors under the Preval administration. A judge has not initiated any further investigation.

These rumors of an investigation of embezzlement and drug trafficking of Aristide and associates comes at a time when the international community, human rights organizations and many in the press are closely watching Haiti seeking prosecution of former President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier for human rights violations.

Duvalier will face trial for corruption but a number of victims have appealed the decision in an effort to add the cases of human rights violation to the charges.

President Michel Martelly is aligned closely to Duvalier and before being in his capacity as president was very critical of former President Aristide.

Without a prime minister, no date set for elections that were due to begin in November 2011, an incomplete supreme court, the country still recovering from the earthquake of 2010 and since then, consistently on the brink of political crisis after crisis, could ill afford one involving the popular Lavalas party of Aristide.