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Cablegate: Ambassador's Call On New Minister of Justice

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/04/2015

REF: PAP 1768

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Douglas Griffiths, REASONS 1.5(B ) AND (D).

1. (C) Summary. Ambassador Foley called on newly appointed Minister of Justice Henri Dorleans on June 30 (reftel). The meeting centered on the top priorities facing the Minister in the next few months, mainly: the case of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, judicial reform, prolonged pretrial detention, security and the Haitian National Police (HNP). The Ambassador also raised the urgent necessity of arrest warrants for Lavalas partisans in the Dominican Republic who may be fomenting criminal activity in Haiti. Minister Dorleans offered his utmost cooperation with the embassy on these issues during the ninety-minute discussion. End Summary.

Dorleans, Nomination Obstacles Resolved

2. (C) The Ambassador began by congratulating Dorleans on his new posting as Minister of Justice and asked him about the resistance from the Conseil des Sages on his nomination (reftel). Dorleans said that the controversy was not based on any fundamental problems with his qualifications for the position, but rather on rumor and innuendo. He made reference to a period in 2000-2001 when he was named as judicial advisor to Jean Nesly Lucien, former Director General of the HNP, who was involved in drug trafficking. Dorleans said that although he had been named as advisor, he had never worked with Lucien and had only met him on a couple of occasions. Dorleans said that he had, in fact, met with the Conseil des Sages immediately after his installation last weekend and that they came to a mutual understanding and resolved to collaborate for the good of the country.

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Judicial Reform

3. (C) The Ambassador commented that so far, the IGOH's track record on judicial reform has been disappointing and now more than ever, the government has to act. Dorleans said that during the meeting with the Conseil des Sages, he also shared with them his work plan for judicial reform for the next six months. Dorleans said that he has designed a "global vision" of judicial reform for Haiti, which includes a twelve-point program targeting key areas, such as prolonged pretrial and preventive detention and impunity. He also vowed to create a strong system of justice in Haiti while restructuring the ministry itself (Note: The following day, a USAID contractor who worked with Dorleans contacted poloff soliciting funding for an advisor on the restructuring of the justice ministry. Poloff promised to check with USAID for possible funding of this position. End Note.) Although Dorleans did not elaborate on all the points in his plan, he promised to send a copy of his work plan to the Ambassador by next week.

Security and HNP

4. (C) The Ambassador remarked that despite friction in other areas, former Minister Gousse had proved to be a good collaborator with the Mission on anti-drug trafficking issues and expressed his desire that Dorleans prove equally as cooperative. He also underscored our support for Security Council Resolution 1608 in terms of building a stronger HNP force, saying that the future of the country depends on HNP and CIVPOL collaboration. Dorleans responded that while he is not a nationalist, he is a patriot and that he was shocked at his initial reading of the resolution and the amount of authority granted to CIVPOL over the HNP. However, he conceded that he was conscious of the necessity of the resolution's scope (Note: Security Council resolution 1608 has provoked a nationalist backlash in Haiti, particularly among the political class. End Note).

Warrants for Civil, Raymond, and Louis-Jean

5. (C) The Ambassador shared his concern with Dorleans on the link between the current violence in the country and Lavalas partisans who may be organizing it from the Dominican Republic. He encouraged Dorleans to coordinate with HNP Director General Charles on producing arrest warrants and sending them through the appropriate channels as means of stemming the violence. Dorleans agreed to follow-up with DG Charles on the matter.


6. (C) On the subject of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, the Ambassador premised his remarks by noting that it was not his intention to minimize the gravity of the events that took place in La Syrie on February 11, 2004. The Ambassador expressed his gratitude to the former PM, remarking that it was he who had assisted in the transition process following February 29. He stressed our position that Neptune be released on bail while the judge investigates his case. Dorleans commented that he remembered Neptune from his days in the Senate and said the he admired his courage for staying in the country and for turning himself in over a year ago. Dorleans shared his regret that the case had taken too long to go through the judicial system and that it is his goal to dispose of the case without further delay. He said that he would meet with the state prosecutor for St. Marc next week to discuss their approach to the matter. Again, the Ambassador urged the rapid resolution of the case, noting that Neptune's case is not just a judicial matter but also a political one. Dorleans assured the Ambassador that he would study the case to determine means of resolving it expeditiously.

7. (C) Comment. Dorleans presents himself as the antithesis of Gousse, open, friendly, and poised for action. He has a very short window of time, however, in which to prove himself. While his focus seems to be on implementing his six-month action plan for judicial reform, he also appears to be a willing partner on the Neptune front. With the former PM now in prison without charge for over a year, we no longer have the luxury of waiting. Post will continue to press the new Minister to resolve the Neptune case.

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