GENEVA (3 August 2023) – A UN expert today expressed grave concern about a violent attack targeting Haitian Judge Wilner Morin, whose vehicle was fired upon in the capital Port-au-Prince a few months ago.
“I am dismayed at the great vulnerability of independent justice operators who deal with high-impact corruption cases,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
“If Judge Morin was targeted for his work, including on cases of alleged corruption, it would contravene the fundamental principles of judicial independence,” the Special Rapporteur said.
Morin is a judge at the Cour de première instance (Court of First Instance) of Port-au-Prince, where he is investigating several high-profile corruption cases. He also serves as President of the Association Nationale des Magistrats Haitiens (ANAMAH, the National Association of Haitian Judges). Two individuals on a motorcycle reportedly opened fire using automatic rifles on Judge Morin's vehicle, which was operated by his driver on Wednesday 17 May 2023. The impact of 13 projectiles were found in the car.
During his first visit to Haiti in July 2023, the UN Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, William O'Neill, deplored a "massive failure of the judicial system" and condemned the attack against Judge Morin and several others investigating corruption and human rights cases.
“Judge Morin must have the security he needs to carry out his work. I urge the authorities to ensure that this attack is investigated, and that the judge, his colleagues and his family are adequately protected,” Satterthwaite said.
The Special Rapporteur has been in contact with the Government of Haiti regarding these allegations.
*The expert:Ms. Margaret Satterthwaite, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. She was appointed as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers by the Human Rights Council in October 2022. Professor Satterthwaite is an international human rights scholar and practitioner with decades of experience in the field. She is a Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law.
The Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, Country Page - Haiti
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