Siméus responds to the dismissal of Haitian justices

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

On Wednesday, two days after provisional prime minister Boniface Alexandre announced that five supreme court justices had been dismissed, presidential candidate Dumarsais Siméus responded critically to the decision. Siméus said that it is, "...a sad and scary day for Haiti, for the rights of our 9 million citizens and for the future of freedom, democracy and separation of powers in Haiti." Some have attributed the firing of the justices to the decision by the court to allow Siméus to be on the ballot for president. The decision has been reached twice, most recently on December 8.

Siméus characterized the firings as a violation of the separation of powers, claiming that they are motivated by a desire to obtain greater power in the government. According to Siméus, "judges of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal are appointed life. Their term begins at the time they take their oath of office. The Supreme Court justices are appointed by the President from a list submitted by the Senate of three persons per court seat.

They may be removed from office only because of a legally determined abuse of authority or be suspended following an indictment leveled against them. They may not be reassigned, without their consent, even in the case of a promotion. Their service may be terminated during their term of office only in the event of a duly determined permanent physical or mental incapacity."