Jovenel Moïse, Haiti

Key Suspect In 2021 Assassination Of Haiti’s President Arrested

After nearly two years on the run, one of the main suspects in the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has been arrested in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

Joseph Badio, a Ministry of Justice ex-employee, was arrested Oct. 19, the Associated Press reports. Badio was in the Haitian government’s anti-corruption unit until he was fired for alleged ethics violations a few weeks before Moïse was shot 12 times in his bedroom by Colombian mercenaries.  

According to the BBC, the mercenaries who have been arrested or killed. Within hours of the murder, Badio was named by at least one mercenary as the person who ordered the hit.

The murder sent the country into social and political turmoil.

Haiti was beset by gang violence, which resulted in Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry petitioning the United Nations to send troops to Haiti. The UN’s Security Council voted in early October to authorize a deployment of troops. Kenya, the country supplying the bulk of the forces, has not yet set a date to deploy the troops. 

Several people were arrested in connection with the killing, including Badio. Eleven men are also in the custody of the United States, including former Haitian senator John Joël Joseph, who are alleged conspirators in a plot to remove Moïse so they could benefit from another administration. 

Joseph has already pleaded guilty to charges relating to the assassination of Moïse; his sentencing date is Dec. 19. Joseph was extradited from Jamaica to the U.S. to face charges of conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States as well as providing material support resulting in death.

Two others, Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar and former Colombian soldier German Alejandro Rivera Garcia, have also pleaded guilty, Jaar was sentenced to life in June 2023, and Garcia will be sentenced on Oct. 27.

According to the Brookings Institution, Haiti’s police and politicians are deeply connected with the gangs currently terrorizing the country’s capital. As its report notes, the will of other countries to send armed forces has been non-existent, evidenced by Kenya’s efforts. 

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