PORT-AU-PRINCE, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Haiti Justice Minister Jean
Baptiste Brown, citing obstacles to his reforms, resigned on Sunday,
becoming the second member of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government
to step down this month.
“I arrived in this position with a plan of action, and I was not given
the means to implement that plan,” Baptiste Brown said in an interview with
private Radio Metropole.
“I found myself unable to substantively address serious issues such as
professionalization of the Haitian police and fighting against impunity.”
The government did not immediately offer comment on Baptiste Brown’s
Haiti’s justice ministry has come under fire in recent years for what
critics charge is a lack of conviction in pursuing many high-profile
crimes, including the April 2000 murder of Haiti’s most prominent
journalist, Jean Dominique, director of independent Radio Haiti Inter.
The investigation into Dominique’s murder has been fraught with
violence and intimidation, including the murder of two material witnesses
and the resignation of two investigating judges amid what they
characterized as threats and collusion by officials in Aristide’s
Aristide began his second term in January 2001. He has since been
locked in a dispute with the Democratic Convergence opposition coalition
over May 2000 legislative elections that his opponents contend were biased
to favor Aristide’s Lavalas Family party.
The man charged with resolving the impasse, minister without portfolio
Marc Bazin, resigned on Sept. 20, citing a self-imposed deadline and a
series of frustrations with government policy.