Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar pleads guilty to charges over assassination of Haiti president

By Reuters, March 24, 2023

Dual Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar on Friday pleaded guilty before a U.S. judge to three charges involving his role in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, court documents showed.

Jaar, 50, is one of 11 defendants in the case, which includes businessmen accused of helping obtain vehicles and firearms from Florida and former Colombian soldiers accused of gunning down Moise in his bedroom.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Jaar had been accused of helping provide weapons to the Colombians, who would also have stayed at a house he controlled, and helping them while they were in hiding from Haitian authorities.

He pleaded guilty in Miami to conspiring to provide material support, providing material support and conspiring to kidnap and kill Moise, according to court records.

Jaar was arrested in January 2022 in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. His sentencing has been set for June 2 in Miami and he could face up to life in prison, court filings showed.

While the assassination occurred in Haiti, prosecutors believe most of the planning and funding occurred in South Florida. Authorities said the original plan was to detain Moise weeks earlier and whisk him to an unidentified location by plane, but that fell through when the suspects couldn't find a plane or sufficient weapons.

Jaar was previously convicted of cocaine trafficking in 2013 and sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

Dozens have been arrested in Haiti, but the cases are at a virtual standstill amid death threats that have spooked local judges.

Moise was shot 12 times at his private home near Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, on July 7, 2021.

Moise's murder left a political vacuum in the Caribbean nation and emboldened powerful gangs who now effectively control large parts of the country and whose turf wars are fuelling a humanitarian crisis with at least 160,000 people displaced.

Jaar's lawyer declined to comment.


With files from The Associated Press


Posted April 8, 2023