Former Judge Windelle Coq-Thélot.

Authorities in Haiti have issued an arrest warrant on murder charges for Judge Windelle Coq-Thélot, a former Supreme Court judge, in relation to the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Coq-Thélot was among about two dozen people that Moïse said tried to overthrow him last February 7 amid disputes over when his term’s end date.

On July 25, BedFord Claude, the government commissioner at the Court of First Instance in Port-au-Prince, issued the warrant for murder and armed robbery in connection with the July 7 slaying, according to court records and a Haitian National Police (PNH) search notice

Police said Coq-Thélot is “dangerous and armed” and have urged anyone with information about her whereabouts to contact PNH at +509-3834-1111.

Coq-Thélot is a former judge at La Cour de Cassation, Haiti’s highest court. Originally from Marmelade, a town in the Artibonite region, she spent more than a decade at the Court of Appeal in Gonaives and Port-au-Prince and rose to become deputy commissioner at the Port-au-Prince Court of Appeal. In 2011, she was promoted to associate justice at the nation’s highest court. 

In February, Coq-Thélot was among a group of at least 23 people that Moïse said attempted to kill him and overthrow the government in a dispute over when his term ends. She was one of three Supreme Court members chosen by the political opposition to replace Moïse at the time.

Moïse then issued a February 8 decree that forced Coq-Thélot and the other two judges to retire. Judge René Sylvestre then became the chief justice over the Supreme Court, a role that is in the line of succession if the president cannot function. Sylvestre died of Covid-19 in June, leaving the role vacant at the time of Moïse’s heinous killing.

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