Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, gang violence has increased and the gangs are warring over Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince to control territory. These gangs have waged an indiscriminate war against other gangs, the police and anyone else caught in the middle. The gangs are more powerful than ever as Haiti struggles after the pandemic and is without leadership. Hundreds have been killed and the situation is unlikely to improve without intervention.
KJ 1: Gang violence in Port-au-Prince is highly unlikely to stop in the next 6 months.
- Gangs have waged war for territory in Port-au-Prince since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. The power vacuum left by the death of Moise has led to instability in the government and currently Haiti is trying to fix its leadership issue instead of fully addressing the violence and injustice. [source]
- The political void left by the assassination allowed gangs to take advantage of the political confusion. With the chain of command broken and focus elsewhere, gangs were able to fight over new territory. Like the Palace of Justice, which will give the gangs almost complete legal impunity. [source]
- Unless one of the warring gangs manages to take total control of Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince, it is unlikely that the violence will cease. [source]
KJ 2: In the next 6 months, it is highly likely that kidnappings and killings will continue.
- All the warring gangs are using kidnapping and killings to spread fear among the population. [source]
- Gangs are using this chaos to recruit young Haitian children to fight in their ranks and renew their numbers. Many Haitian children have fled the capital alone and are then targeted for recruitment. [source]
- Many foreign governments have forced Haitian immigrants to return to Haiti during the violence. With gangs burning down houses, those who return often find themselves caught in the violence with no way out. [source]
- There is currently no infrastructure in Haiti to combat gang violence. The police are currently fighting the gangs but with little success. [source]
KJ 3: It is likely that Haiti’s justice system will move to a more secure location before restarting legal proceedings in the next 6 months.
- The Palace of Justice is in Cité Soleil. The gang ‘5 Seconds’ has taken over the courthouse and surrounding area. Even before taking control, many legal proceedings were cancelled due to fear of kidnapping or murder. [source]
- ‘5 Seconds’ has burned legal evidence and files that are not digitised so gang violence in the past will go unpunished. Haitian courts don’t make digital copies of their files. [source]
- 90% of people in detention are awaiting trial. Les Cayes prison is already at three times its capacity. The courts must restart and create space to lock up current gang members. [source]
- Security is a huge problem. Lawyers fear being targeted by gang members if they prosecute. 5 Seconds have likely destroyed legal records and any incriminating files from the past few years. Moreover, with current violence so high, it is unlikely that records will be taken on current criminal activity. [source]
Intelligence cut-off: 20 August 2022