BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 1, 2016–At yesterday’s Senate hearing, the Opposition alternate senator, Michel Chebat, an attorney and senior counsel, had asked Senator Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business, to recuse himself from voting on whether the Senate should appoint a Senate Select Committee to investigate the findings contained in the Auditor General’s Report, because Hulse’s name appears in the report.
From a legal standpoint, the perception is that at least two of the Senators on the government side should not have voted in yesterday’s Senate vote.
Then there is the fundamental principle of natural justice — “Nemo Judex En Causa,” translated: “A man/woman cannot be a judge in his/her own cause.”
The Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Godwin Hulse, has signed, according to the report, a nationality document and passport for an applicant who did not qualify under the law.
Should Senator Hulse, a man whose personal integrity has never been called into question, and is not now being called into question, have recused himself from voting because his name had been included in the Audit report?
This principle has been enunciated in the 1989 case known as Re Pinochet that was heard in the British House of Lords.
In the background to the case, the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was made a Senator for life, was before the House of Lords in an appeal against an extradition order that was issued.
Pinochet had gone to England to seek medical attention, and Spain issued an international arrest warrant and extradition request because they wanted to try him for crimes against humanity.
In the appeal to the House of Lords, Pinochet contended that one of the lords in the House, Lord Huffman, had connection to Amnesty International because he was a director on Amnesty International Charity Limited (AICL).
Pinochet had contended in his appeal to the House of Lords that Lord Huffman should not have sat on the case because of the appearance of bias. Pinochet wanted the decision of the court to be set aside, or Lord Huffman’s opinion to be disregarded.
The House of Lords agreed with Pinochet and set aside its earlier ruling because of the appearance of bias due to Lord Huffman’s membership on AICL.