New York, January 21, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes new progress in the case of Jean Lépold Dominique, a prominent Haitian radio journalist who was murdered in 2000, and renews its calls to the Haitian authorities to bring all those responsible to justice.
An investigative judge in Port-au-Prince on Friday announced the conclusion of his investigation into Dominique’s murder and presented his report to an appeals court, according to news reports. In his report, Judge Yvickel Dabresil recommended that nine suspects, including a former senator from the political party of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, be charged with ordering, planning, and carrying out Dominique’s murder, according to news reports. The appeals court must now decide if and how to act on Dabresil’s recommendations.
Haitian press freedom advocate Guyler Delva told The Associated Press he was disappointed that Aristide himself hadn’t been named or blamed in the report. None of the suspects have been arrested, and some of them are believed to be living abroad, reports said.
Dabresil’s full report will be published in the coming weeks, the reports said.
“We are encouraged to finally see movement in the investigation of the murder of Jean Léopold Dominique, but justice will not be served until all responsible parties, from the gunmen to the mastermind, have been prosecuted,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Until Haitian authorities take action, the impunity that has marked this case for 14 years cannot begin to be reversed.”
Dominique, the outspoken owner and director of the independent station Radio Haïti Inter, was shot dead by an unknown gunman who also killed the station’s security guard, Jean Claude Louissaint. Dominique had been friends with both Aristide and former President René Préval, and had denounced government corruption, according to local press reports. The notoriety and political nature of the case has made it a particularly sensitive one to investigate, causing at least one judge to flee the country, according to reports.