Haiti press freedom watchdog denounces assassination of key witness in journalist murder case

Published on March 3, 2015 by Editor HCNN (author)

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Port-au-Prince, March 3, 2015 –The Secretariat of SOS Journalistes and the Independent Commission to Support Investigations into Murders of Journalists (CIAPEAJ) denounced and condemned on Tuesday in the strongest terms the obviously planned assassination of a key witness in the murder, on April 3, 2000, of the most famous Haitian journalist and political commentator, Jean Leopold Dominique.

In a communiqué issued on Tuesday by the head of SOS Journalistes and of the CIAPEAJ, Joseph Guyler Delva, the former security  Oriel Jean, shot dead in the Delmas area of the capital in the afternoon of March 2, had constantly been the subject of death threats from individuals close to former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide whom he had accused of ordering the murder of Jean Dominique.

The death threats were so direct that SOS Journalistes and the CIAPEAJ had to intervene with relevant authorities to seek and obtain special protection for Oriel Jean, who had always expressed his willingness and commitment to testify in criminal court when the trial of Jean Dominique’s case takes place.

As a former security chief of ex-president Aristide, in the wake of the expiration of his first presidential term and during his second term between 2001 and 2003, Oriel Jean had claimed to be in possession of important information about the behavior of Aristide and the orders the latter would have given to former Senator, Mirlande Libérus, to make sure that all measures were taken to “silence Jean Dominique” whose bitter and virulent critics were increasingly directed against former President Aristide who was preparing to run for another presidential term.

A source close to the police, during a conversation on the issue with SOS Journalistes and the Commission working on cases of murdered journalists, favored the theory of an assassination that has nothing to do with the fact that Oriel Jean had previously done a transaction at a bank. It would be question of an assassination hidden in a holdup to blur or cloud the origin of the crime, according to information collected by security experts right after the perpetration of the crime.

The murder, which is added to other eliminations of determining and unwanted witnesses in the case of Jean Dominique, is a big blow to the case that is being examined at the Supreme Court, after some close allies of Aristide — including Mirlande Libérus pointed out, over a year ago, by judge Ivickel Dabrézil as the intellectual or material authors of the crime — decided to challenge all the magistrates of the Court of Appeal, in the context of a delaying tactic.

SOS Journalistes and the Commission working on cases of murdered journalists, the CIAPEAJ, has expressed appreciation for the diligence with which the Central Department of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) initiated the investigation into the murder of Oriel Jean and the deployment of a significant number of agents who are engaged in pursuit of the murderers of the key witness.

SOS Journalistes and the CIAPEAJ call on the authorities and the whole society in general to do everything in their power to ensure that the double murder, on 3 April 2000, of journalist Jean Dominique and his gatekeeper Jean-Claude Louissant, as well as the murder of Oriel Jean, do not go unpunished.


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