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Haiti2 April 2002

The Jean Dominique affair - 14 key dates

3 April 2000: Jean Dominique, head of Radio Haiti Inter, and Jean-Claude Louissaint, the station’s gatekeeper, are murdered in the courtyard of the station. Three days of national mourning are declared by President René Préval.

28 June 2000: About 10 days after being arrested by police, Jean-Wilner Lalanne, suspected of being a link-man between those who ordered the killing and those who carried it out, dies during a minor hospital operation. When the new investigating judge orders a new autopsy two months later, the body is found to have vanished from the morgue.

September 2000: After receiving threats, Jean-Sénat Fleury resigns as investigating judge and is replaced by Claudy Gassant.

January 2001: Several members of the senate object to Judge Gassant’s request to interview Sen. Dany Toussaint (Fanmi Lavalas) as a witness. Senate president Yvon Neptune says "a simple little judge cannot summon a member of the senate." On 30 January, shortly after questioning aides of Toussaint, the judge is threatened with a gun by a Fanmi Lavalas parliamentary deputy, Millien Rommage.

3 March 2001: Soon after being sworn in for a new term as president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide promises that the government will provide the means for the judiciary to properly investigate the murder.

25 May 2001: Toussaint is officially accused in the case and he and his lawyer are informed in person by the judge in his chambers. A few days later, the senator accuses Gassant of having exerted pressure on people in jail to implicate him in the murder. He cites illegally-made interviews with some of those being held in the case and on the basis of these, his lawyers file at least six suits before four different courts (civil, summary, appeal and supreme). Supporters of Toussaint stage several demonstrations in Port-au-Prince demanding that Gassant be arrested.

13 June 2001: Judge Gassant announces his resignation and leaves the country for his own safety. He criticises justice minister Gary Lissade, a former Toussaint lawyer, for not having ensured his physical protection. Gassant withdraws his resignation a few days later after local and foreign pressure.

10 August 2001: Judge Gassant formally asks the senate to lift Toussaint’s parliamentary immunity.

28 September 2001: Paul Raymond and René Civil, leaders of two pro-Aristide grassroots organisations, hold a press conference despite there being warrants out for their arrest issued by Judge Gassant for having refused to answer three of his summonses to give evidence. The police are also criticised for not having executed warrants to arrest Richard "Cha Cha" Salomon, considered Toussaint’s right-hand man, and Franck Joseph, the senator’s bodyguard, who have also ignored the judge’s summonses.

9 November 2001: Panel Rénélus, seen as an important suspect in the case, is lynched by a crowd of demonstrators in front of a provincial police station the day after his arrest. Judge Gassant, present at the scene, says Rénélus was "handed over to the crowd by the police."

3 January 2002: Judge Gassant’s term of office ends and he leaves for Miami six days later.

23 January 2002: President Aristide names three judges - Josué Agnant, Betrand Sainvil and Joachim Saint-Clair - to replace Judge Gassant.

31 January 2002: The senate committee considering the request to lift Toussaint’s parliamentary immunity refuses to take a decision. It says it needs more information and asks the new investigating judges to supply it.

24 June 2002 : The investigation into the murder of the radio journalist Jean Dominique has been handed over to Judge Bernard Saint-Vil, who has been in charge of the enquiry into the supposed attempted coup last 17 December. The decision to transfer to him all the former responsibilities of Judge Claudy Gassant was reportedly taken at a meeting of judges on 24 June presided over by senior judge Jocelyne Pierre.

In this country
3 December - Haiti
Seven years after radio journalist’s murder, convicted killers still at large
13 May - Haiti
Finger pointed at US interposition force in the 2004 death of journalist Ricardo Ortega
11 April - Haiti
Responses from Sen. Rudolph Boulos and Harold Sévère to Reporters Without Borders release on Jean Dominique murder
25 January - Haiti
Victory over impunity “within reach” in Lindor murder after seven are convicted in absentia
13 December - Haiti
Two gang members get life for journalist’s murder, a third is acquitted

in the annual report
Haiti - Annual Report 2008
Haiti - Annual report 2007
Haiti - Annual report 2006

14 March 2008 - Cuba
No surrender by independent journalists, five years on from “black spring”
5 June 2007 - Venezuela
Closure of Radio Caracas Televisión consolidates media hegemony
22 May 2007 - Colombia
Paramilitary "black eagles" poised to swoop down on press

Americas press releases
3 June - United States
President Obama urged to raise freedom of expression in his Cairo speech
29 May - Venezuela
Open letter to President Hugo Chavez to protest about official hounding of Globovisión
27 May - Mexico
Crime reporter abducted and killed in Durango state
20 May - Cuba
Anyone can browse the Internet... unless they are Cuban
15 May - Cuba
Journalist gets three-year jail sentence

Americas archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Sign the petitions
Miguel Galván Gutiérrez
Fabio Prieto Llorente
United States
Chauncey Bailey
A petition to Raúl Castro