PARIS, France -- Press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has responded with a mix of satisfaction and prudence to the news that nine people were indicted on Saturday in connection with Radio Haiti Inter owner Jean Dominique’s April 2000 shooting murder, in which the radio station’s security guard, Jean-Claude Louissaint, was also killed.
“We welcome this major judicial step, one that was quite unexpected after years of paralysis and impunity in a case that was handled successively by seven investigating judges,” RSF said.
“The investigation was relaunched on 8 May 2013, when former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is reportedly linked to the nine accused, was questioned as a witness. The different degrees of responsibility must now be established with precision on the basis of the depositions of these nine people. Everyone’s cooperation is needed for this case to proceed. The truth must finally emerge, 14 years after Dominique’s murder.
“Like SOS Journaliste, we urge the authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that Myrlande Lubérisse appears in court in Haiti. A former senator for Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party, she is named in Judge Yvikel Dabrésil’s report as the person who ordered Dominique’s murder. The authorities in the United States, where she now resides, should authorize her extradition if required,” RSF added.
The indictments that Judge Dabrésil passed to the Port-au-Prince appeal court on 18 January also named former Port-au-Prince deputy mayor Harold Sévère and former Lavalas organizer and Vaudou priestess Anne “Sò Ann” Augustin, as well as alleged henchmen Frantz “Franco” Camille, Toussaint Mercidieu, Mérité Milien, Dimsley “Ti Lou” Milien (now dead, according to some sources), Jeudi “Guimy” Jean-Daniel and Markington Michel.
The last three escaped from prison in February 2005 after two years in detention.
The Dominique murder case has been politically very sensitive because of the alleged links to the polarizing figure of Aristide, who returned to Haiti in March 2011 after years in exile.
Some of the depositions taken by judges and incorporated into the January 18 report, including the deposition of former Aristide security chief Oriel Jean, support the theory that Aristide himself ordered Dominique’s murder because he posed a obstacle to Aristide’s return to power.