New York, March 25, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is disappointed by the indictment issued in Haiti on Friday, March 21, which failed to charge the masterminds behind the murder of prominent Haitian journalist Jean Leópold Dominique. The long-awaited indictment charged six men, who have already been imprisoned for more than two years, with committing the crime.
On March 21, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil sent a 33-page indictment to prosecutor Josué Pierre-Louis accusing Dymsley Millien, Jeudi-Jean Daniel, Philippe Markington, Ralph Léger, Ralph Joseph, and Freud Junior Demarat of the killing, according to local press reports. Dominique, Haiti’s most outspoken journalist and owner of Port-au-Prince–based Radio Haïti-Inter, was gunned down on April 3, 2000.
Although Dany Toussaint, a prominent ruling-party senator and former police chief, was widely believed to be a prime suspect in the crime, Saint-Vil did not find enough evidence to charge him.
Dominique’s widow, Michèle Montas, lambasted the decision because those who she alleges planned the crime were not charged. “It is outrageous, it does not answer any questions,” she told CPJ.
The highly political investigation into Dominique’s murder has been plagued by threats and violence. On December 25, 2002, gunmen attacked Montas’ house, killing one of her bodyguards. Two months later, Montas, who has run Radio Haïti-Inter since her husband’s murder and has anchored the daily newscast, stopped broadcasting because of constant threats and harassment.
“This decision was taken to prevent attacks on our employees,” said Montas, who also noted that the station would not resume operations anytime soon.
“These indictments make a mockery of justice,” said CPJ acting director Joel Simon. “We demand a more thorough investigation into this murder. We also call on President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to do everything in his power to see that the masterminds of this crime are prosecuted.”