“Yo Touye Jando” by Maxan Jean Louis
Early in the morning of April 3, 2000, a few minutes before the first news broadcast of the day, Jean Léopold Dominique, the director of Radio Haïti Inter, and Jean Claude Louissaint, an employee of the media, were gunned down in the courtyard of the station. In the months and years that followed, Haitian people from all sectors of society, from peasant farmers to human rights activists, to people living abroad in the diaspora, as well as several international organizations and entities, demanded justice for the slain journalist.
The judicial investigation was a spectacle of deception, audacity, and malfeasance: several witnesses were murdered, died under sudden and mysterious circumstances, or simply disappeared; judges were threatened; some 75% of the evidence in the case vanished from the Haitian high court, and several of the major suspects, including Senator Dany Toussaint, , refused to cooperate with the investigation by claiming immunity, resorting to various technicalities, or simply not appearing in court.
21 March 2003, the formal investigation concluded that a group of relatively minor criminals were the assassins and accomplices; the investigation named no one as the sponsors or instigators of the killing. Dominique’s widow, Michèle Montas, who herself had barely escaped an attempt on her life on 25 December 2002, in which her bodyguard Maxime Seide was killed, rejected these findings, bringing the case to the Appellate Court.
The result of that investigation were made public 11 years later, on 17 January 2014, leading to the indictment of 9 people, including Mirlande Libérus, a former senator from the Fanmi Lavalas party, accused as being the organizer of the double murder, Harold Sévère, former deputy mayor of Port-au-Prince, and Annette Auguste and Franco Camille, high ranking members of the party. Several of them, including Sévère, were previously arrested in the case but either were released or escaped from prison. Before the case could go to court, the main witness, former security chief at the National Palace, Oriel Jean was shot dead in the street on March 3, 2015.
Dominique’s assassination during the so-called democratic era is one of many political murders that have gone unsolved in a climate of impunity. As of April 2015, fifteen years after Jean Dominique and Jean Claude Louissaint were murdered, justice has not yet been served.
Tribute to a Free Man (Ochan pou yon nonm lib), 31 July 2000
Editorial: They Called Me Cassandra (On m’avait appelé Cassandre), 6 November 2001
Editorial: Why Jean Dominique?, 9 April 2002