Originally: Moving Forward in the Jean Dominique Murder Case
Press Statement Summary
On 29 June 2004, the Supreme Court of Haiti ruled in favor of the Appellate Court?s decision to re-open the investigation into the murders of Jean L. Dominique and Jean Claude Louissant.
On 20 March 2003, Judge Bernard Saint Vil presented the results of his investigation into the 3 April 2000 murders. The closing report, however, was severely tainted with inadequacies, errors and problems. NCHR and other human rights organizations, as well as a significant portion of the Haitian population were outraged to learn of the weak, incomplete, and insufficient conclusions made by the Investigating Judge. As such, an appeal of the report was quickly filed with the Appellate Court in Port-au-Prince.
It was the hope of all concerned that the Appellate Court would recognize the weaknesses and inadequacies of Judge Saint Vil?s report and take the appropriate action, such as re-opening the investigation, correcting the errors of the report, specifically to include serious information omitted from the original report. Such action would allow for the prosecution of those inherently responsible for the crime ? the intellectual authors, the individuals who actually fired the shots as well as any accomplices. Judge Saint Vil?s report failed to include any such information.
On 4 August 2003, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the appeal, rendering the report insufficient and incomplete and returned the dossier to the First Instance Court of Port-au-Prince where the case had been handled. The investigation was to be re-opened, this time the investigation to be led by Judge Napela Saintil.
At the time of these proceedings, three (3) suspects in the murder case were being held in Haitian prisons in the capital. Dymsley Millien (alias Ti Lou), Jean Daniel Jeudy (alias Guimy) and Markington Philippe learned of the re-opening of the investigation and were opposed to the decision of the Appellate Court. In attempts to block the process, the three (3) men addressed the Supreme Court, requesting that the Appellate Court?s decision be overturned.
All progress into the double-murder case had been blocked until the Supreme Court?s 29 June 2004 decision. The decision to uphold the ruling of the Appellate Court means that Judge Saintil can begin additional investigations into the case for the purposes of identifying the intellectual authors of the crime, accomplices and the actually murderers.
To date, only one (1) only one individual suspected for his involvement in the murder case is behind bars, Mr. Harold Severe, who was arrested on 14 March 2004 when trying to leave the country. Millien, Jeudy, and Philippe were all released from prison on 29 February 2004.
As investigations continue, NCHR calls on the Minister of Justice to assume his responsibility and ensure that all obstacles and challenges to the case are overcome and removed from the path to Justice – the freedom of the Haitian press and the freedom of expression of all Haitian citizens depend on this.
Furthermore, NCHR calls on the Haitian National Police (PNH) – the auxiliary of the Judiciary – to step up its efforts to search out the three (3) men formerly in prison for their suspected involvement in the murders, and return them to prison so as to face the charges laid against them.
National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR)
Coalition National pour les Droits des Haïtiens
9, Rue Rivière
Tel: 509.245.3486 / 245.5821