The RSF rightly decries the eight years of blocked investigations in the Dominique case. It ably recites the many false starts, releases of suspects, and reverses in this case. It asks why the case continues to be blocked. Then it unwittingly answers its own question by providing the Haitian regime an inestimable political reward for continuing to block the case.
It did this by uncritically dragging in the name of Sen. Rudolph H. Boulos, a founding member of our organization, the Haiti Democracy Project, and a moderate man of peaceful democratic values who could not conceivably have had anything to do with the Dominique murder. That the RSF could fall for such an obvious trap betrays a lack of professionalism and an inacquaintance with Haiti that severely threatens the noble cause on which it is embarked.
Because of his independence and effectiveness, Senator Boulos was marked for elimination by the regime last fall. A pro-Aristide propagandist, whom President Preval put in charge of a government commission ostensibly created to investigate journalists’ murders, baselessly accused Senator Boulos of sending men to follow and threaten him. The RSF itself had previously broken with this individual because it found him duplicitous. The former head of the U.S. Information Agency in Haiti, Daniel Whitman, has described the individual’s systematic fibbery in his A Haiti Chronicle.
Nevertheless, the RSF in its understandable relief that a high-level government commission had been named to pursue the inquiry, made a Faustian bargain by reassociating with an individual it knew to be unreliable. It then compounded the error by repeating in its press releases last October the slander that the senator had sent men to threaten the individual. When questioned by the Haiti Democracy Project, it freely admitted that it had no independent knowledge of the alleged threats. It authorized the Haiti Democracy Project to publish a partial retraction.
Learning nothing from the episode it now misstates the issue of parliamentary immunity and gives the false impression that Senator Boulos has something to hide in this case. The senator’s answer speaks for itself in giving the facts of his full cooperation with the judicial inquiry.
From the very beginning, the Dominique case in the hands of the Haitian regime has been a political weapon to be wielded against its political opponents. In 2000, as Daniel Whitman writes, the regime even attempted to pin it on him, a ranking career American diplomat. The usefulness of the case in fishing expeditions against political opponents, and the gullibility of organizations such as RSF who richly reward the regime for such manipulations, now emerge as the primary reason why the case drags on and on without conclusion.