HAITIAN JOURNALISM RECEIVED A TERRIBLE BLOW in the April assassination of Jean Léopold Dominique, the country's most prominent journalist and a veteran advocate of free speech. On April 3, an unidentified gunman shot Dominique seven times as he entered Radio Haïti Inter's courtyard for his morning broadcast. Security guard Jean-Claude Louissaint was also shot dead in the attack.
The 69-year-old Dominique was a close friend and political advisor to President René Préval, and virtually the only reporter in Haiti who dared to do serious investigative work. In an April 4 letter to Préval, CPJ called for a full investigation and insisted that the perpetrators be brought to justice. In July, the government appointed the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux to provide legal support for the investigation. (The same legal team worked on a trial that resulted in the November convictions of more than 50 former high-ranking paramilitary and army soldiers for involvement in a 1994 slum massacre.) And in September, the justice minister appointed a new judge because of delays in the investigation.