Impunity - Haiti

WHEREAS in recent months, Haitian journalists have been threatened and attacked and some have been forced into exile, in most cases because of aggression from supporters of the ruling party WHEREAS at least 15 journalists have fled into exile since the attempted coup d'etat December 17 WHEREAS journalist Brignol Lindor, news director of Radio Echo in Port au Prince, was murdered December 3, 2001, by supporters of the ruling Lavalas Family party; Gerard Denoze, journalist of Radio Plus, Port au Prince, was murdered December 15, 2001, and the crime has not yet been solved WHEREAS arrest warrants have been issued, but not served, against the suspects in the murder of radio reporter Brignol Lindor WHEREAS the official investigations of the case of Jean Leopold Dominique, owner and news director of Radio Haiti, who was killed April 3, 2000, have been obstructed by a series of bureaucratic measures and a campaign of threats and intimidation that call into question the independence of judicial authorities WHEREAS President Jean Bertrand Aristide has failed to renew the mandate of the investigating judge, Claudy Gassant, in the case of the April, 2000 assassination of Jean Leopold Dominique, director of Radio Haiti. WHEREAS the Association of Haitian journalists (AJH) and other credible sources, including Dominique's widow, believe Judge Gassant was conducting a professional investigation with courage and determination. WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes that "[f]reedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators; [s]uch acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly" THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to urge the government to investigate and stop the threats and violent acts against the press and prosecute the guilty ones in order to end the climate of impunity, aggression and hostility against the press to urge President Jean Bertrand Aristide to provide all means necessary to solve the crimes and offer protection to those involved in the judicial process so that they can move forward to urge President Aristide to renew the mandate of the investigating judge in the Dominique murder case.