Report to the 74th General Assembly
October 19 to 22, 2018
Salta, Argentina
The disappearance of news photographer Vladjimir Legagneur in mid-March this year was the focus of interest of the Haitian press, representatives of local media and human rights defense organizations, which continue calling for more effective investigations by the authorities.

On another matter, national attention has centered on the worse crisis facing the government of President Jovenel Moise due to the increase in the price of fuels early in July. The action gave rise to protests and lootings in which a dozen people died and that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant.

Legagneur disappeared on March 14 in a neighborhood known as Grand Ravine, in the dangerous and poor Martissant district of the Haitian capital, according to what was reported by the victim's wife, Fleurette Guerrier. She complained of the slow reaction by the police to investigate the case. Legagneur, 30, worked in several media and at the time of his disappearance was doing a report in the area.

A few days afterwards Ombudsman Renan Hedouville and organizations such as the Union of Haitian Graphic Reporters (UJPH), the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH) and the National Association of Haitian Media (ANMH) called on the authorities to "intensify their efforts" so as to locate Legagneur's whereabouts. The police only reported on the finding of a body in the area where the disappearance had occurred, which will undergo identification.

In early May the chairman of the Association of Independent Media of Haiti (AMIH), Georges Venel Remarais, called for "reasonable access to sources," especially the treatment of matters of national interest. The chairman of the ANMH, Frantz Duval, warned about the "new challenge and dangers inherent in the proliferation of media and the massive arrival of journalists almost without control," a phenomenon in which "self-regulation is essential."

The then Communication and Culture Minister Guyler Delva declared that "self-regulation is fundamental for defining the limits of the practice of the profession" so as to prevent the authorities from having excuses for drawing up laws against press freedom.

Haiti's Chamber of Deputies put in a drawer in the previous six-month period an anti-defamation bill approved by the Senate in March 2017, widely questioned for imposing harsh punishments of journalists or individuals found guilty of defaming public officials and police officers.

In April it was 18 years since the murder of journalist Jean Leopold Dominique, whose investigation file remains in the Supreme Court of Justice without its having been reviewed in the last four years according to the independent organization SOS Journalists. The group said, however, that President Jovenel Moise made a commitment to place his good offices in the Senate to raise the number of judges of the court, the main obstacle in the development of the proceedings.

Dominique was riddled with bullets on April 3, 2000, at the age of 69, as he was arriving at work at Radio Haiti Inter. In the attack also killed was Jean Claude Louissaint, the radio station's security guard.
Early in 2014 Judge Ivickel Dabrésil submitted a report that involved 14 collaborators of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide in Dominique's death, among them former senator Mirlande Libérus Pavert, said to be the mastermind of the crime.

The Court of Annulment has to pronounce on an appeal raised by the former legislator, now living in the United States.

In almost two decades some 20 people were interviewed by the judiciary, among them former presidents Jean Bertrand Aristide and René Préval. Several people were arrested, some witnesses or others involved died or were murdered and at least 75% on the physical record of the courts disappeared.