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8314: Examining judge in Dominique case resigns, cites lack of , security (fwd)





From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>

Haiti: Examining judge in Dominique case resigns, cites lack of security
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jun 15, 2001

Text of report by Haitian Signal FM radio on 14 June

[Unidentified announcer] The news fell like a thunder bolt. Examining Judge
Claudy Gassant, in charge of the investigation into the murder of Jean
Leopold Dominique [the owner and general manager of Radio Haiti Inter;
Dominique and the caretaker of that radio station, Jean-Claude Louissaint,
were killed on 3 April 2000], has officially resigned. He submitted his
resignation yesterday to Justice Minister Gary Lissade. Judge Gassant
justified his decision by citing the lack of attention to him on the part of
the authorities. He criticized in particular the fact that the officials
gave him no adequate security measures or resources, explaining that he was
always receiving death threats from unnamed sectors. He received nothing
from the president or the prime minister in terms of moral support. Here is
Claudy Gassant shortly after his resignation.

[Gassant - recording, in Creole and in progress] - the same problems of
security, problems with vehicles and then the question that really
motivated, if you will, my decision, has to do with the justice minister's
attitude in dealing with this case, which seemed quite ambiguous. Because
there was the justice of the peace, Jean Gabriel Ambroise, who usually went
to the national [word indistinct] to submit the reports, and the justice
minister normally is supposed to carry out these types of measures.
Apparently he tolerated this attitude and I think he ought to explain why he
authorized an instruction and a counter-instruction [words indistinct] [End
of recording]

[Announcer] Regarding the justice minister's reaction, Gary Lissade [the
minister] said he will not accept the resignation. In his view, Judge
Gassant must show courage and be firm, because, he said, judges are [word
indistinct] in the examining chamber regarding the investigation of the
Dominique murder. Justice Minister Lissade threatened to resort to legal
principles in order to force Judge Claudy Gassant to reverse his decision.

[Lissade - recording] Indeed, today, at about 1500 [local time] we received
in the ministry the resignation letter of Judge Claudy Gassant, the
examining judge in the double murder of Jean Dominique and his caretaker
Jean-Claude Louissaint.

The Justice Ministry in response wrote to Judge Claudy Gassant to apprise
him of the fact that his resignation was not accepted and that he must
continue to carry out his duties, given that, according to these three
declarations, the investigation of the crime is in the process of (?closing)
and the case has been sent to the public prosecutor for the final brief
while awaiting the final ruling.

The Justice Ministry reiterates its unshakeable will to maintain at the
judge's service the security apparatus and material that he has requested
and obtained to allow him to continue to fulfil his mission in confidence.
As a magistrate who has taken an oath, Judge Gassant, conscious of his
responsibility, cannot remove himself from his obligation to do justice in a
case of which the solution is of interest to the whole nation of Haiti.

Source: Signal FM Radio, Port-au-Prince, in French 1130 gmt 14 Jun 01

/BBC Monitoring/  BBC.