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8325: Métropole: Justice minister says new judge may be assigned to Dominique case (fwd)

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

Haiti: Justice minister says new judge may be assigned to Dominique case
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jun 15, 2001

Text of report by Haitian Metropole radio on 15 June;
passages within double oblique strokes in Creole

The investigation into the murder of the director of Radio Haiti Inter [Jean
Dominique] seems to have reached an impasse following the resignation of
Judge Claudy Gassant on 13 June. The reasons given by the examining judge to
justify his resignation show the delicacy of the issue. Jean Wilkens Meronne

[Meronne - recording] Is it just a coincidence, an unplanned thing, or is it
a premeditated decision by Gassant to resign from his position as examining
judge half-way through the Dominique case? According to most people, it is a
delicate issue. Others think that the investigation is full of bargaining.
And, according to certain senators, it is a fragile matter.

All of this shows that this case interests all sectors. The rumours are
manifold: denunciations, threats, accusations and staggering revelations. We
have heard all kinds of things. But where is the truth? Who is or are guilty
of this murder? For now, we do not know. We seem to be far from knowing the
truth because of this new turn in the investigation and
counter-investigation. This case has led to all kind of things:
demonstrations, sit-ins, a peaceful march and so on.

And where is the work of the judge in charge of the investigation in all
that? About a year after he agreed to be in charge of the case, Claudy
Gassant has resigned before he has even submitted his work, which is only to
give his ruling. Gassant argues that his superior, the justice minister
[Gary Lissade] is boycotting the case. The justice minister strongly denies
this thesis. He has invited Gassant to remain in his post.

[Lissade] If Gassant persists, then the law will be applied. The case will
be entrusted just as it is to another examining judge. However, we hope that
this judge will fulfil the mission of magistrate that has been entrusted to
him, because the Haitian people, as a whole, are waiting for the verdict.

[Meronne] The examining judge has responded to the justice minister.

[Gassant] //Of course, the justice minister has the right not to accept
Judge Gassant's resignation. Since he said he is going to apply the law,
then he can go ahead and do that. He can apply the law and arrest Judge
Gassant, just as he wants to do. They can do what they want. Anyway, those
things are not even important to me. He can do what he thinks is right. He
can do what the law requires and do what he is used to doing, as usual.//

[Meronne] This means that there was indeed a controversy between the justice
minister and the examining judge. And it all happened following multiple
equivocations and friction within the framework of the investigation of the
murder of Jean Dominique. But why? Who will that situation profit? Was it
for the lack of a cause? We must also realize that if Gassant persists in
his resignation, everybody will have to arm themselves with patience before
the case reaches the prosecution.

With the transfer of the case to another examining judge, the data could be
changed. They would need to hear other witnesses and find other paths to
information. In other words, more time will be required. We can only say
that the investigation into this murder will not come to an end and reach
the prosecution shortly. This is another case which has arrived at an
impasse. The Haitian judicial system is being put to the test once again.

Source: Radio Metropole, Port-au-Prince, in French 1145 gmt 15 Jun 01

/BBC Monitoring/ © BBC.