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COMMISSION LAUNCHED TO INVESTIGATE JOURNALIST MURDERS

An independent committee will be set up to investigate the unsolved murders of journalists in Haiti, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports.

President René Préval declared on 10 August that a committee of nine Port-au-Prince-based journalists from different media outlets will review the progress of official investigations into the unsolved murders of journalists, starting with the case of one of the country's most renowned reporters, Jean-Léopold Dominique. Dominique, owner and director of Radio Haïti-Inter, was gunned down in April 2000 outside the entrance to his Port-au-Prince station.

"A long-stalled case that has been characterised by incompetence and a lack of political will, Dominique's slaying remains unpunished," says CPJ.

The committee will have access to official police and court documents on the murders of at least 10 journalists. It will study the case files, determine where and why they have stalled, and issue public reports with recommendations on how to speed up the process.

The committee, a joint initiative between local press freedom group S.O.S. Journalistes and President Préval, has received public pledges of support from high-ranking government officials, including the Haitian minister of justice and the chief of police. But CPJ says the real test of the Haitian government's resolve "will be its ability to bring the perpetrators to justice."

According to CPJ, three journalists have been murdered in direct reprisal for their work in Haiti since 2000.

Visit these links:
- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/37b8yo
- Haiti Support Group: http://tinyurl.com/2kx4ry
(21 August 2007)

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