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Judge in Jean Dominique murder case suspended for corruption

(RSF/IFEX) - The justice ministry announced on 30 March 2009 that Fritzner Fils-Aimé, the latest judge to be put in charge of the investigation into the April 2000 murder of Radio Haïti Inter director Jean Dominique, has been suspended for "serious acts of corruption." Two other judicial officials - Joseph Descharles, the prosecutor of the southwestern town of Jérémie, and Patterson Dorval, the deputy prosecutor of the southwestern town of Petit-Goâve - were suspended at the same time for similar reasons. The charges against them are to be heard by the Higher Council for the Judiciary.

Fils-Aimé was the sixth investigating judge to be put in charge of the Dominique case since 2006. He had been ordered by the Port-au-Prince appeal court to identify the instigators of Dominique's murder. Only one suspect has ever been arrested in connection with the case, Mercidieu Toussaint, who was arrested in August 2007. When Reporters Without Borders met Fils-Aimé to discuss the Dominique case, he complained of a lack of resources and of a "lack of interest on the part of the appeal court."

"In the nine years since Dominique was gunned down, the case has been handled by a total of six investigating judges and his murder remains completely unpunished," Reporters Without Borders said. "We cannot comment on the substance of this latest episode, but it clearly represents yet another failure for the investigation. Is the lack of results by Fils-Aimé due solely to his negligence? Is there a clear judicial and political will to solve this case? Will a new judge be appointed? These questions require an answer as the judicial procedures disintegrate with the passage of time, and it becomes more and more unlikely that the truth will ever be known."

Updates the Dominique case:

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