Nº 13/01       


Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
requests precautionary measures to protect Claudy Gassant, the judge investigating the murder of reporter Jean Dominique



          On July 5, 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights decided to request the adoption of precautionary measures to protect Claudy Gassant, the judge in charge of investigating the murder of Haitian reporter Jean Dominique on April 3, 2000.


          The Commission’s decision came after reports that Judge Claudy Gassant had received various death threats since he was assigned to investigate the case of the murder of reporter Jean Léopold Dominique.  This task was assigned to him after two other judges had received similar threats and had declined to continue their investigations.  A plot to kill Judge Gassant was discovered on June 8, 2001.  That and the lack of adequate protection forced the judge to resign.  The Minister of Justice announced his intention not to accept Judge Gassant’s resignation in connection with this case and negotiations are under way to afford the judge effective protection.


          With the consent of the beneficiary, the Commission has asked the Government of Haiti to adopt the following precautions:


1.       Immediate adoption of all precautionary measures required to protect Mr. Claudy Gassant’s life and physical integrity.


2.       Adoption of all measures needed to guarantee his right to seek, receive, and impart information relating to the investigation of the circumstances surrounding the murder of journalist Jean Dominique, in accordance with Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and the second principle proclaimed in the Inter-American Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression.


          The precautionary measures requested by the Commission will be in effect for six months.  Thereafter, after examining the observations of the parties, the Commission will decide if they should be extended or not.


          The Commission will study whether or not the Government of Haiti has taken the steps requested of it and has given it 15 days to report on the measures adopted.

Washington, D.C., July 6, 2001.