By Jacqueline Charles
A high-profile lawyer, constitutional scholar and head of the Port-au-Prince bar was gunned down Friday night in Haiti.
Just hours before, he called for “another kind of country, another state” during a radio interview in which he addressed several controversial topics including constitutional reform, elections and the breakdown of Haitian institutions.
The fourth murder in less than 48 hours, the assassination of Monferrier Dorval has left Haitians shaken. Haiti has been plagued by rising insecurity and criminality, and has seen at least 159 people killed by gang violence since January, according to statistics compiled by the United Nations Integrated Office.
“How can assassins decide to end the life of such a personality, useful for the country?” Renan Hédouville, director of the national Office for the Protection of Citizens said in a statement. “What a huge loss for the country, the university world and the bar of Port-au-Prince.”
Dorval, Hédouville said, “was a man of conviction and a brilliant lawyer” and his murder “was revolting.” The government’s ombudsman, Hédouville demanded a swift investigation by police to identify Dorval’s killers.
Police say Dorval, 64, was killed at about 10 p.m. as he returned home. His body was found splattered in blood, just a few feet from his front gate in Pelerin 5, the same neighborhood where President Jovenel Moïse lives.
Haiti National Police Deputy Spokesman Garry Desrosier said Dorval was killed at close range, and after he had already opened the gate to his residence and parked his car. Desrosier said that police saw that “his car was ransacked,” and an investigation is ongoing. Images circulating on social media showed his bloody body on the ground, riddled with bullets with his watch still on his arm.
“It would appear that it’s an assassination,” Desrosier said.
The news has angered Haitians, who on radio Saturday remembered the respected lawyer and decried the growing criminality and insecurity in Haiti, where armed gangs are testing the rule of law in the face of a weak national police, a crippling economy and dysfunctional governance. Dozens have been kidnapped and killed over the past year, with warring gangs accused of orchestrating massacres in poor neighborhoods
Moïse, condemned the killing in a Saturday tweet, saying Dorval’s assassination “saddens the whole Republic.”
“This crime, like so many others, will not go unpunished,” said Moïse, who described the lawyer as “a man of great culture.”
Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe also issued a statement saying the killing and several others in the past few days are “revolting.”
At least three others were also killed between Thursday and Friday. Among them: Radio Caraibes radio host Frantz Adrien Bony and Haitian businessman Michel Saieh.
The owner of a supermarket, Saieh, 84, was killed in the middle of the day when the vehicle that he and his wife, Gladys, were riding in was riddled with bullets as it traveled along Avenue John Brown in the Lalue neighborhood of the capital. Saieh’s wife and driver were both injured in the attack and transported to a local hospital.
Bony, meanwhile, was found with a bullet in the head on Thursday night along Panamerican Avenue in Pétion-Ville. Continue reading