Jacques Roche

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Jacques Roche
Native name
Jacques Roche
Bornca. 1965
Cavaellon, Haiti
DisappearedJuly 10, 2005
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
StatusFound dead
DiedJuly 14, 2005 (Age 34)
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Cause of deathTortured, shot.
Body discoveredPort-au-Prince, Haiti
Resting placePétion-Ville, Haiti
MonumentsThe Ciradelle, Labadee, Cathedrale Notre Dame
OccupationArts & Culture section journalist, TV host, and poet
EmployerLe Matin
Home townPétion-Ville, Haiti

Jacques Roche (ca. 1965– 14, July, 2005), a Haitian journalist and editor for Le Matin newspaper and a host of a TV show in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was kidnapped, tortured and killed during a wave of abductions carried out before elections. Roche was affiliated with Group of 184 and an opponent of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas political party and pro-Lavalas were suspected of carrying out his murder.[1][2][3]


Jacques Roche was born around 1965.[4] His family was from Cavaellon and according to Father Gérard Jean-Juste, Roche's mother once saved his life.[5]

Roche led the organization Assemblée des Peuples de la Caraïbe au Cap Haïtien.[6] Roche was known to organize photography exhibitions to educate different communities throughout Haiti. He also encouraged the public's resistance to laws being passed in Haiti, such as the Haiti's Zona Franca, a law which replaced some of the last fertile land in Haiti with sweatshops.[7][8]


Jacques Roche was a journalist and editor of the Le Matin daily arts and culture newspaper section. He also hosted a local television show. The television show he was a host for focused on civil society issues for Group of 184. Roche was also a poet.[9][10][11]


Jacques Roche is located in Haiti
He was murdered in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jacques Roche was kidnapped on July 10, 2005. Roche was driving in the downtown area of Nazon in Port-au-Prince where he would participate in a civil rights rally. Roche was kidnapped by a group of three or four people and then handed over the a gang who then demanded a ransom.[12][9][2][13]

The kidnappers of Roche demanded a $250,000 ransom for his safe return, but his family and friends could only come up with $10,000, therefore he was killed. His family suspect that his affiliation with the Group of 184 ultimately led to his kidnapping and execution. Group of 184 is an anti-Aristide group that protests against the civil rights that they have in Haiti.

Days later in the afternoon of July 14, 2005, Roche's tortured body was found in the downtown area of Port-au-Prince. Television footage showed him tied to a chair and mutilated. Police say he was tortured, both of Roche's arms were broken, his tongue had been cut out. His actual cause of death was ruled as gun shots to the mouth.[12]

Various charges were made about which group was involved in Roche's kidnapping and directed against the government and a priest. Political opposition leader Father Gérard Jean-Juste, a priest who attended Roche's funeral and was attacked and beaten by mourners, was also accused and detained for questioning, although he was in Florida at the time of Roche's murder and he knew Roche's family. Those charges were later dropped following international protest and claims of political motivation by government police and judges.[14][1][3][10][11][15][16][17][18][19][20]

On July 16 and 22, 2005, members of the UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and local police arrested three suspects. According to Reporters Without Borders, the suspects belonged to a gang called the "Rat Army" that operated in the Port-au-Prince district of Bel-Air.[21] Two people were later sentenced to life in prison for the death of Roche.


Jacques Roche is just one of many journalists in Haiti who had been threatened due to his affiliation with the news and media of Haiti. It is believed that journalists all throughout Haiti have been targeted, threatened and attacked because of the lawlessness in Haiti. Some journalists have taken to extreme measures and fled the country because of this. Nancy Roc, who was a host for a radio show in Haiti called Radio Metropole, fled the country after she was threatened and warned of being abducted.[2][20][22]


Roche's death is believed to be the beginning of a long string of kidnappings and killings within Haiti. These murders target people who are activists of civil rights in the country. The only way for these killings to stop is for there be an agreement on the rights of the Haitian citizens. Over the last year, Port-au-Prince, Haiti has been the target of hundreds of kidnappings and killings. More than 700 people have been killed in the past 10 months, 40 of those people being law enforcement officials.[20][4]


After Jacques Roche's kidnapping, murder and finding of his body, civil society organizations showed support by stating how much of an impact Roche's contributions as an activist had on the community. These organizations called for everyone to come together and honor Jacques Roche by continuing to protest the terrible living conditions that their community has had for many years.[7][2]

After Roche's death, international groups spoke out about his death.

Koïchiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO, said, "I condemn the abduction and murder of Jacques Roche. He is a victim of the violence that continues to plague the Haitian capital. His murder was not directly linked to his professional activities, but the press is one of the sectors most at risk in this climate of terror. Journalists in Haiti have been threatened and attacked, and are forced to limit their movements due to the pervasive lawlessness. A free and independent press, which is an essential component of a democratic society, cannot exist in such conditions. I trust that the government of Haiti will play its part in restoring order and the rule of law."[22]

ActionAID, which is a group in South Africa issued a statement saying "We fervently denouncing Jacques Roche's cowardly execution. We firmly state our outrage on all the attacks on all journalists and citizens." This organization is also known for working together to come to an end of human suffering.[23]

Works about[edit]

  • A documentary about Jaques Roche [24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Tense funeral for Haiti reporter". BBC News. July 21, 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Haitian press in mourning after the murder of Jacques Roche". metropolehaiti.com. July 14, 2005.
  3. ^ a b Pina, Kevin; Jean-Juste, Father Gerard. "Who really killed Jean Dominique and Jacques Roche?". Pacifica Network.
  4. ^ a b HLLN statement (July 17, 2005). "Jacques Roche's kidnapping and death used by "Council of Wise" as pretext for further criminalizing and slaughtering Lavalas supporters and further disenfranchise the poor masses in Haiti". Marguerite Laurent.com.
  5. ^ "Day of Protest Decries Deaths in Haiti". DemocracyNow!. July 21, 2005.
  6. ^ "Jacques Roche était". alterpresse.org.
  7. ^ a b Miller, Jake (July 20, 2005). "Remembering Jacques Roche: Haitian Journalist and Activist Murdered". grassrootsonline.org. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  8. ^ "A Tribute to Jacques Roche, Haiti's Tireless Defender of the Poorest". grassrootsonline.org. July 15, 2005.
  9. ^ a b "Jacques Roche – Journalists Killed". Committee to Protect Journalists. July 14, 2005.
  10. ^ a b "Pro-Aristide priest arrested in connection with Jacques Roche's murder". Reporters Without Borders. July 26, 2005.
  11. ^ a b Jean-Claude, Jasmin (3 August 2005). "Twisting the Truth about Jacques Roche's Murder". Haiti Democracy Project. Haiti Democracy Project. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Kidnapped journalist's body found in a street of Bel Air neighborhood". International Freedom of Expression Exchange.
  13. ^ "HAITI: No sign of justice a year after journalist Jacques Roche was murdered". sipiapa.org.
  14. ^ "Haiti: Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience: Gérard Jean-Juste". Amnesty International.
  15. ^ "Haiti Government Replies To Jacques Roche Accusations". haitiobserver.com. November 23, 2012.
  16. ^ "Police arrest another suspect in Jacques Roche's murder". protectionline.org. 15 October 2007.
  17. ^ "Haitian police make arrest over journalist's murder". BBC Monitoring Americas. July 21, 2005. p. 1.
  18. ^ "Watchdog welcomes life sentences for men accused of killing Haitian journalist". BBC Monitoring Americas. September 2, 2007. p. 1.
  19. ^ Delva, Joseph Guyler (July 14, 2005). "More on the tragic end of Jacques Roche".
  20. ^ a b c "Kidnapped journalist's body found". ifex.org. July 15, 2005.
  21. ^ "RSF urges end to impunity in journalists' murders". IFEX.org.
  22. ^ a b "Director-General condemns killing of journalist Jacques Roche". UNESCO. July 18, 2005.
  23. ^ "Murder of Haitian Journalist Elicits Global Outrage". IIP Digital. July 18, 2005.
  24. ^ "Jacques Roche Documentary Premieres at Festival". haitiantimes. 5 May 2012.