SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: August 28, 2020

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Haiti

Region & Country:Americas | Haiti

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 28, 2020, Monferrier Dorval, a professor of law at the University of Haiti and head of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association, was murdered shortly after he made comments critical of the government.

In the hours prior to his murder, Dorval criticized the government in a radio interview, claiming a lack of leadership and decrying crises affecting the country. Dorval commented, “We are constantly in crisis, relying on foreigners to tell us what to do. This country is not truly governed.” He also suggested the country convene legal experts to draft a new constitution.

Reports indicate that the assailants stormed his home, located near the residence of the country’s president, and shot Dorval three times in the chest. Dorval’s wallet and cellphone were reportedly missing at the crime scene, according to reporting by Voice of America.

News of his killing immediately drew protests and calls for an investigation. On September 3, authorities took into custody three suspects; however, it does not appear the investigation has been completed.

It bears mentioning that two other well-known Haitians were killed that same day: Radio-Television Caraïbes reporter Frantz Adrien Bony and Haitian-Arab businessman Michel Saieh.

Scholars at Risk deeply concerned about the targeted killing of a scholar in apparent retaliation with nonviolent expressive activity. SAR offers condolences to the victim’s family, friends, and colleagues, and urges state authorities to ensure a thorough investigation into the scholar’s murder and hold perpetrators accountable. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such attacks undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.