She was 1,500 miles away in New York where she has lived since leaving Haiti 22 months ago after stepping down as special adviser to the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission.
From her New York city high rise, where shes surrounded by Haitian paintings and a portrait of Dominique, she keeps tabs on the legal wrangling. She adds the latest developments in Dominiques case to a 38-page chronology that includes names of those implicated, summoned to give testimony and killed.
The case is currently in the hands of its tenth investigative judge, not counting those who outright refused to handle it when it landed on their desk. The current judge, Yvickel Dabresil, is tasked with determining the intellectual author of the hit. Quietly, Montas, however, fears that he, too, will do as his predecessors: quit under pressure or out of fear for his own safety.
Almost everyone who has touched this case is dead, she said.
On Christmas Day 2002, while at home in Petionville, Montas almost joined the list herself when two unidentified gunmen fired shots at her, killing bodyguard Maxime Sëide. The bullet holes remain in her gate. When she most recently lived in Haiti, she traveled with six U.N. bodyguards and two armored cars.
Why did they come and shoot at me? Because I was asking for justice everyday on the microphone? she said. Two months later, fearing more deaths, she shut down the radio station, and again fled into self-exile.
Last month, Dabresil, the investigative judge, summoned former President René Préval and ex-investigative judge Claudy Gassant to give closed-door testimony.
In 2001, Gassant told The Miami Herald that he feared for his life because powerful people in then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristides government might be implicated in the murders. Once a supporter of Aristide and his Lavalas Family party, Dominique had become an outspoken critic on the airwaves.
The executive is against me, the legislative is against me, and the judiciary, too, said Gassant, who later fled to South Florida. Im so afraid I dont know of whom to be afraid.
Gassant declined to discuss last months meeting with the judge. Préval, who was a good friend of Dominiques, told The Herald, Its natural that the judge would want to talk to me.
Some have suggested that Montas seek justice in an international court. That remains an option for Duvalier, she said.
She accuses Duvalier of destroying hope when on Nov. 28, 1980 his regime arrested her and several other journalists and imprisoned them in a 5-by-8 cell on the grounds of the presidential palace before shipping them into exile.
But she said there will be no international tribunal in the case of Dominique, whose decades-long struggle for democracy and championing of poor farmers was captured on the big screen by filmmaker Jonathan Demme in the documentary The Agronomist. His death on the eve of legislative elections in Haiti was declared by the Organization of American States an attack on freedom of the press as well as democracy.
I want him to find justice in his own country because that is what he would have wanted. So many people have died since 86, Montas said. I told myself that if we can use this case to push the issue of impunity to the outmost, then we should do it.
No one is going to give me Jean back. I know that, she said. But whats essential for me is that people see him for what he represented.