This is BAI’s 2nd blog post on their new Civic Engagement Program (PEC). The PEC aims to educate low-income communities on their human rights to clean water and primary education. These informed citizens will then be better equipped to develop strategies to demand those rights. In this post, the community members discuss corruption in the judicial system.
Tackling Access to Justice in Civic Engagement Meetings
Bureau des Avocats Internationaux
February 23, 2015
On a rainy day in January, BAI attorneys traveled to the outskirts of Saut d’Eau to meet with community members as part of BAI’s Civic Engagement Program. Meeting face to face with community members enables BAI attorneys to gain firsthand insight into the problems specific communities are facing, and to support community-led solutions. Today, the community members chose to tackle a particularly pressing problem — access to justice.
BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph began by asking community members about their experiences with the Haitian legal system, and their candid answers revealed unfortunate truths about systematic barriers to justice in Haiti. Fok ou penche, one man responded matter-of-factly, “you have to bribe.” Another man answered that if you want your case to move forward, then it’s your obligation to pay a bribe to a judge. There’s simply no other way to ensure that your case will be reviewed in a timely manner, if at all.