Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti: Justice Delayed, Again,0,1731888.story South Florida Baseless arrests continue (title by Sun-Sentinel, not author) December 9, 2007 By Brian Concannon, Jr. Rev. G�rard Jean-Juste’s struggles with Haiti’s criminal justice system have been a good gauge of the system’s health for the last three years. The latest episode, last month, showed that rule of law is alive in Haiti � if not exactly kicking.   “Fr. Gerry,” a Catholic priest well-known as an advocate for South Florida’s immigrants and Haiti’s poor, has fought charges of murder, treason, weapons possession, disturbing the peace and criminal conspiracy since Haiti’s interim government first arrested him in October 2004. No one has produced any evidence of criminal activity, but that has not stopped Haitian authorities from arresting Jean-Juste three times and jailing him for seven months. G�rard Latortue, who headed the interim government (March 2004-May 2006) that […]

My Rosary Is My Only Weapon- Fr. Jean-Juste goes to Court in Haiti, Again

By Pooja Bhatia, Esq. Port-au-Prince, 26 November 2007� Hundreds of supporters of Father G�rard Jean-Juste crammed into the courtroom of the Palais de Justice today to attend his long-awaited hearing before the�Cour d�Appel(Court of Appeals). Dozens demonstrated outside. Although the court did not dismiss the charges against Jean-Juste�as many of his supporters had hoped and cautiously predicted�the hearing gave them reason to believe that the charges will eventually be dropped.   The�Commissaire du Gouvernement, or prosecutor, officially recommended that the charges against Jean-Juste be dropped. Moreover, the judges gave their legal imprimatur to Jean-Juste�s provisional freedom. As Jean-Juste�s release, on medical grounds in January 2006, was ordered by the government rather than the proper judicial authorities, he was still vulnerable to arrest and detention. As of today, Father Jean-Juste is free to move about. The judges will now review Jean-Juste�s […]

Haiti: After the Deluge, Residents Turn to Each Other

By: Wadner Pierre -�IPS GONAIVES – Cars crossing Gonaives Avenue shoot plumes of murky water from their rears. Men on motorcycles stick to the shoulder of the road, dodging large puddles. As the flooding in this coastal city begins to slowly recede, residents are starting to assess the measure of destruction. Scattered thunderstorms are still drenching Haiti, which remains on “yellow alert”, with persistent threats of overflowing rivers, floods and landslides — always a danger in a country that has lost 90 percent of its forest cover. Haitians of all classes dread hurricane season. A week of hard rain in areas like Les Cayes, a seaport in the southwest, means residents must trudge through feet of water. And many feel abandoned to the mercy of the elements. One couple carrying plastic cans down a street in Gonaives asked, “Where is […]

Activist Haitian priest finds peace, obscurity while recovering in Broward, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, December 4, 2006,0,6644810.story?coll=sfla-busrealestate-headlines � By Alva James-Johnson South Florida Sun-Sentinel December 4, 2006 Wilton Manors � The Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, the firebrand Catholic priest who inspired a generation of Haitian community activists, sits quietly at St. Clements Catholic Church on Andrews Avenue for a moment of reflection. Far away are the throngs of followers from Haiti’s Lavalas political party who flock to Jean-Juste’s side when he meanders through the streets of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, and the chants of admiration he hears when he addresses Creole-speaking supporters. “This is where I come to pray every day,” he says, sitting inconspicuously in an empty church as soft rays of light beam through stained glass windows. “When they close at night, I park my car and pray for an hour or hour and a half.” These days the 60-year-old priest has much to pray […]

Haiti’s Stealth Elections: What’s at Stake

by Brian Concannon Jr. Dec 2, 2006  Tomorrow Haitians will vote in historic elections that are as ignored as they are important. Although they are receiving little attention in the foreign, and even Haitian press, the elections will establish, for the first time in nineteen years, the radically democratic and decentralized foundation of Haiti�s 1987 Constitution. <!– –> The International attention available for elections in poor countries is focused on Venezuela�s Presidential race the same day. Haiti�s President, Ren� Pr�val, is in Havana today, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. Even the members of the Haitian politics listserve have other things on their mind: today�s postings include analyses of politics in Venezuela, Cuba, Lebanon and France, but no mention of tomorrow�s voting in Haiti. Haiti�s elections are for municipal and local posts, which attract less attention in any […]

Fewer kidnappings, improved security – but life remains harsh on the streets of Haiti, The Independent,

By Andrew Buncombe in Port-au-Prince Sheltering from the sun beneath a tattered piece of plastic in the crowded streets of Salamoun market, Jacqueline Charles shrugged when asked whether life had improved under the government of the man she voted for. “We are thinking life will be better. Maybe one day,” said the 60-year-old, who was selling rice. “[So far] there has been no real change. Only God knows. I voted for change but things cannot change right away.” Anyone looking for signs of improvement in Haiti has a frustrating and arduous task and this teeming market in the centre of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where some of the city’s most beleaguered residents try to scrape out a living, may not be best place to start. But six months after Ren� Pr�val was sworn in as president of the poorest country in […]

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