Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Pretrial Detention and Corruption in Haiti’s Justice System

Haiti’s justice system struggles with corruption and prolonged pre-trial detention. This article tells the story of a young girl who was illegally put in prison, awaiting for almost a year for a murder she did not commit. In the end, she was released due to the persistence of her attorneys but many aren’t so lucky, especially if they’re poor. In order to truly fix Haiti’s justice system, the root causes of prolonged detentions need to be addressed and nonprofits dealing with the problem need to work with Haitians to solve it. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Haitian Teen Falls Into Trap of Dysfunctional Justice System Mackenzie Rigg, Youth Today April 23, 2015 When 13-year-old Camesuze Jean Pierre entered the iron gates of the Petionville women’s prison, she feared she would never get out. Crammed […]

Report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Gustavo Gallón

The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti recently published a report in preparation for the Human Rights Council’s 28th session. The report discusses economic, social and cultural rights; social inequality; deprivation of liberty and detention conditions; rule of law; human rights violations and impunity; and the effect of crises on human rights. It includes the following recommendation on cholera: A reparations commission should be established for the victims of the cholera epidemic in order to catalogue the damage suffered and the corresponding indemnification, identify those responsible and halt the epidemic, among other actions; The summary of the report is below. Click HERE for the pdf. February 9, 2015 The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti considers the situation to be complex but not insuperable. Following his second mission to the country, in July […]

Why Haiti’s Justice System Must Be Fixed

The targeting of poor people and political dissidents for arrest and prolonged detention is a major problem in Haiti. The Martelly administration has used these tactics to silence political opponents and limit freedom of speech in Haiti. Widespread corruption means a political prisoner may spend years in prison without a trial. Haiti’s justice system must be reformed so this is no longer possible. Part of the post is below. Click HERE for the full text. Guest post: The Targeted Arrest and Detention of Political Prisoners in Haiti Morenike Fajana & Nicole Phillips, Fair Trials International January 12, 2015 A combination of Haiti’s weak criminal justice system and dismal prison conditions creates a dire situation for Haitians accused of a crime. Haitian prisoners – the majority of which have yet to be charged with a crime – suffer prolonged pre-trial detention in over-crowded, unhygienic, and unsanitary conditions unless […]

Why Haiti Needs Prison Reform

This article uses the inhumane conditions in Haiti’s National Penitentiary to illustrate the poor condition of the prison system in general. Haiti’s prisons are way overcrowded and the rate of pretrial detention is extremely high. Unfortunately, the Haitian government doesn’t have the funds or will to improve the prisons itself. Haiti needs systemic change in order for its people’s human rights to be respected, inside and outside of prisons. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Inside Haiti’s prisons: a nation battles crime and human rights abuses as it struggles to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake Martin Bentham, London Evening Standard September 25, 2014 The former French naval officer looks down from the walls of Haiti’s National Penitentiary at the mass of prisoners crowded in the yards below and delivers a simple verdict. “It’s just not human,” says […]

Reports Sent to UN Human Rights Committee

October 7-10, 2014, the Government of Haiti will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva, a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Haiti acceded to the ICCPR on February 6, 1991. Under the Haitian Constitution, international treaties, once ratified, become a part of the legislation of Haiti and abrogate any pre-existing, conflicting laws. Haiti, like all States parties, must submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Covenant and then generally every four years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”. This is Haiti’s first review. Haiti submitted its first report in 2013. The BAI and IJDH […]

Corruption and Haitian Prisons

Brian Concannon is featured in this article, which discusses the effect of corruption on the Haitian prison system, particularly in prolonged pre-trial detentions and failure to arrest actual criminals. Haiti special report: Corruption means many prisoners wait years for trials Jason O’Brien, February 15, 2014 HAITI ranks 12th on a league table of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International. Pre-trial detention rates – with prisoners often waiting years for court appearances – are eye-watering. And whether you get arrested, released, to trial or convicted often comes down to money. “There are lots of reasons why cases aren’t processed,” Brian Concannon, director of the Institute for Justiceand Democracy in Haiti, says. “One of them is just lack of resources, another is the antiquated procedures, but the biggest obstacle is that the high rate of pre-trial detention is […]

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