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Haiti - Justice : Two Offices of Free Legal Assistance at the Palace of Justice of PAP
17/05/2018 08:46:45

Haiti - Justice : Two Offices of Free Legal Assistance at the Palace of Justice of PAP
Funded by the Minujusth Model Jurisdiction Section, two Legal Assistance Offices (BAL) opened at the Port-au-Prince Palace of Juctice. For more than 12 months, these two offices will provide free assistance, especially for people in pre-trial detention for several years. This project is managed by the Bar, which has assigned to the two BAL more than 38 lawyers and administrative staff. An initiative that aims to reduce the gap between detainees tried and those in prevention at the civil prison of Port-au-Prince.

The first of the BAL includes 15 lawyers and focuses on the cases of convicted inmates from 2010 to 2013.

The second BAL includes 23 lawyers and deals with the most recent files with also the consideration of the files treated according to the procedure of immediate appearance. Along with the length of detention as a factor, the files will be processed by the legal assistants under the following categories :

  • Records relating to instruction Cabinets : Those whose instructing magistrates are known and in practice, and those for whom it is impossible to know the magistrate to whom they belong. This is the largest category with more than 1,250 inmates involved;

  • Cases in trial : According to the prison database, there are more than 654 to have been presented in court at least once since 2010. Yet, they are still in the trial phase. Perhaps they have been tried and the decision is in a file at the prosecutor's office and has never been served for lack of means and diligence. It is also possible that the trial was postponed and no due diligence was made for the resumption of the hearing. In any case, searches at the Registry of the Court of First Instance and the Secretariat of the Public Prosecutor's Office are necessary to determine what is happening;

  • The case said "forgotten" : In the treatment of the prison list, it has been found that 44 detainees imprisoned since 2010 apparently have no data suggesting that they could have a court record. Indeed, the name of the magistrate in charge is unknown, the alleged offense is not mentioned and no presentation to a judge has been produced since their placement in deposit;

  • The files relating to the Prosecutor's Office : IThese are inmates who have, in their prison record, only the title of deposit of the prosecution. They were not the object of any presentation before an examining magistrate or a court. It is possible that their file is no longer at the prosecutor's office: according to information to be collected from the secretariat of the prosecution, it will be necessary to trace the course of the file;

  • Cases with referral order : The last act received by these detainees is the closing order of the investigating judge in charge of their case. Some of them may have appealed the order. The others would therefore have long been waiting for the indictment which should allow their presentation by a court to be fixed on their fate.

For each of these categories, the lists of detainees were submitted to the coordinators of the two legal aid offices to establish a division of labor among the assistants. An action plan was also given to them: it contains a list of activities and actions that can be considered for each category.

The goal is to reach a court decision for each case. The Minujusth Model Jurisdiction Section is supporting this work as part of its mandate to ensure justice for the victims and for detainees to have their rights respected.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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