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Haiti - Justice : Fight against pretrial detention
09/02/2013 10:23:25

Haiti - Justice : Fight against pretrial detention
In Haiti, 80% of prisoners are not judged, sometimes waiting up to 6 to 10 years to know their fate, Reduce the number of people in pretrial detention and its duration, has always been a challenge for the judicial authorities of the country. Since 2011, 6 Multisectoral committees are working hard to tackle the problem in 4 departments of Haiti [Croix-des-Bouquets and Petit Goâve (West), Les Cayes (South), Cap Haitien (North), Saint Marc and Gonaïves (Artibonite)].

An initiative that is already showing results in Artibonite, explains Astride Erdain, member of Monitoring Committee of the Prolonged pretrial detention of Gonaïves (Artibonite). She represents the Justice Section of the Minustah, within the group and regularly visits the Gonaïves prison, to inventory the prisoners "To have a list of prisoners, I am referring to the clerk of the jail, or directly to the prisoners. I classify their files according to their seniority or the seriousness of the offense they are charged."

Established last December to fight against prolonged pretrial detention, called "illegal", which undermines the legal and prison system in Haiti, the thirteen members of the Committee meet every fortnight to identify the causes of delays in the processing of cases and ensure their follow for trial "Since the establishment of the Committee, 11 inmates have already appeared before a judge and await a verdict, and 27 cases are pending. The distribution of tasks is based on consensus between representatives of different institutions," indicated Me Friscat Gilles, Deputy Government Commissioner in charge of the Gonaïves prison.

Currently, 250 people are in custody, including 11 children and 10 women. "These numbers change from day to day. Some enter and others leave, sometimes without that the registry is informed," deplores Oldnick Joseph, Clerk to the Gonaïves prison.

Ultimately, the Minustah, in support of justice authorities, plans the establishment of a committee in each of the 18 jurisdictions of the country.

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