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Haiti - Justice : The rule of law and the «Relay of Justice»
08/05/2011 10:37:16

Haiti - Justice : The rule of law and the «Relay of Justice»
The rule of law requires, among other the access to justice. But in remote areas of Haiti, citizens do not have easy access, and may have to travel several tens of kilometers to reach the nearest Peace Court. To remedy this, the Government of Haiti, with the support of the Minustah and of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has undertaken to install in these areas annexes of Peace Courts, better known as the relay of Justice. "It is justice that goes to the people and not vice versa. Because, there is no rule of law without the access to Justice" argued, for his part, Habib Dahdouh, Coordinator of the Office of State right of the Minustah.

In these Relays of Justice, the judges make including, observations (constats) on the ground and receive the complainants. The most common cases heard are land disputes, assaults and sexual assaults. These Relays of Justice are designed to operate like all Courts of Peace, with "the same rules and same schedules" further notes Habib Dahdouh. Judges, clerks and police officers are indeed affected tyo them.

In the Department's approach, before installing a Relay of Justice in an area, "we must ensure that the public wants to have one. In addition, we must seek its assistance in the provision of logistics". And to operate the annexes, the Department does not make new appointments. in the nearest Peace courts and whose volume of work is not very high, the excess of available staff. To encourage the Government to create annexes of courts, the public offer, in many cases, houses, chairs and desks. So far, the total number of annexes created amounts to about thirty, spread across various departments. The Ministry of Justice intends to establish one in every communal sections of the country. "One of our priorities, is to bring justice much closer to the citizens," said Paul Denis, Justice Minister.

The support of the international community :
In the implementation of this project, the Haitian State enjoys logistical support provided by UNDP and Minustah. A support in terms of equipment such as generators, tables, chairs and computers. UNDP is also finalizing a plan to grant motorcycles to facilitate the movement of judges.

The support of the international community also touch other aspects of the strengthening of the Justice in Haiti. Indeed, the Minustah also supports, including, the Office of Government Commissioner in Port-au-Prince in the management of the issue of prolonged pretrial detention. It also provides direct technical support to the National School of Magistrates (EMA) in the daily management of the institution and in the preparation of training modules for judges. Together with UNDP, which provides funding, the Mission helped EMA in the Organization of the first national recruitment of students-magistrates on the basis of the 2007 law governing the institution.

UNDP and the Minustah also helped in the rehabilitation or to the construction of courts. The current Justice Building of Port-de-Paix is the work of the United Nations Programme for Development. The Minustah has, for example funded the rehabilitation of the premises housing the Court of Appeals of Gonaives, which was inaugurated on April 29.

During 2011, several other courts will be constructed or rehabilitated for example, the Court of First Instance of Port-de-Paix and the Courts of Peace of Bassin Bleu, Anse à Foleur and Baie de Henne, in the Department of Northwest.

HL/ HaitiLibre / Minustah

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