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Haiti - Justice : The archives of the Palace of Justice under restoration
03/01/2012 13:32:06

Haiti - Justice : The archives of the Palace of Justice under restoration
Gathered in bulk, legal files and records of state-civil of department of the West taken from the ruins of the Palace of Justice of Port-au-Prince, during the earthquake of January 2010, had been transported in a wet room and stored on wooden shelves chewed by termites...

Given the importance of these documents, the Section of Human Rights (SDH) of the Minustah, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), launched the project "Reconstruction of the archives of the Palace of Justice" of an initial period of 3 months.

The recruitment of an expert in records management, namely the archivist Carline Lanoue and six employees, allows to start the project which consists to "Strengthen the criminal justice system by improving access to records, more particularly records management." This involves the classification of records (decisions of criminal courts and correctional, orders of magistrates, acts of civil status, divorces and adoptions, etc...) of the Registry of Palace of Justice and their inventory.

First observation of the archivist, "When arriving the Palace of Justice we found all these documents and records tangled. The files were damaged and all piled into a room that did not meet the standards of a archival repository." Conservators are responsible for repair and change the covers of books, to make them identifiable by the colors assigned to the different sections of the state-civil.

Work is progressing and in the archive room, many documents have already been sorted and classified either in boxes or in drawers. This is a provisional classification where each box is codified, it bears in this way the code of the court and the judge. A color is assigned to each judge who also has his drawer on which it can find its color and code.

In drawers, files are classified according to the particular offense or the court. About the courts (civil, commercial, correctional, criminal, and referred to children), each also has a color and labels. The documents were classified by year, judge and offense. The colors used to identify them more quickly and for that, a summary database was created.

The reconstruction of the archives of the Palace of Justice allowed to recover criminal files lost among the records of civil status, which will lead to the recovery of files and of many detainees and to revive the judicial process. When the archiving is complete, Carline Lanoue, wish to digitize documents, to leave to the Palace of Justice a "working tool easy to consult."

HL/ HaitiLibre

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