A Soapbox in Haiti

Here’s a video passed along from the IJDH. This video is part of a series called “A Soapbox in Haiti,” which presents the voices of Haitian citizens on topics significant to the country’s post-earthquake recovery. This particular video gives us human rights lawyer Mario Joseph talking about the justice system in Haiti:

Canada, and Haiti’s justice system

by Roger Annis

Yesterday, our delegation met with the commissioner (“Commissaire”) of the West Department of Haiti, the department that includes Port au Prince. He is a very busy man, but graciously gave us a half hour of his time.

The commissioners are the representatives in each of Haiti’s ten department of the office of the President. They are responsible for the functioning and delivery of services by the state, especially of its justice ministry. Mr. Gassant gave us an overview of the difficulties and challenges of the justice system as he experiences it.

“Our government is definitely concerned about human rights in Haiti,” he began. “Despite all of our work, it is difficult to get the institutions of the country to respect the law. We have come to the conclusion that many in the police do not understand the law, nor does much of the public. Human rights groups that come here to investigate are not touching the foundation of our problems if they do not look into the institutional problems.”
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