Monday, October 31, 2011


(Haiti Libre) -

The NGO Citizen Action for the Respect of Human Rights (ACREDH) denounced Friday in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that the "slowness" and the "inefficiency" of the Haitian justice system, maintains in jail 4,217 persons in custody. Of a total of 5,600 prisoners in the country, only 1,324 were convicted of having committed a crime.

Mr. Le Cruerre, one of the directors of the organization, lamented that despite the financial and technical support from the international community, received by the Haitian government, the changes necessary to improve the judicial and penal system have not been made.

"The judicial system is not effective, it is extremely slow and continues to suffer from fundamental weaknesses: corruption, poor enforcement of laws and agreements..."

The cases of abuse from bodies and members of security forces, arbitrary detentions with "excessive" use of force and the prolonged detention of "alleged accused", "are not a new thing in Haiti", he laments.

Regarding the situation in prisons and police stations, "the whole system is a failure." The ACREDH found that the conditions are "degrading". There is not enough food or clean water, sanitation facilities and access to medical care is inadequate, and there are difficulties to access health care...

"Prosecutors take several months before presenting the prisoners for cause." There are cases awaiting trial since 2009.

Mr. Le Cruerre also denounced the "complicity, the corruption and lack of effectiveness" in conducting a proper prison policy, because among the 4,217 persons awaiting trial, most are incarcerated for minor offenses.

He also discussed the situation of children who under Haitian law should "in no case" be imprisoned. The law provides rehabilitation centers.

For his part, the Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS, Duly Brutus, declared that the new government has just been installed, and that there are no guidelines, but said that he was aware of the "weaknesses" and "needs" of the Haitian justice system; adding that "the establishment of the rule of law is one of the pillars of the policy of President Martelly."

Yesterday, on the occasion of World Day of prisoners, Yanick Mézil, the new Minister for the Status of Women and Women's Rights, together with the Dean of the Civil Court, Jocelyne Casimir, the Senator and President of the Justice and Security Commission Youri Latortue, and a representative of the Minustah visited the women's prison of Pétion-ville. The Minister has promised to intervene to ensure that prisoners who have already served their sentences can regain their freedom.

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