Santiago, September 10 2019.

As part of the process of supporting the modernization of the justice systems of the region, the Justice Studies Center of the Americas (JSCA) organized a visit for a delegation of officials from Haiti to Santiago de Chile. The purpose of the visit was allow them to learn about the criminal justice system, Judicial Branch and its Administrative Corporation, Public Prosecutor’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Justice Commissions of both chambers of Congress and the Chilean Bar Association.

The visit, which will run September 9-15, 2019 is part of the technical cooperation activities included in the Haiti Justice System Strengthening Project (JSSP)begun in 2017 by JSCA with the cooperation of USAID through Chemonics.

The schedule includes meetings with several Chilean justice institution representatives including the President of the Senate Justice Commission, Felipe Harboe, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Haroldo Brito, and the Judicial Branch Administrative Corporation Director, Ricardo Guzmán.

JSCA Executive Director Jaime Arellano explained that, “Haiti is discussing the need for judges’ independence. Judges in Haiti currently can be removed, which is not the case in Chile. But the mechanics of appointing, disciplining and removing judges require urgent review. Superior courts should not participate in the appointment process precisely because it impacts the independence of lower ranking judges. In principle, no State body should engage in this.” He also noted that, “Systems for ensuring that judges are held responsible are also indispensable. Recent events have shown this to be true. However, they require legal regulations, due process, investigation, prosecution, defense and decisions that are independent and disconnected from jurisdictional hierarchy and should focus on their review and cassation roles, respectively.”

The Haitian delegation is comprised of the Vice President of the Judicial Branch Superior Council and Cassation Court Judge Louis Pressoir Jean Pierre; Cassation Court Prosecutor Marie Joceline Cazimir; the President of the Senate Justice Committee, Jean Renel Sénatus; the President of the Congressional Justice Committee, Clauvy Robas; the Chief Justice of the First Instance Criminal Court of Port-au-Prince, Bernard Saint-Vil; the Chief Prosecutor of the First Instance Criminal Court of Port-au-Prince, Paul Eronce Villard; the President of the Federation of Haitian Bar Associations, Stanley Gaston; the President of the Haitian Magistrates’ Association, Jean Wilner Morin; and the President of the Judicial Branch Professionals’ Association, Wando Saint-Villier. The delegation was accompanied by Peguy Desrosiers-Mondesir, who works on the JSSP/USAID initiative.