Raucous Trial Is a Test of Haiti’s Legal System?

UN soldiers on top of a building in front of the penitentiary during the prisoner uprising in Haiti (credit: AP)

By Dady Chery
Haiti Chery

The NY Times is promoting the idea that the trial of some individuals accused of involvement in a January 2010 massacre of unarmed prisoners in Aux Cayes, Haiti, is

“a testing of the waters to see if the rule of law is ready to grow.”

The Times concludes its recent article on this topic with the Haitian proverb:

“Twig by twig the bird builds its nest.”

Why do I imagine a parasitic cuckoo watching a nest builder?

Yes, justice has been trampled by some Haitian administrations, but not by all.  No matter. The Times found its “cause celebre” in this presumed massacre of Haitians by Haitians without help from the United Nations mission (MINUSTAH).  Curiously, this Cayes trial coincides with Martelly’s campaign to supplant the Haitian police with his proposed new army.

In fact, this article is part of a campaign to smear the National Police of Haiti. The UN soldiers missed the incidents at the Aux Cayes penitentiary merely by accident. Since the U.N.-U.S. occupation of Haiti, the country’s penitentiaries have been guarded by MINUSTAH troops (see photo of blue helmets guarding a penitentiary) together with Haitian police; but throughout the tremors that followed the January 2010 earthquake, the blue helmets were so terrified of popular revenge and so much more concerned with each other’s well being that they disappeared from public life.

As for the possible improvements to Haiti’s prisons and judiciary:

Whatever the outcome of this trial, it should be quite irrelevant to the well being of the Haitian penal and justice systems, since prison conditions and the administration of justice have never been known to improve during foreign occupation.


Source: Haiti Chery | Photo: UN soldiers on top of a building in front of the National Penitentiary during a prisoner uprising in Haiti (Credit: AP)



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