Post-Earthquake Legal Reform in Haiti: In On The Ground Floor
45 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2014
Date Written: 2013
Haiti has not conducted a total revision of its criminal law and procedure codes since 1835. Like most of the older codes, Haiti’s criminal laws were based on the old inquisitorial system of trying cases, as originally established by Napoleon in France. A Presidential Commission was established in 2009 to revise both the criminal law and criminal procedure codes. This article, by a Senior Advisor to that Commission, describes that revision process from its inception. The process should be contextually important given that almost all of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have transitioned from the inquisitorial system to the accusatorial or party system. Those processes, certainly including the one in Haiti, have been characterized by several important rejections of traditional party system procedures, particularly including the jury system. The article traces the deliberations of the Haitian jurists and describes which aspects of the party system were accepted or rejected. Finally, the author concludes with an assessment of the likelihood of success of the project.
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