Haiti Shows Progress on the Rule of Law, But Challenges Remain: UN Expert

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 8, 2012

Above: Michel Forst (Photo: MINUSTAH)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti has shown progress on restoring the rule of law in the country, from the appointment of the president of the country’s highest appellate court to the upcoming establishment of the supreme council of the judiciary, according to Michel Forst, the UN’s Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti.

“During my last visit, I received important and promising commitments from President Martelly, namely the implementation of the rule of law,” he said. “Most of these promises were kept and major announcements are now a reality.”

Forst, who was on a nine-day visit to Haiti, also pointed to Haiti’s recent ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

But serious challenges still remain — including what he said was a problem of prolonged pre-trial detentions and troubling conditions in camps for persons displaced by the earthquake.

“President Martelly has made rule of law one of the top priorities for his mandate, but the implementation of the rule of law requires a sound political action,” he said in a statement. “The population needs to see that the rule of law prevails in Haiti.”

He also reiterated his disappointment that former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier would not face charges on human rights violations during his 15-year reign.

“My first thoughts go to the victims and their families, and I support their decision to appeal the judge’s decision to proceed with the case,” he said.

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