Researching Haitian Law
By Marisol Florén-Romero
Marisol Florén-Romero is the International Reference Librarian at Florida International University (FIU), College of Law Library.
Published May/June 2008
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Table of Contents
Haiti is located on the western side of the island of Hispaniola, in the Caribbean Sea. With an area of 27,750 square kilometers and an estimated population of 8.5 million, Haiti has a high population density. More than half of its people live in rural areas. The country has an average life expectancy of 60 years, high rates of infant and maternal mortality, and a GNP per capita of USD 480. Haiti is classed among the least developed countries in the world.
Christopher Columbus discovered Hispaniola on December 5, 1492. He established the first Spanish settlement in the Western Hemisphere, Fort Nativity, on December 25, 1492. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries French buccaneers used Turtle Island, off the northern coast of Hispaniola, as the base for their commercial activities in the Caribbean, invading and eventually occupying an extensive territory on the northwest side of the island. In 1697, by the Treaty of Ryswick, Spain recognized the right of the French to the western portion of the island and Hispaniola was divided into two. The French territory, with its capital at Cap-Français (now Cap-Haïtien), was named Saint-Domingue and became a prosperous economic colony engaged in exporting sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo and cocoa. The prosperity and productivity of that colony was supported by a population of 25,000 free people of color (affranchis) and more than 700,000 African slaves. In 1791, the non-white population of Haiti, led by Toussaint L’Ouverture and later by Jean-Jacques Dessalines, rebelled against the French, ending slavery and leading to independence on January 1, 1804. The newly independent country took the name Haiti, the aboriginal name of Hispaniola.
Haiti underwent many insurrections during the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. Struggles among the different classes to gain power, and neglected economic and social advancements, prompted a 1915 military occupation by the United States that lasted until 1934. During the second half of the twentieth century the Duvalier family ruled the country. François Duvalier (Papa Doc) was in power from 1957 till his death in 1971. His son, Jean-Claude (Baby Doc), succeeded him, but Jean-Claude was driven from the country in 1986, bringing to an end thirty years of personalist dictatorship.
Democracy was restored in March 1987 with the ratification of a new Constitution that provided for an elected bicameral Parliament (Assemblée nationale); an elected President and Prime Minister, as head of State and head of Government respectively; and a Supreme Court appointed by the President with parliamentary consent.
The signing of the 1987 Constitution did not guarantee the end of political chaos, social unrest, violations of human rights, and economic instability. For the past decade, Haiti has seen a significant involvement of the international community in trying to promote good government, ensure political and social stability, and assist with sustainable disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs. On July 3, 1993, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Raoul Cédras signed the Governor’s Island Agreement, sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS), providing for a transition from a military to a civilian government, with the return of Aristide as President of the Republic. This agreement was followed by several Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly authorizing the deployment of successive international missions: UN Mission in Haiti (UNMIH), September 1993 to June 1996; UN Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) June 1996 to July 1997; UN Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH), August to November 1997; and UN Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH), December 1997 to March 2000. On February 29, 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1529 (2004) authorizing the deployment of the Multinational Interim Force (MIF). On April 30, 2004, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1542 (2004) creating the United Nations Stability Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
The Haitian government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
The legislative branch, or Parliament, consists of a Senate (30 seats) and a Chamber of Deputies (99 seats). Senators and Deputies are elected by direct vote for six- and four- year terms respectively, and they can be re-elected indefinitely. Parliament enacts laws on all matters of general interest. Bills and other legislative acts enter into force with their publications in the official gazette, Le Moniteur. Bills are numbered and printed in the Bulletin des Lois et Actes de la République d’Haïti.
Executive power is vested in the President of the Republic, who is the head of State, and the Prime Minister, who is the head of the Government. The President is elected to a five-year term and cannot be re-elected to a consecutive term. He promulgates the laws, signs all international treaties and agreements, and submits them for ratification to Parliament. The President presides over the Council of Ministers (Conseil des ministres), and enacts Presidential Decrees (Arrêtés).
The President selects the Prime Minister from among the members of the majority party in Parliament. With the approval of the President, the Prime Minister chooses the members of the Council of Ministers, subject to parliamentary assent. The Prime Minister is responsible for law enforcement, and has the authority to issue rules and regulations.
Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation), the Courts of Appeal, Courts of First Instance, Justice of the Peace Courts, and special courts. Their operation, organization, and jurisdiction are established by statute.
The justices of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal are appointed for ten years. Judges of the Courts of First Instance are appointed for seven years. The Supreme Court’s justices are appointed by the President from a list of three candidates for each court seat submitted by the Senate. Sitting judges of the aforementioned three courts can be removed only under exceptional circumstances, thus safeguarding the judiciary’s independence from political interference.
Haiti adopted the French civil law system, including the French judicial structure and codification system: Civil Code, Criminal Code, Commercial Code, Code of Civil Procedure, and Code of Criminal Procedure. All Codes were enacted between 1825 and 1835, and with minor changes they resembled their French antecedents. The Labor Code (1961) and Rural Code (1962) were enacted during the government of Francois Duvalier. Statutes are the main source of law, and French doctrine and jurisprudence are the basis for the interpretation of the law.
Haïti’s judicature comprises four tiers. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the nation and provides a last recourse in matters decided at the appellate level. The Supreme Court also functions as Superior Magistrate Council, and as Constitutional Court ruling on the constitutionality of a law.
At the second tier are the Courts of Appeal. There are five regional appellate courts, located at Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, Gonaïves, Les Cayes, and Hinche. A judge president and two other judges sit in each court.
At the third tier are the Courts of First Instance. These are courts of original jurisdiction in civil, commercial, or criminal matters, with a single judge presiding. A Public Prosecutor’s Office is designated for each Court of First Instance. Also at the third tier are examining magistrates, responsible for conducting criminal investigations, issuing formal charges and sending a case to the Criminal Court, to the Division of Minor Offenses, or to the Civil Court - or for issuing a non-suit. The decisions of the Courts of First Instance may be appealed to the Courts of Appeal and to the Supreme Court.
Justices of the peace are at the fourth tier, forming the base of the judicial structure. These puisne judicial officers have jurisdiction over small claims in civil, commercial, and criminal matters.
In addition to the ordinary courts there are four special courts: the Labor Courts; the Juvenile Court; the Land Court, dealing with registration of property rights in the Artibonite Valley; and the High Court of Accounts, which hears appeals and claims for damages by individuals against the State. This court also has an administrative function auditing the accounts of the State. The decisions of the Labor Courts and the Land Court are only appealable to the Supreme Court.
Haiti accepts compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on questions of international law, and of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) for the settlement of trade disputes within CARICOM.
The Constitution of March 29, 1987 is currently in force. This new Constitution defines the government of Haiti as a cooperativist, free, democratic social republic with a dual executive (President and Prime Minister) and a bicameral legislature. It recognizes Créole as an official language along with French, prohibits the cult of personality, stresses the protection of fundamental rights, and provides for the decentralization of the government by entrusting administrative and financial autonomy to the départements and communes. The Constitution also creates an Electoral Council, responsible for the organization elections.
- Civil Code [Code Civil Haïtien], annoté et mis a jour par Menan Pierre-Louis [adopté par La Chambre des Communes le 4 Mars, Décrété par le Senat le 20 Mars et promulgué le 27 Mars 1825, (Port-au-Prince 1993).
- Code of Civil Procedure [Code de Procédure Civile], annoté par René Matard. Loi de 19 Sep 1963, in force 17 Jan 1964, (Editions du Soleil 1981). The 1943 edition of the Code of Civil Procedure is available at Digital Library of the Caribbean
- Criminal Code [Code Pénal], voté a la Chambre des Communes, le 29 Juillet, au Sénat de la République, le 10 Aout; Promulgué, le 11 Aout, 1835. Annoté par Menan Pierre-Louis, (L’Imprimerie Domond 1996).
- Code of Criminal Procedure [Code d’Instruction Criminelle],Voté a la Chambre des Représentants, le 14 Juillet, Au Sénat de la République, le 31 Juillet, Promulgué, le 31 Juillet 1835, annoté par Menan Pierre-Louis, (L’Imprimerie Domond 1995). The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1826 is available at Digital Library of the Caribbean.
- Commercial Code [Code de Commerce], Loi du 27 Mars 1826, modifiée par le Décret-loi du 22 décembre 1944) annoté par Menan Pierre-Louis, (Les Editions Fardin 1987). The Commercial Code of 1827 Code is available at Digital Library of the Caribbean.
- Tax Code [Code Fiscal] mis à jour 1998, par Joseph Paillant, (Imprimerie Deschamps 1998).
- Labor Code [Code du Travail de la République d’Haïti], Jean-Frédéric Sales, (Presse de l’Université Quisqueya 1992). This is the text of the 1961 Code and its updates.
- Rural Code [Code Rural], Law of May 24, 1962. Le Moniteur No. 51 May 16, 1962, Amended by Decree of June 26, 1986.
- Le Moniteur, Journal Official de la République d’Haïti, no. 1- 6 December 1862- Port-au-Prince, 1862- is published by the National Presses of the Republic of Haiti.
· Bulletin des Lois et Actes de la République d’Haïti. Année 1832–, Port-au-Prince, Imprimerie du Gouvernement,  –
- Lois et Actes du Conseil National de Gouvernement. [Vol. 1]–, 7 Feb 1986–. [Port-au-Prince] Conseil National, 1988–
· Bulletin des Arrêts du Tribunal de Cassation Rendus en Toutes Matières: Affaires Civiles, Criminelles et Urgentes. No. 1–, (1856?)– . Port-au-Prince, Imprimerie de l’Etat, 1856(?)–
The following sources provide background information on the country. They describe the major historical events; the social and economic conditions of the country; and structure of government. They also include an analysis of the legal system, reports on the situation of human rights, or on national security issues; and contact information for doing business in Haiti.
- US Department of State, background note - Haiti
- Library of Congress, a country study - Haiti
- Library of Congress, country profile - Haiti
- UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, country profiles - Haiti
For an historical view of the development of the legal system in Haiti, the work of Chantal Hudicourt Ewald continues to be the most comprehensive source. To understand the court system and administration of justice in Haiti today I would recommend reviewing the reports of the different international organizations addressing human rights issues or involved in judicial reforms in Haiti; a description of some of these sources follow.
- Chantal Hudicourt Ewald, The Legal System of Haiti, in 7 Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia (Hein, 1995) (looseleaf). Hudicourt reviews the historical development of the legal system in Haiti until 1980, the sources of law, the structure and organization of the courts, the procedures, legal education and the practice of law. The 1995 update of this article is limited to briefly assessing the political events that occurred after the constitutional reform of 1987.
- Gerald Perry, Haiti, In International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, v. I. National Reports, H1 – H5 (J.C.B. Mohr, 1978). The article on Haiti was written in October 1969.
- Thomas Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores, Haiti, in Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World (F.B. Rothman, 1989), I-A. (loose leaf). Released on 9/2003.
- Haiti: Failed Justice or the Rule of Law? Challenges Ahead for Haiti and the International Community. OEA/Ser/L/V/II.123 doc.6 rev 1, (2005).
- Decree of August 22, 1995 on judicial organization.
- Description of the legal system of Haiti at Droit Francophone
In addition to the official sources listed above, Thomas Reynolds and Arturo A. Flores’ Foreign Law Guide Database, the Law Library of Congress Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) and E. P. & E.Trouillot’s Code de Lois Usuelles, are the most comprehensive sources for researching Haitian law.
- Thomas Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores, Haiti, in Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World. This is a fee base database.
- Global Legal Information Network (GLIN)
GLIN developed by the Law Library of Congress covers the English summary of laws and regulations of Haiti since 1953. The official source is Le Moniteur.
- Code de Lois Usuelles, edited by Ertha P. Trouillot
and Ernst Trouillot, (Montreal, Editions SEMIS, 1998). 2 vols.
This book is an annotated compilation of laws of general application from tax, administrative, family, banking and credit laws, to criminal, procedural and immigration laws.
Pradine, Recueil Général des Lois et Actes du Gouvernement d'Haïti
depuis la Proclamation de son Indépendance jusqu'à nos Jours mis en
ordre et publié par…, (Paris, A. Durand, 1860 – 1888). 8 v.
This book is an annotated compilation of Haitian laws enacted from 1804 to 1845. Volumes 7 (1840-1843) and volume 8 (1843-1845) were edited by Emmanuel Edouard. Volumes 4, 5 and 6 are available at Digital Library of the Caribbean.
- Claudius Ganthier, Recueil des Lois et Actes de la République d'Haïti de 1887 à 1904, (Port-au-Prince, 1907-1912). 3 vols.
- Etienne Mathon, Annuaire de Législation Haïtienne ... contenant les lois votées par les Chambres législatives en l'année 1904 et les principaux arrêtés d'intérêt général / [edited by] Etienne Mathon, (Port-au-Prince: Im. J. Verrollot, 1905-1920). Laws enacted from 1904 to 1918.
The text of the constitution in force in Haiti, in French, Creole or English, can be found in several sources, among which are:
- Constitution 1987 (Georgetown Political Database of the Americas) (French, English)
- Constitution 1987 (Embassy of the Republic of Haiti, Washington) (Creole, French, English)
- Constitution 1987 (Droit Francophone) (French)
- Constitution 1987 (The Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition / OAS) (French, English)
- Constitution 1987 (ACCPUF) (French)
H. Flanz, Haiti, 1984-1987, in Constitutions of the Countries of
the World (Albert P. Blaustein & Gisbert H. Flanz, 1987).
Gisberth H. Flanz introduces the 1987 Constitution of Haiti analyzing the chronology of political events starting in 1984 which lead to the proclamation of the 1987 constitutional reform, highlighting the major changes brought by this constitution. The database contains the text of the 1987 Haitian constitution in French and English.
This Constitution was promulgated by Toussaint L’Ouverture in 1801 proclaiming himself as Governor for life of Saint-Domingue. The constitution is hosted by the University Pierre Mendes at Grenoble, France.
Mariñas Otero, Las Constituciones de Haiti (Ediciones Cultura
This book compiles the text in Spanish of the 33 constitutional reforms proclaimed by Haiti between 1801 and 1964, discussing the historical context and the main changes of each reform.
- Mirlande H. Manigat, Traité de Droit Constitutionnel Haïtien (Université Quisqueya 2000). 2 vols.
- Report of Haiti’s Truth and Justice
Commission (1995) (alternatively here).
Haiti’s Truth and Justice Commission was created in March 28, 1995 to investigate the violation of human rights under the de facto military dictatorship (September 29, 1991 - October 14, 1995).
Department of State.
Under Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor / Human Rights / Country Reports / by year, one may find: Haiti, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. See reports for the following years: 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, and 1999.
- UN Security Council – Resolutions
The United Nations Security Council Resolutions can be found in chronological order on the site of the UN Security Council. See Resolutions On the Question of Haiti for the following years: 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993
See also, UN Security Council. Mission Reports. Report of the Security Council Mission to Haiti, 13 to 16 April, 2005.
- Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Annual Reports.
Almost every Annual Report of the IACHR presents the state of compliance by Haiti with human rights conventions. See annual reports for the following years: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 1998 1997 1991 1990 1988-1989 1986-1987 1985-1986. See also reports for years 1984-1985, 1983-1984, 1981-1982, 1977, 1976, 1975, 1974, 1973, and 1971.
· IACHR, Special Reports: Haiti: Failed Justice or the Rule of Law? Challenges ahead for Haiti and the International Community, 26 October 2005 OEA/Ser/L/V/II.123, doc.6 rev 1.
- IACHR, Country Reports, monitoring the situation of human rights in Haiti. See the following country reports: 1995, 1994, 1993, 1990, 1988, 1979, and 1969.
- Annual and special reports of the IACHR are also available at the Inter American Human Rights Database, American University, Washington College of Law.
Search under information by country / Americas / Haiti. This source is arranged in chronological order and provides an overview of human rights developments in Haiti. Also under Human Rights Watch / Publications / Haiti, one can find information on internal displacements, the use of children as soldiers and the social and legal conditions of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Under countries, OHCHR in Haiti, this site provides access to reports of the UN Human Rights Bodies regarding Haiti’s status of ratification of Human Rights Conventions; resolutions and statements of the General Assembly regarding Haiti; and the reports of independent experts appointed by the Secretary General informing on the situation of human rights in Haiti.
- Amnesty International
Under Learn about human rights / Select a country / Haiti, for issues on prison conditions, political prisoners, violence against women, discrimination, and migrant Haitian rights in the Dominican Republic.
The site of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) includes not only the background information for this particular mission but also the background information, mandate resolutions, facts and figures, and deployment maps for the following previous international missions in Haiti: United Nations Mission in Haiti UNMIH (1993-1996); United Nations Support Mission in Haiti UNSMIH (1996-1997); United Nations Transmission Mission in Haiti UNTMIH (1997); and United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti, MIPONUH (1997-2000).
for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)
The IJDH is a non-governmental organization based in Haiti working towards reconstruction of democracy, justice and human rights, disseminating information on human rights, pursuing legal cases, and cooperating with human rights groups in Haiti and abroad. IJDH publishes IJDH Human Rights Reports.
Additional information on human rights in Haiti can be found by searching the following web sites:
- Human Rights Latin America
- Human Rights Internet (HRI) | | |
- Labor Code, September 12, 1961, updated by Decree of February 24, 1984.
- Labor Code, September 12, 1961, updated by Decree of February 24, 1984 and Law of June 4, 2003
- NATLEX (International Labor
NATLEX is the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) database on labor and labor related legislation and agreements. Browse by country / Haiti. Besides the Labor Code and other Haitian laws on labor, social security, non discrimination, child labor, collective bargaining and industrial relations, NATLEX includes two bilateral agreements between Haiti and the Dominican Republic on employment of temporary sugarcane workers.
- Francois Latortue, Le Droit du Travail en Haïti (3d ed. 2001). Chapter 2 examines the evolution of labor laws and social rights in Haiti.
- Penal Code
See alternatively here
See alternatively here updated by Decree August 11, 2005
- Code of Criminal Instruction
See alternatively here
- Code of Criminal Instruction (1826) - Digital Library of the Caribbean
- Law of November 29, 1994, on the National Police, Le
Moniteur nº 103, December 28, 1994.
See alternatively here
- Law of August 7, 2001, relative to the Suppression
and Control of Illicit Drug Trafficking
Moniteur nº 156, October 4, 2001. The electronic file is incomplete.
See alternatively here
- Law of February 21, 2001 Money Laundering Law, Proceeds from Illicit
Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Offenses. Le Moniteur No. 30, April 5,
2001, and Le Moniteur N° 97, December 3, 2001.
See alternatively here
See alternatively here
- UN Office on Drugs and Crime
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime database, UNODOC’S Online, contains the laws on drug abuse, prevention and treatment, national control measures related to demand, supply and traffic of licit and illicit drugs, criminal sanctions and international cooperation. See country pages / Haiti.
For business law and doing in business in Haiti see the following sources:
- , under Supervision Bancaire one can retrieve commercial, mortgage bank laws, and prudential norms.
- Banking Law. Decree of November 14, 1980.
Le Moniteur no. 82, November 17, 1980
- Law of
August 28, 1984. Creation and functioning of mortgage banks.
[Banques d’Epargne et de Logement] Le Moniteur no. 64, September 6, 1984.
- Law of August 17, 1979, on the creation of the Bank of the Republic of
Le Moniteur No. 72, September 11, 1979.
- (World Bank)The Doing Business Library of the World Bank provides access to the constitution, banking and credit laws, commercial and company laws, labor laws, tax laws, and land and building laws. Select an economy / Haiti.
- The site of the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti in Washington, section on business, includes norms and regulations regarding business and investment in Haiti, business associations and a guide to investment, internal taxes and fees, and labor related laws.
- , Le Moniteur no 75-A, October 10, 1996.
- Labor Code and its implications, internal taxes and fees.
- Centre de Recherche et d’Information Juridique (CRIJ), under Bibliothèque Virtuelle / Droit Haïtien / Code de Lois. See the following codes:
- Investment Code, Law of November 26, 2002,
modifying the Decree of October 30, 1989
Alternatively here (English)
- Customs Code (Code Douanier), Decree of May 5, 1987, modifying the Decree of August 28, 1962.
- Théophile J. B. Richard, François Latortue & Pierre Chauvet, A Statement of the Laws of Haiti in Matters Affecting Business (3rd., Organization of American States 1974). This summary of laws and regulations of Haiti on commercial related matters is still a valid source certain areas such as public lands, forestry, water and mining legislation, patents and trademarks, copyright, and property.
- Rural Code (1962) Le Moniteur No. 51 May 16, 1962, amended by Decree of June 26, 1986.
- Code Rural de Boyer 1826, avec les commentaires de Roger Petit-Frère, Jean Vandal, Georges W. Werleigh (Archives Nationales d’Haïti 1992). Digital Library of the Caribbean
- Francois Blancpain, La Condition des Paysans Haïtiens: Du Code Noir aux Codes Rureaux (Editions Karthala 2003). See pages 184 – 194 for a chronology of laws on abolition of slavery, land distribution and tenure, and property rights.
- Joint Ownership Law [Loi sur la copropriété], August 13, 1984, Moniteur, No. 82.
- Recueil des Textes Législatives Concernant la Protection du Patrimoine Culturel Mobilier (Unesco 1981) [The Protection of Movable Cultural Property: Compendium of Legislative Texts], Law of April 23, 1940, and Decree Law of October 31, 1941.
- Rural Code (1962) Le Moniteur No. 51 May 16, 1962, amended by Decree of June 26, 1986.
- Code Rural de Boyer 1826, avec les commentaires de Roger Petit-Frère, Jean Vandal, Georges W.Werleigh (Archives Nationales d’Haïti 1992). Digital Library of the Caribbean.
- Faolex, Fishlex, and Ecolex, provides the full text of national laws, regulations, treaties, and secondary sources on environmental law, food and agriculture, renewable natural resources, forest, fisheries and aquaculture.
Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands (Lois Relatives à l'Environnement Côtier et à
la Pêche en Haïti) CSI Info 13 (2002).
This publication contains an abridged version of Haiti’s fisheries and environmental laws as they relate to the protection and management of coastal environments, text in French and Creole.
For intellectual property, patents and trademark laws see the following sites to identify relevant intellectual property laws in force:
Law on Literary and Artistic Property, of October 8, 1885; Law of December 14, 1922; and Patents and Trade Marks Decree of June 19, 1960.
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
The database Collection of Laws for Electronic Access (CLEA) – Legislative Texts of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) cites the relevant Haitian trademark laws but does not provide access to the fulltext: Law of July 17, 1954, on Trademarks (Loi sur l'enregistrement et les cessions des marques de fabrique ou de commerce du 17 juillet 1954) and Law of July 14, 1956, amending the Trademarks Law of July 17, 1954.
- Representing Children Worldwide (RCW), Yale Law School’s website, provides a summary and analysis of legal instruments for the protection of children in Haiti. Browse under: Jurisdiction research/ Caribbean/ Haiti.
- CRIJ, Rights of the Children [Droit de L’Enfant]
Laws related to children, violence against children, adoption, articles on juvenile delinquency and treaties and conventions on the rights of children ratified by Haiti.
- Oceans and Law of the Sea
The information system of the United Nations Division of Ocean Affairs and Laws of the Seas (DOALOS) maintains a comprehensive database on national maritime delimitation, legislation and treaties of countries around the world. Under maritime space legislation and treaties database, access database by countries / Latin American and Caribbean States / Haiti. See the laws establishing the boundary of the territorial waters of the Republic of Haiti, and the Agreements on delimitation of the maritime boundaries between the Republics of Colombia and Haiti (1979), and the Republic of Cuba and Haiti (1977).
The National Telecommunication Counsel (CONATEL) is the official institution regulating telecommunications in Haiti. On the website of CONATEL, under Legislation are the following telecommunication laws:
- Decree October 12, 1977, granting to the State the monopoly of telecommunication services; Alternatively here
- Decree of October, 30 1969, creating the National Telecommunications Counsel (CONATEL). Le Moniteur, No. 105.
- Organic Law of CONATEL, August 20, 1987, Le Moniteur, 68, describing the structure, mission, and functions of CONATEL.
- Code Fiscal mis a jour 1998, by Joseph Paillant. Port-au-Prince : Imprimerie Deschamps, 1998. pp. 562.
- Gélin I. Collot, Traité de Droit Fiscal: Contribution a la Promotion du Droit et a la Réforme Judiciare en Haïti (Imprimerie Henri Deschamps 2006).
- (2005) [Fiscal Identity Card]
- Internal Taxes and Fees see A Guide to Investing in Haiti
Haiti signed and ratified on July 2, 2002 the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which allowed for the establishment of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community and Single Market Economy (CSME). Haiti is also a signatory, since December 15, 1989, to the ACP/EC Convention, better known as the Lomé Convention. For other treaties and international agreements signed by Haiti see:
- United Nations Treaty Series
For multilateral and bilateral agreements, treaties, and conventions signed by Haiti and registered with the General Secretariat of the United Nations.
- SICE (Foreign Trade Information
For the full text of trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties in force signed by Haiti with France (1984), Germany (1973), United Kingdom (1985), and the United States (1983).
- Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition. For bilateral treaties on extraditon signed by Haiti with Great Britain (1874) and with the United States (1904).
- CRIJ (Centre de Recherche et
CRIJ makes accessible the texts of the extradition treaties signed with Great Britain in 1974 and with the United States in 1904. The arbitration and conciliation treaty signed with Denmark in 1928 and a bilateral trade agreement with Denmark signed on October 21, 1937.
- UN High Commissioner for Human
Under countries / Human Rights in the World / Latin American and Caribbean Region / Haiti, gives the Status of Ratification of human rights conventions, and reports on compliances with the conventions. Haiti is signatory of the following human rights conventions: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), 1966; Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED), 2007; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 1980; International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), 1972; Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1990; Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (CRC-OP-AC), 2002; and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (CRC-OP-SC), 2002.
For bilateral treaties with the Dominican Republic, a recommended resource is the Treaties database of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic (SEREX).
Under Tratados y Acuerdos/ keyword search/ Haiti, this resource provides access to the text of Treaties and Agreements signed by Haiti with the Dominican Republic.
- Chronique Judiciaire d’Haïti, No. 1– , Oct 1980– . Port-au-Prince. L. Lacarriére, 1980– . Monthly publication.
- Revue de Droit et d’Economie, Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Economiques (FDSE), Université d’Etat d’Haïti (UEH), No. 1 – Janvier-Juin, 2004. Presmmart Imprimerie, Port-au-Prince.
- Revue de la Société de Législation, v. 1, April 1, 1892 - Port-au-Prince, Imprimerie de La Jeunesse, 1892 – 1914 ; available at The Digital Library of the Caribbean (Dloc).
- Revue Juridique de l’Université de Quisqueya. Vol. 1, no 1 (janv./juin 1994) – irregular; only three issues have been published to date.
- Haiti Observateur (New York)
This weekly newspaper is published in New York for the Haitian community. The site of the newspaper contains archival editions of the previous six months, from July to December 2006. See also the database Haiti Observateur (HAITIOBSVR) in Westlaw.
- Alter Presse (Haiti)
News in English, French, Spanish and Creole.
- Haiti Info
Compilation of news articles on Haiti appearing in the world media. News is in the original language of the media where they were published.
The Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Économiques (FDSE) of the State University of Haiti (Université d’Etat d’ Haïti), located in Port-au-Prince, is the oldest law school in Haiti. It started in 1860 as the School of Law of Port-au-Prince, and changed in the late 1940’s to the School of Law and Economics.
Under the State University system there are eight universities in the country, in different Departments, each one with a law school. These are: 1) Faculté de droit du Cap (département du Nord); 2) Faculté de droit des Cayes (département du Sud) ; 3) École de droit de Port de paix (département du Nord'Ouest) ; 4) École de droit de Fort liberté (département du Nord'Est) ; 5) École de droit des Gonaïves (département de l'Artibonite) ; 6) École de droit de St Marc (bas Artibonite) ; 7) Ecole de droit de Jacmel (département du Sud'Est) ; and 8) École de droit de Jérémie (département de la Grand'Anse).
A second university with a law school is the Université Quisqueya, Faculté des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques (FSJP). This is a private university located in Port-au-Prince and publishes the legal journal Revue Juridique de L’Université de Quisqueya.
Legal education in Haiti is a four year program leading to a bachelor’s degree in law (Licencie en Droit).
The Bar (Le Barreau) is the professional association that rules the practice of law in Haiti, and it is regulated by the Decree of March 29, 1979. The practice of law is strictly reserved to Haitian citizens without distinction of sex. Lawyers must accredit a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the State University of Haiti or an equivalent title from a national or foreign university plus two years of practice obtaining a certificate of professional aptitude from The Bar.
Listed below are the most relevant websites providing access to the legal literature of Haiti and information significant to Haitian legal research.
- ACCPUF - the Association of Constitutional Courts Sharing the Use of the French Language.
- Bank of the Republic of Haiti
- Centre de Recherche et d’Information Juridique (CRIJ) - a non governmental organization contributing to the development of law in Haiti.
- Le Civiliste - Le Civiliste reproduces the articles by Jean Marie Mondesir published in Le Juriste Haitien.
- Droit Francophone (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie).
- Environmental Law, Policy and Economics - OAS, supports information of the member states concerning the protection of the environment, water laws, human rights and the environment.
- Forum Citoyen pour la Réforme de la Justice
- Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)
- JURIST - Legal News and Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
- this site was created by Jean Marie Mondésir to promote Haitian law.
- MICIVIH - International Civilian Mission in Haiti OAS/UN.
- MINUSTAH - United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
- Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters - OAS Information Exchange Network for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
- NATLEX - International Labor Organisation (ILO).
- Rights & Democracy - International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Canada).
- SICE, OAS - Foreign Trade Information System contains national legislation on trade, intellectual property rights, investment laws, bilateral investment treaties, and trade agreements by country.
- UN Oceans and Law of the Sea - maritime space, legislation and treaties database.
- UNODOC’s online - The UN Office on Drugs and Crime makes available the laws and regulations of countries around the world on drug control and money laundering.
- USAID - The United States Agency for International Development. Under USAID Documents / search USAID reports / select topic: human rights/rule of law; select country / Haiti.
- The World Law Guide (Lexadin)
- The World Law Guide includes the Constitution, electoral laws, criminal, labor and banking laws of Haiti. Under Legislation, select Haiti.
- World Peace Foundation - The World Peace Foundation (WPF) is engaged since 1993 in studying the prospects for democracy and resolving conflicts in Haiti along with other countries such as Cyprus, Sudan and Sri Lanka.
The following is a selection of articles and treatises central to researching Haitian law:
- A.G. Cabanis & M. Louis-Martin, Un Exemple de Creolisation Juridique Modulee: le Code Civil Haitien de 1825 et le Code Napoleon, 48 Revue Internationale de Droit Compare, 443-456 (1996).
- Agora: The 1994 U.S. Action in Haiti, 89 Am. J. Int’l L. 58 (1995).
- Alex Braden et al., The Independence of the Judiciary in Haiti during the Interim Government, Center for International Legal Education - University of Pittsburgh Law School (April 18, 2006) Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) Human Rights Report (June 19, 2006)
- Andrew S. Levin, Civil Society and Democratization in Haiti, 9 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 389, (1995).
- Brian Concannon Jr., Beyond Complementarity: The International Criminal Court and National Prosecutions, a View from Haiti, 32 Colum. Human Rights L. Rev. 201 (2000).
- Ben J. Scott, Note: Order in the Court: Judicial Stability and Democratic Success in Haiti, 37 Vand. J. Transnat'l L. 555 (2004).
- David Beer, Peacebuilding on the Ground: Reforming the Judicial Sector in Haiti, In Building Sustainable Peace 119-141 (United Nations University Press 2004).
- David Malone, Decision-Making in the UN Security Council: the Case of Haiti, 1990-1997 (Oxford University Press 1998).
- Enex Jean Charles, Manuel de Droit Administratif Haïtien (L’Imprimeur II 2002).
- Francois Blancpain, La Condition des Paysans Haïtiens: Du Code Noir aux Codes Rureaux (Editions Karthala 2003). See pages 184 – 194 for a chronology of laws on abolition of slavery, land distribution and tenure, and property rights.
- Julia Leininger, Democracy and UN-Peace-Keeping: Conflict Resolution Through State-building and Democracy Promotion in Haiti, Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, vol. 10, pp. 465-530.
- Louis Aucoin, Haiti's Constitutional Crisis, 17 B.U. Int'l L.J. 115 (1999).
- M.-L Martin & A.G.Cabanis, La Loi Fondamentale Haitienne de Mars 1987: les Ambiguites du Constitutionnalisme Post-Duvalieriste, 111 Revue du Droit Public et de la Science Politique en France et a l'Etranger, 603-623 (1995).
- Mirlande H. Manigat, Plaidoyer pour une Nouvelle Constitution (Centre Humanisme Démocratique en Action 1995).
- Olivier Corten, La Résolution 940 du Conseil de Sécurité Autorisant une Intervention Militaire en Haïti: l’Emergence d’un Principe de Légitimité Démocratique en Droit International? 6 European J. Int’l L. 116-133 (1995).
- Prosecutions: the Zimbabwe Trial; and Prosecutions: The Jean-Ronique Antoine and Robert Lecorps Trial, in. Silencing the Guns in Haiti: the Promise of Deliberative Democracy 114- 143 (Irwin P Stotzky, University of Chicago Press 1997).
- Raymond Bernardin, La Nationalité Haitienne: Constitutions et Lois de 1804 a 1987. – (2001).
- Searching for Democratic Alternatives in Support of Human Rights, in Silencing the Guns in Haiti: the Promise of Deliberative Democracy, 55 – 61 (Irwin P Stotzky, University of Chicago Press 1997).
- T.C. Janak, Haiti's "Restavec'' Slave Children: Difficult Choices, Difficult Lives . . . Yet . . . Lespwa Fe Viv, 8 Int’l J. Children's Rights, 321-331 (2000).
- Todd Howland, Peacemaking and Conformity with Human Rights Law: How MINUSTAH Falls Short in Haiti, 13 International Peacekeeping, 462-476 (2006).
 Robert Debs Heinl & Nancy Gordon Heinl, Written in Blood: The Story of the Haitian People, 1492-1995 (University Press of America 2005) at 29.
 Id. at 29.
 Douglass Clouatre, Haiti, in Legal Systems of the World, 647 – 652 (Herbert M. Kritzer, ed., ABC-CLIO 2002). See also, Gerald Perry, Haiti, in International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, National Reports H4 (J.C.B. Mohr 1978).
 See David Malone, Decision-Making in the UN Security Council: The Case of Haiti, 1990-1997, (Clarendon Press, 1998).
 UN Security Council Resolution 1529 (2004), UN Doc. S/RES/1529 (2004) (29 February 2004), available at http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/254/10/PDF/N0425410.pdf?OpenElement
 UN Security Council Resolution 1542 (2004), UN Doc. S/RES/1542 (2002) (30 April 2004), available at http://ods-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/332/98/PDF/N0433298.pdf?OpenElement
 IACHR. Haiti: Failed Justice or the Rule of Law? Challenges Ahead for Haiti and the International Community, OEA/Ser/L/V/II.123 doc.6 rev 1 (26 October, 2005), at 8-9, available at http://www.cidh.org/countryrep/HAITI%20ENGLISH7X10%20FINAL.pdf
 Haitian Const, Art. 111.
 Id. Art. 125.
 Id. Art. 125-1.
 Id. Art. 133
 Id. Art. 134-1.
 Id. Art. 159
 Id. Art. 173. See also Decree of August 22, 1995, Relative to Judicial Organization (Décret Relatif á la Organisation Judiciaire), available at http://www.crijhaiti.com/fr/?page=decret_du_22_aout_95
 Haitian Const. Art. 174.
 Id. Art. 177.
 Thomas Reynolds & Arturo Flores, Haiti, in Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World, 3 (Fred B. Rothman, 1997) updated 8/2003. See also, Gerald Perry, Haiti in International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, National Reports, v. 1 at H4.; see also, Jean Marie Mondésir, Le Droit Haïtien at http://www.chez.com/juristehaitien/; see also Jean Marie Mondésir, La Codification en Haïti at http://membres.lycos.fr/civiliste/
 Haitian Const. Art. 183. See also La Cour de Cassation d’ Haïti, (Composition, Attributions, Procedures, Effects of its Decisions, and Rules of the Court), available at http://www.accpuf.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=128&Itemid=185
 IACHR, supra note 8, at 30-31.
 Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice available at http://www.caricom.org/jsp/secretariat/legal_instruments/agreement_ccj.pdf; see also Legal System of the Republic of Haiti available at For further discussion of the jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice and Haiti see, Duke E. Pollard, The Caribbean Court of Justice: Closing the Circle of Independence (2004).
 Haitian Const. Art. 5.
 Le Code Civil Haïtien, http://www.chez.com/juristehaitien/pages_textes/droit_haitien/p_code_civil.htm this article on the Civil Code of Haiti provides excerpts of those articles relative to change of name, marriage, divorce and property.
 Art. 5 Decree of March 29, 1979 regulating the law profession. See also, Jean Marie Mondésir, La Profession d’Avocat en Haïti, available at http://membres.lycos.fr/civiliste/ (Ordre des Avocats).
 See WPF Reports 10, 11, and 32 focuses on the 1995 post-peace reconstruction in Haiti: Jennifer L. McCoy Haiti: Prospects for Political and Economic Reconstruction (WPF Report No. 10, 1995); and Robert I. Rotberg, Haiti's Turmoil: Politics and Policy under Aristide and Clinton (WPF Report No.32, 2003).