Sunday, January 31, 2010

Canadian Lawyers Launch 'Judicial Red Cross' for Haiti

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly is reporting that Canadian lawyers and law firms are mobilizing to bring relief to Canadians and Haitians affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Bar associations are helping with pro bono work for Canadians trying to sponsor loved ones caught in Haiti and are sending financial aid to help rebuild the Caribbean country's justice system.

As well, the Quebec chapter of the non-governmental organization Lawyers Without Borders wants to organize what it calls a "judicial Red Cross" in Haiti:
"This would be a transitional system of emergency 'justice shelters,' operating out of tents, that can be quickly deployed in the country’s desolate communities while giving the nation’s formal system of justice a chance to be rebuilt. Conceived by former Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Louise Otis, in collaboration with Concordia University professor Eric Reiter, the so-called frontline justice system is anchored by trained local jurists who give legal information and advice, and local judges who issue emergency safeguard orders and mediate disputes between parties (...)"

"Drawn from initiatives around the world, particularly those emanating from the United Nations 'Brahimi Report' (which reviewed procedures and goals of U.N. peace operations in the wake of experiences in Kosovo and East Timor), the front-line justice system envisioned by Otis and Reiter is an emergency hybrid justice system that attempts to quickly create an institution to assess and administer the immediate emergency justice needs of the local population by local jurists and magistrates. The centerpiece is the creation of so-called justice shelters, which are centrally located tents that can be put up overnight. Its mandate is broad and includes civil, family and administrative as well as criminal matters. It is not a transitional justice program but rather a step-by-step judicial restorative process that tries to rebuild the justice system, points out Reiter, who added that its work should be done within two years."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:13 pm


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