The Catholic University of America



About CUA-Haiti Initiatives


Groupe de Recherche, d’Analyse et d’Assistance Légale

With the support of the CUA-Haiti Initiative, ESCDROJ proposes to establish Groupe de Recherche, d'Analyse et d'Assistance Légale, a law school affiliated Criminal Justice Clinic, to serve the Jérémie and Rosseaux regions of Haiti.  The Clinic will serve as a model legal clinic that can be emulated by the other nine law schools in Haiti to greatly increase access to high quality legal representation for the indigent accused.
The GRAALE Clinic will provide legal assistance to the indigent accused in the lowest tier courts, the Peace Courts and Criminal Courts of First Instance, to give counsel in the earliest stages of the process.  Furthermore, it will ensure that all defendants have access to the documents charging them with crimes and that all persons convicted of crimes have access to the documents setting forth the terms of their incarcerations to prevent persons from being confined beyond their sentences.
The Clinic will provide mediation services to nearby communities to resolve disputes before they ripen into criminal charges.  It will resolve complaints informally with the assistance of various other civil society actors including rural and urban associations and churches.
The Clinic will teach high school students and adults about their rights and responsibilities under the rule of law.  The curriculum will be based on the successful Street Law model that has been employed both in the United States and internationally.
The Clinic will allow law students to become engaged in national debates regarding systemic changes to the Haitian judicial system and will work to ensure that the rights of criminal defendants are on the government's reform agenda.
The Clinic will be supervised by faculty members Mercier Josma and Christian Caze, whose years of legal practice in Haiti and long-time commitment to ESCDROJ's mission enables them to provide effective skills training and assistance to students.  The Clinic will be directed by an experienced administrator, Roxane Dimanche, who was a visiting scholar at CUA in Fall 2009 studying clinical pedagogy and administration by working closely with the Criminal Justice Clinic faculty and fellows at Georgetown University Law Center and with the clinical faculty at Howard University Law School.  ESCDROJ's Dean, Fr Jomanas, will provide oversight and guidance to the GRAALE staff, and be responsible for strengthening technical alliances and partnerships with national and foreign universities and legal NGOs, supervising evaluation methods, and recommending improvements and new strategies as needed.

The Clinic plans to be self sufficient by the end of the three-year start-up period and able to generate funds for continued operation through such methods as charging national and international institutions for GRAALE's reliable legal research, translation, monitoring, and evaluation services.