The Catholic University of America

CUA-Haiti Initiatives

The Catholic University of America, through CUA-Haiti Initiatives, is committed to supporting both long- and short-term initiatives at The Catholic Law School of Jérémie (École Superiéure Catholique de Droit de Jérémie - ESCDROJ). Since 2008, the Columbus School of Law, a pioneer in clinical legal education programs for over forty years, has been working to develop a mentoring program, and adequate legal library, and a model Criminal Justice Clinic in Jérémie. Other initiatives seek to prove assistance to civil society actors in Haiti, such as the police, the National School of Nursing in Jérémie, and other stakeholders working to bring stability to the region. CUA-Haiti Initiatives seeks to meet a variety of needs identifed by our partners in Haiti by collaborating across departments and calling upon the expertise of CUA's Schools of Law, Nursing, and Engineering.

We welcome your assistance in bringing these projects to fruition!


Statement of Need

One of only two private law schools in Haiti, ESCDROJ was created to train a new generation of lawyers and citizens wiling to stay and work in Haiti, despite dire social and political conditions, to bring justice and peace to a country that has known neither. Since 1999, ESCDROJ has trained over 200 students who, as lawyers, public officials, and teachers, are contributing to the rule of law and securing greater protections for the people of Haiti.

With the support of CUA-Haiti Initiatives, ESCDROJ has already begun to take steps to establish a Criminal Justice Clinic to serve the Jérémie and Rosseaux regions of Haiti. Once fully operational, the Clinic will represent indigent defendants in the lowest tier criminal court, conduct private mediation to resolve disputes before they ripen into criminal charges, and teach high school students and adults about their rights and responsibilities under the rule of law. The Clinic will help to reduce significantly the overcrowding of the jail in Jérémie, where nearly 80% of inmates are pre-trial detainees or persons confined beyond their sentences. We believe that the Clinic can serve as a model that can be replicated in other law schools of Haiti to increase high quality legal representation for those charged with crimes who currently are unrepresented, and often forgotten, in Haiti's criminal justice system.


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